The Daily Hell Vol. III - Bumsville
November 4, 2009
Issue 27 - The Curious Case of the Subway Stripper or
They Just Raised the Cover Charge to $2.25. Bastards!
Traveling on the subway recently I witnessed something I had
previously thought only happened in slightly hackneyed and unimaginative works
of fiction. It was about noon or 1 PM and the train was not terribly crowded so
I found a seat across from one of the most miserable looking parents I had ever
seen. She was probably about 30 or 35 though her expression added 10 years to
her countenance. She was accompanied by her adorable energetic daughter, who I
would guess about 4 years old.
I felt like giving the poor woman a hug, she looked so sad.
Her face bore more than the usual exhaustion of parenthood, full of dread, like
she had just heard of a death in the family. She just stared out the window
into the darkness of the tunnel, occasionally glancing at her daughter to make
sure she was behaving herself. The little girl seemed blissfully ignorant of
whatever tragedy her mother was reliving in her mind. She was content to sit
and pull treasures out of her little pink purse; a Barbie, a comb, a baby food
But she soon became bored with her toys, her little world of make-believe,
confined to the contents of her bag and she began to allow her imagination to
expand take her outside of herself. Using her small spoon as a microphone she
began singing a song I did not know in Spanish and running around the
substitute Maypole in the center of the subway car.
Her mother issued some weak chiding and smiled
apologetically at me when the orbit of the girl’s fist came within six inches
of my face. Truth be told, I did not mind the child’s imaginative use of space,
despite the danger of being whipped in the eye with a pigtail. However, out of
respect for a parent trying to raise a child, I generally don’t encourage
behavior that causes chastising. The girl was clearly seeking my attention, and
though I found her thoroughly amusing, I did my best to politely ignore her,
hoping she would tire of my audience and seek elsewhere.
This did not work however. Sensing that her singing cabaret
act was losing steam, she simply decided to move onto the next act. This little
girl, dressed in a pink Dora the Explorer shirt with matching shorts, and
little pink sandals began doing a frighteningly enthusiastic exotic dance.
What, in laymen’s circles, is frequently referred to as “stripper dancing.”
She swung up
and down on the pole several times and with gained momentum finally landed with
a graceful crash, planting her feet at the base of the pole and sliding her
hands down to the ground, until she was crouching, knees spread on either side,
pelvis mere inches from the pole. She would then thrust herself forward and
head up the pole again, all the while looking at me and smiling innocently,
just a four-year-old girl, looking for attention, with no idea that she was
creeping the hell out of me.
At this point, I was doing all in my power to look anywhere
but at the strange spectacle taking place mere feet away. My eyes were
probably bugging out of my head like a cartoon character. Now I wanted not only
the mother to know I wasn’t encouraging this, but the rest of the train, which
was probably looking at me like some deranged deviant.
Towards the end of a performance which, I’m sure will someday pay her way through college, her mother awoke from her daze and grabbed the girls arm, pulling her back to her seat. She was given an earful of angry Spanish, of which I understood one word when she gestured to me and said “Senor.” Soon after, the mother went back to her glassy-eyed waking coma and the little girl went back to her Barbie.
I sat and wondered, firstly thinking about how my limited knowledge of strippers would require me to expand my vocabulary just to
find the names of whatever the moves the girl had been attempting. If only I spoke
Spanish I could ask her what they were called. Is “crunk” a move? Secondly, and
more importantly, I wondered where a four-year-old girl can learn that sort of
The only TV show I can think of that features that
particular brand of lewdness is The Sopranos. Now, not to sound mean-spirited, but her mother seemed a little
heavy-set to be a stripper, but perhaps there’s an aunt. But then, does she
have a practice pole at home in the living room or does she bring the child to
the club? If you have to strip to support a family, I respect the hell out of
that, but is it right to expose an impressionable child to easily mimicked erotic
acts? Maybe she saw Little Miss Sunshine and I’m way overreacting here, but I think parenting is getting a
little bit too relaxed in this city.
These were the ponderances that ran through my mind as I gently acknowledged the continued embarrassed and apologetic smiles from the mother during my last few stops uptown. As I departed the train, I silently wished them well and hoped the little girl had a positive non-stripper related role model somewhere in her life. God forbid, all too soon she’ll start using her Fisher Price playhouse to dance her little heart out, shaking down kids for Monopoly money at the door and charging exorbitant prices for watered down juice. Granted, it would show entrepreneurial spirit, but goddamn it, so does a lemonade stand!