The cowboys are here, and I feel like they infiltrate every aspect of my life when they come to Vegas. It was not so much the case this year as last year, but it feels like they are everywhere when they are here. They’re in the streets, in my head and taking all the parking spaces. Allow me to explain.
This is not my first rodeo as a stripper. Last year happened to be. The rodeo is hosted at Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV and I was still a student there. UNLV’s final exams for the fall semester coincide with this God-forsaken National Finals Rodeo event. The event parking is also used for student parking so you’re fighting with cowboys for your own parking spot during a sold-out event. Sometimes you end up parking several blocks from your classroom with the seconds counting down to your scheduled testing time. Then you run to your classroom through the parking lot, where you should have been parked, while drunken cowboys whistle at you from their pickups.
After school, you go to work and listen to more cowboy catcalls over the sound of country music. They are rowdy and ungentlemanly, they smell like beer, and they think they have a right to finger you during a lap dance. The country music is the worst part. Over and over again, the DJ plays that horrible misogynistic crap. I can’t even tell the songs apart.
Cowboys come from very conservative places. They’re Christian and macho. Strippers are immoral greedy whores to them. We’re the other. They enjoy going to strip clubs because strip clubs are awesome naked fun but they can’t bring themselves to see strippers as human beings. They probably treat their horses with more respect.
I’m not the only stripper that feels this way, though. There has been more than a single incident of stripper frustration taken out on a cowboy’s hat. There was a case of a hat stolen by a stripper. There are frequent incidences of strippers throwing hats and even one stripper who threw a cowboy hat at a table of drinks. Cowboys are very protective of their hats but are no match for a stripper scorned.
I suppose that might be an unfair generalization of them. It is not a culture I fully understand. I should be more open-minded. They spend a lot here. That is why I go to work, right? And another bonus is that cowboy boots are a lot more comfortable to wear while dancing. I’ll admit I look good in a cowboy hat, too.
“Your hair is f***in’ softer than a horse’s nose,” a cowboy tells me during a lap dance. Oh the cowboys and their farm animal comparisons. I think it is a sign of approval in their culture. “Thank you, Big Daddy,” I respond in a higher-than-normal-pitch voice. “You ever felt a horse’s nose?” he asked. I had felt one before. When I was a child, an angry horse once bit me with such force it pushed me back and I fell to the ground. “Yeah. Like velvet.” I told Big Daddy. Big Daddy and his friend both have mustaches straight out of a 70’s porno. I gave his friend a lap dance. “Nice porn ’stache” I tell him. He told me a story about his mustache that he thought was really clever. I can’t remember what he told me at all but I remember laughing and telling him it was clever. They need to ride off into the sunset soon or I’ll lose my mind.