Melissa Weatherbee watched from behind the curtains as the beige 1989 Honda Accord snaked its way around her driveway. Three blasts of the car horn signaled the beginning of the second courtship between Ms. Weatherbee and Ricky McLaughlin. Ricky kicked opened the passenger side door, exposing the world to the sounds of 311 emanating always somehow not-quietly-enough for Melissa. “Are you ready to see some shit?”, Ricky inquired, alarming her as she had never heard him use profanity before. “Let’s get this damn shit going!”, he demanded as he peeled out of her driveway.

“Fock-ck-ck-es…”, Melissa read aloud the neon, blinking sign, trying to make sense of the the three concurrent x’s in “Foxxxes”, the name of the establishment by the airport mentioned briefly over egg rolls on their first encounter. Laura thought Ricky had a stutter. Going dutch was not part of the original arrangement, however Ricky was unable to cover the $40 cover fee, and without hesitation suggested Laura step inside to use their ATM, which would now raise the overall contribution by Laura to $97.20 which she noted was well over 90% of the total expenditure of the date thus far. “You and your numbers! Where were your numbers at the racetrack last week? Where was your numerologist specialty then, lil’ miss abacus?”

Melissa became alarmed then exhaled when she realized Ricky probably wouldn’t have the capacity to refer to her an as asian counting device with intentional racial overtones. Although she was aware of his racial preference, which is made very clear on his online dating profile by associating himself with “men who enjoy women of the oriental nature (anywhere on the orient is okay)”, Melissa was curious as Ricky was the first unbearded white man to approach her in at least seven months.

“Now, you see that girl on that stage right there? You see what she’s doing? Can you do that?”, Ricky pointing at the center stage with his beer. Melissa moved his hand aside and revealed a woman holding herself horizontally on a pole with the sheer strength of her thighs. “No, I can’t do that.” “Why not?” “Because I’m not a stripper.” Ricky furrowed his brow, thinking this information redundant. “Well, I’d like it if you tried.” He shrugged and took another sip of his beer, eyes straight ahead at the female bodies writhing and pulsing on stage.

“You seem to be disappointed in who I turned out to be, Rick. Why would you think I’d want to come to a strip club on our second date?” Rick was stunned by the bluntness of her words, each statement equally as paralyzing. He swallowed his beer, and turned his head towards her for the first time. “I don’t know. This is what I like to do, I was hoping you’d like to do it too. Astrologically speaking, this would never work anyway.” Seeming pleased with his answer, Rick resumed viewing the women and put his hand on Melissa’s thigh.

She stood up immediately, and made a combination of flustered gestures that signaled to Rick she was going to the bathroom or she was having a slight seizure. “Knock yourself out,” seemed like the appropriate blanket statement in Rick’s mind, recalling hearing other men tell of confidence and non-chalantness as the key to sexual glory. Melissa returned minutes later, prepared to make Rick escort her home, to find Rick gone, his car gone, and a bouncer completely unwilling to help her out.

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