A girl has to feed


I always go to places where I know men want a woman and are willing to pay the price.

Tonight I come to a working class strip club in the suburbs of New Jersey where too many men stared up longingly at too few women.

I know here I stand a chance to score..

I never dress too well or too provocatively.

I want them to think of me as the girl next door theyíve always wanted, but could never have.

I sit at the long bar with a drink in front of me and a pack of cigarettes that suggests I would be willing to go outside if they ask.

The amber lights almost make up for the lack of cigarette smoke and keeps men from making too close of a comparison between me and the girl dancing on stage.

Iím not vain.

Itís my teeth I do not want the men to see or the puncture wounds on my neck that never quite heal.

I wear a high collar, yet leave enough buttons open in the front so men have something else to look at, some small advertisement for what men think they might get if they approach me right.

Not long after Iím seated, a man down the bar stirs and looks my way.

His look aches with need.

His need, however, is nothing compared with mine, though I keep my craving from ever showing in my eyes.

I smile demurely, inviting him without a word to take a seat next to mine and he does.

He wipes the beer foam from his mouth as he comes over, carrying his glass, telling me his name is Chuck, while asking about my name.

I make one up.

He blinks, trying to make out my face between the flashes of stage lights, my face reflected in his eyes: sharp nose, angular cheek bonds and a complexion so pale that daylight would easily give me away.

I sip my drink to distract him.

His gaze follows the movement of my hand, pausing to linger on the swell of my breasts.

I almost feel sorry for him, his ache is so obvious.

For the first time in years, a pang of guilt lodges in the back of my mind with the vague idea of showing this one mercy.

After all, I have hundreds of men like him to choose from if not here then at any one of the many other dives just like this one.

Yet a more powerful urge in me silences the other voice.

This is about my needs, not this manís.

He simply had the misfortune of meeting me on this night, in this place, and will pay a higher price for me than he intended.

My hunger must always be fed.

I can never show mercy or feel guilt the way I once did.

He is here so that I can survive.

He asks me where Iím from and I make up a place I know heís never heard of.

This passes into the ether between us, forgotten by both of us as one more insignificant detail, a step in a dance that has only one conclusion, but not the one he believes.

Then, he hits me with a line that makes me laugh, an old foolish and silly line that men like him have uttered so often and for so long it has become comical.

He looks hurt at my finding it funny.

It is a terrible and precarious moment because he eases off his stool as if to leave.

I panic

I say, ďDonít go!Ē

I say, ďIím sorry I didnít mean to offend you.Ē

I touch his arm, my fingers lingering on his warm flesh.

I know how cold my touch is and I see him shiver.

Yet he sits again, looking at my pack of cigarettes, his fingers twitching as if he needs a smoke.

He asks if we want to get out of this dumb and suggests a motel down the street.

I smile and collect my things.

He is so sweet.

He even pays for my drink.

Again I feel a pang of guilt.

But I am so hungry now, I thrust the guilt out of my mind.

After all, a girl has to feed, doesnít she?


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