Diary of a Dancer
Zevin Towers – Wash DC 9:30 AM Wed 21 Apr 76 Baby sis Avril and I are totally broke. We are eating
our way thru Mom & Dad’s supplies. The grapenuts went first
then the soup. Now we are on sauerkraut and spinach.
Playing Fleetwood Mac & Jimmy Spheeris while sitting on
the balcony looking over Rock Creek Park. You don’t see one
building; Washington DC masquerades as a virgin world. I
need a job by next Mon. Something tells me I can’t finish my
novel and sell it in time. I refuse to be a cubicle drudge again
so what is there? Nude modeling sounds dangerous. Topless
dancing? Avril admits she sits on a park bench instead of going
to class as she told Mom! Uh oh. She says she just can’t “make
herself” do things. What a relief to have someone worse off
than me. Went to see All the Presidents Men with A. How I
wish I could fall in love with Marc Kramer. He’s longing to buy
jewelry for someone! I could sell it rather than the contents of
this old folks’ apartment. But he’s too sane if anything and
wears funny old man lace-up shoes. Plus he’s covered in a
thick mat of dark fur. And there’s his endless talk about shorts,
hedges, futures. SO PARALYZINGLY DULL. Raining outside.
Isn’t life rotten?
10:50 AM Sun 2 May 76 Answered an ad for “go-go girl”. You wear fringed
bikinis and go-go boots and dance for the troops! No
more than 2 gigs a day (you have to drive there) and
each one only lasts an hour so $60 seems very generous.
She asked for my “experience” – I said I used to be a Maxim’s
dancer! (I didn’t say it was for the nuns’ THEATRE
SCHOOL in Minnesota!)
DeeDee is giving me my schedule tomorrow.
Tips are welcome because I don’t get paid till the 15th. Have
to clean this apt and I don’t want to at all. Dad says apt
lease up in two months so I’ll have to find somewhere else
to live (Mom refuses to live here because n16th floor.) Dad
says men are put off by us because Avril and I are too
“masculine” by which he means determined, decisive and
pleasure seeking. (A. very disappointed because she’s had
two dates with Paul and they haven’t had sex yet.) Reading
Spink’s Hans Christian Andersen and his World – what
a painful ugly duckling story!
Tues. 4 May 76 9:45 pm Totally exhausted. Had to dance 2 hrs at Andrews
AFB because my partner didn’t show up (but it’s double the
money.) Jefferson Starship’s Miracles my favorite song to
dance to. Soldiers always want to play I’m A Man and
that’s no fun. Of course I did see Spencer Davis’ dark side up
close while I was trailing around dragging an echo-plex after
rockstar husband Bruce. Would be reading The Place at
Whitton by Thos Keneally if I could keep my eyes open.
11:20 AM Sat 8 May 76 No word from Beautiful Faraway Perfect Man
Devon about whether he will ever visit, but speaking of
attractive young men I had a “conversion experience” at
the Ft. Myers’ officers club yesterday. I was registering
at the young desk when this young man with dark curly
hair and the face of an angel asked me who I was and
what I was up to. I was wearing my go-go outfit plus
military-style jacket so I did stand out. He wore a sweatband
around his head and was all set for running but his plans
changed in a flash. He would rather watch me dance instead.
His name is Frank and something Italian. Took me down to
the dark Hideaway Club and watched me the whole time –
playing and replaying the Pointer Sisters’ Chick on the Side.
I gave him my number and he gave me a $20 tip. Does he
represent a break from lonely masturbation? At this stage
of my relationship with Devon I can hardly be unfaithful.
We shall see.
Marc Kramer called offering to fly me to the island
and back for Memorial Day weekend. I have $266 in the bank.
Should I take him up on it? Just doesn’t feel right.
Wouldn’t be able to get rid of him when I wanted to.
I hate feeling “beholden.” Reading Norah Lofts’ Hauntings
to help me with my ghost stories.
2:15 PM – Sun 9 May 76 Lying in bed surrounded by Sun papers. Have decided
to get tix for me and Avril to Royal Danish Ballet’s Triumph of Death,
Royal Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet and All’s Well That Ends Well
at the Folger Shakespeare Library. So glorious having money.
Tues. 2:30 pm 18 May 76 Guy came forward at the Army Navy Yard, offered
me his card and said I could make a whole lot more money
dancing at his club. I have to admit this rushing around in a
car is getting old – the Gremlin “el Diablo” is acting up. Think
I will go to his club, talk to the other dancers and see what
the scoop is. It is “topless”, but so what if you aren’t supposed
to (or expected to) “fraternize’ with the audience. There is a stage.
Went to look at a townhouse off Dupont Circle –
2 bedroom, $435 a month but no place for dogs. Can’t live without
my dogs forever. Jeannie and I perform at a private party in
Annandale. I am nervous but she is completely cool and they
are content to look. Avril has a new man – Jack.
Wed 26 May 1976 – The Parkway East Waiting my turn to go on. Thought I was going to have
dance alone but thank God Darby finally showed up – fucked up,
but she can dance. (Her boyfriend brought her.) Phoned Devon –
boy that was stupid – to see if he wanted to go to the island for
Mem Day Weekend. He is playing in a tournament and not
“available”. Every time I reach out to him I feel like a sap.
Never know whether his mysterious “tides” are “in” or “out”.
He did his best to sound warm and affectionate but he is obviously
very stressed – he was actually panting! Now he’ll have to meditate
for a week. I have to let this man go. When I wail about him, Avril
makes me laugh by saying, “He’s GAY! He just won’t admit it!”
But I have to say he didn’t seem gay to me.
Genevieve invites us to NYC for Mem Day weekend.
She has filed for divorce and fallen in love with someone else.
Ex Kent doesn’t know but she warns us he is calling everyone in
the family begging us to intervene.
2 PM – 9 June 76 Sun night I invited Frank and his roommate to dinner.
Horrible. They were 45 mins late and my blintzes were ruined.
Avril & roommate took against each other immediately. They
brought Thai sticks, we refused to smoke. On an up note I
took a cab to the Club Shalimar (Gremlin in shop) and the taxi
driver was so excited about having a poet in his car he didn’t
charge me. Said he had never met a poet before. (Gave him
a poem on the spot.) Shalimar seems possible – other dancers
like it but constant turnover; no one has been there long.
Bouncer very nice, and I can take a bus there so A. can have car.
Tempted to risk it.
11:05 PM – waiting for Jeannie in the empty Bethesda
Naval Officers Club. She is giving me a ride home. She is an
interesting person – has done a lot of nude modeling – showed
me her portfolio. Very Playboy. Officers keep marching through
in their whites. They are very polite.
Fri. 11 June 76 8:15 PM - Things could hardly be worse. Got my hair cut the
other day – I only wanted a trim – he absolutely butchered me.
It is barely shoulder length and it looks like a cow slept in it.
I hate all hairdressers, gynecologists and dentists – you’re just
completely helpless in their hands. Plus I got another piercing
in each ear and the left one seems infected. Now my face looks
crooked. Also having my period so I am swollen up like I’m
pregnant. Avril has a college friend (male) coming for the
weekend and she is beating herself up – “Why did I say yes?”
She would call and cancel if he had a phone.
On the plus side, tips at the Shalimar are really
good and the dancing is as energetic as you feel like –
which means standing there swaying is Just Fine. You
can rock yourself to sleep if you want to. Of course my
ego won’t allow too much relaxation.
Piece of good news – agent loves my gothic novel!
Reading The Royal Victorians. Gremlin seems stabilized
so Avril applied for a job as a driver with a messenger service.
Avril friend a complete bozo but
places to be so we hardly see him. Huge sigh of relief and
lesson learned. Let’s just hope he doesn’t steal the silver.
DeeDee and I come to a Sad Parting of the Ways – her
money too small, gas costs, etc.
A and I got a wonderful 3 bedroom in Chevy Chase
on a charming little side street but the landlord very snooty
about only 2 tenants. We said OK, OK. Big yard. I can
have my dogs! Moving in July 5. Struggling with Christina
Stead’s Puzzleheaded Girl. She is overrated. Maybe I can’t
read fiction any more.
Fri 25 June 76 – Club Shalimar Eating free scrambled eggs the cook gave me:
“Somebody’s got to eat them” while waiting to go on. A lot
of interesting men come into this place. None perfect obviously
– and unfortunately I need more than perfection. I need
mysticism. The owner seems to be something of a gangster.
I got 2 standing ovations today.
The job is actually enjoyable. I am really getting
into it – dancing for pleasure – for the connection with
the audience. They stare spellbound like deer in the
headlights. Feel like I’m living in a Simenon novel as
I learn the ins and outs.
Avril loves her new job – thank God – they
want her to do dispatch (no wear and tear on fragile Gremlin)
and the drivers are all foreigners who don’t know the city.
She’s always yelling at them to “Look out the car window
and tell me what you see.”
Met the most charming little man – a TV director
at a local station – speaks sign language, is a magician
and a karate black belt, he’s just so full of joie de vivre.
His name is Ryder and his excitement about me puts
my non-relationship with Devon in a new light. Reading