It's a sad, sad world out there…

He is old as dirt, sitting at my stage in a worn flannel shirt and a faded pink and blue baseball cap. When I hold out my garter for money he is suprised, and then digs in his wallet for a ten. Later, after stage, after a few dances, I sit with him.

He says women are beautiful, he loves women. He loves all women, we are all different like butterflies, and if there was a woman so fat here that her hips stretched all the way accross the stage she would still be a beautiful butterfly. Women have hearts, you see, and men have lost them, he says.

I don’t tell him that we aren’t hanging onto it for him, that he should inquire within for his own heart. I call him sweet and look at the niceness in him.

Nine grandkids, he says. They live all around him, because he wanted all of his children to have homes and so he built them around his house, and now in his old age he enjoys the adoration of nine grandchildren. There are the neighborhood children, too. They all come to his house when the ice cream truck comes, and hell it costs him fifty, sixty bucks, but it’s worth it. The way he see’s it, a good childhood is priceless.

Did you know there were still people out there like this? Sometimes I do, but usually I forget, usually they don’t share their niceness with women like me.

He’s got a construction company, has for forty years now. His boys still work with him, and he doesn’t tell them what to do because they are so smart and he is so proud of them, but he can still outwork them. My mom can still outwork me, too. I can’t wait to be fifty. He’s putting up a building down here. Simple, fast. I ask him about reflectix and R values and he says one layer is enough, no reason for a second. Be careful of the seams, he says. Overlap just a little and use the tape that comes with it. I always do.

This is his first time in a place like this, he says. Well, once, there was another time. His friends took him to a club up in the big city, but it was awful. He saw a woman dancing for another woman, touching her. Horrid. So he left.


There was a comedian once. Margaret Chong or something, and she was funny but there it was a big homosexual thing, so he left. He can’t stand that shit, it sickens him to his core.

I shift in my seat, look over his shoulder, get ready to excuse myself.

It’s not that he minds what people do, he says, he just doesn’t want to see it. He was molested when he was a kid, for two years, by a man. He was eight and nine and he couldn’t breath with his face held in the pillow. Now, when he see’s two men, even two women, it’s like being punched in the gut.

I settle back into my seat, feeling something like a little punch in my gut. People are little replica’s of civilization, traumatised enough to kill the whole world.

His kids don’t know, he whispers, they just think he’s old fashioned. But he raised them right, and he ain’t never let them disrespect their momma, and he bought them ice cream every Sunday.

His son leans over, orders us all new drinks, tells me that his dad is his best friend.

Later, another chair, another man.

He doesn’t want a dance but he gives me forty to talk. Last Wednesday he got off work, and he’s been drunk since Thursday. He’s trying to sober up a little now, he says, sipping his jack straight.

I tell him I’m drinking tequilla and sing the funny tequilla song. He likes it.

Do I have kids, he wants to know? He has five.

Five kids, I say, wow. That must take sooo much time and work and energy. I’d probably go crazy if I had five kids.

Yeah, he squints at me, it’s hard to be a mother. Kids are pretty expensive, but he doesn’t mind, he makes good money. He thinks they peak out around age fourteen, as far as expense goes.

I hold out my garter and tell him it’s time to feed the meter. As far as conversations go, this one’s definitely going to be expensive.

He stares at me. Asks hey, what am I going to do with this money? Because the last girl he gave some money to went to jail for shoplifting.

I’m going to buy a boat, I tell him.

He laughs and tells me I don’t even know how to fish.

This conversation has just become priceless, but I don’t tell him, I just stand up and walk away.

Next chair, next man.


  1. The only time my father ever raised his voice to me was the time he saw me hug another woman.

    You’ve made me think differently about that. Thank you.

  2. Hi Tara,

    I’ve been reading your blog lately and really enjoy it. This was a nice post. Very interesting to get into the soul of someone.

    “People are little replica’s of civilization, traumatised enough to kill the whole world.” A magnificent insight.

    I had never thought about how stripping not only reveals the skin but gets under it too. People stumble in and expose themselves, for an assortment of reasons and histories, out of need.

    It’s interesting when, as a man, I consider that men watching strippers think it’s the women that are being exposed.


    scott Kelly
    Mrs. Kelly’s Playhouse

  3. That was such a beautiful article you wrote. It is kind of hard to find good ppl in this fucked up world but they are out there. Your writing is sooo inspiring and real.

    Goddess bless you in everything you do! 😉

  4. “People are little replica’s of civilization, traumatised enough to kill the whole world.”
    This is going to be stuck in my head for forever.

  5. I just love everything about your blog. Your writing inspires me, makes me feel more human, and makes me realize everything out there that I want to do but am too scared. Thank you for writing!

  6. Of all the things he could say, he tells you you don’t know how to fish. That actually made me laugh.

  7. What a pearl, wedged as it is between “I don’t tell him that we aren’t hanging onto it for him, that he should inquire within for his own heart.” and “Next chair, next man.”


  8. Your experiences (but more importantly your shared insight) are better than a picture of my Usnea barbata stash any day 🙂 Good luck on the boat money! When do you need those building interners 😉

  9. Hey! Found your blog roundaboutly through a financial blog, actually, and was instantly hooked. From the time you wrote about that little strip club feeling like home until now, I’ve read through your entire archives. You are FUN. I’ll have fun continuing to read.

  10. I had Song Catcher from netflix too 🙂 It is a good movie.

    Truth is we are all fighting our own battles … most people are simply reacting to something in their past and do not have the self awareness of how to change

    lindy the barefooted bus dweller

  11. “People are little replica’s of civilization, traumatised enough to kill the whole world.”

    A gorgeous, poetic line, which would have been perfect had it been spelled correctly

    No apostrophe in “replicas”, if they are plural.

    Beautiful writing though.

  12. So poignant! A perfect example of how complex yet simple life can be.

    I’ve seen your site before but haven’t visited it in a while. I did when my friend emailed me and said, “I don’t know why… but Hobo Stripper kinda captured my heart! 🙂 ”


  13. I predict the bigotry people feel about lesbians will change the way that the ignorance towards inter racial couples has started to change. It wasn’t all that long ago that it was against the law for someone black to marry someone white. Lets hope people wake up and stop that stupid nonsense. Great post btw. You hit it perfectly.

  14. This is my first visit. I too found you in a very round about way…

    I’m struck by your imagery…by the simple but profound statements of your reality. And especially by this…I call him sweet and look at the niceness in him….

    Thanks for sharing your beauty and bliss with us.
    You are truly blessed.

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