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Simon / SEXY SERENITY

SEXY SERENITY
A MEMOIR

MIRANDA K. SIMON

Simon / Sexy Serenity

www.mirandaksimon.com

Chapter One: The Red Couch No matter what anyone says, Im not a whore. Let me clarify. I didnt join the adult entertainment business as a social experiment or research project or out of boredom to get my kicks. No, it found me. It was a cure for my financial desperation. I spent five years in the sex industry as a hostess dancer and exotic dancerbikini, topless, and nude. I know what youre probably thinking, and no, not all women in the sex industry are drug addicts, sluts, and prostitutes. I didnt know that then. Now I do. Raised with a healthy dose of Christian guilt, I used to think that no upstanding woman in good conscience could take off her clothes for money and maintain a decent reputation. A stripper wouldnt fit into my circle of friends. What a hypocrite I turned out to be. Lifes funny like that. # Spring 1998 I sat under a spotlight and crossed my legs. Cassie, money heading your way. My friend and roommate, Yessenia, a younger Cindy Crawford look-alike, minus the mole, at 59 with blonde streaked curls, elbowed my side. Where? I squinted through the blinding beam of light. A man pointed at me and motioned me over to him. Oh thank God hes a suit. To stand up, I peeled my sweaty skin off the red vinyl couch. I yanked at the hem of my beige suede mini, which Id had since my junior year in high schoolthe only short skirt, after much begging, that my dad had ever allowed me

Simon / Sexy Serenity

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to buy. Ha! If my conservative well-educated daddy only knew. I readjusted my bra so that my low-cut tank top better showcased my ample natural breasts and strutted over to the customer. I gave him a grin and headed to the column in the center of the room. A blank cardstock paper slid into the time clock. It clicked. In the dim lobby, my maroon nails flipped the wall of timecards until I found the one with my working name on it: Cassie. When Cassie clocks in, Miranda clocks out. No longer college student or single mother Im now a paid companion, a fantasy. I emphasize the word paid. Theres no way in hell Id be doing this otherwise. In fact, if it werent for the accidental pregnancy, I could be studying law at Harvard. A familiar middle-aged Asian man in a dress shirt and gray slacks held out his hand. I tucked the 10 Free Minutes ticket into my purse. He guided me toward the dark dance area. Surrounded by black walls, I kept my head down and tried not to trip over the creases in the stained red carpet, or what was left of it, and avoided eye contact with the other women. To my right and left, they sat on red couches behind cast-iron railings. My heels clicked on the worn wooden floor as he escorted me past the DJ who was spinning another slow song. My customer wrapped an arm around my hour-glass waist. I hadnt taken formal ballroom dancing lessons, only the directions my father gave me, but I knew it was a waltz. My client was passionate about dancing. I twirled around the room at his direction. He paused to wipe sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief that he returned to his pocket. Smile. Flirt. Maintain the illusion. Keep him entertained, so hell keep me on the clock.

Simon / Sexy Serenity

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The man looked into my eyes but didnt say a word. He didnt stare with hunger at my lips or take advantage of my shorter frame to catch a peek of my cleavage. He didnt allow his hand to accidentally slip down my backside to sneak a squeeze. Thank God. Exude confidence. Other men are watching. The 10 free minutes offer ended; men and their hostesses lined up at the cash register in the lobby. Not me. My client wanted to dance with me for twenty more minutes. A fast song changed the mood. He motioned to me to retrieve my timecard and accompany him to the checkout counter. I surrendered the coupon. The owners, an older Japanese couple whose names I could never pronounce, calculated the total due, while I stared at the stack of paper and pens used by customers for writing down names and phone numbersa reminder that the owners valued money more than the care and welfare of their working girls. While the owners official position was that we exclusively saw clients inside the club so that the club got their cut, it was also implied that we girls should keep in contact with customers doing whatever we were willing to do to ensure a steady stream of profit for the club. Our thirty minutes together cost my customer ten dollars. A true gentleman, he handed me twentywhat the bill wouldve been without the discount plus an extra eight. Its polite to give dollar-for-dollar to match the bill, more than that to be kind. Any less would be a waste of my time. Every hour I was on the clock, the club raked in twenty-four dollars. My night was good if I could earn an average of twenty to thirty in tips per hour during my four hour shift. I needed enough to cover daycare, food, and gasenough to swallow my pride and show up at work.

Simon / Sexy Serenity

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I gave him a polite hug before we parted. He headed out the door, down the dark staircase to his other life; I resumed my position on the red couch to signify my availability. It wasnt until years later that I realized that this hostess club and these red couches where we sat on display were unlike anything else in the world: strip clubs, disco clubs, brothels, bars, lounges, coffee houses. Hostess clubs, relatively rare outside of Asia, descended from the Japanese Geisha tradition of men paying to be entertained by attractive women. Most of my best money was made when I was able to flirtatiously engage in intelligent conversation with businessmen. But unlike Geisha girls with their white painted faces and elaborate kimonos who performed traditional dances for their clients, we wore simple Western makeup and skimpy attire, and danced with our clients. A muffled sound came over the loudspeaker. Hey, Kim. I poked the bony girl with stringy blonde hair sitting next to me. What was that? She rolled her eyes. The spotlights cast shadows on her face, making her cheeks look sunken in. Another ten free minutes special. Damn girl, business is slow tonight. I gotta make my rent. Me too. I looked at the available clientele. Look at these guys. They couldve at least taken a shower and put on some clean clothes. They only keep one of us long enough to grind against for ten minutes. Gross. No thanks. Yeah, and only give us a five afterward. Cheapskates. Her brown eyes widened. Oh, shit. Here comes Hector-the-molester. An old man with sweaty gray locks that encircled a widening bald spot waddled towards us. His striped shirts top two buttons were open, partially exposing his curly gray chest hair. His

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belt kept his shirt tucked into his slacks, but his belly hung over the front. He upturned the corner of his lips in a smile that revealed his stained crooked teeth. I choked back a gag. Eww. Im going to go hide in the locker room. I got up. Are you staying? Yeah, I need cash. My ex still aint paying his child support and my kids gotta eat. Plus I need more minutes. Theyve warned me twice. When a dance hostess consistently fell short on minutes, she was either put on probation or terminated. At the registers, the owners handed us red tickets to collect until the end of the night, so we could prove whether we were worth keeping for another shift. They expected 120 minutes a night per girl. What a joke. Minutes alone were a poor representation of my value. Covered in engine grease, a man with slicked back hair pointed at me. I pretended not to notice. Instead, I ducked into the hallway and headed towards the hostess locker room where I bumped into Yessenia. She looked as if she should have been strutting across a catwalk or gracing the cover of a magazine rather than working in this dump. Holding an unlit cigarette between her long, manicured fingers, Yessenia leaned close to a mirror and adjusted her fake eyelashes with her other hand. I couldnt wear them. They looked like dead caterpillars on me. Hiding from the ten-free-minutes special hmm? I grinned. Hell yeah. Im not a charity. She adjusted her halter top and flung her highlighted hair back behind her tanned shoulders. Im gonna go have a smoke. I followed her tall shapely shadow through a maze of dark corridors. The club operated from half of the gutted-out second-floor of a crumbling brick building; the other half was off

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limits, containing locked and abandoned offices or rooms, most of which were unfit for human use. The only exception was the hostesses designated smoking room. We entered the small square room that had peeling walls and a fire escape that the braver girls used like a balcony. I never smoked, but it was nice to get fresh air, meaning free of humid body odor and musky cheap cologne. Plus I could commiserate with Yesseniawed been friends since high school. We bolstered each other through all of the psychological pain and humiliation. Tired from squatting, I used my purse as a cushion from the splintered wood, sat, and stared out the open window. Beyond the fire escape, city lights sparkled from high-rises. A new hostess, a Hispanic girl who was barely legal, joined us. Can I bum a smoke? She yanked at her short black spandex that didnt seem long enough to be called a skirt. Sure. Yessenia held her cigarette in between her lips while she took out another one. I pointed. Watch out, careful of the hole in the corner. Rotted beams in the floor broke. She looked down and gave a half-assed shrug. Thanks. Didnt see it. Im genuinely surprised this old building hasnt been condemned, I said. Im sure its in violation of a dozen health codes. We could totally call OSHA on them. Even though I get that its historical, its a piece of shit. No worse than this shitty job. Yessenia took a long drag. Youd think it was Japan post Geisha Period, or some third-world country. But it wasnt. It was 1998 and we worked in a decrepit building in Los Angeles, California, a hostess club; I was a hostess dancer. Hostess dancer was partly a misnomer because only a portion of the club was devoted to dancing. Comfy booths formed an L-shape around the dance area for private talking. A small

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bar sold overpriced watered down juices and nonalcoholic beverages. Another room contained bar-sized pool tables. The newbie finished her cig and rushed back out to earn more minutes and cash. Hows your night? I asked. Yessenia shrugged. She flicked her hand and ash trailed to the floor. I focused on the twinkling skyline. Mine sucks. She blew smoke into the air, which without a breeze stayed suspended in place. Just ready to go home.

After our shift ended, Yessenia and I linked arms and descended the dark creaky staircase illuminated by a single hanging light bulb. In the parking lot, we daintily stepped around the hypodermic needles and used condoms to get to her car. The initial shock had worn off. During the drive home, we bitched about our night. Some guy tried to touch me in the TV room, I said. Same size as the dance area, the enclosed area had private leather loveseats at least ten rows deep. And? Tell me something new. At least you didnt have to sit next to some girl who let a guy finger-bang her under his jacket. Well thats because other girls let them do that. The guys should know better with me. What do you expect? Were sitting on couches waiting for sick fuckers to clock us in. I expect a little respect. You want respect? Quit and go get your office job. You know I already tried that. It doesnt pay enough. At least we get tips here.

Simon / Sexy Serenity

www.mirandaksimon.com

Yeah, well I just love getting my leg humped by someone old enough to be my grandpa. I should be paid more for this shit. This is a joke. Theres gotta be a better way to make money. I shook my head. I couldnt think of any other option.

END of Excerpt

About the Author As a single mother, Miranda K. Simon supported her child for five years as a hostess and exotic dancer. She successfully finished college and escaped the industry. Years later, she has written her memoir SEXY SERENITY to expose the underground world of hostess dancing in Los Angeles, California and tell the truth about the too-often glamorized stripping career. Find out more information at www.mirandaksimon.com.