On Post: Both Sides of the Story
Date: January 28
Welcome back to the strip club.
For those who don’t know what I am talking about, the links above makes things a bit clearer. To summarize, earlier in the Project, we went inside The Hot House. There we met a somewhat uncomfortable gentleman who was visiting such an institute for the first time courtesy of the tune “But It’s Better If You Do.”
Given the song, it was obvious to me, immediately, that it would be set in such a “sinful” joint. Less obvious was whose perspective I’d be taking. I vacillated between customer and dancer for a time because I thought both had the potential to be interesting. Ultimately, I went with the first timer because I felt it reflected the song better as the POV character in the song clearly conveys an attitude of “Oh my god, I can’t believe I am here,” with ambivalence—although his ambivalence is a different sort than the character in my story.
While I did not regret that choice, I still had a bit of the dancer character floating around my head.
Then came this song. From the title, I was already thinking of presenting the “opposite perspective” of an earlier entry. But which one made sense? For that, I looked to the lyrics.
For those not from the hip hop community—and thus, not truly appreciative of Collins’ genius—it revolves around people encountering the “undesirables of society” and getting their perspective on why they are homeless alcoholics or gun wielding muggers. So I looked at my entries for unsavory types. There were a few: a stalker-y esque, a pair of parents rupturing their marriage in front of their kids, nasty bosses, an arrogant, emotionally wounded super villain, and so on. Worthy candidates to be sure. However, I still had the exotic dancer kicking around my head and thought this was the place for her.
My basic premise was a reflection of the earlier piece. The lead character there expressed his surprise at how the Hot House and the dancers failed to fulfill either the positive or negative depictions of such places or people. I wanted my dancer to continue that trend by being achingly average. Because, honestly, I can’t believe all exotic dancers are burnt husks of human beings or abuse survivors or super sexy super beings.
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Interestingly, I had a lot more ideas that what came out on the page. I wanted to have her talk about her parents either not knowing or pretending not to know what she was doing and her brother sort of passively condemning her for it. But it didn’t fit naturally into the pace of the piece and I was not willing to violate the principle of the Project to extensively edit the piece to hit all those beats. So I miss not having that, but I think, on the whole, it was for the best.