Inevitably, Mr. Cognac Breath resorts to violence


Fast asleep in the late morning of a weekday, I get a call from one of my stripper friends. “Hey” I answer, still half asleep and extremely comfortable in my high thread-count sheets with my two snuggly dogs. She was working in another state at the time. She asks, “What are you up to?” I answer honestly. “Nothing. You?” She explains to me that her boyfriend, who goes by some ridiculous alias, is at a bar on the opposite side of town. His friends just got arrested so he has no ride and he has no money for a cab. “Could you please, please, please pick him up and take him home?” she asks me. “I’ll owe you big time” she says, like she could give me anything I want or need that would be better than staying in bed. “Umm. Ok,” I tell her. “But it will be a minute. I’m in bed.” I crawled out of bed, threw on any article of clothing I found on the floor and drove to the bar.

“Who the hell is this guy? And why is he at a bar on a Tuesday morning?” I’m wondering, driving down the freeway. I arrive at the bar. It has a façade of fake logs. It’s a really classy joint, apparently. Then I find the boyfriend outside. I wave at him and he runs over and gets in my car. He is a thirty-something year old black male and he is wearing a wife-beater. I think. I’m still half asleep.

I remember that he reeked of cognac. He had been up all night and frequently stays up for long periods of 24 hours or more. It helps him get inspired to make great music. He is unemployed but is trying to make it in the music industry. It is a long drive back to his home in Henderson, so I have to talk to him about something, maybe about something we have in common. “So jail really sucks,” I reminisce. He agrees. Then we talk about southern food. I think food is a safe topic. I’d guess I’m more knowledgeable about food than most people, to toot my own horn. “The food in jail really sucks,” I add. See how I tailored that conversation to fit the awkward situation?

Where am I going with this story anyway? Well, I’m trying to paint the picture of an example of what one would call a “stripper boyfriend.” Strippers are notorious for ending up in strangely bad relationships with stereotypical loser types. Most of the strippers that I can think of who are in monogamous relationships are financially supporting their partners entirely. Many of these boyfriends have had trouble with the law. I can think of more than one stripper who also gets physically abused by her lover. Inside a jail cell at the Clark County Detention Center, a stripper explained to me that her boyfriend struck her not because he is a violent person but because he wanted respect. That is an interesting relationship dynamic.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are strippers with sugar daddies. Sugar daddies are very financially comfortable and take care of strippers’ expenses and shower them with luxurious gifts. In return, there is a varying degree of involvement ranging from light dating to a nearly monogamous pseudo-relationship. Though this type of thing is a pretty sweet deal, the situation is not entirely healthy. I’d argue it is still a better situation than getting beaten and giving up all your money.

I am single. I am fairly certain that being single is the healthiest relationship status a stripper could maintain. I can’t think of any stripper with a well-balanced, monogamous relationship. I think it is, however, possible. Oh by the way, did I mention I was single? If you score very high on standardized tests, give me a call. I’m into that. A girl has needs!

Anyway, Mr. Cognac breath eventually got violent with my friend the stripper. I don’t believe I have yet made it clear to her that I will never help him again. She was so banged up, she had to miss work for a while. Though she forgives the violence, I just can’t. I’m not so saintly.


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