Looking back, I knew that night would change everything. I'd never be able to take back the words once they left my mouth. I sat there nervously going over what needed to be done. Replaying every piece - it had to be perfect. The crowd may not be pleased, but this time it wasn't for them. Tonight was all about the love of my life. Tonight, I propose to Nelly.
I hear the crowd screaming while backstage. Unruly drunkards doing all they can willing the next act to stage. The melee of urban music and cougar pheromones was thick - the kind of night that usually feeds my insatiable ego. Not tonight. For the first and only time I can remember, I'm nervous. It's not the anxiousness that comes with performing; this is deeper. Surely I know that she love me, but to bear my soul and ask her hand in marriage, this makes dragonflies stir in my stomach. The manner in which I was going to propose, and in this setting. But I've come to far and she is all that want. She is my life.
I need to clear my mind. I steel my nerves and think on the preparation, the effort, that lead to tonight. Nelly's friends, The Captain and Tennille, are avid strip club goers. Connoisseurs really. They love the human body in all of its magnificence - male and female alike. They especially love that form while it's gyrating around to music, covered in oil, all while dollars rain down. This is why I choose them for this very important task. Nelly must be at the center stage precisely at 11:33PM. This is when the feature act would hit the stage and change her life.
The Captain and Tennille decide to take Nelly strip-club hopping for her birthday. There is no shortage of male entertainment in Southern California. Their plan is to start drinking early, head to De Ja Vu, maybe a drink at The Spearmint Rhino, then hit the harder clubs: Wieners n Wine and The Meat Locker.
I had been dancing on and off at the Meat Locker for the previous 5 months. I'm not one for attention or having cougars look at me like a helpless prey but the extra money is helpful. I've already cleared tonight with the manager. He is not happy about having me proclaim my love for only 1 lady tonight - it takes away from the illusion that we provide all of our fans. Reluctantly he agrees and offers up the center stage. Rolando aka The Golden Banana was not performing tonight and I am needed to fill the spot.
All of this has to be a sign from God. None of this can be coincidence. Tonight was set in motion by Our Lord Almighty and I had my part to do. Gaining this understanding renews my confidence. If God be for me, who can stand against me?
I snap back into reality as Huggy Bear's set concludes. No time for second thoughts, no backing out, it is time. I hear the DJ announce me to the ravenous crowd, "Ladies! It is now TIME! Make some noise for your very own CARAMEL PONY!"
The club erupts. I walk out in my signature white leather cowboy gear - my skin providing the caramel. "In Da Club" by 50 Cent is blaring over the speakers trying to contain the primal screams of the ladies. The plexiglass stage has lighting mounted above and below and my body is washed in deep greens and purples. There I stand at center stage wearing a cowboy hat, leather vest, chaps, slingshot and boots. Scanning the crowd I see my Nelly. For the next 3 1/2 minutes she is all that exists. I don't feel the dollars being stuffed into my G, I don't hear the obscenities hurled towards me, I don't even remember losing my stetson. I perform for the only woman that will ever matter to me.
As Nelly's eyes move from my goods up my torso she finally finds my eyes. I pull her, The Captain and Tennille all on to stage. I have Nelly sit down while I hump the air in front of her. The Captain and Tennille undo my fringed chaps and back away. I am there only wearing my white leather slingshot. Oiled up, with my heart racing, I take a knee. While still holding my lover's gaze, I gesture to The Captain and she gives me a little box. I take no measure of the crowd. I do not know if music is playing. I am alone in Nelly's eyes now.
I put my heart and very being on the line and say, "Nelly. I promise to love you the rest of your life. Will you marry me?"
Those were not the words that I had planned. That was not the place I wanted to propose. My original plan was Mexico at sunset on the beach. Romantic words were and still are in my heart. Much like that night, our life has not always gone according to my plan. Much better though that God's plan be realized.
I love you Nelly. Happy Anniversary.
Cyberspace, love till it hurts. You're welcome.