I really honestly truly did think it was a cop, when he started banging on the door and talking down to me in an intimidating way. I have lived a sheltered life, okay? “Is this your house?” he growled. “Is this your party?” Super tall and bald with big arm muscles and sort of mean. I noticed he was wearing an American flag where a badge should be but I only realized that I noticed it later, if that makes sense. I mean, how was I supposed to know? It’s not like my parties get shut down by the cops on a regular basis. The crowd I hang out with is more likely to be arrested for having an illegal pre-release graphing calculator, as a friend of mine at work said today, but I still totally bought it when he said that people were smoking out on the café porch and that there’d been noise complaints. “Goddamn hippies,” I thought, running back to the kitchen to turn the volume down on the iPod and to get Treasa. I’d just blown out the candles on the Cake Of Doughnuts and I truly thought we were all in trouble. Trouble with the law.
You know what my problem is? My problem is that I am all talk. This is me, in a certain mood, all day and all night: “Strippers hot tub cocaine gold-dust! Blindfold handcuff strap-on! Key party! Ball gag! Woo!” It’s ridiculous and there’s no reason for it but I love to pretend that I’m all about the after-party and the polyamory and the bondage and the bicuriosity. I mean, I am definitely pro-all those things, but I’m sure I don’t even have to tell you that it’s all a big lie as far as my personal life is concerned, that the main features thereof are, like, cookies and jammies and Jane Austen. (Sometimes all three at the same time.) People, I have a master’s degree in social work. That’s like saying that I have a master’s degree in bleeding heart liberalism, poorly lit office space, and comfortable shoes, okay? You feel me. I yearn for fabulousness, it’s true, but only if it’s the kind of fabulousness that allows me to be in bed by ten-thirty or eleven, with a nice mug of hot chocolate (fat-free milk, please).
So the idea that someone would actually call me on my big mouth and get me a stripper for my birthday is still a little shocking to me, mostly because I had no idea that people were actually paying attention to me when I talked my good game. Socially it’s a weird situation. I mean, my coworkers spend more total time with me per day than with their husbands and boyfriends, right, so they have some idea that I would probably be okay with the idea of getting a stripper for my birthday, but since they don’t know me super super well, they have no idea whether I’d actually go for it, let alone if the other people at the party, whom they don’t know, will be totally freaked out. And the same on my side of things, too: I know they’re up to talking like they’re going to get me a crazy inappropriate present but I have no idea whether they have the motivation to actually do it, let alone the organizational wherewithal.
It went relatively smoothly, all things considered. We brought out the Cake Of Doughnuts, they sang Happy Birthday, I smiled and felt lucky to have such wonderful people all in my house together, I blew out the candles and then BANG BANG BANG BANG! on the door. In the video I mouth “The cops are here!” all Bambi-eyed and frightened, when one of my co-workers spins me around and goes “He’s here for you.”
I really don’t understand what happened next, except I think maybe it was some sort of out-of-body experience because when I saw the video today I kept going “I don’t remember his bending me over like that,” and “He put his head up under my shirt?” and “He put my ankles around his neck?” I have this sort of stunned face the entire time, while everyone…well, all the women, since most of the guys decamped to the kitchen for more bacon…are screaming and laughing. He was really professional and in control and he’d keep whispering in my ear “Okay, now I need you to spread your legs a little further,” and I’d oblige him, and “I’m going to ask you to lay on your stomach now and then I’m going to pull your hair up,” and I’d nod my head in a business-like fashion and get right on down there. Every now and then, in the video, I recollect myself enough to throw devil hands or to indicate with a gesture involving my thumb and index finger that the dude’s buttshorts are padded, but mostly I have this look of horrified bemusement on my face. It was my first time, with a stripper, and I really didn’t know how to behave.
The weirdest thing about it…weird in the context that thirty of my friends were watching some big huge buff bald waxed-up guy grind on me in my living room…was that it was sort of actively un-sexy. He was putting his hands and mine all over the areas one usually associates with sexay-ness but it just wasn’t…I can’t describe it. I am usually more into tall skinny guys with just enough muscle tone to flip their hair out of their eyes and hoist up their guitars; if he’d been more like that would it have been sexier? Oh, and part of it too was that I am just not used to having attention paid to me by guys in general, so even though he was like, being paid I felt a little strange, like, dude, why don’t you go grind on the pretty girls, okay? You come to me if you want to talk about psychosocial concomitants of gender attributions in social behavior, not if you want to make sweet love, you know? Have you not seen my librarian glasses?
I also wondered what it would have been like to have a woman stripper…would I have felt so oddly passive and cooperative, or would I have felt a little more in control? Would I have ground back? (But you’re not supposed to touch them, right?) I always assumed that my first stripper would be a woman, and I always thought that we’d end up talking about hair or music or something and that I’d be able to pretty much ignore the fact that she was giving me a lap dance. Of course, maybe if this dude had just been dancing around instead of getting all up on me it would have been different anyway. For a stripper he did surprisingly little actual stripping…he did have those breakway pants but he just sort of unbuttoned his shirt in the normal way, which was a little disappointing but worked out fine, I guess.
My heart didn’t stop pounding for at least twenty-minutes after he left and I actually asked for some of the horrible Costco champagne we were drinking in the mimosas. One of my coworkers solicitously led me to the Cake Of Doughnuts and asked me which one I’d like as I was getting my belt back on. We all debriefed it for a while and then obviously people had to just go home because nothing else was going to happen at that party, and I had to lie down on the couch for a while and open all my awesome presents and eat a couple more doughnuts before I could even really think about what had happened. A stripper. For my birthday. All because I have a big mouth. So far I love thirty-one.
(But what the HELL am I going to do for thirty-two?)