Stripper Blindness

My fun little group of friends in North Carolina has been battling pink eye between the bunch of them. The kids have gotten it. The moms have gotten it. And every time they mention it, I always chuckle. Not because I think pink eye is funny, but because the last time I had pink eye, I got it from a dirty stripper pole…

I was in my early 20s and I had two kids and was living in a public housing apartment here in Knoxville. Someone had mentioned how much money strippers make and I immediately wanted in on it. I didn’t have any drinking or drug problems so I would actually have money left over at the end of the night. Like I said, I was in my 20s and I thought all strippers were strung out on some kind of drug. So I decided to go to an “audition.”

It was one of those “auditions” where you actually went in and worked for the night and then they decided if they were going to keep you on. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I needed a good pair of “stripper” shoes. I think I even borrowed the money for the shoes, that’s how broke I was at the time. I had a job, but it wasn’t enough to live on. Well, I guess it was a enough to get by on, but not enough to have anything extra. So I bought these great stilettos and went to the strip joint. It was earlier in the evening when I got there, so there weren’t any real “paying” customers. It was basically just a room full of other strippers.

I have always been a good dancer, so I figured, I could just go shake my ass in front of some men and make money. The basic running theme in my life is that my ideas are always so much better in my head than in practice. I had never been to a strip club before. I had never met a stripper. I had never even known anyone at that time who had dated a stripper so I did not know what to expect. And when I got there, I did not expect it to be a fully nude strip club. I didn’t even know those were legal. Like I said, I was young and naïve. So the person who was in charge of getting me where I needed to be, which was ultimately on stage, told me that there was a method to the madness. It was a three song set.

Song one, just dance.

Song two, lose the top.

Song three, lose the bottoms.

Simple enough, right?

I watched a couple of the other girls go on before me. And one thing was glaringly obvious that nobody told me and I didn’t really think about… I should have shaved….down there. I was rocking a 70’s bush in a strip club. I’m sure there were probably some men who like that kind of thing. I mean, I see them all the time on Craigslist so they probably existed back then, too.  I was mortified, but committed. So I just went with it and decided if I got the gig, I’d shave next go round.

My turn came and I got on stage. I did exactly what girl told me to. I danced the first song, pretty awkwardly if I remember correctly. Then the second song came on and I lost my top. Then the dreaded third song and I lost the bottoms and almost fell on my face trying to get them off my heels. There had to be a better way. I would figure that out next time around too.  Maybe liquor was needed, after all.

My set ended, thankfully, and all the girls had tipped me during my set. So very kind of them. They were probably just all pitching in on a razor. And in between my first and second set, my eye started watering and itching. I couldn’t stop touching it. About ten minutes before I was supposed to go on again, my eye was practically swollen shut. It was like rapid progression pink eye.  I don’t know if it was a mutant version because I got it directly from the stripper pole and the pole got it directly from a stripper’s ass. I’m not sure the mechanics of it all. I just knew that my time as a stripper were over and I hauled ass out of that strip club and went straight home.

I am pretty sure to this day that I am the only person in the universe to get pink eye from a stripper pole. My twelve minute career as a pole dancer was over and all I had to show for it was a great pair of heels and temporary stripper blindness and, of course, enough money to buy myself a cheap razor or two.

So whenever my friends talk about their pink eye problems, I always want to tell them it could be worse, they could have gotten it from a dirty stripper pole instead of from their sweet, little,  adorable children.

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