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After the Lap Dance

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After the Lap Dance


Travis Laurence Naught, a quadriplegic wheelchair user and virgin, shares his experiences with women, love, and intimacy … and with strip clubs and lap dances.

Not a single woman I have loved treated me the way the stripper did after the lap dance was over.

Once, in a bar, when I was 25 or 26, I shared my first kiss with someone who was on something of a break from the man she eventually married. Another time, when I was 33 or 34, closer to now than the time mentioned before but still meaningless enough that I cannot put time’s clock at a specific numeration, a woman took off her top and pulled me to completion in the time-honored tradition of first timers everywhere, known as a handjob.

There was a certain amount of care in both of those scenarios. It was under the volition of the purveyors of those activities to instigate. Sure, I asked, but I have accepted rejection enough to understand that people don’t mind saying no. I do not apply pressure. I acknowledge that just because my desires act up does not mean the object (and please forgive me for even sounding like I view women as objects) of those desires owes me anything. Yes. Those events must have meant something.

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And the women I have loved, whom I still sit in front of my computer and fight back tears while writing about them, have never afforded me actions coming close to either of those two. And all of the above have never come close to the warmth given to me directly after a monetary transaction in a club where these types of things occur hundreds of times per night.

There is every possibility that I am just the next schmuck in the never-ending river of schmucks to believe that there was more than the intended purpose of getting me to open my wallet further. I told her, “Sorry, I do not have enough cash with me for another dance,” and she responded with, “No, you have nothing to be sorry for.” And then she held my face, pressed her forehead against mine, and stared into my eyes. She hugged me.

She pressed her still-naked body so deeply against my clothed self that it felt real. And we played this game for nearly 15 minutes. She would stroke my jaw, rub against my face, embrace me so strongly it felt like she was trying to break my jaw. We talked. She called me “light.” She caressed my arms and legs. She talked of wanting to see me again. She told me, “I work every Friday and Saturday.”

The deflation I feel now on hearing those words repeated in a dark room while writing this memory is real. It is as real as those feelings I felt of acceptance, of worthiness, of mattering perhaps more as a physical being to her in that moment than I ever have to any woman.

It is as real as those feelings I felt of acceptance, of worthiness, of mattering perhaps more as a physical being to her in that moment than I ever have to any woman.

When this girl, because the age difference between us could be more than 20 years and she could still legally be working at this place … yes, she may still be a girl as I mature deeply into middle age, geriatric years, really, for a man who was supposed to die at the age of 11 because my disability should have killed me then … this girl, I told her face to face, though her nudity meant my eyes should have wandered further south, “You are a challenge to my self-control because all I want to do is love you,” and she replied, “Me too with you,” and then she wrapped around me again.

I paid $25 for a three-minute dance that turned into nearly five times that long. When her internal timer finally told her that she had to get back to work, she went to retrieve my friend so he could help me navigate my wheelchair away.

I hope she knows what that experience meant to me. I hope it was not an act. I hope in the face of hopelessness, even though 39 years has left me so defeated on so many fronts.


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Travis Laurence Naught

Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Individual poems, stories, and various other material by Travis have been published online (Section 8 Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, Damfino Press, and others) and in print (Gold Man Review, Lost Coast Review, Empirical Magazine, and more). His first book of poetry, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), is currently out of print, but copies can still be found. Check out naughtapoet.blogspot.com for more information and original writing by Travis.

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