It is 9:15 on a Saturday in early September
I set my heavy tote bag, full of make up, hair product and clothes, down on the 4 foot high table in front of me.
The lack of excess weight feels good, and I immediately start to regain feeling in the shoulder on which it was perched.
Ecstasy comes into the dressing room and walks over to her black duffle bag, which is even larger than my work bag.
She grabs an aerosol can from the front pocket of her bag, lifts her underwear and sprays it 6 inches from her pelvic region.
She laughs and says something about her pooping, and how her last client was lucky she could hold it in.
She is 10 to 15 feet away from me, so the smell of the spray does not affect me.
I hear a clicking sound from her lighter as she lights the menthol cigarette she had just rummaged through her bag to find.
She makes it a point to say that she does not care about the rule against smoking in the dressing room.
The smell of her cigarette is peppermint-like.
She taps my right arm with an unlit cigarette in her hand to offer it to me. I accept.
It tastes like hazard and mint, if that makes sense.
I exhale through my nose and it subtly burns the inside of my nostrils.
I am a little congested, and the menthol causes mucus to surface.
Choking on this mucus, I tilt my head into my chest, which causes the cigarette in my right hand to singe a few of the hairs on my head.
Even though only a few hairs were burned, the smell takes over for a period of time.
Seven, one of the more boisterous dancers, loudly complains about the foul smell after walking into the dressing room from being on stage.
Her voice projects and I’m sure can be heard in the lobby area.
She settles down after a while and goes back out to “get it,” in reference to making money.
My cigarette is gone, and now I am getting ready to go out and dance.
I cake foundation on my face, which makes me feel unclean because I do not wear makeup on my days off.
The powder foundation brush somewhat tickles my cheeks and nose as I apply it.
The liquid eyeliner burns the inside of my bottom eyelid as I attempt to apply it without tearing up.
My attempt was unsuccessful. I feel my face get warm as tears escape from the corner of my left eye.
After I calm down, I remove my street clothes, the part I dread the most because the room is cold on my bare skin.
I put on my favorite bra, which is a black size 34 C bombshell bra from Victoria’s Secret.
I like this particular brazier because it does not leave marks or hurt me when I wear it, like most bras do.
I step into my first pair of underwear, a hot pink lace thong and then my top pair of underwear, which is a dull black pair of lace cheeksters.
I strap on the 6-inch heels, which I typically don’t wear but decided to on this specific day, and causally walk out of the dressing room.
A stranger, who has the smell of alcohol on his breathe, makes comments about my appearance.
I politely smile, but want to roll my eyes at him.
I then hear, “And now we’ve got DOTTIE coming to the main stage after this song, Dottieeee,” which reverberates.
That is my que.