A snow angel of a girl — pretty, brunette, and fair — stands on a stage in hoochie stilettos and a sky-blue thong with ribbonlike straps that knot at her hips. The lighted floor below her shifts in color every few seconds, providing a much-needed glow to BT's Gentlemen's Club (5922 S. Dixie Hwy.), a small strip joint in South Miami decked out in fully mirrored walls and black lights that emphasize the venue's galaxy-themed, bowling alley-style carpeting.The girl onstage, whose name I'm sure is either Brandy, Bambi, Shayla, or Krystal, places her palms on the fluorescent orange ground. As the stage bleeds into a shade of hot pink, she repeatedly clicks her Lucite heels together, causing her porcelain ass to clap. After about a minute of this, all she gets is a crinkled-up dollar.
They say 'tis the season to be jolly, but let's be real. In America, 'tis the season to receive. And this nasty dancer hopes to get some by wildly pouncing on a 12-foot pole, flipping upside down, and untying her panties.
"Ho, ho, ho!" a DJ in a black booth decorated with Santa stockings says as the stripper swirls to the bottom of the pole, spread eagle. And as if the Star of Bethlehem were beaming from her crotch, (not-so) wise men flock from all corners of the club, bearing gifts.
After her two-song set, she approaches my table. "Would you like to tip me for my dance?" she asks.
"Yes," I say, reaching into my purse. I pull out a traditional (but economical) token of holiday joy, a fruitcake, and drop it on the table with a loud thud. "Merry Christmas!"
She pauses for a moment and stares at the long, thick, cellophane-wrapped log dotted with suspiciously unnatural-looking green and red berries.
"What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?" she finally blurts out, a few bills falling from the stash she clutches against her chest.
"Fuck you," she says and stomps off.
Was she Jewish? Diabetic? Or just ungrateful? And what do the other ladies of BT's want shoved down their chimneys this December 25?
"This Christmas, I want Gucci's new Tattoo Heart Collection," says Brie, a skinny blonde with diamond hoop earrings, a flat nose, and two perky little turtle doves.
But what if someone can't afford to give you fancy purses and shoes?
"That's fine," she assures me. "Just don't give me a candle. It's pointless. I pay my FPL bill. I have light. Why do I need a candle? To burn it? Then what? Look at a puddle of dried wax? If someone gives me a candle as a present, I don't care if it smells like the smell of Heaven — I'm chucking it in their face."
As soon as Brie leaves, up walks owl-faced Claudia in a short mesh tiger-striped dress. So what does she want the elves at the North Pole to make for her this year?
"Prada shoes," she says, "or a family." She moves on to the next table, full of men, jumps on some dude's leg, and grinds his knee.
Ah, the family plan.
Next is Ginger. The redhead with wispy bangs wears an American flag-emblazoned T-shirt that's so tight it's hard to ignore her rock-hard breasts' lack of movement as she jingles her bells in my face.
"All I want for Christmas is happiness," she says.
Seriously, what do you really want?
"Well, I wouldn't mind that Chanel bag you've got," she says, stroking my faux Coco Canal Street find with her red acrylic nails. "Is it real?"
"Oh," she says, realizing I'm broke. She stops dancing and turns to leave.
"Hold on," I say, grabbing a candy cane and securing it in the strap of her G-string. "Happy holidays!"
Confused, she reaches behind herself and snatches the minty delight.
"Thanks," she says, tripping over her ridiculously high platforms as she struts away.
"I'd love to get something like a red four-wheeler for Christmas," says Destiny, a flirty girl with braces and two inked bouquets of roses tramp-stamped on her lower back. "But I know I won't get that. I'll probably get something shitty. Like last year, my aunt gave me a huge box and I was really excited. I opened it, and inside there was another box. So I opened that one, and inside there was another box, and another one, and another one, until I got to this tiny little envelope at the bottom, and all there was inside was a postcard ... of New Jersey."
Sad, but not as pathetic as sweaty, wonky-boobed Maritza:
"I'd like to get rid of my kids for Christmas," she says, smiling and revealing a large gap between her two front buck teeth. "They were cute when they were babies, but now that they can speak, all they do is cry and eat and want, want, want. But what about what Mommy wants?"
The last maid a-milking is Stephanie. She's a tiny woman in neon-green boy shorts and a thick bleach-blond ponytail secured by a black scrunchie. But it's not her hair that has my attention; it's her pole-dancing moves. Can you say Cirque du Soleil?
After her set, she walks my way. I hand her a dollar and ask her to take a breather.
"I'd like a million bucks," she laughs. "But just so long as it's not a gift card, I'll take anything for Christmas."
"What if it's a million dollars' worth of gift cards?" I ask her.
"No," she says, "I don't want to spend a million bucks at Starbucks, Blockbuster, and Home Depot. Gift cards are impersonal; I'd rather get something less expensive that shows that someone knows me. Or, at least, I'd like something Christmasy."
With that in mind, I tell her I have a very special surprise for her.
I hand her the fruitcake.
"Oh," she says, her eyes losing their twinkle of excitement. "How ... festive."
With the fruitcake in hand, she moves on to dry-hump the table next to me, and then another, and another. The last table appears to be filled with Miss Stephanie's regular fans, who laugh, point, and roll their eyes at me and my cumbersome present. One image that's worth more than a million bucks: She laid down on three of her groupies' laps and got spanked with the green-and-red log.
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