Does he even know your name? Or does he have a nickname for you that no one else in the world calls you because they all know your fucking name? Yeah, he doesn’t love you.

Does he have any interest in who you are as a person, or does he use pretending to get to know you as a gateway to get into your pants? He really doesn’t love you.

Does he pay for your drinks, or do you pay for his? He doesn’t fucking love you.

It’s not even about them not being interested in us anymore, it’s about men who treat women like doormats because it’s easier than actually “being a man.”

From the outside in, I don’t expect men to take care of my needs, but I do expect that they might want to try. That’s really all anyone wants in a partner, someone who is willing to try.

The thing is, if you’re finding your partner in a strip club, you are absolutely not looking for happily ever after, you can keep lying to yourself if you want to, but I have been there and I know for a fact that I wasn’t looking for happily ever after.

I was looking for “in the mean time”, while I waited for something better to come along. “Yes that’s you, not me, I will absolutely find love in a strip club.” Really? Go look yourself in the mirror and say those words out loud. I fucking dare you to say it at least once, without having to repeat it, while not laughing.

Good fucking luck.

Love cannot be found where darkness reigns supreme, and strip clubs are filled with people who have absolutely given up on the idea that they can have better. I’m not talking about the dancers or wait staff, I am talking about the customers.

I am talking about the twenty to thirty something kids who hang out there because they think they’re cool but they really don’t understand anything but alcohol and drugs. I know this because I was one of those kids

When I say this, when I say “customers”, I am really saying “me, myself and I.” To clarify, I am talking about myself. I am the girl who gave up and found solace in the strip club, surrounded by people I barely knew, whose names were used against me the night I was gang raped.

I was fucking miserable, largely because I had no idea what it was that I wanted to do with my life, and hanging out with people my age and getting drunk every week was better than being alone.

During that time I met some wonderfully kind and lovely people, but I also met a lot of fucking jerks.

I let the jerks use me because I had forgotten that I didn’t belong to anyone. I drank so much booze that I genuinely lost myself and in losing myself, I lost everything that I thought I knew about the world.

I made choices out of survival instead of thriving because I had hit rock bottom and I didn’t even know it. And the whole time I was there, the only thing I could think is “where is he?” and the funniest part is, that now that I look back “he” wasn’t worth waiting for.

He was most often sitting right next to me, almost always in the arms of another girl, he, was the jerk who punched everyone out because he thought he was the bad guy on the block and wanted that reputation. He was always some version of some guy that at his core had nothing of substance to offer me.

He doesn’t fucking love you. It’s not because he’s consciously thinking about not loving you, it’s because if he was anything like I was, he is completely incapable of loving anyone, because no one taught him how to love himself. These kinds of people are not just narcissistic, they are completely unaware of their narcissism.

It’s like me growing up with white teachers telling me that what I saw as racism, wasn’t really racism, teaching me that I was “too young” to understand what racism is.

People who are unable to love because they don’t know how to love themselves, haven’t been taught what that even means. They don’t understand that they don’t have to be the center of attention anymore.

They also don’t understand that this doesn’t mean they need to hide in the shadows either. They don’t understand that it’s okay to be vulnerable and sad instead of big bad and powerful all the time. I spent way too much time around people who refused to do any kind of introspection to ever go back to that way of thinking again.

I am not okay. I have never been okay, but I know that I will be, because those years in the darkness taught me that I am strong, and that although I was going about it the wrong way, what I was really doing was trying to find a way to heal.

I think the reason that I chose weed over booze all those months ago is because I had stayed drunk for so long, that I realized it didn’t work for me anymore. I mean it had for a tiny while, that’s for sure, it gave me a place to hide in my shame and grief over lost friends and lost identities.

But it wasn’t healthy. I can’t say for sure that smoking as much weed as I do each day is healthy either, but I know it’s sure fire better than sitting on my ass being drunk and miserable for the rest of my life.

I also know that as much as I want to welcome love in my life again, it’s going to be on my terms. It’s not going to be me chasing after men hoping one will notice me long enough to care, it’s definitely not going to be me doing the emotional work of ten people for people who don’t even notice that I exist.

It’s going to be healthy and strong and worthy and powerful purely because I am willing to do the inner work so that I can discover not only what I need, but what it is that I have to offer as well.

Love is a two way street, and if he can’t talk to you about politics or current events, you probably shouldn’t be trying to have children with him. I am serious about this.

It sounds trite, but I just can’t see myself spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t discuss the state of the world with. If I cannot comiserate with you about what’s happening to our planet, how the fuck am I supposed to spend the rest of my life with you raising children? I’m serious about this.

I’ve never had a conversation about politics or current events in a strip club. Never, it’s not shit you talk about when there are half naked women on the stage. I’ve never talked business in any sort of real serious way, except once, when I was drunk, and it was a very good idea too.

You don’t talk about life, you can’t get to know someone for who they really are, in a fucking strip club, because everyone is being their stupidest annoying self, trying to pretend to be something they aren’t to impress people they barely know.

I spent two years witnessing this shit first hand. You’re not going to find the love of your life in a strip club unless you are incredibly lucky and the muses in your life have a particularly twisted sense of humor, in which case I’d love to hear your story.

Worry about finding your husband after you find yourself. That’s the most important relationship that you will ever have.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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