Guest writer Chelsea regales us with her first forays into the wild world of booze in this multipart series.
Working as a cigarette girl is only partially about selling cigarettes. It’s much more about selling yourself. A Peachy Puff is a product, and when a customer buys a pack of cigarettes from her, he’s also buying her company. It’s a form of very short-term, platonic prostitution. This is where it came in handy to be witty, funny, and exciting, because these things were the real wares we were peddling, much more so than the packs of gum and the disposable lighters. But this could cause some confusion about the role of a Puff as well; we were propositioned often, if not nightly.
I can’t tell you how many times people tried to pay me to party with them at someone’s house after the bars closed. I remember one guy drunkenly trying to convince me to come play a late-night game of tennis, with complete sincerity. But sometimes, people were looking for more than just friendly company. Once, a man with a thick accent and an old-fashioned pinstripe suit and hat pulled me over to sit next to him. He wrapped his arm around me, telling me that he wanted me to come back to his hotel room with him. “I have a jacuzzi in my room,” he offered. “You don’t have to take all your clothes off, just wear your panties.” He pulled out a huge wad of hundred dollar bills—more than I had ever seen in my life—and waved it in front of my face, saying “Don’t you want this? Take it.” I quickly removed his arm from around my shoulders, smiling nervously, and hurried off.