Two interesting theme-related events in the past couple of days.

Purely in the interest of gathering information and practicing (why are you looking at me like that? It’s true) I stopped by a strip club this weekend on a slow Sunday afternoon. I wanted to find out more about this whole “eye contact” thing that sort of took me by complete surprise last week.

I figured that if I could maintain steady eye contact with naked women, I’d be really ahead of the game. Either that, or the dancers would think I was gay. At any rate, I would find out something and have some fun doing it.

And the results were pretty much spectacular. Dancers (and quite possibly women in general) understand eye contact; it’s partly a dominance thing, partly a way of communicating a comfort level that most men don’t carry with them normally (let alone around the aforementioned naked women). I even got called over to help this one girl get dressed, tying up her halter-top-type dress. I let her know that this was a first for me and that she should probably be tipping me.

I did find that it’s fun to vary my expression. I don’t have to keep a straight face. I had fun winking, smirking, popping my eyes out of my head. There was definite tension build up…

There was one girl with whom I found it difficult to maintain eye contact. Even so, she seemed to recognize my attempt and went from being distant and expressionless to warming up, laughing and joking with me, tossing her hair around and playing peek-a-boo. She turned out to be very funny and smart.

And I only spent an hour there…

Then, this afternoon, while at work, I was getting in the elevator going up to my office and I heard a voice cry out “Hold that elevator!” I did, and this blonde woman bolted in. She must have been running to catch it; she was out of breath and leaned against the opposite wall (side note: have you ever noticed that people tend to distribute themselves proportionately in an elevator? At least when they’re strangers. People who know each other will clump together but make space for strangers. Watch for it sometime. Or, if you’re feeling devilish, purposely don’t and see how people react. It’s fun) and when I looked at her, I blurted out, “I know you!”

She was a stripper that I knew from a long, long time ago, ten years or more. Um, awkward moment. I don’t know what the etiquette is for acknowledging “exotic entertainers” when they’re not in the club and not on the stage. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t call her by her stage name if other folks are around… It’s a situation that calls for caution.

She looked at me, and smiled a bit, nodded her head… “Yeah, you look familiar to me, too.”

I was going to look for a wedding ring, but got distracted by her bus pass, hanging from her backpack about mid-chest level. It was marked with an “H” — which in Portland means it’s an “Honored Citizen” pass for the elderly or disabled. I was confuzzled.

She had hit a floor between the ground floor and mine. I looked at her again and said, “You work in the building?”

“Yes!” she said brightly.

“Me, too!” I said. “For the county?”

“Yes!” she said again.

“Me, too!” I said. And by that time the elevator had reached her floor and she scampered off.

Now I’m torn. I was a regular customer of hers, but not, in any sense of the word, intimate with her. I did know her real name, which I only vaguely recall now, but wasn’t ever what I would consider a “friend” beyond being an ATM that dispensed cash whenever she took off her clothes. And, if she does in fact work for the county she might not want her past career widely known. All reasons for me to just let it go and not try to look her up.

Still, it would be interesting to meet her for lunch and find out what happened in the intervening years. Also, what the hell is up with that “H” bus pass?