Chapter 7 from American Stripper
Previous chapter: Preparations
It was Friday, the big day. Excitement prevented me from getting much sleep.
I had class that morning with Holly, and she offered her usual cheery greeting. “Good luck on your first show tonight!” she said as we walked out of class.
I shook my head. “I don’t feel like I’m ready.”
“Oh, stop that. You’ll do fine.”
“So how did your date go on Wednesday?” I asked.
“It went well,” she beamed. “We’re going out again tonight!”
“That’s great! I hope it goes well for you,” I said. To my surprise, I meant that. I had already convinced myself that she wasn’t my type, thus didn’t feel the pain of losing her to somebody else.
“Give me a call afterwards and let me know how your show goes.”
I arrived at French Addiction early that evening. Luckily, I wasn’t scheduled to work at the gym. Getting a shift covered on a Friday night was nearly impossible, so there would be a problem if this stripping gig took off.
Due to the neon lights in the windows, the lingerie store looked more like a brothel at night. The scantily clad female mannequins beckoned the occasional passerby to enter. There were three people in the store: Janice, the clerk from my first visit to the store, and a young, well-dressed Italian guy who resembled a Jersey Shore guido.
Janice looked up at me and smiled. “You made it, and you look nice! I love your shirt. It shows off your muscles!”
Janice's compliment pleased me. I’d worn the new black, skin-tight shirt made of Lycra and a pair of khakis.
I greeted everyone. The guy stared at me and gave a silent nod. He was clean-cut and stood a little shorter than me, with fairly long, black hair plastered full of gel. He wore a black, flashy button-down shirt with the top portion unbuttoned, exposing his hairy chest. He looked like the type of guy who would pose for the cover of a romance novel. His presence puzzled me since he didn’t seem like a customer.
“By the way, this is John,” Janice said. “He will also be training tonight.”
I introduced myself and shook his hand. Janice told us that Titus was on his way. She and the store clerk then went behind the counter to tend to the other duties of the store. With nothing better to do, I struck up a conversation with John while we waited for Titus.
“Are you nervous?” he asked me.
“I'm shaking,” I admitted, feeling my heart pound. Every few minutes, I wiped my sweaty hands against my khakis. “I just hope I don't chicken out.”
“Well, I’m looking forward to it,” John said with poise. He appeared calm and collected like this was a regular picnic outing, and that made me feel uneasy. “I’ve always wanted to do this. What about you?”
“I never really imagined myself in this job, but it seems like fun,” I admitted. “So how did you get into this job?”
“You know Alexis?” John asked.
I shook my head. “Can't say that I do.”
“She works here as a stripper, and we dated for a bit. She said I'd be perfect for stripping and she put in a good word for me to Janice, so all I gotta do is go along with Titus and do this.”
This unexpected development unsettled me. John had me beat in the looks department, or so I thought. I envied his confidence. And he dated one of the strippers!
At seven o’clock, Titus walked in like he was in charge of the room. He had a devious look to him. His choice of attire baffled me: he wore a faded button-down shirt with slacks, but had on a pair of flip-flops instead of dress shoes. Perhaps he planned on changing later.
Janice stepped out from behind the counter to hug Titus. She handed him a sheet of paper with the directions to the party and gestured to me and John, explaining that we were to accompany him for training.
“This is Titus,” she explained. “He’s been working with me for two years, and he has the most experience out of anyone here. He’ll tell you what to do, grade your performance, and report to me. If you do well, you’re in.”
As Janice spoke, Titus’s reptilian-like eyes studied John and me. His face displayed no emotion as he held out his hand and introduced himself. “You guys ready?”
“I'm ready,” I said, feeling the opposite. My hands were cold and clammy and I was breathing fast. I hoped no one else noticed how nervous I was. So here’s the guy I have to impress, I thought, resolving to get on Titus’s good side.
“Let's do this!” John said.
As soon as we were on the road, Titus began explaining the basics of male stripping to us.
“This is an easy job,” Titus said. “The most work you gonna be doin’ is drivin’ around. If they ask you to drive a long way for a job, don’t turn it down, ‘cause you gonna get paid more money for gas and your time. You guys hook up with a lot of bitches?”
“All the time,” John said. “Have to beat 'em off with a stick.”
I was too embarrassed to answer, thinking back to my unplanned quickie with Holly.
Titus chuckled at John's comment and continued, “Well, that ain’t nothin’, son, ‘cause you gonna be hookin’ up with more bitches with this job!”
“I like the sound of it already,” John said.
“One thing though,” Titus said. “Don't hook up with a bitch at the party. Get a number, leave, then get up with her later and hook up.”
“How come you don't hook up at the party?” John asked.
“Maaaan, you don’t want the other bitches complainin’ to Janice. Trust me, son. It looks bad.”
“So how did you get started in this?” I asked.
Titus explained that a friend of his introduced him to Janice two years ago and she offered him a job because she was low on dancers at the time. Since then, he had done over a hundred shows, stripped at every sorority at the University of Florida, and dealt with all kinds of girls. He spoke about stripping for rich ladies in expensive hotels, mansions, and limousines.
“Have you ever stripped for just one girl,” John asked. “Like she hired you for herself and no one else was there?”
Titus paused in thought. “Once. She answered the door wearin’ lingerie, and she was the only one there.”
“Holy shit!” John said.
Compared to my dreary life of gaming and schoolwork, Titus's life seemed like something out of a rock star’s biography. It was too good to be true.
“I take it that you like the job,” John said.
“Hell yeah,” Titus replied. “You two are gonna meet some bad bitches on dis job. Some bad bitches. It’s been crazy for me, son, and the money is good, too!”
John and I listened eagerly. Everything sounded so surreal, so perfect. There had to be a catch. “What do you hate about this job?” I asked Titus.
“Every now and then you’ll get a party full of stingy, stuck-up bitches, but that ain’t often. All you do is leave when that happens.”
I smiled. The gym had nothing on this!
John asked, “What happens if you’re dancing with a hot chick and you get hard? Do you just let it out?”
Titus laughed. “Man, this guy…”
We waited for an answer, but Titus didn’t say anything else. I was curious too, however. “So what happens?”
“You don’t get hard,” Titus said.
“What do you mean?” John asked. “Give me a hot chick and I'll get hard.”
I laughed, thinking back to the few times I’d danced with a random girl in a club – the very few times. I became very aroused at the physical interaction and imagined that the same thing would happen while stripping.
“Trust me on this: you don't get hard,” Titus replied. “You’ll be busy workin’ the crowd. It’s like givin’ a speech. You’re too distracted to think about sex. You’ll see what I mean when you start.”
“I don't know … I think I'd get hard if I was dancin' for a hot chick,” John said.
Titus snorted. “I’m not sayin' it don't happen, son.”
“So how good is the money?” I asked.
“Better than anything else out there. You’ll be makin’ at least a hundred bucks per party. Rich ladies will hook you up. This will be the easiest job you'll have.”
“How many shows a week do you do?”
“Depends, usually two to three times a week,” Titus answered.
I calculated the possible income of stripping and compared it to my current job. I worked an average of twenty hours a week for minimum wage, which was a little more than five dollars an hour. According to what Titus was describing, a good weekend of stripping could easily net a month’s salary at the gym. I’d stumbled upon a gold mine, and John must have surely felt the same way.
We arrived at our destination. Titus turned off the engine and said, “Always arrive early. They’ll complain if you’re late.”
Identical one-story apartments spread out before us. Titus pulled out his cell phone, along with the information sheet given to him at French Addiction, and dialed the contact number. A few moments passed. “Yo, I’m here,” Titus barked. “Come meet me outside.”
Before I could comment on how rude Titus was, he hung up the phone and looked over at me and John. “By the way, you comfortable dancin’ for black women?”
“Uh, s-sure,” John replied.
“Makes no difference to me.” It really didn't, because I felt like I was going to embarrass myself regardless of the crowd.
“Good. Because these are gonna be all black girls. They're usually a tough crowd … And another thing – always collect the money beforehand.”
Two girls approached the car. Titus opened the car door and stepped out. John and I followed his lead.
“You got the money?” Titus asked them. Titus's lack of manners appalled and impressed me. No greeting or handshake, just a blunt demand. Customer service was not his best quality.
“Yeah,” the first girl said, handing him some cash, unperturbed. The second girl peered at me and John, confused. “Who’re these two white guys?” she asked.
“They’re strippin’ too,” Titus said as a matter-of-fact as he busied himself with counting the money. After flipping the wad of cash, he pocketed it with a look of satisfaction.
The second girl feasted her eyes all of us. “Lemme see y’all’s muscles.”
“Nah, ask them,” Titus said, pointing towards me and John.
The girl turned her attention to John. “Flex yo’ biceps.”
“Nah,” John said. “I don't work out much.”
“What about you?” she said to me.
I have never had a stranger ask me to flex before. Nevertheless, I lifted my right arm, flexed, and smiled sheepishly at her. I felt like an idiot, but the girl reached up and grabbed the baseball-sized lump. “Oooh, feel that,” she said to her friend.
“Nice,” her friend said, reaching out to squeeze my arm. Her hand brushed across my chest and my midsection. “Damn, you sexy for a white guy.”
“I’m half-Asian,” I informed her.
“Even better,” she replied. “I like me some Asian.”
The compliments from these two girls diminished my insecurities a little. Maybe I could go through with this.
The girls guided us to their apartment. Once we reached the door, Titus outlined his strategy to them. The girls would place the bachelorette in the middle of the room on a chair called the “hot seat.” He handed the boombox over and told them to play it when they were ready. That would cue us to enter.
Titus dropped his large sports bag onto the ground and pulled out a bottle of baby oil. He took off his shirt and began to lather his torso. The oil helped show off muscle definition better, he explained. It looked like a slippery mess to me. Nonetheless, I lathered some on when he offered me the bottle, then passed it on to John.
Next, Titus told us that he did push-ups to “pump the muscles up” for a fuller look. I doubted the girls would care whether or not our muscles were pumped or oiled, but I wasn’t going to argue with the person who was grading me. John also dropped down to do some push-ups. While we were alternating through sets of pushups, I noticed that Titus was still wearing his flip-flops and pointed out that fact to him.
“You wear these because they're easy to kick off,” Titus said, then pointed to my shoes. “You gonna have a hard time taking those off in the middle of the show – and you're wearing socks too!”
He had a valid point, but I still thought the flip-flops were unprofessional. Once again, I didn’t argue.
John asked, “So what kind of stuff will we be doing besides taking off our clothes?”
“Just pick a girl and booty dance with her,” Titus said. “That's all. It’s real easy.”
John looked confused. “Booty dance?”
“Like you do in a club,” Titus said. He offered no further elaboration, so I planned to just watch and mimic his actions. As I was doing another set push-ups, the sound of music emanated from the apartment. “That’s the cue – let’s go,” Titus said, opening the door. “Watch me for a few minutes, then join in.”
Everything happened fast. John and I scuffled into a den of shrieking ladies. Their screams caused me and John to freeze at the doorway. My whole body felt numb. The only thing I could do was watch Titus. My first instinct was to back up against the wall and blend in like a lizard camouflaging itself. I looked back and saw John already against the wall, wide-eyed.
The ladies hooted in excitement, bobbing up and down on the couches. They were, for the most part, much older – in their late thirties and forties. The bride sat apart from the rest on a wooden chair in the middle of the room. She wore a tiara, and tube top, and tight jeans that clung to her slender frame. Titus stood in front of her and took his shirt off, causing her to fan herself excitedly. The surrounding women cheered. The bride covered her face as Titus kicked off his flip-flops and took off his pants, leaving only a black thong. This caused an avalanche from the couches; some women poured over towards Titus to shove dollar bills into his thong. One girl fingered his chest and yowled in appreciation. Apparently, females did not have to abide by the “no touching” rule. They groped Titus like he was the last desirable man on Earth.
This moment seemed like a good time to jump in. I looked back at John. “Has it been about a minute? Should we go out there?”
“No, not yet,” he said, staring at the commotion in front of him. “Let’s wait a bit longer.”
Titus approached the bride again, and the girls backed off and resumed their original places on the couch. He grabbed the bride’s hand and pulled her up from the chair. She was smiling now and began to dance with him. Titus positioned his hands underneath her armpits, and lifted her up slowly. The bachelorette’s legs dangled just above the ground as Titus held her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck as if by instinct. Titus continued holding her up as he leaned slightly back and bounced her above his waist, giving the impression that she was riding a bucking stallion. I committed that move to memory.
After a few moments, Titus set her down and moved towards the other women. I knew that more than “a few” minutes had passed. I was supposed to join in, but I couldn’t bring myself to move. I looked at John for direction, hoping he would go so I wouldn’t feel so awkward. “Should we join in now?” I asked.
Titus seized another girl from the crowd and began dancing with her. He turned and looked at me and John and nodded.
John had backed up near the doorway and into a corner. Realization hit me – he was terrified, more so than I was. All of that bravado earlier was just an act. I looked back at Titus, who turned around once again and waved us over, this time his face contorted with a hint of irritation.
“You go ahead, man,” he said. “I’ll join in a sec.”
It was now or never. I felt like the kid who’d climbed the tall diving board at the swimming pool for the first time. I didn’t want to jump, but I couldn’t turn back now. There would be no second chance. So I took the plunge and headed straight toward the crowd of ladies on the couch.
They sat up as I drew near. I approached them with a detached air, as though I were playing a video game and controlling another human body to do my bidding. My shirt came off and a pair of hands began unbuttoning my pants. The surrounding ladies cheered and complimented me on my body, which caused my morale to soar. The shy demeanor disappeared.
I eased my pants down, exposing my black thong and my ass, which I turned and faced towards my audience. One of the girls reached out, pulled the side strap of my thong out and slipped a dollar in. That was the first dollar I earned in this profession. Another girl reached around and tucked a dollar bill into the front of the thong. My underwear resembled the collection tray at church, and everyone here seemed happy to donate.
By now, I felt comfortable enough to remove my pants completely so I could move freely about the room. I tried to kick off my dress shoes so I could remove my pants, but stumbled due to my pants falling down to my ankles. My face flushed with embarrassment. Now I understood why Titus wore those ridiculous flip-flops. One of the girls crouched down and said, “Here, lemme help you with that, baby," and she proceeded to help remove my shoes, socks, and pants. “I’ll help you take yo clothes off any day, sugar!”
I winked at her. “I’d love that.”
She squealed in pleasure as we embraced and moved along to the beat of the music. I imitated Titus's move from earlier and pick her up. To my pleasant surprise, she wrapped her legs around me, and I thrust my hips back and forth against her. After I finished and set her down onto the couch, I looked over at Titus. Apparently, he just dry-humped a lot of girls and shook his crotch at them. Not knowing what else to do, I copied him. Some girls were shy and didn’t want to participate. This was a little discouraging, but I moved onto the next girl until I found someone who was eager to participate.
As the show continued, a few girls surrounded me and Titus. A hand smacked my ass. Another plucked the string of my thong and deposited another dollar. The whole scene looked like the dance floor at a club, except that Titus and I were the only guys present amidst a dozen eager women, with one lonesome guy watching from the sidelines.
One woman pressed her ass against my cock and began gyrating it. Titus was right – I didn't get hard. My mind was too focused on entertaining these girls to fall into a relaxed state of arousal.
While the ladies danced around us, Titus waved John over one final time, but to no avail. John had glued himself into the corner and refused to budge. Being the only male in the room with clothes on, John looked ironically awkward and out of place. Titus gave up and resumed dancing.
For the finale, Titus singled out the bride, picked her up, and lay her on the floor. He positioned his crotch over her face, then beckoned me over. “Get that side,” he said, nodding towards the direction of her waist. I picked up on his cue and took my position opposite of him, grabbing her ankles and spreading her legs. This gave off the impression that she was getting gangbanged, and she giggled hysterically as her friends snapped pictures.
Only one thought crossed my mind as I posed in the simulated sex position: Women actually pay for this!
The ending to the party was anti-climactic. Titus stood in the middle of the room and announced, “All right, bitches – it’s time for pictures!”
Everyone gathered for a group photograph. Titus told me to stand in the middle next to the bride as he stood on the other side of her. The rest of the ladies flanked us except for the one taking the pictures. After taking a few photos, she attempted to swap out with another girl so she could get in the pictures, but then she noticed John, who was still standing in the corner.
“Hey, white boy,” she said. “Can you take a picture for us?”
“Sure,” John said, pleased at finally having something to do.
The other women promptly handed him their cameras, asking him to take a picture with each. He had to juggle the cameras to avoid dropping them.
First, Titus and I did regular poses with the girls, but we also took a few candid shots with the bachelorette. For one shot, Titus stood behind her, bent her over, grabbed her hips, and acted like he was ramming her from behind. During another shot, he told the bride to get on her knees, which she did. Then he positioned me to stand in front of her with my back facing the camera, so it looked like she was performing oral. The ladies giggled through every photograph.
Once we finished taking pictures, Titus announced that we were finished. The ladies thanked us. Titus put his clothes back on, sliding on his shirt and pants while slipping his feet into his flip-flops. One lady handed me a drink and helped me put my clothes on. She kissed me on the cheek afterwards. I left that apartment with a feeling of euphoria that I had never experienced before.
“So what’d you think?” Titus asked me, as all three of us sat down into his car. I noticed that he was talking to me and not John.
“It looks like fun,” John answered before I could say anything.
Titus cast John a reproachful glance. “What happened to you, son? Why weren’t you out there with us?”
John sputtered a few excuses about watching and learning more, and promised to strip for sure at the next show.
Titus said nothing. Instead, he looked at me. “So how was it?”
“I loved it!” I said. “I can’t believe you get paid for this.”
“See? I told ya,” Titus said. “This is an easy job.”
“Speaking of which,” I said, pulling out the dollar bills the girls gave me. “This was your show. You should have the money.”
Titus looked at the wadded, wrinkled money without interest. “Nah, that’s your money, man. You earned it, not me. And it’s been all over your junk anyway, so I don't wanna touch it.”
“Thanks,” I said, stuffing the bills into my pocket.
“What was even better was that you were able dance for a crowd of black girls. They’re usually a tough crowd, especially if you ain’t black, and you managed to pull it off.”
“Those girls were awesome,” I said.
“I’ll get the next show, man,” John said. “I just didn't think those girls would like me because I'm not black.”
“Man, he ain't black, either—” Titus said, pointing at me—“and he did it. If you gonna get into this job, you gotta strip for all kinds of people. I strip for whites, Asians, black – everybody.”
“I hear ya. I'll definitely nail the next show.”
We arrived at French Addiction. As we were getting out of the car, Titus told me to stay behind for a few minutes. John shook hands with me and Titus. “Next party for sure, man!” he told Titus.
As soon as John was gone, Titus turned toward me with a look of approval. “You’re definitely in. I’ll tell Janice how ya did.”
We exchanged numbers and parted ways. I went home replaying the night’s events in my head, elated about what awaited me in the near future. From that moment, I knew that my life was going to change. I’d caught a glimpse of the other side, and wanted to spend more time there.