#1 in a series of handy tips brought to you by an ex-stripper:
How to cover tattoos:
Clean the area of moisturizer. Babywipes work well.
With a clean finger or make-up pad, apply a light coat of Dermablend‚ matched one shade lighter than your tanned skin to tattoo.
With a powder brush, dust a light coat of powder.
Spritz with hairspray.
Voila! Skin-colored perfection.
I learned this practice from my first really great stripper friend, Alexis. Alexis is not her real name, of course; Alexis was her stripname. Alexis’s real name was quite plebian, but her surname rhymed with “sublime.”
Alexis looked like a cartoon super-hero. You know the ones always shown astride a panther, her bosoms balloonrising from a breastplate and her legs arrowstraight in boots, wielding a sword carelessly above her head, blue-raven hair blowing in an invisible wind. She looked like one of those.
She had raven hair. She had perfect DD breasts with tiny rose-colored nipples. She had a stomach you could iron on. She had a perfect cupcake ass. She had long legs with defined quads and dainty little feet.
She had a daughter. She had no partner. She also was an anarchist, a punk, a squatter, and a friend.
In make-up she was improbably beautiful with wide-set blue eyes that opened like pansies in her false eyelashes. Her skin was alabaster; her mouth crimson; her cheekbones high and wild.
Out of make-up, not so good. In all honesty. Alexis had had her first nose-job at the age of eighteen, her grandmother bought it for her, but it had been broken by the elbow of some punk girl when they were in a mosh pit. It left her nose looking a bit odd, squashy and separated. And that was after her second nosejob, which would come before I met her.
Seriously. I told you, she was a punk and an anarchist. She dumpster dived. She was the real deal, piss-bucket toting, rat-infested squat-living, urban warrior. She was an anarchist amazon.
So after her schnozz was mashed, she healed, but she wasn’t happy about it. Living on the streets as she was, however, she didn’t have the wherewithal to do anything about it. She was living with her boyfriend, Raoul, a half-Cuban musician, in a van on the streets of the East Village when it was still very very scary and not the condo-ridden poseur yupfest it is today, when she found herself with a weird festering rash on her arm.
Squat rot, she called it. She went to the doctor, who diagnosed the rash as a result of Alexis’s less than perfectly hygienic lifestyle. The good doctor also informed Alexis she was pregnant.
Alexis and Raoul decided they wanted the baby squatting within her womb, so they got their shit together, in a way. Alexis became a coatcheck girl at Limelight, and Raoul started dealing. Alexis would hide the stash of..whatever…in the folds of her pregnant body/garments.
Her criminal activity was never detected. Raoul’s was. He went to jail, and Alexis found herself alone and with a newborn baby girl. And that was how Alexis found herself stripping. Again.
And got another nose job. And a breast job. They, those breasts, my friends, were awe-inspiring. Gorgeous, perfect, and enormous.
As I have reported previously, Thee DollHouse at El Morocco, aka Club TaTas, was sliding slowly, inexorably, quietly into decline. Most of the really money-making girls had returned to Platinum on 22nd Street or had defected to Scores, which was climbing upwardly mobile from titty-sports bar to high-end gentlemen’s club. Only the slightly flawed toys, like myself, and a few girls whose regulars liked the crepuscular anonymity of the less-trafficked remained.
Alexis too was a flawed doll. She was covered, covered in tattoos. She had two nose piercings, multiple ear piercings, both nipples pierced, as well as her clitoral hood. When she got ready for work, she stripped herself of all her metal, except for the hood which wasn’t visible in her g-string. Much. She covered herself with Dermablend. And that was after her hour-long hair and make-up fest.
It was hard work transforming anarchist X-mommy into Alexis.
Alexis was a committed single mom. She had a lioness’s fierce love for her offspring. And she saw stripping as the best way to raise her daughter on her own—much like many of the women I’ve known in the stripworld. And she did a very good job. Her daughter was well cared for, in that squat.
I lived with Alexis for a time in the squat. There was electricity—they had found a few tens of thousands of dollars in the walls when they were renovating and used it to attach the building to electric and water lines, though not gas, and though they still pirated a part of their electricity from the buildings around them.
Her apartment was large and airy and sunny. It was warm, and it had all the amenities of any New York city apartment, except for a door buzzer and except for gas. We cooked everything on a hot plate or in an electric convection oven. I lived in the bathroom raft—a kind of bed built above the bathroom; it was dark and quiet, and though it had no windows, it was pretty comfy.
Alexis had built the apartment with Raoul, found it in the squat filled with debris and drug paraphernalia, had cleared it, cleaned it, built her daughter’s room, and then had to flee it when a fire from faulty wiring in the apartment below gutted it. And so she started from scratch. Again.
Not merely one of the strongest women I’ve known, Alexis was smart. And caring. And careful. She had had fewer sexual partners in her life than I had had by the age of eighteen. She was an amazing mom, and an amazing stripper—so much so that Camille Paglia wrote an article about her in Playboy.
And she taught me a lot about stripping. Not merely how to cover my three small tattoos I had then. She taught me in part how to keep my realself from getting too mixy with my stripself, and in part she taught me that by being my friend.
She and my other great stripfriend, Melody.
Melody was as unlike Alexis as anyone could be. For one thing, the stripname. Melody. As in from Josie and the PussyCats. Melody was petite and cute as hell. Pretty in an astonishing, no-pore, peach-skinned, backlit kind of way. Melody lived her life in horror of acne; she was a bit addicted to Acutane.
Maybe that explains her rather hystrionic moods.
Melody was from Rhode Island, the coffee milk state. She had dated Evan Dando of the LemonHeads in high school--from which she had never graduated for some obscure and untold reason; she later got her GED and we had a party for her--and had never really gotten over the experience that almost was. She was difficult. She was bitchy. She was frustrated and she was funny as hell.
Sarcastic little bitch, she hid it all behind a face that was the epitome of sweet. I remember one night we were eating breakfast at Veselka on 8th street. We did a lot of eating out late at night, Melody and I, rehashing the events of the evening, dishing on the customers and the girls, bemoaning the states of our stagnant lovelives.
We each had Caboodles. In the early 90's, one way to play "spot the stripper" was to look for the tell-tale Caboodle, the little parti-colored plastic tackleboxes that held our make-up, jewelry, latex and other essentials.
Oh, yeah, in the early 90's, we had to paint latex on our nipples. Often, it caused infections and irritation, especially if you were allergic to latex as I was. The latex sneeze shield made it so that we weren't technically topless. Yup.
So we were eating omelettes or whatever, and some hipster-doofus guys were scoping us out from the neighboring table.
"What do you have in your box?" one leaned over and asked Melody.
"My grandmother's hands," without a beat, she replied and returned to eating.
When you're stripping, you need to find the good friends. It's kind of like combat, really, and you need allies in your trenches. Melody and Alexis were mine, in those last days of El Morocco, before our strip city crumbled to dust.