Last weekend I joined my ex-girlfriend roommate and her new friends for a trip to a gay club in Raleigh to see a drag show (my first!). But, we couldn't even meet up with our friends without incident.
I was driving, which right there you know things aren't gonna go smoothly. We were rootin' around the bad part of our town (I say "the" as if there's only one), and realizing that we were on the wrong road to find our friends' house, unless they live in a sketchy warehouse building. M was calling the friends, and I was maneuvering the vehicle to the best of my abilities (which, is to say, not very well). I came to a four-way stop, and the car across from me flashed their lights for me to go ahead.
That turned out to be a police officer.
He pulled me over 'round about right after I swerved and came to an abrupt pause just before
The officer approaches and I'm ready with my brightest smile, widest eyes, and the window rolled down. Before he can really get anything out, I'm saying "We're lost!" like its something I should get a cookie for. He tells me that I have a headlight out. I say, "I do?" or "Really?" or something of the like to make it sound like I haven't had that headlight out for months.
Just then, M leans up and announces loudly, slowly and clearly, "We're trying to get to Officer C____'s house."
And what happens next is remarkable. Truly.
The officer looks over my information, decides I don't look like a hooker, a heroine addict, or a liar, and decides to give us an escort over to our friends' house. He gets in his car (I think they call it a cruiser? Is that what the police call their cars?) and, after making the same damn mistake we did (not to mention a slightly less-than-kosher 3-point turn), arrives safely at our friends' house, M and I in tow behind him.
I go bouncing into their house, all smiles, talking about the cute officer that got us there. Also, I may or may not have mentioned that I might keep the headlight out if it meant another pull-over from that particular officer. He was rather cute, in an if-I-were straight sort of way. And nice. Nice always gets me.
So then, we're on our way, and my feet are already hurting and I'm not even standing, or moving much at all really other than to keep the car accelerating toward the gay club in Raleigh at a rate of approximately slightly-above-speed-limit-an-hour.
That's because I'm wearing these:
We arrive at the club, pay our $8 to join the festivities, and suddenly I feel like the Oldest Woman in the World. At 31. Lord.
But, never mind, we're there and the show's about to start. Everyone orders drinks from the shirtless (!) bartender with the crew cut and hard, hard blonde nipples, then we move to the room where the show will be.
I kinda knew what to expect, I mean, I have access to the internets, but let me tell you what I didn't know about.
These bitches come out and just harvest.
They take the stage, in all their glory, pop music pumping loud like blood through the veins after a work-out. The smell of sweat is the same, too, and the testosterone, and the bacchian excitement. They stretch their arms and wink their heavy-lashed eye, their ostentatiously sculpted cheek rising to execute the gesture. They pout and quiver their lips, lip-sync a few lines, give out a little glory, and I mean, before they've even really taken the stage, the money is in the air.
That, I didn't know.
And there I am, a wide-eyed waitress with the corns on my pinky toes stuffed into these $20 shoes, my mouth agape, losing its lipgloss, watching this big, powdered brute of a woman-thing walk out and into the audience, taking money from their hands like...like...
I don't even know.
And she didn't even have to get them a honey mustard, or more rolls, or endless, endless, CEASELESS, JESUS fucking glasses of sweet iced tea.
Clearly, I am in the wrong profession, wearing the wrong costume.
All these bitches are just handing up money for the pleasure of gawking at her glory. And she's not apologizing, she's taking their money like they're all just poor puppies. She's winking, and maybe she has a muscle spasm in her cheek a few hours later from all the winking, and she's pouting her lips, but, really, there's not so much as a verbal thank-you, she's really just walking unabashedly around the darkly-lit room, in the spotlight, taking dollar bills out of men's and women's hands.
It was incredible.
And suddenly one of our friends we've come here with is handing me a dollar bill and holy jesus do I get to hand it to her? Will she see me? Will she pout her lips at me? I'm just a court jester with corns on my toes and maybe a funny little hat with bells on the end, hell, I don't know and she's, by God, a fucking Queen. A fucking, fucking Drag Queen, bow at her mercy.
So I hand her the dollar bill, and she takes it, and for one instant I was that woman-queen's whole world.
It was incredible.
Like I said, I'm in the wrong profession.
Later, I surmised that the money they collected that night probably paid for one eyelash, but hell - what a rush.
We hung around a little later, moseying through the complex maze of the sprawling club. We went to a dance area, where people weren't so much dancing as lazily flinging their elbows, asses, and breasts around in a slow way to fast music, looking bored but thinking they looked sexy. We stood off to the side and watched, for the most part, horrified. These were bodies out of control. At least, I was horrified. Also, I kinda wanted to go out there and show them up a little. But, I had my pocketbook, and I didn't think M would hold it for me.
To my right, there was a young man sitting on some steps that led to one of those little caged perches where the women who are particularly whores, and like attention, grab maybe a more shy but impressionable whore-friend and dance with each other in rowdy ways. He looked utterly forlorn. He looked like he was contemplating jumping off a bridge, and slightly confused to be sitting on the ground. I kept an eye on him, and I kept wanting to say something to him, help him or recognize him in some way. The only interaction he got from anyone was when a few people scooted by him to get to the caged platform area. He moved his legs out of the way, forlornly. He looked utterly, utterly alone and pitiful. He really did look like he might slit his wrists at any moment. He looked like he had been lured there, served a weak drink, then dumped, in public, so he wouldn't cause a scene, then left there to figure himself out. When M and friends decided to go check out another area of the club because the dance area was too hot, I took a few steps after them, then called after M, went up to her, handed her my pocketbook, asked her to hold on a sec.
Now, for this next part, let me tell you that I was completely sober. A few hours ago I'd had a few sips of water, and that was it.
I walked back over to the guy, unsure how I was going to pull this off, but sure that I would. I walked up, opened my arms, asked with my face, "Can I hug you?" and, though he had this "Do you want me to move out of the way? What is going on here?" look on his face, leaned down and hugged him. I held on for a good 10 to 15 seconds (count that out - it's a long time!), even rubbed and patted his back a little. Then I stood up, turned, and walked off.
It was incredible.
The guy probably thought I was drunk, or crazy, or both. Worst case scenario, I made him feel horrible because even drunk crazy girl pitied him, and besides, nothing was really wrong. At best, it was just what he needed. Somewhere in between, he has a great story to tell about his night at the club that night.
We moved on to a courtyard area where, essentially, there were a bunch of homos in skinny jeans (if they could get away with it) (and even if they couldn't) milling around. They were smoking and mingling and, at one point, I leaned over to one of our friends and said, "I'm kind of wondering what drama is going on here, all the little stories and relationships and cat fights we have no idea about just from watching." There was a man with long, long lotioned legs in a mini-skirt and high heels. I leaned over to the same friend and said, "That's not fair." There was a bear standing proudly up above the crowd with is shirt off. Again, I leaned over to the friend and said, "My body hair is starting to grow just looking at that guy." He was like a walking full moon.
We were people-watching, talking, and probably just about to go when this guy comes up, boisterous and loud and telling the friend with whom I had been leaning and talking that she was beautiful. She thanked him, sincerely, which made her even more beautiful, but then this guy hung around. He was drunk and lisping and alternating accents. He kept calling each of us in turn "nasty" and telling us which sexual acts we should peform on each other, and for how long. He thought our friends were sisters, even though they are a couple, but even after he got it straight (well...) he kept mixing the four of us up in bed. When he found out that M and I are ex's, he started pleading with me to give M another shot, and for M to take it. He said that M just "needs 20 minutes," to which I responded with the quip, "Yeah, but I need thirty." That was much enjoyed by all, except maybe Maggie. I know I was proud of myself, though. I always love a good quip. He kept saying the same things over and over again, but with a different accent, and we started to get more and more nervous, but my strategy was to just keep laughing so he wouldn't go bitchy on us, as some do. His friend (boyfriend?), the hairy walking-full-moon bear, came over and sat on his lap, and they made uncomfortable comments about each other's asses and touched each other. Then the bear got up to go find someone, presumably for a threesome, though, when he left, the lisping, accent-switch drunk gay said horrible things about the size of his penis, so we don't know.
He did say, though, and I like to think this was the least-drunk and most complementary part of him that said it, that I looked like that "girl in Legends of the Fall...with Brad Pitt" (just because of the curly hair, I think, but I'll take it).
We left soon after the lisper finally left us, and came back home.
The next day, I found out that our city is teeming with cute police officers because I was taking a walk around our neighborhood when another pulled up along side me, rolled down his window and asked if I'd seen "a guy in a green shirt...kinda shaggy." I said no, slowly leaned back, gave him a kind of look with a raised eyebrow and asked, "Should I go back home?"
He said, "Nah. Narcotics." and pulled away.
It's too much, really, for an innocent like me. I see why mama never wanted me going off to bars and out for walks in the neighborhood.