Diary of a Dancer
1:15 AM – Sat 3 July 76 We’re supposed to “wait” in the dressing room
but they don’t seem to care if you don’t so I spend all my
time talking to Ryder. He says he’s just separating from
his wife and it’s extremely traumatic. They have been
together since high school. He’s a tad hyper – always on
the go, but very entertaining He usually brings me gifts –
flowers, magazines, stuffed toys and cards. Also he’s a
diver and underwater photog. Today he brought pink roses.
Avril warns me not to fall in love. Just date.
Easy to say! I want security, privacy, ecstasy, exclusivity…
and love. It’s a problem!
The oilman came to the house today says he’s
shocked we have no credit references and will have to pay
COD! Fortunately I had just got off work and I had the cash
on me but I don’t like it at all. Guess we won’t need
much oil till winter. Let’s hope.
Ryder gave me a long spiel about how he
gave another dancer a ride home (Darlene) and she
expected him to go to bed with her and he said, I don’t do
that. I could tell he was sounding me out! I said,
I don’t either! No sex, ever! Sex, bad. He laughed till
it hurt and he begged for mercy. Poor Avril had a long hard
day – 7:30 AM to 6:30! I promised to take her out to eat at
Steak & Egg if she picks me up. She said make it Bob’s
and it’s a deal.
10:30 AM Tues 6 July 76 Sitting on a mattress on the floor of my Tyler St
bedroom surrounded by a jumble of stuff. So exciting
starting a New Life. This time I am waiting for the gasman
– if he doesn’t come by 1 pm I have to leave.
9:25 PM – sitting in the Shalimar dressing room
eating a plum. Last night A and I saw Antonioni’s The
Passenger. Goes down with La Prisonniere, Persona,
Pierrot Le Fou and Weekend as one of my favorite all-time
films. So perfectly constructed it was like a series of Canalettos.
Ryder just asked me if I wanted to go to dinner some-
time. I said sure. He asked me about a lot of Italian food I
didn’t recognize – I said I like everything. Covered with sweat
from dancing to ”No one knows what its like to be the bad man…”
have to take it really slow, freezing in a series of poses. Then
suddenly I meet someone’s eyes and he drops his drink.
Sat 10 July 76 – 9 pm – Shalimar 7 hours packing at Zevin Towers before I showed up
here so I was already exhausted. I hate packing. Getting to
be a bit of a trial having Ryder in the bar all the time. His
expressions embarrass me to dance around him. I said I
thought this place was full of stories. He said, don’t stay
here just to pick up stories. He said he would “subsidize”
me to keep me from “doing this.” Hmmmm. Right after
talking about how little money he’ll have when he splits
with his wife!
He’s been offered a job in Detroit for a lot more
money – that’s how they get ahead in his business –
jump from station to station. I told him he should take it –
turned out that was the “wrong thing” because he hoped
I’d want him here. But I told him, I’m a citizen of the world.
I can go anywhere. Fear only empty experiences. So he says,
why are you doing this? I said, to meet you.
Otherwise he is perfect. So charming, smart and
funny, with so much ambition, spirituality and humility.
4 sets left – then 2 days off. Just bought 3 costumes from
Sunny for $30. Feeling personally confident in a way I
haven’t for years. R invites me out to dinner next week.
Have to buy special shoes so I won’t be too tall. Today
marks year and a half since my separation from Bruce.
Fri 16 July 76 – Club Shalimar A & I hung living room paintings today, and last piece
was moved in. Half an hour till my date with Ryder. Will his
name mean anything to me in twenty years? Brought blow dryer,
change of clothes and unguents sufficient to slap me back
into shape after 7 hrs dancing. Idly listening to gossip of Randy
(bouncer), Jinx (dancer) and Bobbi (bartender).
A and I had pleasant evening last night – wild storm
and the power failed. So we went out walking afterwards with
dogs & flashlights. Fun looking into people’s houses, seeing
them move about with candles. What does the future hold?
I worry both that Ryder will be there and that he won’t be there.
Margery Sharp’s The Faithful Servants has a lot of charm.
17 July 76 Interesting date. I want to write about it but first I have
to say today has been a TERRIBLE day – I had to follow ex-stripper
named Edie who wore a black lace corset and gloves and carried
a whip onstage – everything but a donkey, as one of the other
dancers remarked. Then I had to listen to loud speculation on
how I got the bruise on my ass when it was my turn.
But Ryder Arlen. We had a wonderful dinner. He
ordered in Italian. The weirdest thing about him is that he
doesn’t like mushrooms. Long dinner, then over to the Gangplank
for Irish coffee. He insisted upon carrying me across two puddles –
he’s not very big and I was sure he’d get a hernia – but he made it.
We got back to Chevy Chase the house looked wonderful –
A had obviously slaved for hours. We had her down for a glass of
wine, then she went back upstairs. We ended up reading my poetry
I didn’t show him the erotic stuff because I didn’t feel the time was right.
He liked valentine the best –
I sent myself in a letter
Like a glove
Too much folded
Too much told
Dear stranger don’t
I forgot the rule
(Hold back a copy)
Then we made out for hours. He was deliciously
passionate. I said, “You don’t want to end up in bed on the
first date, do you?” He said, “You pick the time and the place
but I hope it’s inevitable.”
I said it was certainly feeling that way but I’d have
to get to know him better. I wouldn’t let him take down the
top of my dress either. He left at 2:45 AM. He seems to
really care for me – so my worry that I’m just a first experiment
after leaving wife seems baseless. He invited me to go crabbing
tomorrow, then on a four day cruise sometime in August.