Sunday, February 17, 2008


I pretend I’m not here. I don’t look into the eyes of the men who watch me. Leering, lustful eyes – almost the raincoat brigade. Sometimes they touch the girls, making the excuse of poking money into their bra or g-string. I stay back far enough from the edge of the stage so they can’t put their paws on me.

I’ve learnt to gyrate in a way to rouse passion. I take off enough of my costume for their jaws to fall open. I touch my own body. I hate every move I make and every face watching me.

The place is seedy – you should see it in the day light hours – ugly and dirty, but at night with the lights and the mirrors it looks glamorous enough. Most of the other girls earn themselves a bit of extra money on the side – easy to do – just let them slip their fingers into your bra or g-string and accept their invitation. There’s a room at the back, with a constant flow of traffic all night long.

I won’t do it. The raw sex that is on display and on sale here has put me off for ever I think. Its all empty – the sliding up and down the poles, the flaunting of the body. The sex I think would be soul destroying.

Because I appear to be a bit stand off-ish the ‘musical director’ decided I could have a special spot. Sort of sex cloaked in innocence. I wear pink tulle, a skirt like a ballerina would wear. They slide the mirrors in a bit closer and angle them around me and my pole. The music is tinny and repetitive. I’m supposed to look like a little girl.

I rise and go on my toes – all that ballet training finally coming in useful – I hold my arms up and pirouette around and around. I can see myself reflected in the glass. I go away into the image as I shed my costume and my innocence – I’m a music box dancer, so pretty, so young. Tinkling, tinkling music. I see my music box, my white music box with pink flowers painted on the lid, and I remember lifting the lid and the dancer – so young, so innocent – rising up and turning round and round. Her face was blank when you looked closely and she turned and turned on demand.

I am the music box dancer.

Nelma Ward
December 2007 ©


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