Lynne d Johnson



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09.30.02 07:28 PM

for the love of art and money part II

Flesh for Femme (continued)
by Lynne d Johnson

Hovering over me, Mercedes swung her long pony-tail around to brush it against my face. Working her way back down, she stared directly into my eyes with a look that said, "You want to fuck me, don't you?" Part of me did. Part of me wanted to get up and run. She lifted her leg and extended it over my shoulder. With her crotch an inch from my face, she gyrated her pelvis fluidly. I didn't stir. I just sat. Uneasily. In awe.

Mercedes was offering me a taste of what it was like to be with another woman in a seductive, sensous, caring, and non-intimidating way. I wanted to know more about her.

I found out Mercedes was straight. She got into dancing about three years ago. It was an easy way to finance college, once she found out she could make a grand a night. Back then, New York enforced laws that said women had to stay six feet away from guys and wear latex on their nipples. Nowadays, anything goes. Mercedes says they even have fuck clubs now, so men expect a lot more from dancers. "They want you to do backflips for money now. That's why I quit. Because my self-esteem got so low.

"I got sick of dancing for men," Mercedes continues. "I started to despise them. I hated they way they looked at me and judged me. I just needed a change. Dancing for women I feel sexier. I don't feel like a stripper, I feel like a dancer. They appreciate me. They get excited. The first time I did it for women, my energy was so up. I came out and everyone was throwing money at me. Women are much more scared to touch you. They treat you like a delicate flower. They don't want to invade your privacy, which is nice.

"Guys come out alone to a bar to watch women dance," she says, "while women's clubs are mainly dance clubs. The guys come out to make their dicks hard. So, they tip you the whole night." Guys also tend to chant and yell derogatory statements, as well as try to put their hands all over a dancer's body. Women are more embarrassed about acting crazy over another women, so there's a level of respect. "With guys, it's a constant fight all the time. You have to hold their wrists, or knee them in the balls. The most a woman has ever done to me was touch my thigh," Mercedes says. "But don't get me wrong, the women want to fuck you, too."

Lesbian party goers say Juicy was the hottest spot ever. It was held bi-weekly on Sunday nights at the Buddha Bar from the winter of '94 to the spring of '96. Primarily a women-for-women event, men were allowed in only when accompanied by no less than three female escorts. Heterosexual couples, lesbians, and gay men representing a range of ethnicities attended. Celebrities showed up regularly. I'm told Naomi Campbell took her place onstage one night to show off her jewels. She began shyly, but the women received her warmly and soon her top was off.

The dancers made Juicy hot. One night, you could go in and watch a topless woman wearing a dildo, thrusting her pelvis to Prince songs. Or you could witness two women on stage, interlocked and gyrating. Maybe one laid the other down, poured chocolate syrup over her chest and licked it off slowly.

Lysa Cooper, the MC assisted the vibe by describing dancers movements and encouraging their sexiness. "It's JEWW-CEEEEE, ladies," Lysa would say in a husky, sultry tone, and a dancer would turn and do a booty dance, or tweak her nipples, or stick her finger in her mouth and suck it.

"Juicy set a trend," says Belinda Becker, who started the club with Lysa, her partner. "We wanted to create a safe, feminine place for women to hang out. We got every kind of woman—gay, straight, aggressive, femme. Patrons felt it was really classy. They could feel free and just let their hair down, and they really enjoyed it. Girls got up on the stage and danced with the dancers. It freed women to be who they were. It freed them sexually. Women want to revel in the power of being women, of being sexy, of being beautiful. It was a place for women to come and enjoy each other and themselves. The dancers could just be themselves, too. It wasn't a money thing. They could dance in whatever they felt sexy in. It wasn't about guys trying to touch them, or pick them up, or make them feel cheap. They were doing it for themselves."

Taquana, a former Juicy dancer says, "The women were celebrating my sexuality and I felt proud. I could really get into the women. I might go up to them, place my body against them, gyrate and look at them. It was an arousing feeling, and nothing had to happen sexually. Dancing is a form of expression for me, a form of release, an artistic outlet. It gives me confidence to go out in front of people and make eye contact. I feel like a star. Like I'm being appreciated for my beauty. It enables me to empower myself. Maybe this is how it's supposed to be. These girls are completely in control. They're in control of their relationships,
their lives, the customers. I've seen girls tip each other with a guy's money. These people want to have their money taken and dancers put themselves through school, buy houses, and cars. There are people who look at us as being subordinate, but a lot of these girls are really smart."

When Juicy ended lots of spots emerged to take its place. Currently, Caroline and Tina of WOW Bar have stepped up to corner the women-dancing-for-women market, hosting events like The Box...Part II, Time to Prey, SHE-BANHG, and HER/SHE. Flyers for HER/SHE boast that it's the nation's largest dance club for women and the mega-women's playground. Every Friday night, women come out with their lovers, or pick up potential lovers, or one-night stands, or just to hang out with their girls. These are many of their meeting places.

To be continued...

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