As time went by, there were more of these shadowy figures, and they would come closer the longer we were living there.
Rob* is the type of guy that every girl claims to be best friends with because he's just so down-to-earth and cool and easy to hang out with. I was one of those girls; I don't think he considered me a bestie the way I considered him one.
Rob was also successful, and he smelled nice, like big-time businessmen do. I wasn't attracted to him, but I was comfortable with him, and I couldn't help feeling curious about going to a sex club with him when he asked if I wanted to go.
The idea of "doing it" in front of people was mortifying, especially with Rob. No way. I knew I could never. I imagined it took tons of courage — or a huge lack of inhibition — to do that. But I was still down to check it out with him, just to be able to say I did.
Rob insisted on taking me shopping before we went to the club. He had just finished work, and I was sitting in his apartment, watching The Walking Dead after class. His place was always overly air-conditioned; I was snuggled up in a fur blanket.
"No hippie attire, please. Let's get you in a dress and heels for tonight," Rob said.
"Fine. Maybe I'll brush my hair," I replied sarcastically, and with that, he got me off the couch, and we went to the store.
The girl at the shop was ringing me up, and her eyes glossed over in envy at the high-heeled boots I was buying.
"Love these," she said. She went on to tell us how the second these shoes came into stock, she had tried them on. I, on the other hand, hadn't gone shopping in years. Even Rob knew my size better than I did. I made him pick everything, especially since I had no idea how to dress for a sex club.
We walked back to his apartment, and I tried everything on. I did my makeup to go with the black schoolgirl-style skirt, which I dreaded. I hated getting ready, but I caked on some eyeshadow. Rob's bathroom reminded me of a hotel — eerie white and barely lived in. I plugged in a straightener but only did the ends of my hair as I sipped wine.
When I walked out, Rob said, "Looking fucking hot. Wasn't that easy?"
I agreed, but it really wasn't that easy. I was out of my element and was about to be even more so.
As soon as we arrived at the club, I immediately realized people were allowed to be naked in this place — that's the kind of place it was. I mean, I wasn't naked, and neither were most people. But some people were. And some of those people did stuff for other people to watch. It was unabashed and animalistic.
After a few drinks, I gravitated toward the stripper pole in the back. There was rough-looking lady who introduced herself as Candy, and she was there with her man and a security guard. Rob stayed by the bar and watched me as, to my own surprise, I got onstage. While this was happening, most people lingered in the front of the building where there were odd setups — I'm talking a fake OB/GYN office and tacky leopard-print rooms — and club-goers watched the people in those "scenes" get it on behind glass.
With very little attention on me, I kicked up and hung on the metal pole upside down, one leg above my head — the other leg I couldn't find. It existed somewhere, but I kept my gaze at the ceiling as the friction rubbed me down.
Down.Slowly, I landed. On the floor.
Then Candy came up onstage by me, coaching.
"Hips, it's all in the hips," she said in her raspy voice.
That's how most of the good teachers sound. The older ones, anyway — the ones who have been through hell and live with countless skeletons in their closets. She had so many skeletons in her closet that she apparently had no room left for clothes, because she wasn't wearing any. Her stomach sagged and her boobs were pointy. She had a tattoo on her lower back.
Candy kept instructing me on how to use the pole, but when I went up again, I missed completely. I miscalculated how many cocktails I'd had, and I flew off the stage.
I landed on my arm, which felt broken. The security guard rushed over to me and said he would get me ice. Rob ran over, too, and said we could leave. I insisted on at least waiting for the ice.
As we walked out, Candy followed us. I gave her my number when she asked — I'm still not sure why she did — and Rob was shocked I was so willing to. He said I shouldn't have. I laughed it off.
The entire night was an absolute shitshow. I woke up with deep purple bruises on my arm, and although it wasn't broken, I decided then and there: never again. Sex clubs just aren't my scene.