I was unemployed for a month after Club Paradox closed. The first week was fun, I still had the remains of my stripper money, and the leisure to truly enjoy it, but I became very bored very quickly. I assumed there must be other peep shows around the city–as seedy and unknown as Paradox–but I was wrong. There was the sister club, Bare Assets, in Cicero, the sex shop/peep show hybrid, but all the girls who had come from there were crazy, the money wasn’t as good, and there were rumors of girls being attacked in the video arcade. When they called to offer me a position, I turned it down and tried not to regret it. The suspicion that I would never again find anything even somewhat comparable to the odd little community began to nag at me.
Destiny, Victoria, and I discussed other clubs. The Admiral was out, they offered lapdances and Stanley, my boyfriend, was not enthusiastic about the prospect of me writhing in some strange man’s lap for money; besides that, plenty of people from Victoria’s school went there. She didn’t want her classmates to know exactly how she got her money. Heavenly Bodies was suggested, but Destiny used to work there and said it wasn’t great. There were a few other names thrown out, but there were problems with all of them. We were at a standstill. There simply was no club in the Chicago area that was not only accessible to all of us, but also friendly to all three of our different body types.
And so I did nothing.
I cleaned my house, I toyed with the idea of enrolling in school, but mostly I sat on my couch, staring into space, pining for Paradox and chain smoking. I think that was when my relationship with Stanley really took a nosedive and started out on its protracted course towards death. Without my work, there was a chunk of empty space in my heart, my head, something, and he couldn’t fill it. I had been trying to unsuccessfully squelch the whispers of fear that clamored at the back of my head when we discussed our eventual marriage for some time… now though, I welcomed the idea.