I am twenty-two years old. I use the excuse that we are here for the memory of a friend’s sister, a woman who had been recently murdered by her husband and his girlfriend.
“She brought me to my first strip club,” my friend had said earlier, in a reminiscent way, “a male strip club.”
We walk over to a round black table next to a staircase that lead to a stage with two silver poles and two topless dancers. One is crawling on the ledge of the stage. The other is sliding down a pole upside down. A couple to our right is ceremoniously slipping ones into the crawling dancer’s red G-string. They smile and sit comfortably, the way a person does in their living room after a hard day at work, beer in hand. At the other end near the upside down dancer, a man’s eyes move up and down while he licks his lips.
We laugh about the absurdity of being in a strip club, after our ten years of friendship that started in the seventh grade. We comment on their bodies, which girl is dancing the best, which one has the nicest breasts, who has the prettiest face; we verbally place our bids on potential bodies for lap dances later. We forget names and are asking one another, “What did they say her name was, the one with the short blonde hair and pink underwear?” “What about that one with the pretty smile that did that thing on the pole?”
My friend leans over to me and says, “I wish they just used numbers instead of names.”
“Yeah, that would be easier,” I say.
Dan, the kitchen manager, is talking about his love life, for all to hear and comment on, in the kitchen of the restaurant I work at. Again. He parades his not-so-new label of being single (it’s been five months now) in between shouts of “Runners!” and “Moroccan Chicken, talk to me. How long?”
Occasionally he brings up his ex fiancé, how she wants to go to lunch or get coffee to “talk.”
“Can you believe it? I told her no. No way.”
Kyle, a server, comes in and I catch the words, “engaged once.” I am in temporary disbelief. Kyle is a twenty-six-year-old who often gets mistaken for much younger. He is light-spoken and polite in a naïve manner, one that is rare in the staff of a restaurant. His baby face says twenty, maybe twenty-one.
“You, you were engaged?”
He says, “Yeah, I was engaged once-“
And then comes Jeremy, a line cook.
He interrupts Kyle and says, “I was engaged once too, but I killed her.”
He laughs and looks for recognition of his hilarious joke among the other line cooks.
“How is that funny? That’s not funny,” I say.
He says how about if she was a hooker?
“If she was a hooker, she’s not a real person.”
A study reported in the New York Times suggests that one in five adolescent girls become the victims of physical or sexual violence, or both, in a dating relationship.
In the year 2005, 1,181 women in the U.S. were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.
Somewhere in America a woman is physically battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds. 240 every hour. 5,760 every day.
Tell a boy he:
-Looks like a girl
-Runs like a girl
-Smells like a girl
-Jumps like a girl
-Fights like a girl
-Throws like a girl
-Breathes like a girl
And you will destroy him. Better tell a boy to be a man.
Tell a man:
-Nice hair, faggot.
-Quit being a little bitch.
-What a sissy.
-You’re such a queer.
-What are you, homo?
And you will destroy him. Better tell a man to continue to be a man. Because it’s safer to grab pussies than to be one or have one.