Tatiana Talks

A Tale of Two Pimps

Growing up in Allentown there were two dance schools (well, maybe there were more, but only two that I knew of): Dolly Dance (I am keeping the actual name here because it is just too good) and The Other School (not actually the school’s name, but since I will be speaking disparagingly about the place, I figured I should mask its identity).

Dolly Dance was run by Miss Dolly, an older woman that labored under the misguided belief that all her students dreamed of one day performing for the National Ballet and it was her job to prepare us for this future. Her classes were not fun – they were hard. We weren’t allowed to wear cute leotards – black leotards and pink tights were the required uniform. Our hair was to be pulled back in a bun; if your hair wasn't long enough to pull back into a bun you employed bobby pins to create a reasonable facsimile. Our shoes were proper, leather ballet shoes, not glittery, pink slippers. If you wore pink slippers, your mother would get a lecture from Miss Dolly. During recitals, Dolly frantically ran around back stage, making sure everyone’s hair and shoes and make-up were perfect and yes, that none of us were wearing underwear. I imagine Miss Dolly’s nightmares included five-year-olds perfectly executing her choreographed dances with unsightly panty-lines.

The Other School was run by a younger woman, we’ll call her Miss Holly. At Holly’s school (because you didn't have to call Holly Miss Holly), you could wear whatever fun leotard and coordinating tights you could find. At Holly’s school you could take Jazz and Modern Dance after only one year of instruction (at Miss Dolly’s school you were required to be more than 13 years-old and have at least five years of basic ballet and tap lessons). At Holly’s school, her dances, even her tap and ballet dances, were set to new, hip music – stuff you could hear on the radio and not just in elevators. But the main difference between the two schools were the recitals. At Holly’s recitals, whole classes of girls would stand in the middle of the stage, looking left, watching Holly (standing just off stage) for what step to do next.

My parent’s sent Lana to The Other School but learned from that mistake and sent me to Dolly Dance. The result – I am an excellent dancer, while Lana, not so much. Though she has finally broken the habit of staring over her left shoulder.

My point? Friday night I had two pimps out with me, Salty and Pepper, and the two styles of pimping reminding me a lot of Miss Dolly and Holly.

Now, Salty has been my pimp for a very long time. And while occasionally, she does get hand’s on (the time she actually lined guys up to talk to me for five minutes a piece before literally pulling them away if I wasn’t interested springs to mind). So, Friday night, when a group of guys walked in, two of whom were both over six feet tall and one of whom was exactly my type, I knew Salty would have something to say.

At first, her something to say was that I should make out with the funny (though short) friend of the two tall drinks of water that was talking to us. Salty sometimes does this. She finds a guy that she would like to make out with, but because she is married, she tries to force him on me. After I convinced her that I just couldn’t do it – she turned her focus to the second tall drink, we’ll call him Bobby.

“You know what? It is late. We’ve all been drinking, he seems just as shy as you are so I say, just walk up to him and ask, ‘do you want to go outside?’ and then start making out with him.”

I shook my head. I had heard this advice before and I was pretty sure it wouldn't work. “How about if I go over there and make myself available to him to talk to me.”

Salty rolled her eyes but knew this was still a pretty big step for me.

What I didn’t realize was that in moving across the bar, I was stepping into Pepper’s territory.

Pepper’s style is definitely more stage mom than Salty’s. For instance, I was only standing there a moment when Pepper stage whispered to me, “Tati, he’s six-four” and pointed at Bobby. I smiled. He smiled. Pepper commented on his smile and asked me, “Doesn’t he have a great smile?” All his friends smiled. And the next thing I knew Bobby was asking me if I wanted to go outside.

Thank god, Salty had explained to me that "do you want to go outside" was code for "do you want to make out?" or else I might have said no. It was kind of cold outside and I had on a sleeveless top.