There was about an hour left until close when Blake and his friends arrived at my club. I’d had a good night at work, so any more money I made would’ve been icing on the cake. In other words, I was in chill mode. The DJ called me to the stage for what would be my last set of the evening. I was twirling around the pole for my own pleasure when I saw Blake approaching. I made my way to the edge of the stage to entertain him personally. He had a beard and tousled, ear-length brown hair that hung from a baseball cap. I found big, blue eyes beneath the rim. “Hi, I’m Melody,” I said, giving him my hand to shake.
“Don’t be a stripper with me,” he chirped, simultaneously revealing a British accent and a bold personality. Who the hell is this guy?, I thought to myself. I was partly amused because of his spunk, and partly turned off because I pride myself on being a genuine and down-to-Earth kind of dancer. “Just relax,” he said. “I’m going to give you my money regardless.” He placed dollar after dollar on the stage and told me he wanted a lap dance. On our way to the private room he joked, “It better be sensual.”
I took off my g-string as he sat up in his chair and watched me. He sighed at the sight of my vagina. “I just wanna...” He cupped his hands in front of his mouth and shook his head left to right to simulate the act of eating me out. I giggled a nervous laugh, pushed him back into the seat and straddled him. We talked about his tattoos and his career in sex toy manufacturing while I dry humped him. Then he kissed me. I wasn’t sure if I liked him yet so I told him I wasn’t allowed to kiss customers. I decided before he left that I did like him, and gave him my number.
Our first date was cute and chill. Blake didn’t mind my lateness. We had a bite at a restaurant near his downtown LA flat and then some drinks at a rooftop bar. I was more attracted to him the second time around. He wasn’t wearing a hat and I could really appreciate how handsome he was. He was so good-looking, in fact, that our waitress was visibly nervous every time she came to our table. I felt lucky to be his date.
That night I hooked up with him. He was charming and made me feel comfortable. We connected. I wanted to see him again even though there were some yellow flags, like him telling me he’d had girlfriends but was never in love with them. Then he invited me to a comedy show but cancelled when the date came around. I was disappointed but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
One night I offered to bring beer and food to his place. “That sounds amazing,” he texted me back. He was supposed to let me know when he got home...but he never did. Another flag. I was annoyed at myself for having sex with him so early. I knew I wouldn’t have cared as much if I hadn’t shagged him. After some phone tag and failed, half-ass attempts to hang out I decided to let him know I wasn’t interested in casual sex. He said he understood and asked if he could take me out again. It was easy to stick to my guns while we were texting. I declined his invitation and thought that was the end. Then one night he came to my job again.
While his mates were running rampant, collecting lap dances with bozo strippers, we sat on a couch and discussed our status. “I like you,” Blake said. I laughed and told him he didn’t. “Why are you so negative?” he asked me. I was being mind-fucked by the sexiest man in Los Angeles. At 27 years-old I’m experienced enough to know when I’m being bullshitted. But I’m young enough to feel flattered when someone bothers putting in effort to gaslight me. I let him talk his shit, trying to persuade me I was a pessimist for sensing the red and yellow flags and attempting to remove myself from the situation. “Why are you giving up before you see where it goes?” he asked me. I laid out my reasoning: the cancelled dates, the late night calls and texts, the inconsistency. “I’m sorry. Are you going to give me another chance?”
I was confused. Did he mean what he was saying or was it a display of superb people skills? Was he a “great” Brit or just a cunning communicator? It was a split referendum. The next morning Blake sent a text—“I’m serious about taking you out again. Tell me when you’re free.” There was no way I was going to initiate hanging out with him and give him another chance to play me.
A week later he followed through on what he said. He DM’d me on Instagram and invited me to a chill spot in NoHo, and to a comedy show the next night. I obliged. I didn’t want to be overzealous so I didn’t bother putting on makeup. When I showed up he met me outside and gave me a big, welcoming hug. We sat inches apart from each other at the dimly lit bar. We were both wearing obstructive, rimmed hats but still managed to suck each other’s faces in a public display of affection. He was reeling me in. We moved from the bar to a couch. He told me about his favorite books in between fondling and kissing me. “I want you,” he said to me. I think I was three Moscow Mules in when I invited Blake to meet me in the unisex bathroom. You know what happened next.
After our restroom rendezvous we went to another bar, and then to an NBA All Star party in Hollywood where we smoked a lot of weed and got trashed on tequila and vodka. I had the time of my life dancing and making out with Blake in front of snooty industry wannabes. At some point we left the party and he took care of me as I threw up sporadically between Hollywood and downtown LA. I was mortified. We woke up the next morning and laughed it off. Oh, and the comedy show he mentioned for a second time? He cancelled again but half-heartedly invited me to get food with him and his friend instead. It was a no for me.
We communicated via text for maybe a week after that. I never contacted him first; I left the ball in his court. I knew he was likely to repeat his old patterns so I didn’t expect much from him. I was more disappointed in myself for fucking him again after protesting casual sex. On the bright side I had an awesome memory, and a story to tell.
I downloaded Tinder shortly after to help myself move forward. Two days after I met an alluring guy on the app Blake called me in the middle of the night (Do men have a radar that lets them know we moved on? It happens every time!). He said he missed me, asked how I’d been, and then asked to see me. I let him come over for a smoke. He was affectionate as ever, as though he hadn’t posted a video of him with another girl on Instagram days earlier. I made out and cuddled with him (because who doesn’t love that shit?) but I knew I couldn’t have sex with him again, only to be shelved for weeks after. I finally had the strength and sobriety to break our faux union. I sent him home with blue balls and never looked back. The final vote was in: Brexit.
Name has been changed.