You Do What?

I started painting later in life. I spent the first half of raising 3 daughters as a single mom. My youngest Karen and her baby son Nate moved home with me. I had started a new business, selling costumes to strippers. I am including a short excerpt from the book I started writing about my experiences in this amazing world.
Linda’s burnt out from selling lingerie to housewives in their homes, like a Tupperware Party. Her clientele is mostly overweight housewives trying to squeeze into lingerie made for a teen body. The business went well for a while until she started slacking off leaving a closet full of lingerie. She prefers to spend her time walking on the beach collecting seashells, turning them into beautiful works of art.
We talked about her dilemma. Her soon-to-be ex-husband unexpectedly quit supporting her. I suggested she get off her lazy ass and go out and sell the lingerie left over from her business.
“Who wears lingerie?” I asked.
“Strippers,” Linda replied. “But, I can’t go into one of those places Marie.”
“I’ll take a day off work and go with you.”
At the time, I was sitting at a desk in the mortgage department of a local bank processing loans. Some people lie, like the guy who says he makes fifty thousand dollars a year. I could prove that he only earns thirty-five thousand

“My wife works for cash, she earns fifteen thousand.”
“Do you have receipts for her income?”

“Then I can’t say you earn fifty thousand dollars a year.”
He then screams at me, “If I can’t use her income I can’t buy the house.”
I wanted to say, it’s not my problem but I knew I could get written up for being rude to a customer.
The following Friday night, we decide to give Diamond Dolls a shot. The doorman escorted us to the dressing room. Customers sat all around the stage in the center of the room. A long bar stood at the south end of the club. Opposite it, I saw a dimly lit roped-off space where customers sat on plush sofas. I learned later that it was a private dance area. This is where a girl dances for one person.
Alex wasalone in the dressing room combing her long dark straight hair. “Are you new costume ladies?”
In unison, we replied, “Yes.” 
“What’s your name?”
Using her favorite, Linda said, “Desiree.”
I said, “Desiree.”
Alex said, “That’s funny both of you are Desiree.”
Linda and I figured that we should have stage names too. We thought the girls might have a hard time remembering two names.
Alex looked at our lingerie. “I like your costumes. I can’t buy anything now. I‘ll tell the other girls that you are here in the dressing room.”
The girls drifted in and out. Once again were amazed by their interest in our garb.
Natalie modeled a black lace body suit for her friend Cookie. “This is so sexy, the back is almost cut down to my crack. The lace clings to my body and covers the tattoo on my leg. I can wear my black t-back and bra under it.”
“We surpass our goal,” Linda told me, “I have enough to pay my rent.”
The entrepreneurial spirit that raged within me pushed me to find something to get me out from behind the desk. “Linda, I think we have a business. Order more.” 
Within two weeks with our stock replenished, we were ready to go into a different club.  Costume ladies.
Karen came home one day and said Mom you have too much spare time. She was right I was only working four days a week, mostly evenings. At her prompting, I decided to go to Dunedin Fine Art Center and take a painting class. My first was Mary Lowe’s “Experimental Watermedia.” I was hooked. She helped open up a whole new world to me. I continued with classes, drawing, watercolor painting, and pottery until I was asked to take over the “Experimental Watermedia” class after Mary’s retirement. "In and Out" an experimental watermedia painting.

I finally gave up the smoke-filled dressing rooms and devoted myself to learning more about art, and the making of it, never to look back.

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