It’s the holidays. Around this time I generally take a step back from the strip club and work on myself while the dust settles. I hit the gym, I get my hair dyed and I stop drinking to the point of passing out on the bathroom floor. A little overdue maintenance for the body and soul. My liver and I appreciate the time off. All this maintenance involves a trip to the salon. My hair lady, a lovely Mexican woman whom I adore, always manages to undo the abuse my hair suffers from my bad behavior. She kind of shakes her head when I walk in.
This week she had to fix my hair after I’d dyed it blue on a whim. After she massaged noxious purple brown goo into my hair, I had a moment to sit and stare while it soaked in. I focused my attention on the new nail lady. She wore a green turtleneck sweater with holly berries all over it. She wore earrings that were little shiny ball Christmas tree ornaments. Christmas accessories never go out of style, right? She talked shamelessly and loudly about her husband leaving her, her love of country music and how hungover she was.
Her monologue was peppered with dirty jokes. I feel "monologue" is an accurate description of what was going on, because no one really speaks English at the salon, so she’s really just announcing her life story. I decided to get my nails done with her, of course, and maybe start a little dialogue. Moments into the manicure she asked me what I do for a living. I told her I was a cocktail waitress at a strip club.
I’m so glad I mentioned strip clubs. Nail lady was 42 years old and was born and raised in Vegas. She was a gold mine of stories. She told me about the time she almost got hired at Larry's Villa. She said she ended up getting drunk and crying in the locker room. It was like looking at myself in the time machine mirror as she sat there filing my nails. She told me she went with a Western theme for her audition. A bandana top, tiny jean shorts and cowboy boots. "I'm a rhinestone cowgirl" she tells me. "Western wear never goes out of style." I never knew it was in style.
She shows me her belt buckle, a huge rhinestone monstrosity with the word "mom" on it. Stripping just wasn't her scene. She doesn't like showing off her body to random men. "Me neither" I tell her. "You're like me" she says. I don't mind that. She's a character.
And she's got some jokes. "Why do cowboys wear denim condoms?" she asks. "Because they shrink in the wash."
I decide to get nail art on every nail to prolong this entertainment. "Why doesn't Santa have any kids?" she asks. "Because he only comes once a year."
At this point I have long blue ghetto nails. She's delighted by the choice of the color, since most people keep it classy with pink shades. Not me. I went for the snowflake design with the plastic rhinestones. Winter wonderland of excess. Her Christmas earrings must have inspired me, or maybe I was just captivated by her presence and wanted to stay longer.
I sat and listened to the stories of her life: how her dogs died, why her husband left and how to make tortilla soup. It's a shame she didn't get into stripping. I think a natural attitude like hers is what makes a great stripper. The rest of us need chemicals to be able to perform a monologue when no one speaks your language.