In the dog-eat-dog world of the college stripping it’s useful to have a kitsch that the clients appreciate. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can get brave enough to remove a few clothes to reveal what Mother Nature graced them with. That’s not enough to keep the work coming in regular. It’s not that people are shallow when it comes to stripping. Well, that may be an oxymoron. Entertainment by strippers could the height of contradictory terms, but who’s to complain if it’s consensual and money is on the table, or at the least, in the armband. Rusty, my stallion endowed partner in dancing, had his kitsch established before I met him and I was more than willing to ride that pony. His thing was holiday-themed dances.
It seems obvious that holidays should be fully exploited for their money earning potential. This was true at the mall and it was doubly so for us. Before I get into the particulars, and specifically how things can go terribly wrong when pursuing the festive path, I have to say something about the times. It was the middle 80s. There was no internet and Amazon Prime was still decades in the future. Grand ideas were hatched in our fevered minds with the associated the props were sourced locally. The prior year we had done the whole “Santa and his horny elf” gig. You can guess who the elf was. Rusty already had the beard and I, well, was the sprite in pointy shoes and little else. We needed a new idea.
Rusty, the long time English major, was well read, but this didn’t stop him from indulged in pop culture, leading to a fascination with the animated movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. He got a chuckle out of the whole “the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”. Yeah, our gig had a preoccupation with such things. Rusty pointed out that we couldn’t stage a Whoville scenario to set up the gag, but then he remembered the part about Grinch stealing the mistletoe, and what if when it was brought back the enlargement was triggered? OK. That was an idea. Rusty could recycle the prior year’s outfit with zero funds outlaid. The only thing we needed was mistletoe.
This was in pre-Hobby Lobby years and we were poor college students. Yeah, we could have purchased fake mistletoe at a florist shop, but who would do that when the real thing grew in trees? Fast forward past two skinny dudes, a rickety ladder, and a near death experience. Mistletoe picking is NOT for the faint of heart. Little did we know that the almost fatal, or at the least wound inflicting, narrowly avoided mishap was karmically waiting in Rusty’s near future. Greenery with berries in hand, we were ready for our event.
Before I tell you what happened I have to explain something that Rusty did for the much appreciative clients. He enjoyed hanging things from his junk. The elf’s fearless leader of year prior featured stockings hung with care. That went over big. On that cherished theme Rusty thought it would be great if he hung the mistletoe above the heads of our clients. I was tasked with celebratory participation underneath. It worked for me given that I was not the “Rod the Mod” of the duo. With seasonal shrubbery in hand we worked the first of what we hoped were several appreciative holiday events.
The mistletoe was featured only once. After a few days recovery Rusty hustled us back to the Santa and elf personas. It wasn’t voluntary mind you. Rusty loved working his plans. The first signs that “mice and men” were in trouble came when Rusty complained of itching around the draped member. I was too busy to pay his comment much mind, but when he went bright red, almost matching his festive hat, I was worried. He began to sweat for no reason, and that was strange given that I was the one doing all the hard work at the time. Then the rash began. Rusty cast off the offending plant as if he was on fire. The night was over. Sadly we hadn’t brought backup stockings, and it was just as well because the clients acted like we had just splashed them with cold water. Yes, we sometimes did that as part of the act, but it was thrown on ourselves and not the paying customers.
Rusty was a philosopher at heart. You have to be if you’re a near-career college student in the liberal arts. He noted that it’s not wise to fool with Mother Nature. The near-fatality with the ladder, razor sharp garden shears, and standing on the rung that’s NOT a step did not bode well for the future. Perhaps it was meant to be. Live and learn. Hang and blister. Darn oils. Some final words, Rusty had a flair for exits. Big reveals lead to these. His final words that night, as he drove away in this Pinto sleigh, was that he would never again ho ho the mistletoe.