Excitement. Fun. Wild. Vivacious. Loud. Those are words that epitomize and many people associate to GoGo and Exotic dancers. From a distance and on a quick glance, all of those apply but they are much more than that, way more. When the night falls, they come alive with a lively attitude and an electrifying vibe that transforms them into a character that is almost larger than life, they are the life of the party, the main attraction but when the lights go out and the dust settles, they are just like you and I with virtues and weaknesses, with talents and flaws that makes them human. A human being with depth and complexities that tell a greater story, one that goes beyond skimpy outfits, shiny accessories, seductive moves, and perfect make-up.
As many things in life -especially when it comes to social and human dynamics- I’ve always wondered about these girls. You see them perform and they have an absolute blast, they dance the night away like there is no tomorrow. Granted, it is part of their job description, and I say job description without quotations because I have many friends that are dancers and the majority of them actually do it for a living, some do it for fun, some others just enjoy it as a hobby and want to be in the spotlight, but for most of them, this is their livelihood.
I admire and applaud them for having the drive to get up, suiting up in those revealing and colorful outfits to be the shining star of the night at the venue. It is a tough gig, because they have to be multi-faceted individuals who possess stamina, endurance, be able to self-promote, be creative, charismatic, etc. It is no walk in the park but once they get going, there is no stopping. It is time to shake it, sweat it all out and for that moment in time, nothing else matters. They enter a zone of zero worries, zero problems, just good times, and carefree fun. They just have a spark in them which resembles that of an inextinguishable flame. One that reads: Stress: Off, Music: On.
Even with all that said, there are always two sides to every story. Personally, what I find fascinating is not the GoGo or Exotic dancer because that is just a character, a facade. What I find interesting is “Who is the girl that masks herself underneath the skimpy and flashy outfit?“
The reason why I bring up this topic is because not long ago I had a very interesting experience with one of them, and I say interesting because it was something I have never seen before with one of these girls while still wearing her outfit. Something that had me shaking my head and did not see coming.
A friend of mine works at the club venue as a bartender, he asked me to join him afterwards to unwind, which I said Yes to. When the club started closing and letting everyone out, he told the rest of the guys that I would be waiting for him, thus letting me stay inside waiting by the bar while he takes care of closing duties.
As time passes, some of the staff were going back and forth, others unplugging the audio equipment and then, enter the GoGo girl. There she was, sitting at the end of the bar having a drink, staring at her cell. Purposely in complete isolation, there were others talking and joking while doing their job. She clearly was not interested in socializing, but even then, I decided to approach her.
As I was getting closer and closer, I couldn’t help but notice her eyes, she had black eyeliner on, her eyes were bloodshot, watery and mascara running down her cheek. There she was, blonde hair with pink highlights, a black top and a loose hot pink tie over it paired with a polka dot mini skirt. She was drinking, I think it might’ve been vodka or maybe just water, who knows?
“You’re just making it worse and eventually it’ll just kill ya’” I said with an exaggerated wink trying to get her to smile. After quickly wiping her tears, she stared back at me and replied “Quite the approach, and you are?!“
“Just a bored guy waiting on my bud to be done at the bar, if I’m gonna be bored might as well bring someone along for the ride” she responded with a condescending laugh “and you thought why not that girl, eh!… no thanks“
“I see, not the best of times. I hope you have a better day tomorrow. I really do” and I left back to my spot. Minutes later, she approached me and said “Hey, I’m sorry. I’ve had a rough week. I shouldn’t have responded to you like that. It’s been tough. I’m sorry“
We started chatting, and among many things she told me, there was one that completely pissed me off. Her week finally reached a boiling point when -at her exotic dancing gig- a client told her that he felt bad about paying her because -according to him- she was a lady after all, he respected her too much to even think about doing so, that it was demeaning and she deserved better than that. The only thing that crossed my mind was to be able to confront the guy and say: Asshole, what the fuck is this bullshit? Really, you truly believe you are somehow demeaning her by paying her? This is her job, it’s her livelihood. By not wanting to pay her, you don’t come across as a gentleman, no, you are just a cheap, tightfisted asshole.
“She is a woman and has the right to choose how she wants to live and how to make a living without being judged or demeaned, plain and simple”
She -among hundreds around the world- does this for a living, an unorthodox but honest living. She’s a woman, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, not a piece of meat for your viewing pleasure. Sure, are they eye candy? Absolutely but that doesn’t give you the right to treat her as just that, she is a woman and has the right to choose how she wants to live and how to make a living without being judged or demeaned, plain and simple.
I am a man, so I don’t know what it means to feel that way, to be at the short end of that stick but I felt for her and all I could say was to not let it get to her because everyone goes through hardships. Bad times and struggles are bound to happen, it’s just life, that’s the way it is. I told her that I actually admired the fact that she still finds a way to put on her happy face, colorful outfit and somehow muster up the energy to make it happen and spark the party regardless of everything. It is amazing, it really is. I meant every word.
She smiled back from ear to ear, gave me a bone-crushing hug, a kiss and said: “It’s been awhile since anyone has said something so real yet comforting to me, that this is just life, that not everything is sunshine and rainbows and yet somehow everything’s gonna be just fine. Thank you!“
“This is why we should never judge a book by its cover… everyone has a story, everyone goes through trials and tribulations, even the ones that appear to be perfect and larger than life.”
The conversation continued for about fifteen more minutes until my friend finished his shift. We exchanged numbers and ever since, we’ve been in contact. That was the beginning of an awesome friendship, she’s also a hairdresser, and an even better girl to hang out with.
This is why we should never judge a book by its cover, we should be open and give others the benefit of the doubt because everyone has a story, everyone goes through trials and tribulations, even the ones that appear to be perfect and larger than life. After all, we are all humans and we all have a story to tell, one that resides behind the veil.