On Saturday night I had my first customer to make me cry. I was so so angry. I’m normally a very chilled out person, I can let things wash over me, I can usually ignore it when people bother me, a skill learned from years of practice. It’s my survival technique to be so chill and patient, because where I’m from, blowing up doesn’t get you anywhere and frequently back fires. But when I do get angry, I get really angry. If only I was one of those people who could direct their anger, shout at the attacker some clever things, scare them, maybe punch them in the nose. But no, when I see red it boils up in my heart and bursts out of my eyes in an uncontrollable flood of tears. I can’t think properly let alone speak.
It was late in the night and I got chatting to this guy, Despicable Coward, who was out on a stag night with his mates. He was one of those who liked to talk, and we had quite a bit to talk about. He was nice (at first). We realised we studied similar subjects at uni and he was telling me about his early career and how he went on to start up his own company etc. etc. I managed to interrupt him after about ten minutes and asked if he’d like to continue out chat in the VIP; half an hour I suggested (for £120, not much when you’re on £100k a year as he told me). He said no, he had a mortgage to pay and agreed to a £20 dance (£20 gets you six minutes).
So he paid and we went to a booth. As we entered he said: “Do you know what? I’m not even bothered about the dance. Let’s just sit and chat.”
“OK” I said. It’s not rare for this to happen you know. As much as one in twenty men just want your company, not your naked body. I sat down next to him and he continued to tell me about his life and asked me about my own.
As it got towards the end of our set time, two of his mates went past our booth and saw Despicable Coward sitting with me through the sheer curtain. They poked their heads in and jeered at him: “Are you just talking?” The girls they were with ushered them away.
“I’m afraid our time’s up now” I said.
“What? Aren’t you going to dance?”
“I would but we’re out of time now. You said you just wanted to talk.”
As we left the booth another of Despicable Coward’s mates went past. “Don’t get ripped off” he said to them.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I’m not even going to argue” he said.
“Look, I’m sorry you didn’t get a dance but I thought that’s not what you wanted.” I even offered him a full six minute dance for half the price, which I’m not meant to, to make it up to him, as any good sales person would. But he refused.
Back at the bar he rejoined his mates and proceeded to tell them not to take me for a dance because I’d just talk to them and rip them off. As I pride myself in my honesty as a saleswoman, and had even offered him a peace deal, this started to grate on me so I walked away.
After a couple of circuits of the room the stag from Despicable Coward’s group grabbed me and started asking me what I’d offer him for his money. Despicable Coward reappeared behind me with two others. “You shouldn’t pay her” he continued to them, behind my back. “She’ll just talk to you.” I then felt his hand touch my arse. I turned and looked at him sternly.
“Excuse me, but may I quote you: ‘I’m not bothered about a dance, I just want to talk’”
“I said before the dance”
“Well surely you were aware that we’d run out of time?”
He shook his head at me like I was a liar.
I turned back to the stag who was still trying to ask me stupid questions, when another of their mates appeared on my right.
“I hear you don’t dance, you just talk at people. That’s not on, you know” he said threateningly pointing his finger in my face. I ignored him, he didn’t know what he was talking about, and concentrated back on the stupid stag. I wasn’t going to show them that they were getting to me. As the stag slurred in my ear I felt again the Despicable Coward behind me, this time cupping my left arse cheek in his hand, sniggering. The rage boiled up and I knew I wasn’t going to contain it.
“I have to go,” I said to the stag “Your friend’s upsetting me.”
I wanted to whip round and shout at this fucker but I knew I’d cry and I wasn’t going to cry in front of him and his disgusting lowlife gang.
I stormed out to go to the dressing room. I passed Rob in the back (he works at the club taking dance money and watching the CCTV). He could clearly see something was up. “Are you ok?” he asked. Then I burst into tears. “Come in here” he said, directing me into the office. “What happened?”
I explained though hyperventilated bursts. I was shaking.
“Do you want me to go have a word with them?” he asked.
“I don’t know” I said. I couldn’t think. God I wish I’d said yes. I should’ve gone straight to the doorman, who is an awesome guy, and had their arses kicked out immediately, maybe leaving a few teeth behind.
“Does this job get to you?” asked Rob.
“No,” I said. “Not usually. This is the first time. Normally I can just let it wash over me and walk away.”
The club was only open for another half hour at this point so Rob offered that I could cash up and go early. No, I’d be ok. I thanked him for his help and went to the dressing room to compose myself. Luckily I hadn’t cried long enough that you could tell and my makeup hadn’t smudged. It was like nothing had happened. I went back on the floor with a smile on my face and made another £33 before the end, from nice customers: a music teacher from Norway who tipped me £5, and a man with a well groomed beard. I noticed the despicable slime ball stag party had left anyway. If only they’d left with a few broken bones.