July 15, 2015

Marybeth Rua-Larsen

À La Carte


is what it seems like at first. They’re friendly and free with advice: a touch of baby oil in the right places gives you shine and makes it slide. G-string rather than thong. Heels improve on bare feet. It doesn’t matter what’s on top. It’s not on long enough to be scrutinized. More is not more.


come in all shapes and sizes: Pasties – with and without tassels. Beer bottle labels the bartender soaks off, dries and sprays with glue. Every bar needs a gimmick. Pornographic cards. Lewd cocktail napkins and tape. On customer appreciation night, sets of hands.


is what you thought you could be while doing this to supplement your small scholarship and pay your tuition.


should be seen and not heard. Prominent enough to be admired but not sharp enough to hurt. Everyone has an opinion on your body type and what men like. They like the same thing, essentially, but if your package differs too greatly – your tits are too small or your stomach too big –, it ruins the illusion of anonymous and tips sag.


is the objective of each evening: if you don’t remember it, it couldn’t have happened. Each grope, each pinch, each hard-on forced into to your backside, each time you’re  cornered in the rest room hallway and everyone else has disappeared, like the baby oil that’s been absorbed into your skin. It was never there.


are what it comes down to in the end. If you can focus them there, like Elvis, they won’t see your face, the mask you can’t wear.


Marybeth Rua-Larsen lives on the south coast of Massachusetts and teaches at Bristol Community College. Her writing has appeared in The Raintown Review, Angle, Cleaver, The Poetry Bus, Unsplendid and Free Inquiry. She won the Poetry category for the 2011 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition in Galway, Ireland and her chapbook, Nothing In-Between was published by Barefoot Muse Press.

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