‘Dance on my pole’: A collection of unlucky sexual short stories

Lauren Alley | Staff Writer

I came to Washington University expecting a fairly vanilla semester; I am in a committed relationship and this is a school known more for education than getting crazy. Yet, in my first semester here, I have experienced a series of unfortunate events, not like the ones that Lemony Snicket will be narrating on Netflix, but nights that involve creepy students, older men and a sex worker.

I quickly learned that engaging in conversation with any guy near you in a party, no matter how polite the conversation is, can put you at risk for some strange requests. My personal favorite was the guy that said I had to go to his roommate’s birthday party the following weekend because they had recently installed a stripper pole. He “needed me” to dance on it. I laughed and tried to politely walk away, but he just followed me around, repeating, “Dance on my pole. Come dance for me.” After the initial shock, the only thing I could think was that there must be better things for college students to be spending their money on than stripper poles, like student loans or textbooks.

An obvious way to turn down the majority of guys would just be to tell them about my boyfriend. The issue is that shouting out, “I have a boyfriend,” anytime a guy speaks to me appears annoying and self-centered. Unfortunately, I am in fact a human being and I require friendship for happiness, including other male friends! Sometimes, when I go to a party and talk to a guy, all I want is a new buddy, which should not be that radical of an idea. Or maybe I am insane and parties are strictly for acquiring mates, then my bad.

One of my first weeks here, my roommate Ashley and I decided to try out an event at Club Europe (we are freshmen after all). It was my first time being at something like that without my significant other since we had gotten together. After an uncomfortable start, we made our way to the bathroom. Once there, we struck up conversation with a girl named Alley (which happens to be my last name), who was so friendly that she even said we “complete each other” and asked for my number, which I compulsively gave.

As we left the bathroom, she said she was there with a few guys who were not attractive but “could be ours” if we wanted. That was the first red flag. Had she forgotten what we just talked about? The guys turned out to be large middle-aged men, second red flag. She introduced us and they were polite, we continued to talk as she began to make her way around the room. One of the men made a comment about her “getting” us, which was the final alarm. As I watched her try to kiss a dozen people and get more numbers, I realized that not only was Alley was high on something and she was likely a prostitute. Needless to say, we ran away as soon as we could.

Shortly after that incident, a large man put out his hands and asked if I would like to dance. I told him as nicely as possible that I had a boyfriend. My words were lost in the noise of the club, because he pointed to Ashley and asked, “That’s your girlfriend?” To which I replied, “Yeah, sure.” He immediately put up his hands and told me he respected that and left us alone, which was oddly noble. Thank you sir for accepting my fictitious relationship with my roommate.

Though these stories have an element of humor, my boyfriend has been disturbed by what he has personally witnessed when he has visited Wash. U.: Men yelling at me from cars on Skinker Boulevard while we walk hand in hand, waiters feeling my butt in a club and drunk guys grabbing my waist. My boyfriend worried what exactly goes on when he isn’t around. When new stories come up, he only worries more.

I know these experiences seem like a lot. Being recruited into prostitution and asked to mount a stripper pole by a stranger is extreme for your first few months of college. But this has all been very educational, or at least I have learned to be a little more wary and have mastered the art of running away when a guy traps me against a wall (it’s a ducking, dodging combination).

Just thinking of going to a party can be exhausting knowing how careful I will have to be. I am tired of trying to read through the lines and always worrying about things being taken the wrong way. But at the end of the day, I still have the ability to say that I got a job offer in my first semester at college. If I need to, I can fall back on the oldest profession known to females and call Alley’s number for an opportunity.