As Lilly finished up the last set of her shift at Casa Diablo, she sat down next to me behind the mixer while putting her outfit back on.
"You’re a pretty good DJ," she told me while attaching her top from the back. "Don’t take this as an insult, but you kind of look like that guy who does the Exotic article."
"Why would I take that as an insult?"
"Oh don’t worry, you’re attractive. He’s not, and I just figured that you guys might have a beef or something because he seems like a total asshole. Maybe he wrote something about you or talked some shit. I don’t know."
Jack mag columnists included, many of us "industry people" have multiple identities and the pseudonyms to back them up. The schizophrenic nature of identity formation within the strip club scene has obvious perks (anonymity being the most important), but it can also complicate the matter. Take the following example from my buddy DJ Brenden:
"Man, I don’t get it. This chick is sitting there, spreading her legs for total strangers and earning less than minimum wage on a day shift. Then I ask her what her real name is, and she flips out and tells me that certain things are private."
Brenden makes a good point. Put yourself in the following scenario: you’re on a first date. You begin to feel the effects of the alcohol, and your date begins to ask you some personal information. Do you:
A) Reveal your first and last name?
B) Tell your date where you went to high school?
C) Put your thigh on the table and slowly grope it before fingering your taint?
D) Mention your age?
If you answered "C," consider your identity safe, as the other options are just too much information to be divulged to a stranger.
Another problem with working amongst aliases and lapdances is the "Oh shit, I forgot where I work" factor. Although mostly applicable to entertainers, this phenomenon includes everyone from bartenders to the guy working the counter at Fantasy. We’ve all been there.
Walking through Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon, I spotted "Nickelback Guy" and tried to strike up a conversation. Instead of enjoying a chat about DVDs, candy bars and destruction of hometown businesses through worker exploitation and price undercutting, he fucking ignored me! How dare he?! I mean, I always play his goddamn music and all he does is ignore me?
"Oh, hey there Mrs. Nickelback Guy and her two kids. You probably don’t know where daddy spends his evenings, do you?"
Okay, my bad.
Regardless of how hard one tries, there is always the possibility of "crossing the streams" in terms of performance and real-life personas. Both of the dancers I’ve met who have actually attended college while paying for tuition with one-dollar bills have noticed at least one professor at their clubs. Sure, this adds to the likeliness of a good grade, but it’s embarrassing when your teacher accidentally calls you "Destiny." This is also brings up the YouTube/Myspace/Pornsite factor. Even though you list yourself under an alias, your dad might recognize your tattoo when he watches Girls Gone Wild: Drilling Alaska. The bottom line is simple— you will eventually be spotted outside of the private dance area.
There is hope, however. People involved in the performance/service aspect of the strip club industry often forget that our other half, being the customer, has just as much (if not more) to hide. What the hell is your teacher doing in Union Jacks on a Tuesday afternoon? Shouldn’t he be going over the exam? Why is your dad/brother/boyfriend/ landlord reading Exotic? For the articles?!? Bitch, please. With all due respect to all of our hard-working writers, no self-righteous do-gooder has the patience to sift through ads for Jell-O shows and she-male escorts just to get to the literary spectacles known as Tales from the DJ Booth or Whatz Crackin’. If they do, more power to them, but no room to judge should be allowed.
Everyone makes excuses for their job. More likely than not, most of us contribute to cultural demise in one form or another. Police officers issue more "black after dark" tickets than they do child abuse investigations. Impatient surgeons often forget foreign objects in their patients before heading off to lunch. Record store employees sell Slipknot albums to impressionable young teenagers instead of recommending real metal. We’re all sinners—some of us just admit it. If your occupation involves the sale of body parts (and you don’t deal exclusively in black market kidneys), be grateful. The demand will never run out and the supply is virtually limitless.
Strippers don’t give out their phone numbers unless they really, really trust the recipient. For whatever reason, strippers trust me. Call me LL Cool Ray, I guess, but even I think it’s a bad idea to pass on personal info to yours truly. As a result of having several phonebook entries with dual-names, I get some pretty bitchin’ text messages. Here are a few interesting inbox messages, quoted verbatim, with identities omitted for personal safety.
"I just got out of the mental institution. Wanna hang out?"
"The owner told me I can’t go by ‘Dity Slut.’ WTF?"
"I shit myself" (It is unclear as to whether or not this is a statement detailing an incident, a personal pastime, or a Divinyl’s B-side).
"Does anyone know how to make/ smoke crack cocaine? I have baking soda and some coke and don’t know where to go from here" (this was a mass text).
"Do you have a passport?" (my response was "why?", simple and up front). "Don’t fucking ask, just tell me. Either you do or you don’t" (this girl has not been seen or heard from since).
"Does anyone out there wanna hang out/fuck?" (this, too, was a mass text).