During Christmas break, I worked every night at my part-time job and started my photo internship (in Dallas; 8am-5pm). Since I was operating on about three hours of sleep a night, I lasted a week (by the end of it I was hallucinating while driving). With the internship over, I realized I had some spare time and decided to look for a good paying job.

I checked out the possibilities of a studio. The Venus Room had just opened up and was running ads. I went there one afternoon. They were professional. The girls were skinny, beautiful, groomed and dressed to the nines. The place smelled lovely and rich. It was subdued and attractive. The woman who took my application (another application form!) and answered my questions was very nice. This place ran in shifts, but the hours were very reasonable. They closed at 10pm on Fridays. In other words, no crazies. I liked it, but wasn’t sure I was ready for a studio. I understood there was sex, but, once again, there was also the whole dancing/tipping thing too.

So I decided to try and waitress at a strip club.

One evening, I drove to Dallas. I was dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt. I felt I looked professional. I stayed away from Obsession, worried they would remember me for not showing up that one Sunday when I had said I would. I went to the Million Dollar Saloon. I filled out paperwork and they were noncommittal. I wasn’t impressed with the place. It didn’t smell like money to my inexperienced nose and I got a cold vibe from the place. I went to Venus (a small strip club, not the studio) down the street. It was a raunchy, scary place. They hired me and told me to come in Thursday wearing black shorts and to have a tray. They would do the rest. I fled.

I somehow ended up at The Lodge. It was pretty swanky. I went in and talked at length with Tom, the waitress manager. I told him a bit about my bad experience dancing at Charlie’s, trying to impress upon him that I didn’t want to strip, just waitress (I didn’t want to deal with more panty-grabbers).

I rambled. He nodded; then took me on a tour of the club. They were just building the Wine Cellar (at that time it was the new VIP room) and the rest of the club was posh. I liked being there. We went back to the office and I filled out paperwork. I was hired!!! (I think I had gone to other clubs to hire on, but can’t remember.)

I don’t know why, but I was stoked. I felt I was working at the best club in town. I was, but I didn’t know it then. I went home grinning and happy. I felt the money in my fingers already.

I started waitressing right before New Year’s Eve. For a while, I was content. But the new night hours were killing my schoolwork. I was failing my classes since I couldn’t wake up in time to attend. (I got in bed four nights a week at 4am; three of those were weeknights.) But I really didn’t care. I was enjoying the money ($100-$200 per shift) and the constant party — life was a cabaret, my friend! And, as ever, I was open to new experiences and not able to turn down an adventure.

This was when I met Karl. I still have his card. I never know when I might need to call a pimp.

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