Solicited in a High Class Geisha Club
At 26, I was singing in Japanese at a Japanese nightclub in the city. The piano player, a rather large woman would have me walk on her back before we went on stage. Even though, I knew that with one wrong step, . . I tried desperately to keep my balance. After all this was my very first night club job and I sure didn't want anything regrettable to happen. I had just decided to drop out of school where I had been working for a master's degree in music history. I had a little apartment on the lakefront and East Rogers Park was kick ass. I worked several part-time jobs to pay the bills. But my new job was five nights a week and I made a great salary. Seemed that I had scored my first great job singing.
It was run like a very high class Geisha club. Men only. Please don't get the wrong idea. Absolutely nothing unseemly went on. The girls, there were three of us, greeted the customers at the door with a bow and a smile. We would show them to their table and sit and converse. I learned enough key phrases in Japanese to actually engage in conversation. “You don't say.” “My, my, that's interesting.” Of course I had no idea what was being said to me but I'm good at feigning interest. I do it with my husband all the time.
One evening an American came in with his Japanese cronies. My boss requested that I sit with this group so that I could make small talk with the American. The American asked me to join him on the dance floor. While we were pretending to be Fred and Ginger, I noticed that his hands were getting clammy. Just as it occurs to me that I'm making him nervous, he leans in close and whispers, “how much will it cost me for an evening?”
An evening? Of what? Dancing? Reading poetry? Oh shit! I was horrified. I marched back to the table with him close on my heels.
“I think you are being inappropriate, sir. Please leave.” Then I picked up the closest ashtray and clocked him.
I ran back to the dressing room sobbing. I would never get over this insult. My boss came running after me. When I explained the situation, he put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me for handling it so well. Handling it? I just bashed a guy’s head in! As he left the dressing room I could hear him giggling. I calmed myself and went back into the club. The sweaty man was gone. There was no blood anywhere. The police never came. I was in the clear.
Another time, I was asked to sit with a particularly rowdy group of men. To make a long story short, at the end of this episode my knee was in someone's crotch, with the boss running towards me laughing. I could really take care of myself.
This job was going pretty well. All I had to do was sing and knock someone on their ass to make the boss happy.
There was a young man that started coming into the club every night. One night he offered to drive me home. The boss and his wife assured me that this was a personal friend and I was in good hands. The ride home was endless and uneventful. Very politely he watched me go into my apartment.
The next night, however just 24 hours later, I'm starting to fancy this guy. After all he'd made sure that I gotten in safely and he never made a pass at me. Little things mean a lot.
He seemed like a very nice guy and he was pretty cute and I am pretty shallow. He drove me home night after night. I was saving a heck of a lot of dough on taxi rides. Finally, one night I invite him in. Naturally we begin to kiss. I’m the kind of girl that with one good kiss I'll be in bed with you by the second. And I pride myself in that, little tart that I am.
Well he had the tiniest wee-wee that I had ever seen. Mind you, I was only 26. And when he came he yelled, “I'm going! I'm going!”
Obviously he had never learned his English phrases very well. So I was delicate with he who thought he was so virile. I held back my laughter. As always, I was in another fine mess. The following night, at the club, Mr. Teeny wee-wee brought me beautiful 24 karat gold earrings. How lovely. He was hooked. Okay, so that means? He’s friends with the boss, I slept with him and he's gone and bought me beautiful, expensive jewelry. I'm sunk. I have to marry him. Where was I going with this thought? The sex really sucked. But the jewelry was so beautiful. Can I be bought? Am I so weak of character?
I didn't marry him, not then, not ever. But he kept hanging on. From club to club he would show up and make sure to leave me a very small tip, just like his very small wee schvonze-en–blucher.
Fortunately he fell by the wayside with a lot of the other mopes that I left behind. And that was how my adventures in nightclub singing began.