Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life as a Former Chippendale Dancer

Have you ever noticed how many times in a day you interact with somebody and it's a robotic, mindless series of phrases and actions?  The kid at the fast food place, your pizza delivery driver, the guy at the grocery store.  Do you even remember their names or what they looked like?  How about what they said? 

Can you remember anything at all about that one or two-minute human interaction? 

I used to work at a gas station and I can almost promise you would have remembered meeting me. 

To start with, I'm not a tiny guy.  I'm over 6-foot and I could use to lose a few pounds.  Okay, I'm fat.  There, I said it.  I'm fat.  I have a beer-gut.  One hundred pounds ago, when I worked at the gas station, I still wasn't even close to skinny. 

And I was a skinhead.  Shaved head, red suspenders, red laces on my shoes.  Some of my regulars used to call me Butterbean, after the boxer. 

Sexy, sexy, sexy!

My beard was much longer--about six or seven inches. 

I was, to put it mildly, unforgettable. 

But sometimes, people would come into the store and be on autopilot as they mindlessly went about their evening.  I was the night shift guy and rarely worked days. 

When those moments came up, I found myself doing Public Service, and liberating those poor bastards from their mundane existence. 

This is when I became an ex-Chippendale dancer. 

A prime example was when a younger woman came into the station to pay for her gas and get a pack of smokes.  She paid me in ones.  It took a while to count them all out, too. 

When she handed them to me, I said, "Wow, I haven't seen that many ones since I was a Chippendale." 

I rang her up, said the usual, "Thank you, come back again." And she walked out, got into her car, drove around the lot, came back to where she was originally parked, shut the car off, and came back inside the store. 

"Did you just say you were a Chippendale?" 

"Yup," I beamed proudly. 

That statement, coupled with how I look, must have created a paradox in her brain.  Neurons were short-circuiting and I could see her eyes roll around a bit.  Her head tilted a bit to the side and she looked stunned as she walked back out to her car. 

I never saw her again. 

My former life as a Chippendale does that to people.  Sometimes I would work it into a sentence offhandedly, like I was just commenting on the weather.  If somebody was talking about a storm we were having, I would say, "Yeah, back when I was a Chippendale we had a storm like this in Tampa."

Most people just smiled when I said I was a Chippendale.  One guy, somebody I dearly enjoy knowing, said, "Oh, you were a chair, too?"  

One time a woman came in on her regular stop before work.  We had a great time in our four-minute relationship.  This was how I viewed my job and the regulars.  I had mini-relationships with a lot of people.  It was our little secret.  Sure, she had a boyfriend, and I ripped on him a lot.  I hadn't even met him and I ripped on him.  He was older than her so I would pretend to walk with a walker and complain about kids these days.  It made her laugh.

So one night I said, "Yeah, back when I was a Chippendale, we used to stock the bus with *whatever candy she was buying* and I loved it." 

She said, "you were a stripper, too?"  Apparently, she had done some stripping when she was eighteen.  After that she and I had a great time discussing golden showers and the proper way to feel up a your date in a movie theater. 

I always bring that sort of thing out in people. 

There was a woman who used to come into the store about once every six months.  She drove an almost brand-new pick-up with a lift-kit and massive tires.  It was at least a $40K truck.  And she was stunning.  Long, blond curls would tumble down her back and across her bronze skin.  She had beautiful blue eyes and a radiant smile.  Every time she would come by, she would ask me to do my impression of Ozzy Osbourne running across the stage.  She had seen me do it the night after Ozzfest. 

She was never alone.  She always had several of the hottest women I'd ever met in her truck. 

So after her begging me to do the Ozzy Run, she'd ask me about my days as a Chippendale.  She got the joke and played along for her friends.  It was great--I got to perform for a group of hotties. 

Sometimes I played coy.  "Why," I'd ask.  "Does anybody need a lap dance?"  They would laugh and one would say, "You weren't really a Chippendale, were you?" 

"Gimme a dollar and I'll show you."  I never got their phone numbers or names, but I know for a fact they remember me. 

And then there was the woman from Alaska who was of Middle Eastern descent.  The first time I saw her I lost the ability to think, and because my brain detached from my mouth, all I was able to make it do was a series of monosyllables.

Perfect skin, long black hair and alluring pair of eyes that could stop a prison riot in seconds.  She would come into the store, look at me with those eyes and say, "Hey, Big Guy."  That was always followed by a bowel-loosening smile I still see in my dreams.  About once a week she would come into the store and greet me like that, then proceed to bend over in front of me, showing off her hourglass body.  Then, slowly straightening herself up, she would gracefully slide up to the counter as her high heels clicked slowly on the tile floor; her eyes locked on mine with an all-knowing look on her face. 

Stage fright?  Not this cowboy.  I was a Chippendale with a very long, illustrious career.  I did anything I could to keep her laughing because laughing women don't walk back to their cars. 

Yes, I was a Chippendale.  I was doing well, too, until I hurt my back on-stage.  Somebody before me had used too much baby oil and I slipped.  After months and months of painful physical therapy I was able to walk again but I had let myself go.  I still had some of the moves, too, but because of the pain I only did them for special ladies in my life. 

She would coo and pout in all the right places.  A sultry angel who trolled the troll and played along with the game.  When I found out she was married, and I knew her husband, and they had kids it just wasn't as fun.  They moved away and it felt like a chapter had closed early because the writer somehow lost grip of the plot. 

I'm still an ex-Chippendale, only it just doesn't have the luster it used to have.  It's not as fun.  I work in an environment where shock-value is reduced to vulgar comments about things I cannot put here in this blog.  Women talk about things across the workplace at the top of their lungs that immature men only talked about when they were teenagers.  To be an ex-Chippendale has a certain refinement. 

It's a delicate thing.  I once told a gay guy I used to be a Chippendale and he just looked me over in a quick size-up glance and then looked away.  It hurt.  Sure, I'm not gay, but everybody wants to be wanted by somebody. 

But there is somebody I work with who would appreciate the subtle nuances of me revealing to them my former life as a Chippendale.  I'm sure I could get her laughing.  I'm positive I could keep it going, too.  And as long as she stood there in front of me and showed me that pretty smile, I would weave and spin and color long yarns of the Glory Days.  But I'm going to wait until she's having a bad day.  I'll wait for that moment when she needs a laugh and to escape her shitty job.  And then I'll ride in and describe, in lurid detail, my days as the Cowboy Chippendale.  Maybe this time she'll give me her number.  Maybe I'll ask.  Or she'll walk away and I'll go back to work.  But I can promise--she will never forget me. 

1 comment:

  1. I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.