When meeting a work colleague and potential new friend for the first time in real life, it’s important to pick the perfect location, and that’s why music writer Sophie Saint Thomas and I chose to hang out in the flesh at a strip club in Bushwick, Brooklyn called Pumps. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or perhaps hearing the establishment’s name you’re now curious to visit it yourself? Well if you do, please look for my favorite gray cardigan, and Sophie’s scarf, which we somehow both independently removed and wildly threw into a dark corner somewhere. Actually, never mind, just leave them there. They probably have bed bugs now.
Prior to Saturday night, which also happened to be Cinco De Mayo and the night of the supermoon my interaction with Sophie had primarily revolved around getting pitches from her for vice.com, and complimenting her on how funny/perverted she is. At one point about a week ago it dawned on me that I liked her, which is rare because I literally hate everyone. We chose to meet up at Pumps because we thought it would be hilarious, and also because my Latina ex-gf stepped out on me (an Irish-blooded lady) on St. Patrick’s Day, so I figured rubbing my privates on strippers on the cheesy holiday of HER people would be the perfect opportunity to level the playing field. And yes, I do feel much better now; doubly so because this morning revealed that I butt dialed Voldemort (which I changed her name to in my phone) at 9:30PM for three minutes and seven seconds. I can only hope she received a phantom voicemail of me saying something about boobs or needing more singles.
I got to Pumps about a half-hour early because I was too excited to just wait around my apartment anymore and headed for the train a million years before I needed to. There’s a scary gas station next to it so I went in there and wet down my bangs, and bought some peanut butter M&Ms, which I ate while sitting on a stoop across from Pumps so I could properly observe what we were getting ourselves into, while not actually looking like I was going there. Right around 9pm on the nose, I saw Sophie go in to look for me, so I crossed the street to meet her.
What you may not know about Sophie Saint Thomas is that she is a tall lady (taller than she would appear in pictures) and is also insanely attractive. I was pleased with these discoveries because I make it a rule to only be-friend people who I would consider taking to the bone zone. See, I don’t really need friends because I’m about one pill away from being Emily Dickinson #2, personality-wise, so unless the person I’m hanging out with can also be transformed into a “put your fingers in my vagina” person, really, what’s the point?
Pumps is a funny place. I was expecting more flashing lights and maybe random revving motorcycles offsetting a revolving dance floor, but what we got was a long bar with a slender stage behind it, equipped with a few stripper poles that the ladies would casually slide up and down before walking over to the people at the bar to collect tips. Whether you were actively staring at the girls or not, they would walk up to you, interrupting your conversation if need be (in our case, catching our attention by yelling out “GLASSES!”) and push their tits together indicating that they want you to put money between them. The first time one of them did this to us we just looked back and forth at each other like “why is she doing that?” And I think after an awkward five seconds, one of us said “they’re very nice!” One girl towards the end of the night actually got way rude and tried to say we weren’t tipping the girls enough. We were like, “look lady, you look like you should be working at Borders or something, we’re saving our dollars for the hot girl.”
The “hot girl” was this super tall, super hot, gothy looking lady who would mostly glide around having conversations with people. I think she got on the actual stage once, for like five seconds to go up and down the pole and dance like “whatever” before getting back down to talk to people some more. She was our favorite and Sophie and I both paid $20 each to have a private dance with her. We were both led into a tiny back room that featured two small couches that face each other, with a stripper pole in between them. Some weird guy was on the other couch with a blonde, and I avoided looking at him at all costs for fear that seeing a boner would clamp up my vagina forever and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy what was about to happen. Have you ever had a private dance before? They are awesome and after having my first one I am now ready to spend every cent I make on having fancy ladies with complicated shoes rub their butts on me. This lady sat in my lap and rubbed her beautiful ass on me while leaning back and kind of cooing in my ear and almost kissing me. I know it’s their job to seem like they like you, but really, I think she liked me. The next morning when I woke up and checked out the pants I wore that night, there was what appeared, and smelled, to be baby powder all over the crotch region of them. Is this a thing? Do strippers powder themselves up to better glide around on the pole? Well. Stripper lady, if you’re reading this, I love you. Thanks for letting me put my hands on your butt.
Here’s Sophie’s take on the evening... Sophie, start from the beginning and tell the whole story. These people have nothing better to do, and honestly, what’s more important than sluts?
I snapped this picture before going in and it's the only picture we took all night because almost immediately, we became far too drunk to work a camera.
I had been wanting to ask Kelly to hang out for some time, but thought I would let her make the first move, because she is the big scary music editor and I am but a baby freelance writer. From her tweets, her brilliant writing on fisting and tendency to subject emails things like “shitting the bed” I knew I wanted to be her friend. Like Kelly, I am very happy living life as a hermit. I enjoy the company of my boyfriend and my cat. There are a handful of friends that I tolerate, mostly because they have pretty girlfriends who I get to make out with sometimes. I knew Kelly and I would get along famously because she isn’t very fond of humans either.
Our date night happened to also be Cinco De Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, the super moon, and the Mayweather fight, so during the day I was celebrating these events at a BBQ and consumed at least one and a half bottles of champagne prior to meeting Kelly. When I purchased the champagne, I asked for my change in all ones in preparation for Pumps. I told the guy at the wine shop “I’m meeting someone I work with for the first time tonight at a strip club so I need lots of ones. She is kind of like my boss. Oh don’t worry, I’m a writer, not a sex worker.”
Kelly texted me that she had gotten there early and was at the gas station next door, so when I got off the L I sprinted down Grand Street so she wouldn’t have to stay at the gas station and risk seeing a glory hole. I didn’t see her when I arrived so I went inside Pumps, but there were only a handful of creepy men. I went back outside and saw Kelly for the first time in real life and gave her a big hug. She was very cute in her glasses and hat and her coolness exceeded all my expectations. She has a badass tattoo on her wrist. I’m sure she has more cool tattoos other places, but the night didn’t get SO wild that I can tell you about those.
Although I was already kind of drunk, we sat down and immediately ordered drinks. Pumps isn’t the sort of place you’d want to sober up at. It was a lot smaller than I imagined, just a few stripper poles behind the bar. I was unimpressed with the dancing, I wanted to see some hip-hop video shit but they mostly just slide up and down the pole lazily. The girls come up to you and squeeze their tits together and this means you are supposed to put a dollar in between their boobs. This one stripper had glasses and was trying in vain to pull off some sexy librarian look. She was mean to us and tried to shake us down for more tips. I didn’t even watch her dance so why would we want to waste our dollars on her?
Turns out Kelly and I both have a thing for hot goth chicks, so there was no debate on who we would like to have a lap dance with. She was like a skankier Angelina Jolie, before she started caring about African kids and was just really into blood. I went up to her and told her that my “girlfriend” and I would like a dance, and she led us into a curtained back room. You can touch anything but the boobs, which means plenty of ass grabbing. I was too drunk to notice, but Kelly tells me there was even a sign in our private room that said “no boob touching.” The stripper did like Kelly a lot, they seemed to get along really well. The truth is she made me a little nervous. Or maybe Kelly just liked her better because she is a full on no-penises-in-her-vagina lesbian, whereas I straddle the middle of the rainbow. Kelly told me today that the stripper got baby powder on her pants, but I think stripper vaginas must just secrete cocaine.
I am bit of a wild child. I have a habit of always wanting to take things to the next level, which is probably why I decided to take the “I’m here with my girlfriend” act one step further and sit on Kelly’s lap. I admit things are pretty fuzzy for me at the end of the night (at a strip club on Cinco De Mayo, tequila shots are unavoidable), but I do know a bouncer kicked us out of the strip club because I had decided I found Kelly more attractive than the strippers and had stopped tipping them.
As Kelly mentioned, we both left behind an article of clothing.There is probably a stripper out there pairing jeans with Kelly’s cardigan and my purple leopard-print scarf my mom bought me for Christmas. Now if I ever have a daughter I won’t be able to buy her a scarf without thinking, “if she’s got my genes, there’s a chance she’ll lose this in a strip club one night.”
I got home safe and drunk-dialed my boyfriend a million times, who deserves a medal for loving me for my feisty behavior and wild streak rather than not condoning it. I experienced some post-getting-kicked-out-of-Pumps anxiety but I texted Kelly and ate a bunch of chicken nuggets and that calmed me down. Those greedy hos get your money, we dropped some fat stacks to pay for these hangovers. All in all the night was a terrific success. I had been feeling like I’d been neglecting my youth a bit lately, I was becoming too much of a recluse, and was in need of a night I could tell my grandkids about. Plus now I have my new real-life friend Kelly! I can’t wait until we hang out again. Maybe for our next date we can go to a shooting range, then get new tattoos together.