My father was a salesman. He sold things. Can't we just leave it at that? Oh, okay. He sold clothes. Well, specifically, ladies dresses. Not the coolest thing ever I suppose, but I enjoyed working alongside him. He used to work at this huge building in downtown Atlanta, called The Apparel Mart. There were many floors- a few for childrens' clothes, some for jewelry, some for ladies clothes, and I suppose, although I never saw it, mens' clothes as well. From some of my earliest memories, I remember going to the "Mart," to either get the mail in the basement, work in the showroom, or help out with the shows. Shows were really fun. I would dress up, and help wipe down glass tables, serve snacks, or refresh the Charlie Chips or M&M's dishes. I remember one time, when I was allowed to go without my mom or brother. Dad came. Of course, this was his job. And I was not really much for driving at 10 years old. So, we went together. I loved being alone with my dad. I once got to go on a business trip with him too, just the two of us. My dad was so proud to introduce me to his customers. The business trip was not nearly as exciting as that show though. The show had a male stripper. Well, sorta. Back to that in a minute. (That reminded me of the female models he had in the showroom.)
So, he sold nice ladies wear. (Dresses, separates, etc.) The showrooms were small. Except for the one on the atrium that my father worked for in the beginning. That was very large. I remember the grey fabric on the chairs. That was a nice showroom, but a really messed up our finances. Story goes like this- Dude didn't pay my father what he should have, and Dad decided to leave him and start his own business, and because he didn't have much money, he had to take a small showroom not on the atrium, and we didn't do great in that business because his clothing lines must have sucked. Anyway, he would hire a model to help him model the clothing for the buyers at his shows. This one model and I really hit it off. I was a chatty child. Not too shy by that time. I really wanted to pick her brain, as I thought her job was really odd. She gets paid to get dressed and undressed. What the hell? I did that everyday, and I never even got an allowance. My father, who could not afford for me have a lot of clothes, was paying a lady to dress and undress. Something is askew. (fancy word.. not sure if it fits here, but if you didn't know what it meant before this, look it up, and your welcome, in advance, for the educationing. Damn, spell check still does not recognize that word. One day. One day.) So, since our dressing room, AKA the little area that housed a mini refrigerator for drinks and pantry type area for the mass quantity of Charlie's chips, cookies, and M&M's, was the place that she and I hung out those few days in a row, we would sit on the cans of chips and chat. She taught me about modeling, and told me that school was important. I bet she did this because if you don't got to school, you end up modeling and making a lot of money whoring your body. Chick never saw "Pretty Woman," I'm sure of it. Such a sad life she led. Actually, I don't remember much of her chats, other than the one where I came home and proudly told my mom I was going to give my aching feet a massage by putting them in the toilet and flushing it, repeatedly. Yes, that is what she said she was going home to do after the show that night. I thought models used the toilet for something else. She must have known what she is talking about, since she was a fancy-dancy model chick. I don't remember my mom's expression, but I don't think I went to many more shows after that one. But not because of the model. I think it was the stripper thing.
So, my dad told me that after the show that night, we would go up to see his buddy on the next floor to visit for a short time since he was throwing a surprise party for his girlfriend. Okay..... I was all about some cake. As we are riding up the elevator, Dad starts explaining strippers to me, and what I should expect. Holy bats balls, this was way too weird for me. Seeing a male stripper at that tender age was what future therapy visits are made of. (No Mom-- I never told Polly this, as she would have told you that I remember things oddly and that not everything I said was true, as she said about everything I said to you guys apparently. She would have said that maybe I saw a man walk in with cheesy music and maybe in reality he was a polka-playing, kilt-wearing, freak of the 80's. Whatever, I saw a stripper.) So, just as my dad had said, some man walks in, asks if so and so was available, and then puts his boom box down, (yes, I said boom box) and pushes play and then he sits her on a chair, and I stand there not sure if I should look or vomit. I thought the latter was a tad immature for a child of ten who already received foot massages from a toilet bowl. Pft. I even thought this would be a cool bragging rights when I got back to school in the Fall. I was wrong. The fifth grade class thought I was a freak when I mentioned the foot massage, and by the time I got to the stripper, they were trying to stop laughing at the first part. Whatever. I didn't need school. I had decided that people make lots of money by getting dressed and undressed, and some do it with music, others without, but there was a niche' market for this and I was the genius that would probably not need to further my education once I could find someone to pay me to get dressed and undressed.
(For my children) as this blog is all for them ultimately- no, you may not be strippers. It's very hard to dance in heels, and Charlie, I don't like you wearing your sisters' dresses as it is. I love you both. And you may both be whatever you want, as long as it's not a stripper. Or a porn star. OR a fluffer. And if you don't know what that is, perfect. And if you don't know, and want to know, ask Grandma Marilyn. I have devoted the last year of my life informing her of common crude terms that she has amassed in her brain. She may not remember where she put her glasses or iPod, but she will be able to provide you with useless information. Tragic, but true.