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  • My dad told me about his new girlfriend. She was a stripper. In a strip club. He was 84 and she was 30!
    She worked at Deja Vu - 32 pretty girls and 1 ugly one. He sent pics to prove she wasn’t the ugly one. And she wasn’t - she was stunning. Her name was Christie. Her stripper name was Cinnamon. With an S. SINamon.
    Then he said I worked there too. He’d never wanted to tell me that before because he didn’t want to embarrass me. But - his coworker Pete used to go there for lunch. They had free buffets to get businessmen in. And he’d seen me on a few occasions.
    I. Was. Devastated.
    I was never a stripper at Deja Vu, but for decades my father has thought I was. It’s a Fathers worst nightmare.
    And now he's dating a stripper who is 54 years younger. And that is a Daughters worst nightmare.

    Now to be fair...
    There was the time I was hired to jump out of a cake when I was 19.
    I was young, I needed the money, and I was too foolish to find out who the party was for or who would be there. The way it works is that I would curl up inside a crepe paper cake and a comedian would wheel that out on a trolly to the birthday party. He would tell jokes for about 10 minutes, then play music and I would pop out of the cake and dance around in a tiny bikini. As I’m origami’d inside the cake, I start to realize that I KNOW this birthday person. It’s Ken Richards. His daughter is a good friend from High School. I’ve been to their house for slumber parties. HE IS A DEACON AT MY CHURCH!!! This room is filled with friends and their parents.

    I quickly tried to think of a way out. Get out the trap door and run away quickly and hope they don’t notice? Jump out anyway and wrap the crepe paper around my head like Crepey McCrepeFace? I was spoiled for choice but decided to take the cowards way out and just jump out and plastic a big stupid smile on my face and watch as the faces in the crowd went from amused, to confused, to disgust. Dancing to Eye of the Tiger was the longest two and a half minutes of my life. But I did it and then drove away hoping to never deal with it again. And I didn’t.

    Until my wedding day, when one of the guys at the party came up to me after the ceremony as I was standing with my new husband, and my new VERY CONSERVATIVE in-laws, and my parents. He told about that day and how amazing I looked in the little bikini and how funny it was that I was dancing for my friend’s father. We all listened in abject horror and I could feel the ire from all five of them directed right at me.

    I hoped that maybe my father had confused that wedding day with dancing in a club? Maybe? But then on his 85th birthday my father was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

    Now, cancer teaches you things.
    It teaches you that cancer makes you confused and say things without thinking that are inappropriate, like when my father told the rotund nurse that he couldn’t believe she could fit “that big ass through the door!"
    It teaches you how deeply an 84 year old man can fall in love with a 30 year old stripper, whom he adored to the end.
    It teaches you how to administer morphine to your dying father because he's dying and he's in pain and t’s what you have to do.

    In those 10 weeks as he was dying, I never asked him if he really thought I used to be a stripper - I’ll never know. But it doest matter. He told me in the end that he was proud of me. And besides, the way he looked at Christy, and called out for her - my dad had nothing against strippers.
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