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"The Lap Dancer" by Elsie Bauchalter

Jody and I were in the strip club. Music blared and strobe lights pulsed on a small stage. In the spotlight, a dancer was wrapping, and unwrapping herself around a pole. One leg raised at a hundred-and-sixty-degree angle for the benefit of those gathered in awestruck wonder. This place reeked of a misguided sense of power play - Jody and I got it. Our evening’s sponsor, Richie Richman reached deep into his pocket and said, ‘Girls what can I get you?’

It was 2am, Archer St, W1, London, on a particular Saturday night. Jody and I were walking between clubs when an approaching Bentley slowed down alongside us. The window wound down and Richman nodded to Jody - ‘Want to come for a ride?’

She turned to me, ‘You want to come with?’

We echoed one another.

‘Where you going?’ I asked

‘Where you going?’

‘To a club,’ he replied

‘What kind of club?’

‘What kind of club?’ she asked

‘Strip Club.’

‘You wanna go to a strip club?’

‘Never been before,’ I said.


The chauffeur pulled the car over and with great deference opened the door to the back passenger seats. Jody and I slid in.

Richie Richman gave me a most unwelcome look.

‘Who the fuck is she?’

‘She stays or I leave,’ said Jody

I was her get out clause

Insurance policy


I gave Richman a super warm smile and introduced myself. Jody had been chatting with him in MoMo’s earlier in the evening.

This was a ‘girls night out’. Six of us in total celebrating female empowerment and the recent bank bonus awarded to gorgeous Ellie’s husband. Her best friend Carly was over from the States for a weekend. There were two other women I didn’t know, both single and both worked in the city. The doormen were hard at it that night. Access gained due to Carly’s dexterous tongue. She sucked off one of the super hot bouncers. ‘Still got it going on girls…’ she cheered, ‘despite two kids,’ and we all high-fived her.

No one chatted me up in Momos. This club was for the super aspirational, deluxe bull-shitters, the glitzy, glam, groomed and made up, 100% bullshit. I exuded reality, stank of it. Jody liked me, said I was tonic to her gin - sobering.

We left at two am. Jody and I broke from the rest of the group in search of further entertainment.

Jody likes to play with people, especially men. Richman was a super loaded, divorced dad of two with girlfriends in the Bahamas, Tel Aviv and Monte Carlo. He told her this in Momos to which Jody replied she only fucked girls.

He said, ‘Sometimes it’s good to step outside your comfort zone.’

Jody had looped my arm as we turned down into Archer St

And repeated his words ad verbatim

‘Sometimes,’ she said to me, ‘it’s good to step out of your comfort zone.’

I was feeling this place more than Momos

It was honest. All about money.

Girls floated free and easy

For a price

‘Fuck exploitation

It’s about market forces.’ I said

Jody agreed

‘It’s power play.

It’s about owning the means of production

Woman have the means of production

But rarely control of the means.’

Richie Richman scoffed, ‘It’s about watching someone debase themselves in front of you. Personally, I get off on their debasement.’

‘Still,’ I ventured, ‘a lot of girls say they find it empowering.’

We laughed.

For the first time Richman looked me in the eye.

Jody wanted the Cristal 93

Richman gave the waitress the order and said,

‘Let's enjoy the show. To dance is a beautiful thing, these girls…’


‘Girls… these beautiful talented girls…’

Jody interrupted him, ‘Get one to dance for us.’

None of them wanted

To bend over

Expose themselves

Dance for us

Richman talked to the manager

‘My girlfriend wants a lap dance.’

The manager sighed,

‘They say they feel uncomfortable doing it in front of women,’

‘Money is money,’ said the Richman, ‘why should they care?’

He offered double the money

The waitress came with a bottle of Cristal

She poured

We clinked

And waited for our lap dancer

Finally, she arrived.

Sneered at Jody and I

Like we were traitors

She was

Out of order

She was

Sweet sweet Salome

Jody and I sat back

Enjoyed the show

‘Isn’t it liberating,’ Jody observed.

‘So empowering,’ I replied

And sometimes I wished

I had a cock

My mouth was so dry


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