There’s a billboard I noticed earlier, driving to work. I was sitting in traffic on Sunset, across from the Chateau Marmont. I looked up and saw a huge billboard with a sketch of a beaten man. Dirty, with ragged clothes, hunched shoulders, his face averted.
At work – As I sat on a man’s lap, I found myself thinking of this billboard. I thought my life would be different, that I would disappear here. I fold myself tightly into a corner of his arm and pretend none of this exists.
The usual customer’s monologue about how beautiful I am somehow turns into a truth I don’t want to hear. I am just as lonely as he is. I’m not here at this club because I’m somehow better than him, or any of them. I am him. He sits at home, lonely. So do I. He longs for the transient company of a nameless face, warm flesh against the cold wounds of his bleeding heart. He was a solider. His wife cheated on him while he was deployed. Broken and bruised, pieces scattered and missing parts that can never be replaced.
I too am a scattered puzzle, the life I live coming together and breaking apart so many times that the pieces no longer fit. I’ve tried for years to hammer them back into something humanlike, but as the years pass I feel myself morphing into something else entirely.
The similarities between the customer and I scare me. I don’t want to be this person who I have become. I don’t want a job that defines me, marginalizes me and more than that, I don’t want to see the truth like this. I would prefer to be ignorant, blind. I am not ready to face it.
“You will never be a mother”. A girl said that to me once. She was responding to the truth of my occupation. “Even if you did con some man into staying around that long, no stripper can be a good mother.”
Of all the things over the years that have been said about me, due to my job and my occasional poor ethical choices, that one hurt the worse, and I don’t truly know why. I’m not really dying for children, however I honestly don’t think it’s even about them. It’s about the assumption that I would be a poor nurturer, that somehow because of this job, I could never be pure and good enough to unconditionally love and care for someone else. It’s the thought that I am hopelessly selfish and beyond redemption. That cuts deep.
It’s not always the job itself that gets to me, it’s the situational ethics, morality, and societal marginalization.
They always tell me “Well, it’s your choice.” Is it? Is it really? Is any situation we find ourselves in truly ever our own free will? Sometimes I think it is, sometimes I don’t. It’s our choices (plural). That’s the more accurate statement. My choices in life have led me here.
And here I am. Dark nights and the entirety of male desire coagulated, expelled, and deposited somewhere upon my body on a nightly basis. I am a nameless exorcist of desire and keeper of secrets. A vessel that is filled by others and yet entirely devoid of any self. Searching.