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Posts Tagged ‘sugar shack

Well, hopefully the end of an era.

Last week the Sugar Shack, Video Visions, Pink Marlin, Dillingers and Tommy’s, Too got raided by the IRS. I, obviously, don’t have anything against the kind of illegal sex stuff that was going on in and through those establishments, but I do have big issues with the way the owners conducted their business, how they treated their employees (dancers, bartenders and janitorial staff) and all the illegal financial shit they’ve been getting away with FOR DECADES. I also have a few friends who are now out of work because of these closures, but they’re not working there because they can’t get a job anywhere else, they were working there because it was easy. Hopefully this is the push they need to get jobs at better bars/clubs/whatever.

Watch the news cast here.


The club is almost deserted and it’s Blue’s turn to go on up. I walk with her to the stage and stand at the rack, keeping her company because that’s what friends do on slow nights. We’re chatting and as soon as her 1st song ends, we hear something that leaves us both looking like a dear in headlights. It’s a strangely familiar laugh. One neither of us had heard for quite a while.

Since she’s on stage and can’t go check it out, it’s my job to poke my head out into the lobby to investigate. So, I cautiously make my way to the club’s exit door and open the door just a crack. Someone is at Blue’s rack now, but she’s having a hard time concentrating on her job, instead she’s focused on me.

I slowly open the door, and my the situation is much worse than expected. Not only was the tell-tale laugh coming from one of our middle school Geography teachers, he had my 8th grade math teacher and my 9th grade computer science teacher with him, and it appears they had all come with one of our high school basketball coaches. I had seen the coach in the club a few times, but I was in denial about it actually being someone from my past, until this moment.

I run back over to the stage, as fast as I can in 7″ heels, and I share the news with her. Her song is nearing the end, and a much as I want to run back into the dressing room and hide until the men are gone, I can’t. I’m up on stage next.

I quickly pick my songs from the jukebox and tell Blue that she can’t leave me alone at a time like this, so she sticks around, although I can tell all she wants to do is flee the scene.

The anticipation is killing us, and the longest minute of my young life passes before the group rounds the wall by the entrance. At first they’re just surveying the scene, but then Math Teacher notices Blue and I and makes the connection. I remember that we were trying very hard to look nonchalant, but I’m sure we were just staring at them.

Once the word gets around between the guys that there is naked ex-student boob on stage, they skip the required beverage-purchase process and come directly to the stage. I know the coach is a perv, because he routinely gets shows with the only girl working at the club who looks 13 (even though she’s almost a year older than me), but I’m not sure about the rest of the guys. I can’t figure out if they’re sexually fascinated with the idea of seeing an ex-student naked, or if they’re genuinely curious about what we’ve been up to. I know both Blue and I looked different from the last time they saw us. We’re skinnier because of the drugs, and we’re both wearing 2 tons of make up.

They all sit down in the first row of seats in front of the stage, but not at the rack. My old math teacher calls me loudly by my last name and I feel another rush of embarrassment coming on. Blue politely asks him to call both of us by our stage names, and not our last names. He apologizes and then gathers some ones from the other guys to put at my rack.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any more awkward, the arm chair my computer science teacher is sitting in breaks when he tries to adjust and make himself more comfortable. He is a very large man, but luckily he’s not easily embarrassed. We all have a laugh and then they decide to get up and sit in the corner booth, where the seating is ample and more structurally sound. My 2nd song is over, so I thank them, collect the money and then Blue and I make our way to the dressing room.

As much as we want to stay in there until they leave, we can’t. So after we change and gather our wits, we go back out into the club. Extremely-young-looking-stripper is chatting with the men, and as we’re walking over to the table, she and basketball coach get up to go do a show. Both Blue and I take a seat with them, and carry on the benign small talk until the youngin’ and the coach come out of the show. Luckily none of the remaining three are interested in a show with us, or anyone else for that matter. They’re just here to check out the club while their friend gets his jollies.

THANKFULLY, it’s time for them to leave now, so we say our goodbyes and they wish us luck in their endeavors.

I was freshly 18 and so badly wanted to be free of the little town Red and I grew up in, so I moved to the big city to live with her.

Not even 5 days after moving to Portland, Red had gotten me prepared for my audition at the Sugar Shack. We had gone over the rules, protocol etc countless times. I showered, got high, got dressed and away we went. As soon as we locked the apartment door, my palms started to sweat. I put on my game face knowing I just couldn’t turn back without my best friend being upset with me. In hindsight, I know I probably should have just turned back around, packed my things and went back home.

I don’t much remember the trip to the shack except for that it was late afternoon/early evening and it was still light outside. As we approached the club I thought, “keep your head down, don’t make eye contact”. I could feel the cold glares of the older, more experienced dancers on the back of my neck as Red walked me to the bar to have my ID copied. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it ringing in my ears. Looking back, I realize the ringing probably had more to do with the drugs than the anxiety.

We walked back to the dressing room where Red gave me a quick pep talk while I fixed my hair and makeup and got dressed. She picked a familiar song for me from the jukebox for me and out I came. The stage was small but intimidating. I got up, checked myself in the mirror and went up to the pole.

As I rounded my first turn I felt my apprehension melt away, I felt the music in my head and body and just went with it. Nothing else in the room mattered to me. I felt sensual and powerful. I felt like a goddess. Before I knew it the music had stopped and I collected myself and walked back to the bar. I was hired! The bartender and Red both complimented me on not letting my nervousness show. I wasn’t expecting it, but I felt oddly accomplished.

They were short on girls, so we were both asked to stay. We agreed, proceeded to the bathroom to get high, and then got down to business.


-Blue (

The first time I met “Chris” was during a long, boring shift at the Sugar Shack. I’m not sure if he was a regular there before I met him, but given how sad and lonely he was, I wouldn’t doubt it.

I was sitting in my usual spot, the booth between the entrance and exit doors, when he wandered in. Attractive, tall, brown hair, and clean shaven. I was actually really pleased when he walked in and smiled at me, because the Shack doesn’t get many decent looking customers. He went to the “bar” to buy the one drink required for admission, and when he was done he b-lined it back to my table.

We went through the usual introduction and questions. What’s your name? What are your shows like? How much do you charge?

I figured by the way he was looking at me, that he’d be quick to get a show, but I was wrong. It took him about an hour of superficial conversation before he decided to take the plunge. And when he did, he made sure I knew before hand that he only had the $140, plus another $20 to tip if he really liked my show.

(Now that I think about it, he must have been a regular if he already knew how much shows cost.)

There’s nothing strippers hate more than talkative men on a budget.

We go in for the show, nothing unusual happens. We both get turned on, I tell him if he tips me extra we can have sex, he does and we do. We come out of the show, he tells me how much he enjoyed the show and then we part ways.

I had a feeling he’d come back to see me again at some point, but I wasn’t expecting the way he behaved over the next few months.


Exerpts from a previous life.

I worked as a dancer in Portland for the better part of 6 years. I was also a prostitute, a junkie and an occasional alcohol abuser. These stories are just stuff I don't share with people in my new life, and it feels good to get them off my chest. Feel free to ask questions and leave comments.

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