On That One Time I Was Propositioned

I'm sure that there are probably a lot of things beyond participating in adult beverage consumption that one can do whilst visiting the French Quarter of New Orleans, but my friends and I were not about to sacrifice a moment of Bacchanalian revelry trying to discover what they might be. A night of debauchery was going to be had.

Which is how I found myself in the middle of a strip club at the end of the night... watching some chic do her thing. As she finished her number by gathering up her tokens of appreciation, we all stood up to leave when suddenly the guy sitting to the right of me asks me how much I would be for the night.

(Let's use this line to let that sink in.)

I. Was. Mortified.

I was most definitely not the woman that I am now back then, but even my twenty-something year-old, people-pleasing, self-objectifying, anything-to-please-my-man, not-yet-feminist-identifying self that I was back then was SCREAMING silently inside my body.

Why would he ask me that? Because I wore my makeup all dark and smoky? Because I wore those tight black jeans with my sexy faux-see-through black lace top? Seriously. When is it ever okay to ask any random woman that? In a strip club? Because idiot assumes all women in strip clubs are sex workers... ergo I'm a hooker?

I immediately turned to the guy sitting to the left of me — my bae, but not just my bae, my boyfriend for at least over a year (because that matters) — and whispered to him that the dude sitting on the other side of me just asked me how much I was for the evening.

Part of me kinda thought that my then boyfriend would immediately confront the dude to defend my honor. Because he loves me. And because he was strong and all knight-in-shining-armor-y. For half of a split second I even romanticized the notion (remember, this is twenty-something-not-yet-feminist-identifying me). Of course he'll defend my honor!


"Take it as a compliment," he said.


Wait, what? Take it as a compliment?! Are you effing kidding me?

I was horrified.

Dear dudes,
When something like this happens,
tell your gal to "take it as a compliment".
Just don't.


I'm not really sure why I'm writing about this. Probably because I'm still horrified by this story, even now, twenty-something years later. Maybe I just want to document it for being one of those stories that helped inform and mold the woman I have become. Maybe it's because I wish that I was the woman I am now back then. (But I don't really wish that because I own my story. And I believe in the butterfly effect. And I don't want anything to change where I am right now.) Perhaps it's because I'm three chapters into Jaclyn Friedman's Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All . That's probably it.


Film I'd like to watch after writing this post: Indecent Proposal (1993)