Days went by, time flew, I kept descending, descending deeper down the adventure hole, entangling myself in an intricate seaweed of NYC life. Descending, free falling. When a scuba diver descends, he enters a peace land, mute kingdom of meditative tranquility. Peace forces its way upon thee in the land of sea. Everything becomes tranquil and serene. Even the most tragic events above the surface weaken their strength when you are deep below the surface. The slow movement, the slow breathing, like the yogi breathing, the Ujjayi breathing almost lullabies you to sleep as you observe the sea life next to you in a witnessing state…The mysterious sea lures an adventurous soul into descending deeper. Down the blue hole is a trap. The deeper you descend, the harder it will be to ascend from a deep hole. It will seem like an eternity, a slow ascend with vital decompression stops. Who knows what can happen. Anything can happen.
I could sense acutely that from where I was there was no easy ascend. A detour to ol’ normal conventional life was not insight. I was lost for the conventional world with LinkedIn and PDF resumes.
Things didn’t go well at Penthouse Gentlemen’s club. The business was slow in September and October – too many angry-hangry chicks, predators, like loud quarrelsome seagulls, kept waiting for customers to come in. I was let go. It didn’t feel like a catastrophe. I didn’t have to go too far to apply for another alternative job. It took me ten blocks down 10th avenue to reach yet another club – Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, located next to the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It was a hideous building which looked like a warehouse. Inside was a dark circus or hippodrome with a giant pole in the middle, going all the way up to the top of the high ceiling. Everything felt dark and twisted. But what am I, a stranger to darkness? I thought. The Darkness and I, we been friends for a while. The red carpet stairs led me upstairs into the dressing room. The house ma was a young Ukrainian woman, Daryna. Daryna had pale skin, dark hair and dark eyes. I got really excited about speaking to her in Russian or Ukrainian. She threw at me an icy cold glance and told me in her perfect american accent that she had stopped speaking Ukrainian since she moved here at the age of sixteen. She could only understand the languages. Her speech was refined, educated, she uttered words like a headmistress of a private school. She was sitting by the desk surrounded by a pile of weird esoteric books. Mystery surrounded her essence, her looks, her spirit. She was of unidentifiable age, slim and fit and mysterious. Like many house mas she’d danced before moving on with her life and going to a graduate school. She told me that she didn’t have any family anywhere. I’d concluded that she must have been brought to the US by Count Dracula, straight down from Bukovina or Transylvania and dropped off at Hustler club to shake off deep pockets. It made perfect sense her skin was so pale, it was almost translucent in contrast with her brown eyes.
I did the same ritual, putting on my g-string and appearing topless in front of a middle-aged, Italian looking manager Vito. “Okay, okay,” he scanned me from head to toe. “Are you russian?” Nah, I am not Russian. I am UKRAINIAN. “Ah, it’s all the same,” he said. “No, it’s not! There’s a huge difference.” I said keeping my chill together.
“You are hired” said Daryna, “But on a condition that you will lose a few pounds and tone up your belly.”
“Mission will be accomplished.” I replied contracting my belly. I knew it was coming. I’d been treating my blues with homemade desserts and a large amount of chocolate. My appetite was healthy and insatiable even when the world was dark and heavy.
She handed me a plastic ticket for a free drink and I stepped out. The bartender wasn’t a busty chick. He was a good looking man, looking like a modern version of Jesus. Jesus from Gowanus, Brooklyn, playing bass in an indie band. He was wearing a man bun, expensive watch and a crispy white shirt buttoned out, sleeves up. He gave me a glass of Moet et Chandon and smiled at me. Money must be good here I thought. It was a slow Thursday night, I walked around the club sipping champagne slowly, curiously examining the surroundings, Halloween decorations, large portraits of Larry Flynt hanging on the walls. Larry Flynt as a young man. Woody Harrelson as Larry Flynt. Cinematic stills from The People v. Larry Flynt. Larry Flynt in a wheelchair. Larry Flynt with his fourth wife Althea. Courtney Love as Althea. Larry Flynt, an ardent fighter for the First Amendment rights… A sudden surge of pride ran thru me. I made it to Hustler. I watched The People v Larry Flynt when I was a teenager, mom and pap girl. Who knew I’d be part of it too, indirectly. I can put it on my damn LinkedIn profile: PricewaterhouseCoopers, CMS Cameron McKenna, Dime Investment Management and Larry Flynt’s Hustler. A truly well-rounded experience. Eat it LinkedIn. Go to hell, evil tech invention, curbing positive freedom, subordinating creativity, spontaneity. LinkedIn, another tool to promote and produce homogenous society of white collar class, myopic employers and recruiters repeating the standard sick catchphrases, We provide, we deliver, excellence… It would be a real privilege working for Larry Flynt… I said it almost out loud as I looked across the room at a huge poster of a shaved pussy. My face expressed a complete disgust and my mind was about to make a U-turn but I put a stop on my thoughts. It was time to hustle. To hustle for my future. To give food and nutrients ALEXONTHEROCKS. To hustle for better life. Hitting a new stage was kinda thrilling, a thrilling moment evaporating like a champagne bubble.
I returned to the bar again and stared at Jesus, then at girls. A lot of ’em were mature women, well in their forties, MILFS, Cougars.
“Hey, I turned to a bored stripper sitting by the bar, drinking her third glass of dirty martini, playing with her iPhone, “Don’t you think the bartender is hot?”
“Ew! She exclaimed surprisingly. “Ewww! I only like millionaires.”
It was midnight. I made a hundred by hanging with a tipsy business man, then $60 by giving a few lap dances to a kid who just turned twenty one. There were regulars, white-collar wall street casta coming into the club and going straight down the red carpet into small rooms without looking sideways. I wasn’t part of it. I never had regulars.
“Hey, what’s your name? You are a new girl. Come join us!” A young sexy dancer stared at me. All you could see was her large sultry lips painted in deep burgundy. She had brown vixen eyes, scanning and scheming everyone and everything in the club. The only simple thing about her was her simple smooth bob. Her stage name was Pasha, she said it with a charming Colombian accent and pointed to a small table occupied by a man with a shaved head and a woman with monstrous boobs. She looked like a real version of Jessica Rabbit, everything about her was ridiculously exaggerated, her boobs, her lips, her Amy Winehouse hair. The customer was a Turkish business developer. The woman was a masseuse and who apparently could masseuse customers hands-free, using only her boobs.
“Tell me, honey, how do you work? What’s your specialty, what your thing? What are you selling?” The Turkish customer asked me making two lines of blow on the masseuse’s knee.
I rolled my eyes and looked around. It looked like the Bourbon street was coming back full force. The untamed charm of the South meets the evil ferocity of New York City.
“Huh? I don’t do anything. I just give lap dances and chit chat a little and shake my booty. And that’s all. I said.
“That’s all?” They looked at me in astonishment. Pasha turned sideways, busty masseuse shrieked in disgust. The Turk snorted two lines off the masseuse’s knee. “Well, if you need anything you can always ask Pasha. She’s very reliable, very professional. “I swear on my drink.” He said and gave me a twenty dollar bill.
“Thanks, can I give you a lap dance?”
“No, I don’t do lap dances. Just keep it.”
The waitress brought another round of champagne.
“Let’s toast to the never ending game of hustle.” Pasha said playfully.
The champagne tasted bitter, acidic as if it had red bull or something. I made a few sips, put it down and walked away. My eye caught a giant poster of shaved pussy again. It was a typical young Pamela Anderson look alike sweetheart with straight blonde hair, thinly plucked eyebrows, slutty full lips. But all you could see was her baby like hairless pussy. There was nothing sexual about it, if anything it was a turn-off. I found it disgusting, new modern trends of waxing it all down there. I would never do it. I could never be with a man who was waxing and shaving all his pubic hair and chest hair. Suddenly everything felt weird. The giant hairless pussy was coming towards me, to get me, it seemed like it kept growing out of its poster proportions, as if it would come off the poster, detach itself from the lifeless blonde chick, grow two tiny skinny legs and run amok singing Adelle’s songs. It would do well at Hustler, collect buckets of money without ever uttering a single word and fall asleep peacefully. It will never have qualms, anxiety, opinions because it’s just a shaved pussy on two legs with no brains, no soul, no personality, no weltanschauung. A lot of men like her just like that, waxed and lifeless. I couldn’t compete with her. My thoughts were racing, galloping in all different directions. The halloween posters of Larry Flynt stained with blood started moving around to the beats of music. Or was it the beats of my heart? Everything felt wicked. I was tripping. The drink. I thought. It tasted funny for a reason Those motherfuckers must have put something into my drink. Acid. Bad Trip. The thought of it made me even more paranoid. I had to leave. I wanted to leave.
“Whatza matter?” a girl asked me
“I feel funky. Like I had something in my drink.”
“You’ll be all right. Just drink some water.” A girl told me. It happens here sometimes, especially to new girls.”
I went upstairs, drank a gallon of water and told the house mom that I was ready to leave.
“You can leave whenever you want.” Daryna said. Just pay the DJ and myself and check out and you are good to go.” I looked at her pale face, dark brown eyes. I knew when her shift ended she was going to fly a broom.
I woke up at noon already exhausted and restless. I was going to get up and make some breakfast but the memory of the night, the hard core nuances of Hustler club made me want to pull sheets over my head and stay in bed all day. So I stayed in bed, covered by pink cotton bed sheet which had printed sheep on it, like in a cocoon. Inside was safe. There was Netflix, and green tea and dark chocolate and my music, Jaco Pastorius, John Coltrane, Rochmaninoff and Simon & Garfunkel… I was fine as long as I didn’t have to go outside, face the world, dwell on my problems, reflect on my weltanschauung, think about tomorrow. Think about the giant waxed pussy. My roommates’ cat came in and jumped on my bed. He had a few names. American Curtis, and Russian Kotya. Kotya curled up next to me and purred delightfully.
Staying in bed for hours made me think about my weltanschauung again. I was too grown up to be perpetually frustrated or sad. I was old enough to believe that things will work themselves out and that everything will be fine. At least it was my own decision to become that crazy, reckless, restless chick which was still better than working for years at PricewaterhouseCoopers or Shearman, Sterling & Wolosky LLP and or at my last disastrous wall street job and having a nervous meltdown. According to Sasha’s weltanschauung, the crazy sinful strip club scene, infused with booze, drugs, naked tits and booties in g-strings is still better than the rotten corporate world, institutional conformity subordinating human spirit and freedom, killing the sacred SELF. Rage against the Machine.
Soon I stopped going to bakeries, I cut off bread and pasta. I downloaded Runkeeper to run daily to Aphex Twin, Led Zeppelin. Squats. Sit-ups. Pushups, handstands, downward dogs. I got off my soap box, cutting down on sentimental music and dreaming of Love to come, save me, resolve my impasse. I started meditating a little, repeating ancient sacred mantras I learnt at the ashram. Hustler club was not for the faint-hearted. I knew I had to grow mental and physical stamina from scratch. Maybe I’d become a which, a hybrid which, an exotic which deriving from Nikolai Gogol’s characters and Bed-Stuy. Bed-Stuy Fly. Bed-Stuy, Do or Die.