One of the most confusing and annoying things I’ve had to wrap my brain around since leaving the gritty and corrupt world of the strip club is how Queen Bee went from being my BFF to my enemy.
I’ll never forget when Queen Bee and I first met. The club had just opened the doors to a day shift; I was only a house mom, working night shift. Queen Bee fluttered into the dressing room as I was setting up my stuff for the night girls. We exchanged pleasantries, I complimented her dress… and so it began.
Queen Bee was always a flashy and classy dresser, thanks to the club owner financing her fairly expensive wardrobe of Bebe and Guess clothing and accessories -- not to mention her numerous cosmetic surgeries. As she and I grew closer over the years, she often said the Human League song, “Don’t You Want Me?” described her and the owners’ relationship.
You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met you.
I picked you out, I shook you up
And turned you around, turned you into someone new.
Once I saw the before photos of Queen Bee, I was a believer. But I digress…
I’ve had quite a few whirlwind friendships with other women, most ending within a year or less. This time was different. We were co-workers, and once I started working the day shift, we had with constant interaction, tons of downtime, and found quite a bit of common ground with each other. There was an affinity like none other. Queen Bee and I confided our sad and pathetic stories and dysfunctional lives in each other, resulting in (what I thought was) a strong bond of friendship.
Most of the time, these deep informative exchanges happened after our shift was over, in the back parking lot of the club, under the moon and stars in a drunken and drugged out state. I’m not going to lie – I enjoyed those times, and sometimes miss them. Looking back and thinking about some of the combinations of drinks and drugs we shared, I know God was definitely watching out for both of us.
Queen Bee and I would spend hours on the phone when we weren’t at work. She always called me first thing every morning, while having her morning cigarette, and we almost always talked at night before bedtime. We worked out at the same gym together. She was a fierce motivator and one of my biggest cheerleaders for any of my accomplishments. She was a rock of support when I had a major relationship end and we commiserated with each other over our crazy relationships and families. I spent the holidays with her family. We were more family than friends.
I felt like I found a kindred in Queen Bee. She told me all the time how much my friendship meant to her -- she even said things like that sober, so it all had to be true, right?
Wrong, as I found out after only a few short years of friendship.
The wounds from the knives she strategically placed in my back still sting when I stop to think about it all. I’ve been ultra-cautious with female friends since her departure from my life. It takes me a lot longer to trust and let my guard down. I always think there are ulterior motives.
Perhaps I had too much faith in Queen Bee, and I bestowed too highly an honor of friendship on her. Maybe I wore my rose-colored glasses for too many years, and my perceptions became skewed because of them. As I said before, I was a very dysfunctional person when it came to relationships of any sort, and almost always drawn to narcissists. I know I misplaced my trust in her.
Even though Queen Bee and I do not speak anymore, I would never divulge any of the secrets she shared with me. Some things, even between perceived enemies, are sacred.
Still, times like this when I think back, I wonder what happened to that seemingly sincere and very fragile girl she once revealed to me. Is she hidden deep within the layers of saccharine sweetness she learned to dispense to others on a daily basis, or was our friendship just another strip club illusion?