YOU'RE STILL WRONG
POST MRR COLUMNS
by Mykel Board
"I knew it was possible to objectify and not disrespect, to objectify and not wish harm upon a person. I wanted to share a pleasure. “ – Nina Hartley, pornstar, and pro-sex activist
Note: this month's column is a bit late. Two reasons:
First, I've been busier than the mopboy at a peepshow... with the New Year (5775) and fasting away my sins, planning my life and impending doom. Second, a trip to Montreal inspired me to change the whole... er... thrust of the column. You'll see why. This one is called,
A TALE OF TWO WOMEN
Usually, having a penis is a convenience. It's easier to piss standing up, for example, or re-dress after a bathroom quickie. But sometimes, having a penis is a pain in the ass.
Right now, mine is somewhere between overcooked spaghetti and the Washington Monument. I sit at Le Gentleman's Choice, a strip club in Downtown Montreal. I'm here with three of my friends from New York-- all Japanese guys. One of them, Kenji, sits next to me. A quick glance as he shifts on his seat shows that he, too, is al dente. Takeshi and Taro are in the back, in private booth lap dances.
There are girls galore here, from a full-mast inducing Ethiopesque to a downright scary biker babe. On stage now is a collegiate-looking woman with an athletic body and small, pointed nipples.
I walk up to that stage and lay a crisp US dollar bill on it. No one else is tipping, maybe because Canadian dollars are coins. I return to my seat next to Kenji. The girl on stage picks up my dollar, smiles, and flashes some gash-- directly at me.
A beautiful girl... barely twenty... smooth skin the color of (white) piano keys... wearing a blue wig and not much else... sits down on the other side of me.
“You want a lap dance?” she asks. “Just ten dollars.”
Her accent does not seem French.
“I don't do lap dances,” I tell her. “They don't work for me.”
She starts to get up.
“But,” I continue, “I'll buy you a drink if you talk to me. You get a commission on that, right?”
I signal the waitress, a pretty, but not very friendly woman, dressed in black with a white
“Une bière, et ce qu'elle veut,” I tell her.
“Now,” I say. “First, tell me about your life. Start with your name.”
“My name's Veronica,” she says.
“Come on,” I tell her. “What's your REAL name?”
She smiles and shrugs, “It's Marta, in English, Martha.”
And then she talks to me.
“I'm from Poland,” she says, pronouncing it like BOW-LAND, “You know Poland?”
“I may be American,” I tell her, “but I'm not an idiot.”
“My first dream was to go to America,” she continues, “but I have a cousin here... she works in Montreal.. It was a lot easier to come here.”
“Does your cousin work here?” I ask, nodding toward the stage.
Martha laughs, shaking her head. The wig shakes slightly slower than her head. “She would be afraid to do this. She's a waitress, in one of those tourist beer gardens... it's awful... filled with dumb French tourists... and Americans.”
She looks at me and pouts... a prostate-aching pout... “Sorry,” she says, “I didn't mean to say bad things about Americans.”
“It's all right,” I say, adjusting myself, “I say bad things about Americans all the time.”
She frowns again, then looks at my face and laughs.
“I love it here,” she says. “It's such a... how you call it... ego trip... dancing for all these guys. They all look at you. You're number one in their minds... you excite them. On stage, you are the center. You're like a queen.”
“Does it pay?” I ask. “I was the only one tipping.”
“No,” says Martha, “they don't tip here. The girls' money comes from lap dances. $10 a song. I take home nearly a hundred thousand a year. I don't need dollar tips.”
“Are there male strip clubs in Montreal?” I ask. “Either for men or for women?”
“There's Le Two Eight One,” she says. “That's guys who dance for girls. I guess there are some gay clubs too. But I don't know them.”
“You know anybody who works at one of those clubs?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “Those clubs don't pay. Girls don't want lap dances as much, and the clubs are... I don't know... how you call it... slow Z.”
“Sleazy?” I offer.
“Oui,” she says. “Sleazy. The boys don't make much money unless they... you know... they have to...”
I nod, surprised at her modesty.
Just then Takeshi comes back... scowling. He ignores me, but sits on the other side of Kenji. They speak to each other in Japanese. I look at him, frowning a question.
“I was cheated,” he says to me-- in English. “I thought the dance was ten dollars, but it was only for one song. The girl didn't tell me when the next song came on.”
He says something else-- in Japanese-- to Kenji. I can't hear it, but I do see another girl... the one he went to a private booth with... jogging from the booth. She kneels in front of Takeshi. In her hand is a ten-dollar bill.
“I'm sorry,” she says to him. “I thought you understood. Here, take ten dollars back. I don't want you to feel cheated.”
Takeshi shakes his head. “I had the dance. You should get the money.” She smiles and leaves.
It's a little while later that Taro returns, grinning like a chimp on Animal Planet.
“I went,” he says in English as he approaches the table.
“I think you mean you came,” I correct him.
Back in New York: I sit at a bar in Midtown... right near my school. It's a typical NY faux-Irish bar. Waitresses with Irish accents and breasts. Customers with jackets and loosened ties (men)-- or business casual skirts and sensible shoes (women).
It's 9PM. The woman next to me is slightly tipsy... about 30 years old... faint crowsfeet at the edges of her eyes... dark circles underneath. She's dressed like any midtown secretary. She looks at me looking at her... squints, as if trying to get me in focus.
“Hey, sailor,” she says. “...or whatever you are. How 'bout buyin' a girl a drink?”
“Sure,” I say. “If you'll tell me about your life.”
“You don't want to know about my life,” she says... surprisingly NOT slurring her words.
“Sure I do,” I tell her.
“Hey Maggie,” I ask the bartender, “give this young woman a drink on me. Nothing top shelf, but... how 'bout a Jameson's.”
“Well thanks... er...” says the woman.
“Mykel,” I say.
“My name's Justine,” she says. I don't ask her for her real name.
“How long've you been in New York?” I ask her.
“About a year,” she tells me. “I was born in Missouri... small town. It was my dream to come to New York.”
“So you did it,” I say.
“Hah!,” she answers, taking a sip of her Jamesons, “more like a nightmare than a dream.”
“You don't like the city or you don't like your job?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says.
She tells me about her job. It's with McKenzie & Cromwell, a law firm. She is a paralegal. “That means a secretary who has to kill time on LexisNexis.” She explains that LexisNexis is some kind of database for looking up precedents and court cases.
“Mckenzie and Cromwell?” I ask. “Sounds goyish. Do you like your job?”
“It's as boring as golf,” she tells me. “Oh, I hope you're not a golf fan.”
“Do I look like a golf fan?” I ask her.
She smiles and shakes her head.
“The pay is shit. The men make twice as much,” she continues shaking her head. “I know strippers who make more than me.”
“Me too,” I don't say.
“But that's not the worst of it,” she says, draining her glass. I signal to Maggie to bring two more drinks. Another Jameson for her and a Yuengling for me. “It's the... I dunno... impersonality of it all.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“I'm like a cog in a wheel,” she says, mixing her metaphors. “I mean I sit in a little cubical with dozens of other people sitting in their little cubicles. I don't know their names. They don't know mine. I'm not a person. I'm a thing... a piece of meat. Nobody ever says nice job or even nice haircut. The company tells me how to dress. I might as well be working at McDonald’s for all the attention they pay to me as a person.
“And every day I feel like shit about myself,” she says. “The whole purpose of the company is to cheat people. We bill more than a hundred bucks an hour... for dicking around on the internet. I get home and want to wash the smell of scam off my body. It's awful.”
“And I'm not the only one,” she continues. “There are girls working there... from all over... I think some recruiter promises them jobs with (she uses her fingers to make air quotes) A BIG LAW FIRM, and they sign the papers. Once they get here, they can't get out of their contract without being shipped back to Kabukistan or wherever the hell they're from. It's like slavery.”
““It's called Human Trafficking,” I don't tell her. “It's only illegal if you show your twat.”
“Thanks for the drink,” says Justine. “I hope I didn't bore you with my story. I wish I could invite you home, but I got a lazy boyfriend I gotta support. I hope the story was worth the two drinks.”
“It was,” I tell her. “just what I needed.... I went.”
“Huh?” she asks.
I just smile.
ENDNOTES: [You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available by subscribing to the MYKEL'S READERS Yahoo group email@example.com]
-->Huh? dept: Jason Torpy, The president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, said, "The lack of belief in a god should not be a disqualifier to access to chaplaincy." And in April 2014, the U.S. Army announced that "humanist" would be an officially recognized "faith," although so-far, they're not allowed to have chaplains.
I say: a CHAPLAIN is a religious leader serving the military. “Lack of belief in a god:” kind of puts the kibosh on “religious” doesn't it? A lot of atheists are dogmatic and evangelical... but somehow I don't think that's enough to qualify.
-->Your private donations aren't dept: Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla gave $1,000 in support of California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriages. This was in 2008-- six years ago. Eich is a co-founder of Mozilla and only recently became the CEO. He has since resigned because of the stink raised by the donation.
-->Rush Limbaugh... again dept: The girls are on Rush Limbaugh for saying that every adolescent knows that when uttered by a girl “No doesn't always mean no.” You can read the petition here. Of course, Limbaugh's right... but that's irrelevant to the outrage. Something as mundane as the truth never stopped a feminist before... won't stop one now.
-->The good guys dept: Not In My Name is a group of Jews, some in Israel, some elsewhere, who reject the Israeli-caused genocide in Gaza and Palestine. They also reject the Jewish hawks and other rightists speaking for “all of us.” Mazel tov!
-->More about strippers dept: There a great article in This Week called Surprising Facts About Strippers. After reading this column, you won't be surprised.
-->Twisted numbers dept:I just read Michael Bloomberg, former king of New York, bragged that during his term "the life expectancy of the average New Yorker increased three years." He wanted to claim stupid anti-smoking and pro-bike lanes were making New Yorkers healthier.
The real reason? Rich people live longer than poor people on average. Mike Bloomberg threw out the poor and replaced 'em with rich. Violá! An increase in longevity!
-->Keeping the Pressure on Dept: I want to thank reader George Metesky for suggesting a Bring Back Mykel effort directed at Maximum Rock'n'Roll. Send your comments-- to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: BRING BACK MYKEL! Let me know how they answer.
-->And: I'm on a massive clean-up/divest kick. I'm giving away DVDs, cassettes, VHS videos, CDs and a few 7-inch singles. Just pay separate shipping and handling. Details at: MykelsGiveaway