This is a continuation of the story I started in the last two posts. If you’re finding this first, you should start at the beginning by either scrolling down or clicking here.
I began developing a friendship with Jackie throughout the fall of 1991 and into December. Now, with my prior strip club experiences in The Sewer, I was aware that dancers like to make it seem that they just might be available, if you keep coming by. So I was constantly scrutinizing every interaction, looking for signs of genuine feeling or fondness towards me.
If Jackie was faking it, she was an unbelievable actress. There were too many signs that went beyond extending a con, like the night she brought in a photo album for me to see. With the dim lights in the club, we had to find a back table under a neon light, so we could see as she showed me pictures of her past and her baby boy. That was all well and good but I was scrutinizing the album for signs of her baby daddy or her living situation. Remember, I wasn’t good at coming out and asking. I was more than happy to take the time to analyze every encounter for clues.
One night she gave me a picture of herself that she had professionally done. She was wearing a little lace nightie and a sexy smile. Believe me, I still have the picture and it’s all I can do to keep from running it here. (But that wouldn’t be very fair, would it?)
She was very generous to me with her time. She often spent a great deal of time with me, just sitting and chatting. We were at the point where she really didn’t want my money. When she had to get up and make her rounds, she’d frequently give me a kiss. She usually said she’d be back, but that was spotty at best. I understood that the situation was fluid. I always made sure I said goodbye though, before I left for the night.
I mentioned in the last post that I gave her a foot massage one night when her dogs were barking. I did the same thing another night too, under similar circumstances. She sat down with me at the end of the night and mentioned how tired she was.
“I know what you need,” I said. “Give me that foot.”
I rubbed her feet and calves until they forcibly removed us from the bar so they could close. By this time, I’d inquired about seeing her outside the club…wanting to see her green eyes in the daylight. Surprisingly, she was receptive. I gave her my work number and suggested we have lunch one day at the mall.
Nothing came of it immediately. She said she’d been having phone and car problems, and that was fine because I was in the midst of the Christmas Crush, so my head was spinning pretty fast as it was.
I came in the club a couple times the week after Christmas and it seemed like her attitude was cooling towards me. The first time, she told me that she had friends in from out of town and wanted to spend time with them. I understood and that was cool… I didn’t stay long.
The next time was a couple days before New Years. I stopped in late just to wish her a Happy New Years, before I headed to my brother’s house in Baltimore for the holiday. She acknowledged seeing me from the stage, but when she made her rounds afterwards, she stopped by this other table of two guys and stayed there for more than 45 minutes. That pissed me off. I felt that even if she knew these guys and wanted to hang, she at least could have come by and said hello first. Then I could have wished her Happy New Year and been happily on my way. I felt it was just rude. So feeling very hurt, upset and blown off, I headed for the door without saying goodbye (or hello, for that matter) or even looking back. I didn’t go back for the next several weeks.
Then in mid January, I came into the store one Friday afternoon and there was a short message on my desk.
“Bluz, Jackie called.” There was a phone number.
My stomach did a back flip! I interrogated my staff for details but there was not much to add. I called her immediately and we chatted for a few minutes to catch up. Then she asked if I would be working on Saturday, because she thought she’d come in to town and we could go to lunch. I said I thought I could work it in.
That next day was torture! Naturally I had to tell the guys on my staff all about it. I think they were as anxious to get a look at her as I was. She was going to meet me at my store at 3:00 but I was sure that something was going to come up and she’d have to cancel, or she just wouldn’t show. But then at the stroke of 3:20 (which is really 3:00 in Stripper Time) there she was. She looked incredible, although smaller, which I attributed to the lack of the 3” heels.
We went to lunch and just talked, telling each other the stories of our pasts. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her eyes were as green as she said they were, and so much more striking in the daylight.
We cleared the air about the last time I was in the club, each telling our side of things. She thought I was impatient. I don’t remember what her side of it was but we both apologized for our actions.
Near the end of lunch, I said, “You realize that I’m going to want to see you again.”
“I though about that before I called you. Yeah, OK.”
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
I was striking while the iron was hot. I invited her over to my place for a homemade spaghetti dinner and she accepted. I said I’d call her around 11 to confirm. I was thrilled at my outrageous good fortune. On my way home that day, I stopped by the store for all the fixin’s I’d need to make pasta and sauce, plus wine. Such an occasion definitely required wine.
On Sunday, I got up early and cleaned the whole apartment. (I usually gave my apartment a good cleaning every 3 or 4 months, whether it needed it or not.) I made the call and spoke to her roommate. Jackie had just taken her son to the doctor and would be back in about 3 hours. I left the message to call me when she got back. I put all my fixin’s away, opened a beer, sat down to watch some football and wait for her call. Which never came. All that cleaning for nothing…
I called again around 8 and she was home. The baby was OK, but it was a really long day so she requested a rain check. I saw her again at the club that week, suggested getting together Wednesday morning (when I had to work 3 to close) and she agreed. When I called the night before to confirm, she said she couldn’t make it, but suggested the following Saturday. I was glad that she was the one suggesting alternate plans; that showed she was still interested. But I still had a suspicion that something would come up.
When I talked to her again later that week, she said Saturday was out, but realizing that Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday, she invited me to her place, where she and her roommate were having a few people over for the game. I was certainly up for that. While I had really been looking forward to some uninterrupted one on one time with her, this was the next best thing. And she was trusting me with access to her home… I didn’t think she would do that for just any schmo. And she also gave me her real name. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jackie wasn’t her real name, but I was anyway. I was doubly honored that she told me. I asked what I should call her and she said she didn’t care.
Still, I was apprehensive. Here she was, trusting me with inside information, but her manner seemed distant. I decided to take nothing for granted… expect nothing, invest nothing (emotionally) and just see what happens. But at least this next meeting would be in my hands. I knew I was going to show up.
The Super Bowl party went wonderfully. She was there in sweats and no make-up and I thought she was the most exquisite thing I’d ever seen. I kept her company in the kitchen while she made a turkey. (I made the Pillsbury rolls.) I took the opportunity to ask what she wanted from me… What did she want to happen?
She said she wanted my friendship now and to see what happens going forward. That was good enough for me. But the other thing I gathered is that she had all kinds of other guys buzzing around her. That really shouldn’t have been a surprise, although no one likes hearing that. Again, I’d just have to see how it played out.
Meanwhile, we had a very good day. Dinner was good, the wine was good (and plentiful) and the game… well, that was the famous Giants/Bills game where the Bills kicker juuuuust missed a field goal to win at the end of the game.
Near the end of the night, I finally got my hands on her. I massaged her feet, neck and back. Unfortunately, it put her right out, which was not the objective I was looking for. She woke up when I got up to leave, and gave me a warm hug and a quick kiss goodnight.
That day was the high point of our relationship.
I got “good reviews” from everyone. Her roommate said I was nice. Her sister said I was nice. I asked her what she thought and she said I was nice.
Shit. I know where “nice” guys finish… always behind some slick asshole with good hair.
After that, we kept grinding through the same cycle. We’d make plans to do something on a Wednesday morning or Sunday and they would fall through when the time came. And it wasn’t just me making the plans… half of the time, she would make the suggestions. But then it would never happen. When she was supposed to call and confirm, I wouldn’t hear from her. Or I’d call and her roommate would say she was out with some other guy. I asked her roommate, once, if I was wasting my time chasing Jackie. She said she didn’t pry into her personal life. I immediately regretted asking.
At times, I wondered about the nature of her other “dates.” Like whether they were personal or “professional.” But that wasn’t something one can just come out and ask a girl you’re interested in.
“By the way, Jackie, just in case you’re available for a fee, what could I get for $100?”
I just couldn’t see doing that… tempting as it may have been.
The last time I talked to her, in the course of getting the rundown of her busy week, she mentioned she had a friend in town, with whom she hoped it would “lead to something bigger.”
That’s the kiss of death, right there. She said she had to get off the phone so her roommate could use it, but to call her back. I said she should call me back whenever she’s ready, so I’m not pestering her. She said I wasn’t pestering. Whatever.
She never called back, which surprised exactly no one.
Two days later it was Valentine’s Day, so I sent her a card. In it, I wrote that while I thought she was beautiful and interesting and that I loved spending time with her, I didn’t have it in me to keep chasing. The constant cycle of anticipation and disappointment was playing hell with me. I said that if she ever wanted to do anything, to just call and I’d be there. But I was no longer going to pursue her and I wished nothing the best for her and her boy.
And that was that. I stopped going to the club. I joined a “singles” group and began a round of “Personals” dating, which was the forerunner of websites like Match.com. The next year, I met Future-Ex on a setup from work, and moved to a different part of town. But I can always say, usually to a crowd of drunken guys, that I once dated an exotic dancer. It’s kind of like a raconteur’s bucket list item.
I’ve often wondered what may have happened if things had turned out differently, although I really shouldn’t romanticize it. The most likely outcome would have been nothing more than frequent trips to the clinic.
Quick final thoughts on strip clubs are coming with the next post. I meant to sum up here, but like usual, I went on way too long already. That always seems to happen when I have tangible documentation available. Just as things were starting to heat up with Jackie, I began documenting the adventure because I knew it would be noteworthy, come what may. I wasn’t journaling at the time, so it stands as kind of a one-off chapter. I have all the he said/she said. I have that phone message that was waiting for me at the store. And of course I still have the picture.