I got to talk about my favorite anecdote today. And since I haven’t shared it here, yet, I thought I should do that. It’s about a club on a Tuesday. (It actually was a Thursday, but who cares, it doesn’t really matter.)
I had just moved from the 17th to the 18th arrondissement in Paris. If you’re not familiar with the specific characteristics of every arronidssement, the 17th is rather posh (at least the good side, meaning the part that’s not right next to the 18th) and the 18th is rather sketchy. Pigalle and Moulin Rouge are in the 18th. If you look at the history and architecture of Paris, it’s actually not surprising that Montmartre (which is the 18th) and its tiny dark side alley used to be the epicenter of all kinds of unlawful activities. But also or maybe for that exact reason, it was also the meeting point of great artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Modigliano, Van Gogh…
Especially the affiches of Toulouse-Lautrec are essential to Parisian culture. They were also the reason why I was and still am kinda obsessed with Montmartre. Of course it’s very touristy and somewhat artificial today. It’s basically just strip clubs and sex shops. However, during my time in Paris, there was nothing I loved more that strolling around the area. I know, it’s weird. But I’m a fan of Toulouse-Lautrec, so I wanted to soak in the atmosphere.
So there was this one day where I had no idea what to do with myself. I had just moved to the 18th, my apartment still was an unfurnished mess, I’d just spent the day on painting my room. All of my stuff was still in boxes and instead of a bed I only had a sleeping bag. It was a Thursday and I had taken the day off my work at Subway that day. After I’d spent the day painting the day painting, I wanted to do something fun. Unfortunately, all my friends either had to work that day or had class the next morning and were being way too responsible about that. Little fuckers.
So I decided to go take a walk in my new hood. I even had something to get from the pharmacy. (Awesome thing about Pigalle, there’s a pharmacy that’s open until midnight. I saved me from getting a conjunctivitis, once.) On my way to the pharmacy, I passed my all the strip clubs and sex shops. It was summer (and I was dressed like it) and all the owners were standing outside trying to lure people in. One guy outside of a strip club apporached me. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I do remember that he was asking me if I’d want to work for him and therefore invited me in to have a look. I declined and continued my way to the pharmacy. But then on my way back from there, I thought: “Why not go in?” and so I decided that if he’d ask me a second time, I’d go in. Surprise, Surprise, he did. I even got a free drink. My boring Thursday had just gotten quite exciting. So I went to the strip club, on my own and still totally sober.
To be honest, it was one of the shittiest places I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the fancy kind of strip club that Chuck Bass owns in Gossip Girl (gosh, I would have loved that!). No, it was just ugly and kinda sad. But I didn’t leave right away, it was way too interesting for that. I was introduced to the girls who worked there and sat down and had a chat with them. They basically told me that most part of their job was waiting. They’d arrive at 10pm, but apparently, the busiest time was from around 1 to 3 am. While we talked, two American dudes walked in. One of the girls danced for them. It was a Rihanna song. And wow was she amazing! I wish I could dance like that, it was amazing to watch. I was speechless when she told me that she learned it all on youtube. However, she didn’t get a big tip, even though her performance was awesome. I guess the shitty cheap atmosphere of the club made the guys act like shitty and cheap assholes. They left pretty quickly and then it was just the girls and me again. They told me about their lives and how they came to that place and I have to say, that night was one of the moments where I got a deeper understanding on what it means to be in that kind of industry. And just for the record, I don’t like the stigma around it. I hate it.
However, I very much appreciated the attitude of these girls. They were so warm and kind, it was amazing. I also liked that they had absolutely no shyness about their bodies. One girl showed me how her boobs could dance. Like she pulled away the tiny amount of cloth that was covering her nipples and let her naked boobs bounce with the rhythm of the music. You don’t see that everyday. And seriously, when it comes to body positivity, we should all be more like that.
Eventually, it was my time to leave. I could’ve stayed much longer, but I decided to call it a night after I’d seen literally everything. But I didn’t feel like just going home. So I stopped at a kiosk and bought a bottle of vodka and some diet coke before I made my way back to the appartment. (My friends were still being boring.)
I then spent the rest of the night watching The Rum Diary and take a sip of my Vodka Coke everytime Johnny Depp is having some of his drink. I got incredibly drunk that night and had one of my worst hangovers the day after. But so far, it’s one of my favorite anecdotes.