“Dance For Me, I’ll Keep You Employed”: The Secret and Unenlightened World of Young Men’s Desires


It may shock some of you–or maybe not–that I was once eighteen years old and that when I was that age I actually thought that seeing scantily clad women was an adventure. Such was the impudence of my teenage mind. Nevertheless, my cousin Irwin and I rode in my 1979 Toyota Corolla to Sunset Blvd, where West Hollywood begins to merge into Beverly Hills. Our destination was The Body Shop, a location that would one day be featured in Mötley Crüe’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” video. Given its location, The Body Shop also had a reputation for having the “hottest” girls around. As far as this type of place goes their boasting was true, mostly because The Body Shop was where countless struggling actresses went to work when their dreams of Hollywood stardom turned to dust.

As for me, I got the idea to go to this place from one of my high school buddies, Tim Torres. Tim told me all about the girls, some of whom he said he even spoke with—wow!—and how to get there. Since I frequently went to the nearby Tower Records, finding this club was no problem. At the same time, I didn’t want to enter a joint like this alone, so I enlisted my cousin’s company, whose arm, by the way, I didn’t have to twist very hard. All it took was saying that I’d drive us and pay for our drinks. Consequently, on an autumnal Friday night after work, we set off from Pomona to Hollywood.

We parked in the back, showed our ID at the door, paid the cover, then ordered our two drink minimum (both of us had cokes). Sitting up front at the edge of the stage, I remember feeling nervous, as if it were obvious that I’d never done this before, which was for good reason, because I hadn’t! In any case, the announcer introduced the next dancer, whose name I no longer recall. I think it was a stage name, anyway. However, what I do remember vividly is that she was from Virginia and that she was an “Indian princess.” Whoa! At that time, I was by far more tantalized than offended by the degrading “Indian princess” moniker. My cousin and I looked at each other, feeling haltingly amused by the promise of a bogus Indian act.

As a song started bumping out of the house system, which was some random dance music of the times, the “Indian princess” sauntered out on stage. She was a fair-skinned brunette, who gave my cousin and I a wink. I didn’t think she looked Indian—certainly not compared to the Indian girls I knew personally—but I certainly thought she was beautiful. I was mesmerized! Beyond that, I don’t remember much else, not even the other girls we saw that night. Needless to say, I didn’t have the courage to talk with this girl. All I left with that night is what I have to this day, a mere memory of this “Indian princess” who danced her way into my boyish heart, then left just as easily.

For an awkward teen with a minimum-wage job, an uncool car, and no girlfriend having a pretty girl smile at me as she took off her clothes was just what I needed, or so I thought at time. Obviously, there was much about women as people, as opposed to merely objects of my still adolescent lust, that I needed to learn. Still, from my eighteen-year-old perspective, that “Indian princess” was an antidote to the rejection I often encountered during this period of my life as I navigated the difficult terrain between high school student and adult, in particular one that had loftier aspirations than what the dead end world of working like a dog in which I was trapped had to offer. Even though I don’t need such places today, nor have I for a very longtime, I’ll never forget that salacious night when fantasy became flesh.



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