By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
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By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
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Though they're looking to build their outlaw biker babe empire, the Devil Dolls won't accept just anyone into their girl gang. To gain entrance into the club, a girl has to prove herself first as a "hang-around" and then as a "prospect," a process that can take months. Prospects are expected to pay their dues by running errands and performing scut work for the club until the other members decide she is worthy. The Devil Dolls then vote on whether the prospect should become an official club member, basing their decision simply on whether or not they like the girl.
Trisha Troxell is the club's latest "prospie." She began lobbying for membership in the Devil Dolls almost six months ago because she felt it was a group that might actually accept her for who she is: an overworked single mom who has made a lot of compromises to support her kids.
To prove her loyalty, she pitches in with extra fervor at swap meets, events, parties -- during the calendar release party, she even volunteered to sit outside in a black slinky dress to make sure nothing happened to the bikes parked in the bar's side lot. She has taken to carrying a pen and pad around to make notes on club business at a moment's notice, and she's offered to log extra time in front of a computer to redesign the Devil Dolls' Web site.
All that is in addition to raising her three kids by herself.
The 37-year-old has the weathered face of a woman years older because for 10 years she has worked three jobs -- as an administrative assistant, a bartender, and a stripper -- to support her kids. She says bitterly that the system has failed her, and her ex-husband still owes her about $100,000 in child support.
A couple of years ago she decided to go back to school in order to get a higher-paying job. But by the second semester, she could no longer afford it. Though she found a job as a tech coordinator soon after dropping out, she had already lost her apartment trying to pay tuition. She had no choice but to ship her kids off to her mother's house while she lived in her Ford Pinto station wagon for four months, showering at work, and hiding the truth from her co-workers.
And then the bomb struck. Trisha alleges that her ex-husband had been molesting one of their daughters; Trisha spent the next year in court, trying to take visitation rights away from him.
At the height of stress and the depth of desperation, Trisha began hanging out at motorcycle clubhouses, where she says she finally felt like she belonged. "I've never fit in, and I've always stood out. But when I went to the clubhouses, it's not about what I look like or what I have, it's about respect and living up to your word. I found my niche in the biker world."
She bought a brand-new 2000 Harley Sportster in April and became a Devil Dolls prospect in November. Trisha says she felt instantly comfortable with the Dolls, who took her in and even threw Trisha her first birthday party on her 37th birthday.
"I've never had the luxury of making friends," Trisha reflects. "Meeting people is all fairly new. It's a very powerful feeling, knowing that you're cared about. Finally I have a family. And if I died, someone would be at my funeral other than my children."
Diane Patton, aka SheWolf, is the club's newest member. A mother of two, she is the quietest girl in the group, though you wouldn't know it from her calendar picture, which shows her wearing minuscule leather Daisy Dukes over torn, red fishnet stockings, with only a crisscross of electrical tape covering her nipples. Her natural reserve made prospecting for the club a challenge last year.
"We would go to bars and dinner, and with some of the girls it was hard," she says. "I thought they didn't like me, but in retrospect it wasn't that. It was because they were like me -- shy."
So SheWolf changed her strategy. She decided to get to know each member one on one, and after a long ride, she would ask different club members if she could stay with them that night. "For a month, my saddlebags were always packed because I didn't know where I would be staying," she says. "And then I'd spend all night with them, eat with them, see their living space, and then look on their bookcases and say, "Oh, I've read this book.' Or the ones that were interested in philosophy, we could talk about that. That's what broke the ice."
SheWolf is reserved because she is used to being on her own. She moved out of her house at 16, and got married at 18 to an alcoholic who never seemed to hold down a job. She joined the Devil Dolls after she divorced her husband and it was beginning to seem that, at the age of 33, she was slipping dangerously into the monotony of domesticity. "It was a point when the only people in my life were my kids," she says.