Downhome Magazine

Go-go en francais

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My confession is that I worked as a go-go waitress for one summer. I told people I was inspired by Gloria Steinham, who worked as a Playboy Bunny with Hugh Hefner for some time. Steinham was an ardent feminist of the 1960s. As she took on Hugh Hefner, I took on the go-go dancing scene.

Most go-go dancers are waitresses as well. You don't dance in a cage. That's reserved for strippers. You dance on a stage or platform, and, as a waitress, you come more in contact with the public than strippers do.

I found my ad for go-go waitresses in the Gazette. I worked for Agence Cherrier on Cherrier Street. My costume was made by women who also worked for Agence Cherrier. It consisted of a pastel, multicoloured bikini with a deep pink crocheted vest for cover while working on the tables.

Agence Cherrier worked in the rural areas of Quebec. It sent dancers out for limited periods of time to small towns and villages. The majority of the dancers were white and francophone.

I took the job because I wanted to do a little research myself into the sex industry. I told some people I was 'curious yellow', or that they could call me Mellow Yellow, or some other nonsense like that.

I have several stories from my go-go dancing days. I told the one I am recounting here at a family reunion in Newfoundland one summer. The Newfoundlanders, with their own accents, found it hilarious.

I happened in a small town, maybe Gatineau, I'm not sure. A plus to anything I learned about sex through go-go dancing was what I learned about language. In smaller places in Quebec, I learned, only about a dozen people speak any English at all.

I arrived in Gatineau (if it was there) to this effect. I immediately started practicing my French with customers. But there was one cashier there who would interrupt me every time with "Elle ne parle pas francais! Elle ne parle pas francais!", so we would switch to the customer's very poor English and struggle with it. Someone later suggested the French might have wanted to learn English more than I wanted to learn French. Certainly, the cashier may have.

This pattern of behavior repeated itself all evening, until the last few customers came in. "Elle ne parle pas francais!" the cashier repeated. Then she looked up and said "She try d'ough."

 
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