Ryann Reflections

A glimpse into the life of one anti-social stripper nerd.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Regulations and lighters

At 3am I grabbed a shower and started packing. I don’t travel light, and the days of conforming to baggage regulations are officially gone. I have too many hats, among other things. My head aches from the lack of sleep and I’m thankful that I at least look better than I feel. My attitude on the other hand is erratic.

Canadian regulations apparently state that lighters are a dangerous good and cannot be in checked luggage. I have lighters, over a hundred in fact. I have lighters that have flown through Edmonton, Yellowknife, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay… but this morning that ended. Apparently it’s not allowed.

“This is fucking bullshit!” the words certainly came out of my mouth as I glared in frustration and disbelief at the pretty little blonde’s suggestion that I pay a cab to take my promo to the Greyhound. Perhaps not the most eloquent retort becoming of a lady, but none the less I did feel it was an appropriate response to an absurd dilemma.

Thankfully the blonde did work around the regulations in such a way that I’m not fuming. I’m actually amused- though inconvenienced.

I’m not allowed to check lighters. BUT every passenger is permitted to carry one lighter on the flight. At this moment a handful of people are carrying lighters decorated with topless stickers of Ryann Rain. I can outfit an entire plane with stripper promotional lighters, but it’s illegal to leave them in my actual suitcase.

The remaining 50 lighters are now sitting in the airport in Thunder Bay, awaiting my return in 3 months. West Jet is happy to baby-sit them for me. Weird.

And the day has just begun…

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Wandering and Searching...

Another week, another town… I’m in Thunder Bay, wandering further and further from home as this business slowly drags me east.

The page is blank; the stories have yet to be written. The past is clouded and skewed by inaccurate memories and a selfish need to have it mean something. Something real…

I wander, searching for a purpose. Absurdly I expect to find something real in these rooms. Amidst the layers of fantasy and sequined dreams my curiosity inquires into the realities of these surroundings. Spoiled, I’m enjoying my afternoons in the coffee shop. I’m thankful to be distanced from the drama of the common change room. I like having my own space free from tension to dress, think, and prepare.

They call this closet a dressing room, small but private. The air is muggy and stagnant. The walls remind me of a first year art class. When mixing pure cadmium red and yellow the resulting cartoon flesh tone is primitive and vulgar. Too intense to be called peach, yet too muddied to be clever, the cheap layers of latex disguise the walls of this closet.

Sharpie messages provide a diversion from the impersonal atmosphere. There were other women here. I am reminded of Atwood as the phrase “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” passes through my mind. But this moment is not fiction. These messages are from real women. Notes, dates, phone numbers and advice accent the walls. “Follow your heart and you’ll never be lost” is scribbled under the crooked shelf above my head. “Hello to all the beautiful ladies. Tour 2005” is inscribed over layers of dirt and makeup.

Costumes are littered in every corner as I sift through my options. What to wear? It’s always the question of the moment. I slowly paint my face, aware that my makeup is liquefying in the heat. I watch my eyes in the cracked mirror, seductive, and amused.

The weekend is approaching, and the bigger costumes will accompany the larger crowds. Stripper Christmas arrived yesterday in the form of new costumes. Feathers, sequins, and hats are providing a grand distraction from the lingering knowledge…

I’m lonely.

Centerfolds has been a good bar for me. The people are great, and it’s been a good week. Sunday I make the trek back to Winnipeg to spend another 6 days working my ass off, pretending to NOT think about Maverick or how nearby he is. It’s a lonely life on the road, although I do enjoy exploring. I love dancing, and work is going really well. I know I’m transient. I don’t want to settle down. I don’t want to pay rent, or create a stable life yet. Sometimes it’s easier to choose to be alone, rather than face the conspicuous emotional distance and disappointment, unavoidable when illuminated by physical proximity. I’m not ready to face that detachment. Not yet. Thankfully there is too much I want to do while I have the freedom to wander.

Yes, there are moments when being a naked gypsy 3400 Km from home can become very lonesome.


Friday, July 21, 2006


Teasers… it’s my home for the week, and I’m enjoying it. Predictable in the western theme, I’m having fun with my slutty cowgirl costumes.

I tumble onto the bed, stealing a rare moment of relaxation. Reluctantly I survey the disaster. CDs, posters, money, and books clutter the bed as I search for my other red fishnet stocking. I glance at my smudged makeup and pause to repair the illusion. One more show… I’ve already done 8 today. Disorientated but punctual, I have been chauffeured everywhere, magically appearing at club after club. This is not my town and without mountains I have no sense of direction. Show count for the week is 44 shows. 19 at Teasers and 25 less demanding jam shows scattered throughout the city. The night is almost over, and I'm back at my "home" bar for one more show before I collapse for the night.

A Barbie pink PVC jacket is thrown into the corner as I dig for my skirt, careful not to snag the slut red fishnets clinging to my thighs. I attach the garter belt and wriggle into the denim mini. Panties? Nah. Another dress is tossed to the side as I glance at the time and hurry to roll posters. Bra... Where is my bra? My room is a mess, as only a stripper room can be a mess. Pieces of costumes and underwear are scattered everywhere. Bra, shirt… almost dressed. I find my red PVC vest and snap it around my waist. 6 minutes until my show. Frustrated, I fiddle with my shoes. The clasps are jammed again, and my left shoe broke a week ago. I carefully slide the ankle strap through a lower strip of plastic and make a mental note to find a shoe repair, or buy new shoes.

More CDs are tossed on the bed as I scramble to find my cowboy rock mix. Another time check as I stuff my blanket in my stage bag. With 3 minutes to spare I apply another layer of lipstick and run my hands through my hair. A white cowboy hat completes the look, and I like it. Music in hand, I sashay down the hall toward the DJ booth…


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

18 and drunk

She wobbles as she leans on the DJ booth, testing out her budding sexual power. Thick makeup glistens in the lights as she suggestively sips her beer. “Can we pleeeeeeeeeeeze dance on stage?” she bats her fake eyelashes and wraps her arm around her young side kick. “After the dancer” is the response from the DJ. He is obviously a veteran in this industry, amused but not seduced by the youthful enthusiasm. “I want to see some titties if you’re going to get on stage. Go find a place in front row girls” I wink at them. They are young, flirty, and drunk.

My show begins and energy fills the room as I strut, spin, and play with the crowd. The music of Top Gun entertains me as the girls writhe in their seats, staring up at me with sex oozing from their eyes. With little coercion their tops slide south, revealing perky teenage breasts.

Cheering, pouting, and begging they earn a poster and a guest appearance after my show. The crowd is enthusiast and supportive of our surprise amateurs as they scramble, ungracefully, on stage. Flip flops scuttle across the stage as the drunken gyrations begin.

I make myself comfortable in their seats, enjoying the impromptu performance. Neither one of them is wearing panties, yet they are both reluctant to remove the clothing. The juxtaposition of exhibitionism and fear is comical. I notice a tampon string and cringe. There are many tricks of the trade the girls do not know.

I suspect one of them will pick it up. Her body is tight, and liquid confidence persuades her to try new moves. She has been watching the dancers, clumsily imitating simple moves and poses. 10 bucks says she’ll be on stage within 6 months. There is no way to tell if she has the mental and emotional stamina to make a go of it, but she will try. She might even do alright. What once was a gentleman’s arena, the strip club has become a common environment for the preliminary unearthing of female sexuality. Tonight there are two 18 year old girls exploring their sexuality and power on stage and throughout the bar. I may be watching the beginning of a new stripping career as drunken enthusiasm has blended with hormones and whipped cream to the advantage of someone.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

a day to pack

After a week of dedicated avoidance I am reluctantly becoming aware that my disaster of a room might not pack itself. I don’t know why my laundry is piled high on the couch, or why random bits of receipts haven’t found their way into a folder. My books taunt me from the shelf, not from boxes. Winter clothes hide in corners and drawers resisting any order.

I leave for Winnipeg tonight, and all this has to be put in boxes, organized, and relocated... to a location I just confirmed an hour ago.

Priorities have been with family and friends, not organizing bedding... sooooo I have left ALL my packing for both Winnipeg, and living in a new place when I return, until today. Of course I did. That's just what I do.

My day so far...

wake up
close eyes for extended period of time
realize I have a TON of stuff to do today
turn on computer (without getting out of bed)
Check email
Stare at stuff
Read blogs
Organize costumes
Throw in laundry
Check email
Make a few phone calls
Start packing clothes
Contemplate WHERE am I moving?
shower, brush teeth and get dressed
Make a few phone calls
Put clothes in suitcase
decide I hate my shirt. change.
Find posters
Find lighters… and pack them
Ponder how to transport cowboy hats without crushing them, without hat boxes
Check email
Leave. Go buy toothpaste
Return and find boxes
Put books in boxes
Change laundry
Pack around hats
Swear at winter clothes
Figure out where I’m moving
Pack faster
Clear shelves, and finish clothes for Winnipeg
Wonder how many books I NEED
Pack bathroom (for Winnipeg)
Call mom
Open drawer. Find more clothes. Swear.
Pile up books for Winnipeg and wonder how much I’m going to have to pay for extra luggage
Check bank account. Make “ugh” noise
Look around at the disaster and resist temptation to leave again.
Check countdown until I leave town… 3.5 hours. Swear.
Post blog… and get back to work

I’m not done yet. Progress has been made, but I doubt I’ll have a lot of time to spare today. On that note… byeeeeeeeeeee

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Familiar Stranger

I’m procrastinating. My car wanders reluctantly towards the restaurant driven by my determination, but without my approval. I don’t want to go for dinner. I want to keep driving. Defensive and nervous, I fight the temptation to run. Passively I watch myself park the car. I feel my head fall back against the seat as my eyelids shut out the world. Breathe. Time stands still as I sit and wait. I’m waiting for the courage to smile and walk into a restaurant that I have been to countless times before. I’m searching for the strength to casually survive a dinner I used to look forward to. She will be late. I have time because I know she won’t enter a restaurant alone. I smile at the knowledge of her habits. I wait, calm and smiling, unsure and frightened.

Conversation flows easily into catch-up and gossip. We’ve missed a lot. Familiarity with the characters in her stories reminds me how distant I have become. I know who they are, but I’m not a part of that group anymore. I’m not invited. I struggle with the unspoken tension as her plot unfolds.

I want to listen. I want to care, but I don’t know what to say. Swapping stories allows for personal distance. I realize I don’t want to look at her. I realize I don’t know her anymore. I pause to consider being vulnerable and hesitate in doubt. I want to scream “Fuck this meaningless bullshit!!” But instead I smile. Like a toddler’s dedication to a noisy toy, the words I have yet to say repeat persistently in my head.

“We need to talk about what happened.” It has taken me 45 minutes to force the conversation away from roommates and travel. I don’t know what I’m waiting to hear. I have no idea what the magical understanding is that will make things right. I don’t hear it. The rift is echoing in my mind as I listen to her explain. Embarrassed, hurt, surprised, needs time… I listen for something unknown. I don’t hear it. I try to accept this moment and allow faith to grow, but I fail in my heart. I’m too hurt, and no apology is offered or accepted. I’m resentful that she lays entire blame on me. I’m hurt that this has been left unresolved since April. http://ryannreflections.blogspot.com/2006/04/im-sorry.html

I don’t want to be dismissed or excluded. I don’t want to be thrown away. Once a cherished friend, I find myself having dinner with a stranger. A stranger I do not trust.

Her voice flows through my memory as images appear. I remember pieces. I remember gossip and growth… but the detachment has grown too big. I don’t remember how to be friends with her. I don’t remember how to need her. I don’t know if I have the resolve or desire to rebuild this from nothing.

I have crossed over a journey, and leapt beyond my robotic escapist smiles. I’m not only happy, I’m inspired. The taste of something so genuine lingers on my tongue as I climb closer to the forms I seek. This room is moving in slow motion, and the colours lack the effervescence I crave. I want to share the taste of the world I feel today, but I can’t. I have changed.

Priorities have changed. She doesn’t know me, and it’s not her fault we are not the same. Her voice is kind, and her eyes are confused. I am the one who has suddenly jumped tracks at the revelation of a muse. I feel a purpose fusing my personality. The exuberance of my adolescence has recovered and is melding with the inspiration and insight of my experience thus far. This awakening is thrusting my focus in a new direction. I’m finding myself incapable of relating to superficial dialogues. I don’t want to go back.

Kind words and well-meaning promises clutter the good-bye. Awkward familiarity taints the love. In many ways we grew up together. Heartbreak and struggles were shared over many martinis. Shared experience created a bond as we watched everyone else walk hand-in-hand away from our still single status. Conversations littered with confusion and frustration lingered into the night. But that abruptly ended one evening in April. Can there be a friendship after the trust has crumbled?

The realization that we are strangers stings as I walk away.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

I don't want to live in your world

Just in case anyone forgot for a moment that my job is still stigmatized, I’m putting this out there for all to read.

smart person said...
Ummmm - ok, I. Will break it down for you.You are a
stripper. Stripper = SLUT. Slut = skank. You are a fucking joke. Waht plant do
you come from....Plant Stupid Ho??

I could (should?) delete the comment, and I might… but right now I’m going to talk about it. I find this type of behavior incredible. It’s not new, nor is it original. I know the location and IP of the offender (because I track these things). Obviously not a regular reader, I might have to make some similar security changes as RSG has done recently.

I know I don’t need to elaborate on the oxymoron of the self-appointed name, and the obvious literary skill.

I know I don’t need to point out how absurd, ignorant, and ridiculous the comment actually is.

I know I have no reason to even validate it with a response.

But I guess I’m leaving it for today because I want people to know that this is real. People DO treat me differently. People DO harass and stigmatize strippers and treat us as subhuman. I don’t like being called names, or being ostracized. I don’t like being referred to as worthless trash. But my self-worth is not at risk, and my self-esteem is healthy. It is frustrating. I find myself wondering if our society could be making any progress at all. I don’t understand why our species is so cruel and I find myself questioning the true nature of humanity. Is love, respect, and hope a personal choice that is frequently lost? What is like to wake up each morning and see hatred instead of beauty? How terrifying is it to live in fear? It hurts my soul to be reminded of how lonely, scared, and malicious fear and ignorance can make people. I don’t want to live in that world.

I am still one of the lucky ones. Physically, I am very rarely threatened. I am sheltered from hunger and despair. I may be harassed, but I am not abused. At night I sleep feeling safe and loved. Daily, I watch the women that hover on the streets and in the parking lots around the bars. I look beyond the cuts, burns, and illicit distractions. I see their eyes. I ask their names. They are the forgotten ones, sliding between the cracks of jokes and abuse. We are all Women, with names, stories, and emotions. No one has the right to be abusive verbally or otherwise. This mission is far from over. Yes, I’m guilty. As a teenager, I laughed watching the hookers in the rain. I didn’t think, and no one pulled me out of my self-absorbed bubble to remind me that she is just like me. I realize that now, and I will never forget again. I don’t want my generation to forget. Feminism is rarely a priority anymore, yet obviously the battle is far from equal. I don’t want this neo-conservative attitude to dissolve the determination of my grandmothers. I don’t want to live in that world. I want to live in the world my mother raised me to fight for with conviction, respect, and above all- love.

And I will. My love will spread through my friends and family. The love will touch people and the ripples from my example will create an electrical inspiration that will flow through the relationships we build and the children we raise. I have hope.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

I hate dating

Emotions. Sigh… what interestingly silly things. I’m feeling very emotional today and it’s adding to my frustration with myself. I’m finding myself feeling needy, jealous and lonely. And of course I’m annoyed at the objects of these emotions simply because I don’t feel like being mad at myself for having them. Hahahaha!

I’m officially at the beginning of a week off before I venture east to Winnipeg. I’ve counted my money, finished the weekly accounting, and thought about eating dinner (although no progress has been made in that department)

Dating is frustrating me. I have a very defeatist attitude about the whole thing, and I don’t want to. Yet I am constantly aware of the time and lifestyle constraints and the lack of potential for anything real. I’m not in a place to consider a serious relationship, but I do wonder if I’m throwing away something. I don’t want to become wrapped up in something that is totally delusional, but I’m craving the simple escape of living the happy lie for a few moments.

Reasons I hate dating...


If you can pick up a STRIPPER, you get bragging rights and you are The Man!!!

I just Looooooove feeling like a prize. If you can fuck a stripper you are a god among men. Ugh! Fucking a stripper is a huge fantasy. I am aware. Dating a stripper... well I've said it before. It's a disaster. It's frustrating, pointless, and difficult.

After a few dates the invitation changes from "hey do you want to grab a drink in between shows?" to... "Hey do you want to come over and watch a movie after work?" (midnight booty call?)

Is there any point in dating if I'm not willing to "put out"?

Or... I start dating someone... who is nice, funny, sweet, cute... blah blah blah... I develop a crush only to leave town and loose the magic.
Or... his friends treat me weird
Or... I'm a trophy
Or... He starts seeing someone else while I'm out of town

This would be where the defeatist attitude comes from. I leave. I leave town all the time. My schedule is not flexible and my hours suck. If I have time off I want to take advantage of it and actually enjoy some quality time. This lack of flexibility would be a huge factor in why dancers date losers. Bums work with our schedule. No job, no responsibilities means the loser is available around our demanding lifestyle. Hahahahahaha. Dating an independent, successful, ambitious man… well I’d never see him. Beyond a few dates when I am treated as a priority, my schedule simply doesn’t allow for anything more.

Yup, I’m frustrated. I’m going home. Tomorrow.