6. STRIP-CLUB JUNKY - 2007 to 2013 When I moved to South Beach around Thanksgiving 2005, I had just cashed out my bank account in the Bahamas. I had $15k in my pocket like a camel hump. I stayed in hotels until the lump got smaller, and eventually I moved right around the block from Club Madonna on Washington Avenue. When business was slow, the strippers would sit out front in an oversized armchair, and talk to guys who passed by. I walked back and forth and back and forth past there every day with all that money burning a hole in my pocket, and they never talked to me. There was a good-looking 19-year-old guy Johnny who sold weed in the neighborhood, and ate slices of pizza, and did whatever idiot kids do. One day I walked past Club Madonna with him, and all the strippers said "Heeeeey Johnny!" I thought how stupid are these stoned warhorses. I walked past here a dozen times with all that money, and they never so much as said "hi." And now I walk past with this kid, and they talk to the kid because he has weed. Like a year later, I had a bunch of web sites I needed built. There was a Russian girl standing in front of Club Madonna, waiting for them to open at 6:00 like she needed a job. She told me "I haf degree in veb development." So later that night I decided to go find her, and see if I could pay her to build my web sites. I went in there and talked to her for a bit, and got her number or whatever. Then I went home and made sure to take my clothes off and leave them on the floor inside the front door before they could touch anything. Because the fumiture at the strip club was disgusting. And I got into the shower without touching anything, to wash off the germs. The Russian stripper's dad was a famous physicist who worked for NASA. Her mom sent her to live with me in hopes she would get married. She had an adult brain injury from a car accident. I threw her out, she went back to LA, and she OD’d on fentanyl a few years later. But I discovered it was pretty cool that for less than the price of a tense date at Sushi Samba, you can go into the strip club and meet a girl with long skinny arms and hang out and talk. I am very particular about how girls look, and it makes them unhappy. They don’t want to hear me say "You're not perfect, but I enjoy being with you and I will always do the right thing." They want the power and trust and security of a guy who says "You look awesome. You are the prettiest girl in the whole world. I am blessed and my world is completed every second I get to be with you." Plus, people in Miami are so aggressive, if you don’t try to have sex with a girl she will assume you think she is ugly. And she will never forget or forgive how ugly you made her feel. It took me a long time to understand if a girl in Miami Beach is in your house, she expects sex. It is not like Boston where a girl can come inside to study for an exam or dog-sit or pick up a lamp, without expecting sex. I got tired of making girls unhappy. I had to find a girl who was stunningly beautiful and amazing in my eyes, so I could give her what she wanted. If I can't say "I love everything about how you look, and I think you are awesome from end to end" and be honest, sooner or later she will figure out I am lying and she will hate me. So I started only dating girls from the strip club. I got to see them completely naked before the first date. And they were comfortable with how I looked at them. There were other things I had in common with strippers. I am a bit eccentric and march to the beat of my own drum. Strippers don’t care what other people think, or they wouldn’t be strippers. Rather than looking for a guy who checks boxes to complement their social image, strippers are a bit on the romantic side,. The ones I met all seemed to own dogs and be devoted to them. They were sort of bleeding hearts, with a tragic sense of surviving in an imperfect world. I used to play poker for a living when I was in my 20's. There were only 21 hours a week, when there were a lot of people in the California cardrooms playing badly, and I could make money. It was like 4:00 to 6:30 Tuesday through Friday when people tried to squeeze in a few quick hands after work but had to hurry home. Plus drunk people from like 8:00 to 11:30 on Friday. Plus sleepy people from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM Saturday and Sunday momlng. II-l3