Lee Ryan Miller

Motivational Speaker       Writer       Teacher      Scholar       World Traveler



an excerpt from Lee Ryan Millerís

Teaching Amidst the
Neon Palm Trees

An exciting true story

Intrigue and Corruption
in Las Vegas.
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      I met lots of fascinating students while I was a faculty member at the Community College of Southern Nevada (CCSN). There was one student, in particular, who taught me a lot about myself. Actually, she was not one of my students, but she was a full-time student at CCSN. I met her in a ballroom dancing class that I took for fun in fall 1998. I will call her Ai Vi.

       Ai Vi had the tiny waist and curvaceous hips common to Southeast Asian women. Atypically, however, she had abundant cleavage. All this I could easily see while I danced with her. I later had the opportunity to get a much closer look.

       Ai Vi told me that she was a belly dancer at Caesars Palace, and that she was taking ballroom dancing because she was interested in learning some new dance styles. She was a wonderful dancer and, without question, the most beautiful woman in the class.

       Ai Vi and I became friends. We both loved hiking, and made several trips together to Red Rock Canyon and Mt. Charleston, two scenic areas near Las Vegas.

       One day Ai Vi invited me to watch her dance.

       “At Caesars?” I asked.

       “No, I don’t work there anymore. The schedule interfered with my classes. I have a new job.”

       “Do you dance at a Middle Eastern restaurant?” Recently I had been to a restaurant on Paradise Road that featured belly dancers.

       “No, no more belly dancing. It’s a different kind of dancing.”

       “What kind of dancing?” I asked, intrigued by her secrecy.

       “You may not like what I tell you. But I want my friends to know the real me. If they don’t like me for who I am, then they can go to hell.”

       “Don’t worry about me, Ai Vi. I won’t look down on you. What sort of dancing do you do?”

       “I’m a stripper at a club downtown.”

       I indeed was surprised. But I considered myself to be fairly liberal, and I tried not to judge people.

       “So, will you come and see me today at 4:00? It’s better if you come early. If you come at night, I’ll be really busy, and I won’t be able to talk to you.”

       I agreed to be at the club at 4 p.m.



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       I had been to a strip club only once before. That was when I was 18 years old, living in San Diego. My buddies had decided to take our friend Bob to a place called The Body Shop for his eighteenth birthday. It certainly had been an eye-opening experience for me, but not one, up till this point, that I had chosen to repeat.

       Downtown Las Vegas does not have the glitz and glamour of the famous Las Vegas Strip. It tends to be downright seedy. The club in question, The Talk of the Town, looked okay from the outside, though. My car was only one of three in the parking lot. Still early, I thought. I was a bit embarrassed getting out of my car, glancing this way and that to see if any pedestrians had me in their line of sight, and then I made a mad dash for the door. That seems sort of silly, now, in retrospect. If my goal was to avoid attracting attention to myself, I probably should have walked. But I doubt that anyone noticed me, quiet as it was at that time of day.

       At first, I thought I had entered the wrong door. I found myself amidst row after row of adult videos. I was the only patron, and a man sat behind the counter, looking bored. I was too embarrassed to ask him where the entrance to the club was, and I was just about to leave, when I noticed a nondescript doorway at the back of the video store. “That must be it,” I thought, and headed toward it.

       Just beyond the doorway sat a bald man on a high stool. “Uh, how much?” I asked nervously.

       The man pointed to a hand lettered sign on the wall, which read, “Admission $10.” I handed the man a $10 bill. He grunted and gestured for me to come in.

       A scantily-clad hostess was waiting for me. “You have to buy a drink,” she said, leading me to the bar. I noticed no bottles of liquor. Behind the bar was a sign listing two types of soft drinks and water. “No alcohol?” I asked the hostess.

       “What you see is what you get,” she replied, gesturing to the sign. I asked for a bottle of water, handing the bartender a $20 bill. He gave me a tiny bottle, and fifteen singles in change.

       The showroom was small. The stage was a rectangular platform, perhaps fifteen feet by twenty. It was fairly plain, with no curtain, adorned only by couple of brass poles running from floor to ceiling. Around the stage were three rows of tiny tables, each with one chair, facing the stage. In the back of the room were some couches.

       The hostess seated me at a table abutting the stage. There were just three other men in the audience. Soon, the music began. A woman emerged from a doorway wedged between the bar and the entrance, and climbed up onto the stage. I simultaneously felt the urge to shyly avert my eyes and to stare shamelessly at the woman on stage. The latter impulse won out.

       A couple of other acts preceded Ai Vi’s. The first stripper was a skinny brunette with no breasts to speak of. The second was an overweight blonde with huge breasts. Then Ai Vi came out. She had the sort of body that men kill each other over: long, shapely legs, curvaceous hips, tight ass, tiny waist, and large firm breasts. I noticed her breasts, in particular – not just because they were among the parts of a woman’s anatomy that most fascinated me – but because they were perfectly shaped. On a later occasion, I asked Ai Vi if they were natural. She was not at all embarrassed to tell me that that they were surgically enhanced. She said that ever since she was a little girl she had wanted large breasts, even though she had never seen a woman who actually had large breasts. Vietnamese women tend not to have much in the way of cleavage.

       Ai Vi danced wonderfully, teasingly, sensuously. Piece by piece she removed each article of clothing, often pausing to give the men in the audience an opportunity to slip dollar bills into her bra or her waistband. This I did several times. When she was totally nude, she approached me. “Put it in your teeth,” she whispered. I held the dollar bill between my teeth, as she ordered. She turned around, so that her back was to me, her buttocks just above eye-level. Then she spread her legs wide, and bent over. The dollar bill just barely touched her pubic hair, and my face nearly did as well. She reached between her legs and grabbed the bill. Then she danced before me for a minute, before moving on to the next table.

       I was so aroused that I thought I would explode. I had to keep telling myself that this was just her job. But, wow, was she good at what she did!

       After Ai Vi finished her act, she threw a robe around herself and headed for the dressing room. A few minutes later she emerged, fully-clothed, but in a suitably revealing outfit. She led me to one of the sofas at the back of the room.

       As soon as we sat down, a barmaid approached. “Do you want to buy the lady a drink?” she said in a tone of voice that was more of an order than a question.

       I asked Ai Vi what she wanted. She ordered a coke. While she sipped it, we sat and talked. The funny thing is, our conversation was like any other conversation that we’d had previously in less unusual locales. We talked about her family, her dogs, her classes, and a host of other topics that had absolutely nothing to do with stripping or with sex. There was a certain irony about it all. It was difficult in my mind to square the image of Ai Vi the intelligent young woman – my friend – with the woman who had earlier presented herself to me and the other men in the audience as nothing but an object of male lust.

       This experience dispelled my prejudices against the “sort of women” who make their living as strippers. I saw Ai Vi as a person, not as a mere sex object. She was gorgeous, and very sexy, but she was also very human. I’m glad I got to know her before I saw her strip.

       Some weeks later, I asked Ai Vi how it is that she had decided to become a stripper. She said that originally, she had done it to get back at a man who had hurt her. She had also modeled nude for some prominent men’s magazines. Ai Vi told me that she had tried working other jobs, but that they always took too much time away from her studies. As a stripper, in contrast, she could earn plenty of money working just one or two nights per week.

       Ai Vi was not just beautiful, but also very intelligent. She had invested her earnings in the stock market, and had amassed a nice nest egg. She planned to use it, eventually, to finance her graduate studies. Her goal was to get a Ph.D. in psychology.

Read these exciting excerpts:   

New Faculty Orientation
The Stripper
Brunch with President Moore
Who You Are Speaks Louder Than Anything You Say

Teaching Amidst The Neon Palm Trees

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