OTC, outside the club. It’s a term I ran into on a web site I found that talked the assorted goings on about a club in Vegas. They kept using the term “OTC” which I thought meant over the counter. The posts didn’t make much sense till I figured that out. There are many dancers, current and retired I see out side the club. All I consider my friends to varying degrees. A few I would trust with the keys to my car and home, others, not so much. Some I meet on a professional level. One is a hair stylist. She cuts my hair obviously, I always feel kind of bad when she cuts my hair. She always does a terrific job. Casting pearls among swine. I can barely remember to comb my hair most of the time. The other is a licensed massage therapist who I see from time to time.
Meeting a dancer outside the club was a little odd the first time. This is the first time I met the girl when she was, as Susan Wayward described it “unstripperfied”. The initial reaction was to her height. In the club she was the same height as me, now she was six inches shorter. The casual clothes also gave her a very different appearance as well. I had an old cell phone I was going to give her. She was very cautious. I’m sure however nice a guy I seem at the club thing can change on the outside. She had a minor hard luck story about needing a few bucks to get phone reactivated. We met a few times more, each time she had some sort of minor bill that she needed help with. It was pretty obvious that I was getting used for an ambulatory ATM machine. I quit answering her calls after a while. I far was too clever to fall for this, or so I thought.
I ran into another dancer who I really hit it off with. She was very beautiful, very smart, and very charismatic. For simplicities sake I’ll call her Bonnie. When another dancer found out I was talk to Bonnie, she warned me to be careful. I wished she had hit me over the head brick. It would have been cheaper and less painful. Bonnie was an absolutely master manipulator. I’m sure my SAT scores were higher than hers. I can answer more questions watching Jeopardy than she can. But when it came to reading people, knowing what to say, what to do to get what you want I was way out of my league. If you need somebody to fix your computer, talk to me. If you need somebody to negotiate for a new car, talk to Bonnie. Bonnie had the ability to make things seem like my idea, I was so happy to give her money, a lot of money. I sat down once and figured out how much I paid out to take care of her assorted needs, the amount was over $23,000 dollars. I’ve run into con artists before, but they’ve been mostly the carnival carnie types. Just a single deal with a stranger, when I walked away I never saw them again. This was the first time I had ever had somebody I felt close too completely take advantage of me. I guess I’ve managed to live a sheltered life in that regard.
Natalia recently blogged about a customer that was manipulative and difficult to deal with. Oddly, I saw a little of myself in him. Not in the way he acted but in his motivations. We were both looking at relationships that were dysfunctional, driven by loneliness. His actions were externally destructive, mine internally destructive. The major difference is that initially I was a victim. He is not. I say initially for me because I eventually became an accomplice to Bonnie. She never put a gun to my head, I could have said no at any time. I have to accept responsibility to my own actions. Ultimately she wasn’t that clever and I’m not that stupid.
Eventually I caught on and grew a back bone. From a logic point of view I knew that this was a bad thing pretty early on, but from an emotional point of view I couldn’t bring myself to accept it. The good news is that I’m at a point in my life where I can deal with a dollar loss like that. In no uncertain terms it was a massively humbling experience. On peculiar side effect from the Bonnie experience is I’ve picked up an odd habit. When I ever I meet a dancer outside the club I always record the amount in a spread sheet. Just the amount and the day get logged. I never put down the reason. I learned from Bonnie that there will always be a reason. As harsh as this feels to write, the intentions become pretty obvious when you strip away the emotion. The dollar amount always will slowly increase.
There are lots of con artists out there. I know better than to categorically put all dancers in this place, it has changed me to being a lot more defensive. It has also affected in ways I did think. I dated a dancer for a while. It was kind of a weird relationship. I could never sort out what her intentions were. Was she really interested in me, or I was simply stable and financially viable? Things were erratic at best. Things would be good for a couple weeks, and then she’d drop off and be impossible to get a hold of for a couple weeks. Granted getting our schedules to match was always difficult. She worked and went to school at night. I have an 8 to 5 job. But when she quit being responsive I began to think was she dating somebody else and only dealing with me when it was convenient’ Possibly, I couldn’t judge. It always nagged at me that there was some sort of ulterior motive going on. Other times she would only contact me when she was working, like I was a customer. Ok that’s fine. Then she would want to come over and make me dinner. She never asked me for money. That was the surprising part. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising if she was genuinely interested in me, but I always had Bonnie in the back of my head. Eventually I got tired of the disappearing acts. After she didn’t call me back a couple times, I just quit calling her. Then I didn’t return her calls, perhaps not the best way to end it.
Most dancers I meet outside the club is just to have lunch or dinner with a friend I like to talk to. Nothing more than that. Do I think about dating some of the dancers I know? Absolutely. Would I ask them out? No. It would just make things uncomfortable. I honestly value their friendship way too much to that. Unfortunately when I sit and consider if something like that would work, it invariably requires the use of a time machine. Why are attractive, intelligent women always in relationships when I meet them? I just hate that.