We have all had those coming-of-age moments where we feel slightly invincible and even less adult than usual, as if repercussions do not exist.
Let me tell you about the time Sparkle McSunshine and I were invited to be strippers for an elite BYOB strip club.
Part 1: The Bus
It was a Tuesday. Dusk.
The heat of Fall was wavering, a slight kiss of cold-front on the wind making no lasting promises, the night coming faster with every passing day. This was the final stretch. The final semester in which we’d spread our wings and fly beyond the bullshit.
Earlier that day, Sparkle and I decided to be supportive and attend our friend’s fraternity Talent Shows that evening; additionally, it was homecoming week, so we felt motivated to have school spirit. Having never been to a Greek show, we did not know what to expect. We prepared ourselves for every Greek trope and opted not to drive ourselves per the decision. Our apartment complex offered a free bus service for all students, so we prepared to have few weeknight drinks without worry.
After mediocre preparation, the bus arrived, we boarded, and the night suddenly began.
Let me clarify something: I get extremely car sick.
Mountain roads? Barf.
Roller coaster? Barf.
Parking lots? Barf.
It all makes me sick. One small turn can give me symptoms lasting for hours. I can sometimes control it; for example, if I eat before the drive, the symptoms can be lessened. If they can’t be lessened, I puke on my sister—but that’s another story.
In case you’ve yet to make the connection, I was getting sick on the bus route. The driver was a half-wit, swirly-routed bastard and knew nothing of driving elegantly. I had not eaten enough to control my symptoms and remained staring intently out the window (sometimes this helps but not really) dreaming of fresh air and stability.
Now, here is where I introduce the first step to receiving karma.
We pulled up to the fourth stop where a woman was literally lying on the ground in wait—it is important I mention the bus offered free rides to residents as well as students during certain hours.
This woman was not a student.
The woman, newspaper in hand, rolled onto her side and elevated herself from the grassy knoll. She stumbled, reached for the bus railing, and hoisted herself into the cabin. By the time she turned to face the mostly empty bus, we realized by her unstable walking, she was clearly on something, if not everything.
Sparkle and I pretended to think nothing of it, although we did exchange a brief glance when she walked by us mumbling, “Fuck dis shiiit.” and took a seat right across from us.
Let it be known I try my best not to judge, but if I’m honest, there’s no way to be 110% judgement-free. It’s a natural, human trait allowing us to make decisions in our best interest: if there’s mold on more than half the bread, I judge the bread, and avoid it because I do not want to get sick. No, I am not comparing the woman to bread—but you catch my drift—if someone in a dark alleyway is holding a knife, I’m not going to assume they’re carving dinner for a dark-alley-dinner-party…
Back to the story:
She popped the newspaper open in front of her face, revealing a hole in the paper from which she could spy under the ruse of reading.
Trying not to laugh, I focused on how shitty I felt to keep from offending the Newspaper Spy as she spied on Sparkle and me. Like I said, I do my best no to judge, but, if I begin to, it’s best to attempt hiding the judgement with manners.
Anyways, I found the Newspaper Spy to be quite delightful and inspiring in her own sense. She didn’t care about anything or anyone, on her journey of self discovery and alleged substance abuse. As that day of class was particularly brutal and obnoxious, Sparkle and I resonated with her, hence we were preparing to drink.
The sixth stop came around. Three fraternity brothers boarded.
How did we know they were fraternity brothers?
We just did.
Paying no attention beyond their realm of coolness and brotherhood, they sat directly behind the Newspaper Spy. The three of them took two bench seats, two on one bench and one on the other, between the two and the Newspaper Spy—alone.
Naturally, the Newspaper Spy lowered her newspaper and began speaking in her uneasy, drawling voice.
The three exchanged looks, and engaged in conversation for obvious reasons: curiosity and something to tweet about. It was when she began focusing all of her attention on the single boy right behind her, that Sparkle and I could no longer contain our laughter.
“You’re beeeeoootifullll…” she touched his face and slid her finger down it, “Do you have a girlfriend, prettyyy?”
Judging by their reactions, these fraternity boys probably never had their space invaded in this type of awkward, “What do I do?” situation. As two women in college, we had had our fair share.
The other frat bros were dying silently with shock, also trying to contain their laughter, afraid (bless them) to offend the Newspaper Spy harassing their friend.
After a long, awkward episode of Newspaper Spy and Friends, the bus dropped us off, the Newspaper Spy stumbled off into the sunset, and the five of us exchanged awkward glances (we came from very different worlds) and moved towards the Talent Show venue in silence.
The show was great! We met with our friend afterwards to congratulate him on his performance. Although he was unavailable for a drink, we decided to walk to the bars, just the two of us, and grab a few.
I know drinking on Tuesday in unconventional, but this was our worst semester. Our level of care was an all-time-low and—yeah—we may or may not have occasionally poured rum into our coffee before 8am class.
Additionally, I was still feeling the motion sickness from the bus ride and putting alcohol in my body seemed the appropriate response. I’m not kidding when I say this was the worst semester. Don’t judge us: we, like the Newspaper Spy, know who we are.
So, we went to our favorite bar.
It was pleasantly empty (we hate crowds), so we grabbed our usual seats and ordered up.
Then, the unthinkable struck.