Thursday, March 11, 2004

"So this guy, he tells me he's a skinhead. And I say bullshit. Look at you, tipping a black girl all night, getting a couch dance from her -- you ain't no skinhead, I tell him. He's just talking shit. I'm not a racist," she adds suddenly. "But you go saying you're a skinhead? You know?"

Race comes up often, with Dionna. Tells me how her daughter came home saying nigger and... "and all kinds of words that I don't even say and I asked her 'where'd you get that? Who taught you to talk like that?' and she said 'Daddy.' I told her, don't you talk like that. Look, I don't believe in mixing races, right? But I'm telling you, honey, I'd rather see you married to a black man who treats you right than to a white man who hits you and shit, understand?"

A man appears at her shoulder, very handsome, high-cheekboned, dressed in a wide-shouldered olive suit. Dionna lights up. She looks suddenly girlish, delighted. They chat a little. Dionna introduces me. When he goes, she leans forward to me, and says in a low voice. "We were together for a little while. But he's too pretty for me. I don't want a man who's prettier than me, that's no good. But he took me out, got me a manicure, a pedicure? I'd never got one of those. And then he took me out to this like four-star restaurant." She sighs.

Later, giving me a couch dance, she spies him still in the club, through the little window, and she pauses reflectively, "he's got a really big dick, but he doesn't know what to do with it."

She was thirty, she says, before she came, using a vibrator. "I was like, wow!"

"So *that's* what all the fuss's about." I offer.

"Yeah, exactly. And I never came with a man, before my husband. Girls, yeah. The first one was this little eighteen-year old girl. I had rug burns, man, she did me that good. But no men, not till my husband. He's not fully loaded, you know, but he knows what to do with it." She rattles off a complicated little rhyme. I miss most of it, but it's clearly along the lines of "it ain't the meat, it's the motion"

Quiet. Can't last long: Dionna doesn't do silence. I say "you're really beautiful, you know." A sudden vulnerable glance, evaluating me, wondering if I'm making fun of her. She decides I'm not. "I'm really, I've got no self-esteem. For a long time, when Cassidy was here? I wouldn't let him come in. Finally he comes in when she's here, and I say, 'isn't she hot?' and he says no. Can you believe that? I didn't believe him." Dionna laughs merrily. "Like, we go to the video store and look at videos, and I turn it over to see if there's any nudity. There is, we don't rent it. I don't want him seeing those other women. I didn't used to be like that, you know? But then I had this boyfriend and he used to tell me all the time all the stuff he'd like different about me. And it got so the only times we ever made it were looking at porn or right after he'd come back from the titty bars."

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