Caution was now thrown to the wind as I buckled my seat belt. This was my first trip to New York City and I was ready for anything and everything. Earlier that day at the hostel, I met two Italian men and a Brazilian woman and now we were going out to dinner with an Italian cousin who lived in Hackensack. He picked the four of us up from the hostel and after getting stuck in traffic for thirty minutes the decision was made that we would eat dinner in New Jersey and then visit his girlfriend.
“Does topless bother you?” he asked me. I adjusted my black J.Crew merino wool turtleneck trying to figure out why he was asking me this and what I should say.
“For what?” I asked intelligently.
“Striping. My girlfriend works at Satin Dolls you know Badabings from Sopranos. She’s a dancer there. If it offends you we don’t have to go.”
“Oh, I think it’s fine,” I hesitantly said. I wasn’t sure what to say because I was in the group and I was buckled in his car now speeding along the highway.
We pulled into the Houlihan’s parking lot and my stomach growled meanly. I wanted to experience something more than a chain restaurant. The two Italians paired up with myself and the Brazilian girl. They pulled out our chairs, attempted to order for us in their poor English and then spoke in Italian to their cousin. The dinner lasted so long I was almost asleep. I hoped that we would just be able to go back to the hostel but we were now back in the car driving on the highway to the strip club.
Now seeing Satin Doll’s sign and after the car was parked, I didn’t know what to think. I was about to enter a strip club on this quasi-group date. I could feel the anxiety of the Brazilian woman who stuck close by my shoulder walking to the entrance. Once we were in, we saw the huge stage that was in the middle of the bar. We were the first ones there. Our gentleman companions ordered us drinks. Then, we saw the dancers come out.
The cousin’s girlfriend came over to us, crouched down on the stage and shook our hands. She was very nice and friendly and almost naked. I excused myself to go to the bathroom shortly after the pleasantries. Naively, I asked where the women’s restroom was located to be told that it was just over there when in fact it was really the dancer’s changing room. As I walked in, I saw the most makeup in my life and a bunch more girls putting it on, laughing and then yelling, “Close the fucking door.”
Short story by L.B. Lewis for February 15, 2016. Copyrighted. All rights reserved.