Springtime at an Alaskan Strip Club

Anchorage, Alaska, March 1991—

I was standing outside the Great Alaskan Bush Company in Anchorage, Alaska. It was a lot smaller than I had expected. But it was cold, dark and dreary outside.

I went inside. There were maybe 15 other customers in the place and a dancer on the stage. No one was sitting on the rail. It was a blue collar crowd—bearded guys in flannel shirts sitting at small wooden tables, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer from mugs.

I looked at the dancer. She was overweight and out of shape, trying to do a split but she only got about halfway down before she had to put her hands down to prop herself up while she awkwardly swung her leg around to drop into a sitting position. Ugh.

I made my way to the bar and ordered a beer. Like everyone else, I mostly avoided looking at the dancer, who was now topless. She had nice breasts but she was just too fat and she didn’t move well. She had no grace.

The song ended and the DJ said a few words but the dancer cut him off, yelling, “A little applause might be nice! I’m dancing up here!”

That got everyone’s attention—for a few seconds, anyway.

The next song started and the dancer started dancing again. Still clumsy. But now she started punctuating her movements with muttering: “Losers… You’re a bunch of losers… What a bunch of losers…”

I was looking around the room trying to tell what Anchorage strip club customers were expected to do in situations like this. I’d never before seen a dancer haranguing the audience while she danced.

She took off her G-string and stood there naked with her hands on her hips.

“I’m naked up here!” she shouted.

Now everyone in the room was looking at her. She didn’t look good with her clothes off.

“Not one fucking tip!” she yelled. “You losers can’t even tip one fucking dollar? I’m dancing naked up here! You fucking losers!”

A guy in a heavy red and black plaid wool jacket stood up and walked to the stage. He took out his wallet, got out a dollar bill, and set it on the rail. Then he returned to his seat.

She looked at the dollar. Now the rest of the guys were turning away, covering their faces, trying not to laugh.

“Losers,” she muttered.

She picked up the dollar bill and her G-string and stormed off the stage.

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