We have this candle, I don’t know where it came from, but it’s been sitting there on the shelf for a while, now, and I finally decided to either use it or throw it away, depending on how it smelled. I put it on one of those candle warmer things and forgot about it.
A minute ago, I looked up and realized that the candle warmer wasn’t heating up enough to melt all of the wax. It had been up there a long time, and only the wax on the bottom had melted. I figured that maybe I could poke it down a little, or capsize the chunk of wax that was still there. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve splashing hot wax all over my hands and arms and the wall and my desk.
Which is exactly what happened. I spent the next ten minutes scraping wax off of my wall and desk, and pulling it from my arm hair, which—in case you’ve never done it—sucks.
The candle smells all right, but kind of like old lady perfume. That’s why I was testing it out—it could either make our apartment smell nice like spring flowers or like an old lady. After plucking the wax from my arms and hands, I realized I smelled like I had been hard-core making out with an old lady. While this information might come in disturbingly handy at a later date, right now it was just an annoyance.
I went to wash it off. On the sink, we have direct-to-foam soap from Bath & Body. Pink Grapefruit-scented. Once washed, I sniffed my hands. And that’s when I made a strange discovery.
When I was 18 years old, I worked as a plumber’s helper. In case you’re wondering, it was a disgusting job. Probably worse than you’re thinking. Seriously. I was never covered completely from head to toe in shit, but short of that, if you can imagine it, it probably happened to me.
Anyway, one day me and the other helper—who was also my roommate—got the day off because there weren’t any jobs. We got home and tried to figure out what to do with our day off. He was a big fan of strip clubs.
Contrary to what you might think, I’m not all that into strip clubs. I know I seem like exactly the kind of pervert you’d find with a reserved seat, but I’ll generally try to get out of going, and once there, I just smile nervously, until I finally get enough booze in me that the strippers stop telling me I sit like I have a rod up my ass.
At that time, I had never been to a strip club. I grew up in a small town in the Bible Belt, remember. They didn’t even let you have booze there, much less let you see tits. And vagina? I’m pretty sure there were laws about vagina in general, and seeing it in particular.
But this guy, he was nuts about strip clubs. Before working as a plumber’s helper, he had been in the oilfield, so his rough-neck coworkers had been taking him since he was fifteen or some shit. Dude loved strip clubs.
So of course, that’s what he wanted to do. Load up on narcotics, race over to Amarillo, and spend the day in titty bars. One in particular.
“Didn’t they get shut down for prostitution?” I asked.
“They’re always getting closed down for prostitution, but they’re opened back up.”
We loaded up with a couple of other friends and headed to Amarillo.
We get there, I don’t think it was even noon yet. I’m blitzed, man. Putting bad things into our bodies the entire two-hour trip, I barely even remembered what we were doing. We walk through this dirt parking lot, and step into darkness.
I remember there were already several people there. It threw me, because I was so messed up—I thought it was already night time, that I had blacked out. But nope—just a bunch of guys hanging out in a strip club in the middle of the day. We sat down at a table in the back.
Here’s the thing, man: I was about as small-town as you could get, okay? Maybe I’ll tell you a story sometime, about how even at 17 I was thinking premarital sex was bad and drinking was bad, and drugs were the doorway to hell, and blah blah fuckin’ blah. So I walk into this strip club, there’s this chick up on stage, and she’s naked. No pasties, no panties, just there in all of her shaved-cat, cool-boots glory.
Music blaring, lights flashing, I’m outta my gourd, and there’s a naked woman. It’s not the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced, but let’s put it this way—if my first child wants its birth to be the most important event in my life, it has got some stiff competition.
We sit there talking for a while, and naked females just keep coming out and dancing. I had seen naked girls before, but they were the girls I dated or they were the women I had seen in movies. But this—this was just mind-blowing. Women I didn’t even know, coming out and showing me everything!
My friends, they decided to go up to perv row. In case you’re still innocent enough to be in the dark—perv row is what they call the bar right up next to the stage. This is where you sit if you want to stuff money into the dancer’s g-string or into her…whatever. I was having none of this.
“You guys go ahead, I’ll just sit back here with my Dr. Pepper.” They called me names, they teased me. I didn’t care. “Yeah, yeah, I’m a little bitch, whatever, but I’m not going up there.”
So they went, and I sat back, absorbing this new curve reality had thrown me. Naked women dancing to loud music in a dark room—it seemed outstanding. But then I started looking around at the other patrons. Old guys, middle-aged guys, sitting around in the middle of the day, waving money at 20-year-old women. And it suddenly seemed sad. Desperate.
You know in movies, where the guy comes home to surprise his wife and finds her screwing some other guy? That part where he walks into the bedroom, and he’s got that smile, and then it just kind of withers and dies on his face? That’s kind of what I experienced, but inside. Not my heart, not my soul, but something inside withered with realization.
And then I noticed that the girl dancing wasn’t smiling. In fact, it looked like maybe she was thinking about what she should pick up from the grocery store on her way home. She was bored. She was doing her job.
And she wanted to be done with it.
As I guy who dealt with shitty toilets for a living, this was something I could relate to. That’s when I wanted to leave.
Being blitzed out of your mind is a funny thing, though. Because then there was a new dancer, and I saw one of my friends stand up with money in hand, and I forgot all about everything I had just been thinking. Suddenly, all I could do was laugh. He was going to do it!
My friend was going to signal the dancer to come over and he was going to give her money, and she was going to perform a quick little dance, and holy shit!
She danced over and leaned down to him. He gave her the money and then whispered something in her ear. I was amazed, man. This was also back in my shy days. I couldn’t imagine asking the bank teller for a receipt—there was no way I had the stones to whisper into a stripper’s ear.
And she smiled. This guy, he had that vibe. He could talk anyone into anything, and they smiled while they did it. He once got called into the principal’s office for wearing sunglasses in school. Ten minutes later, I saw the two of them standing in the hall, my friend smiling, the principal laughing and wearing the sunglasses, and I heard him say, “This is pretty cool.”
So I had no idea what my buddy had whispered to the stripper, but I figured it was probably going to be cool. But then he turned and pointed. At me. She stood up. She pointed at me. And then she did that sexy, point-turns-to-come-here-motion thing that only chicks can get away with.
I shook my head. She nodded.
I shook my head some more. No way. No fucking way. And then everyone in the club started chanting. “Go, go, go, go, go!”
In my inebriated state, I suddenly started fearing that they would make me go. They sounded like a lynch mob over the music. So I went.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn't want to go at all. As weird as it was, it was also very exciting. I was scared as hell, but it wouldn’t do to show that, so I strutted up, my heart racing.
“You never been to a strip club before?” She asked.
“I love first-timers.” And she really seemed to mean it. You know how you occasionally come across those people who actually like their jobs? That was her—in that moment, anyways. I had no idea what to expect, so that inexplicable joy worried the hell out of me.
She took me by the shoulders, and turned me around so that I was facing away from the stage. She pulled me towards her so that I tripped and ended up with my back on the stage, legs dangling. She danced and danced and danced, above me, lowering herself as she went. And then her vagina was on my face.
It smelled like strawberries.
I smiled. Because I hadn’t known what to expect, I had assumed that it would smell like a torn-to-shit trailer house. Strawberries, man. I really like strawberries, so that was a nice surprise.
And then she put her face on my crotch and started blowing hot air through my jeans, onto my dick. That was also a nice surprise.
It felt pretty outstanding, especially considering that I was in between girlfriends, and hadn’t been laid in some time. She massaged me through my pants.
I wanted to be turned on, but I was too busy thinking about how this was such an awesome moment. “This is something that you’ll carry with you forever,” I thought. “Don’t forget it.”
At one point, she leaned back and whispered sex into my ear. If you’re a guy who has ever had this happen, you understand what I mean. It isn’t just talking, or even whispering, and it isn’t just blowing into your ear. It’s when a woman says something—maybe dirty or maybe not—and it’s sex. It goes into your ear and down to your crotch, and you’re left wondering what just happened, and willing to do anything to or for the speaker.
Maybe I’ll tell you a story sometime about the girl who sat behind me in fourth-period math and whispered sex into my ear because she thought it was hilarious that I would have to wait until my boner died down before I could go to lunch.
Anyway, this stripper, she whispered sex into my ear, “You aren’t getting hard.”
“No,” I told her in a shaky voice.
“Because as cool as this is, it’s nothing to get hard about. You’re great, though.”
She laughed, a sweet laugh, not a fake laugh, and she squirmed some more, and then the fakedance was over, and she sexed into my ear again, “You’re one of the good ones. Don’t lose that.”
I told her that I wouldn’t.
I did, of course. Years later, New Years, living room floor, sweaty, stained, and guilty, thinking about the stripper I let down. But that’s a different story.
The point of this story is that when I mixed the old lady candle with the grapefruit soap, for just a moment, it smelled like that stripper’s vagina.
It was weird.
But not nearly as weird as writing this story for the world to read.