One night Tarin sat across from me in the black dress that made her seem so professional, her legs crossed. Her hands and arms and legs and torso moved constantly. You would think her the youngest woman in the club.
“[He’s a] big ray of sunshine,” Tarin told me as she spoke of her son, “He’s hilarious and adorable. He keeps it real.”
“Are you teaching him to be a proper little black man?” I joked.
“Um, nah, I think he’s totally white. Effeminate. I love it. He’s five. He’ll be six on the 23rd. Crazy, right? I tried to have him on Mother’s Day and it just wasn’t working,” she laughed.
“He just found out I’m a stripper. He doesn’t say stripper but he said the other day to me, ‘Mom, are you going to go work and dance and make some money?’ and I was like ‘Am I gunna what?’ and he’s like ‘You make dance moves, right? And they pay you for your dance moves.’ And I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ and he’s like ‘I’ve seen your clothes in your work bag.’
“It doesn’t help that when we did the exotic fusion for the first time we videotaped it. When he was three he found that and I caught him one morning watching it. I mean, granted, it’s just girls dancing and taking their clothes off but I’m in that video. So I think he finally just connected the video with the clothes and the money and is like ‘Wait a minute here, this is what my mom is doing’.” The music died with her last words and for a moment Tarin’s bubble broke and the smiles and exuberance faded.
“So it’s kind of horrifying, actually. It was okay when he was younger and oblivious to the concept of [dancing and being paid].” The music picks back up and so does her mood. It’s as if the tunes overhead, the bass and the songs, are some sort of juice to a battery rechargeable, giving her back the facade that keeps her through the night, “So, yeah, I’m ready to quit. Now. I’m, like, ready to go get a job at IHOP because I don’t want him to think I’m a stripper anymore. I mean, I’m serious. It’s horrifying. It is horrifying. What if he goes to school one day and says ‘My mom dances for money’. Like, what? No thank you.”