Eva Rivera is a proud lesbian Chicana, daughter, sister and sex worker who can walk in 6 inch heels and twirl naked on a pole in front of total strangers but is still viciously afraid of moths. She hails from Fresno, CA and is a poet and aspiring film maker. You can find her more personal writing on her blog.
I love dancing in this city. It’s bright life and blatant debauchery make me feel at home and comfortable at being a contradiction myself. If you don’t know where I’m talking about, it doesn’t matter. It could probably be anywhere. The types of customers I entertain are the same everywhere I’ve been. And I don’t mean that in the allmenarepigs sort of way. But that my body, my identity, my job sometimes force reactions out of people that I can’t help but notice. I get two types of customers often. The ones that want an experience with someone different from them. Someone they would otherize in any other context not related to sex. And the other are what I call the saviors. They are just the men who want to whisk me away from the evil, soul-crush of the club. Probably to fuck me for free.
I’m the only Chicana in the club. The only one they’ve actually hired. Maybe the only one dancing on Bourbon street. I dance to Shakira sometimes because her music makes me feel like shaking my ass even on an empty Monday evening. But that explanation seems to get lost on customers who are there to fulfill fantasies. I get the what-are-yous? often and try to steer that conversation towards the private $30 booths in the back. I’ll tell you what I am while I grind on your lap. You’ll smile and say you knew it and tell me that i’m rare around here. Like a rare meat. Or laugh and say you thought I was “something more exotic like Asian.” Don’t talk politics though, this is just about sex. This moment you feel up my breasts and the next day you scoff at the morning papers article on the DREAMers. Where are you from? “California.” He nods his head like that was the answer he expected, like why even ask, I already knew.
The dance is over, he slips the money into the side of my g-string and stands up to walk back to his table.
Customer #2, I don’t know his name, I don’t care that much. He’s the savior type. I get them at least once per shift. He starts off with an offer usually. I’ll give you $200 to walk out of the club right now. You don’t belong here.
Wait. I don’t belong here? Where do I belong? In your bed for free, right?
You are too good for this place. This is a dead end. Go back to college. Find a real career. I smile and take a deep breath. Oh, I wish I could, yes I’m saving up, wanna help me? I pull him towards the booth, I’ll tell him all about how I have to push down hands that grab too much all night and take one’s with my teeth off the stage. I’ll look a little sad and complain that my shoes hurt my poor, small feet. The dance is over, thanks for being such a gentleman. I hate to charge but my boss is watching me.
Sure, sure. Here’s $60. Come home with me tonight, there’s nothing for you here.
My rent is due tomorrow and I don’t have too much time to waste on my personal Jesus who thinks that he’s the alternative to all the other he’s in the building. I say thanks but I just can’t, not tonight honey. He lights a cigarette and shakes his head as if I just passed up the opportunity of a lifetime and he’s sad to see me miss my chance.
The night is filled with one or the other until 3 am. I count my money quietly and tip out the bouncers and DJ. My girlfriend texts me that she’s outside waiting. I’m glad the nights over and peel off my fake lashes, head out the door to meet her in the car. My hair smells like cigarettes but she still kisses me like she doesn’t care.