Sunday, December 9, 2012

Polling Place

Now that election madness has passed, and we've all returned to a world in which BOTH parties agree that we should block climate change prevention measures, continue funding state terror, and use drones to kill civilians around the Muslim world, I figured it was high time I blogged about my experience working at the club on election day last month.


This one chatty ass stripper started talking to me about the election. She had cast her vote earlier that morning.

"Do you want Obama to win?" she asked.

"I don't want Romney to win. If that means Obama wins, I suppose I'll be relieved."

"Yeah, well I think Obama is better. I mean, I'm a minority and from a poor neighborhood and I definitely think Obama is better for like minorities and older people and women."

"Yeah, to a certain extent that's true."

"But I voted for Romney."

"Oh...wait, what?"

"Well like I said, I think Obama's better. But like, with Romney, I mean, Romney's new. And American should always be about doing something new. Like, having a new person in the White House. That's going to send a message to the rest of the world that America's not afraid to try something new."

Seriously, we're going to disenfranchise convicted felons and let this weirdo vote? Democracy, you so crazy!


There's this right-wing white Zionist guy who sits at the bar and talks mad shit about Obama all the time. "He's a socialist Muslim," he once told me. "Any Jew that votes for Obama is full of self-hate." On another occasion, he told me he was really excited that the club hired an East Asian woman because "there's nothing hotter than a little Oriental girl."

The day of the election, he was at the club drinking. When I stopped by for my tip, he told me he was nervous because he'd trusted the club's valet with his car. But then, he added "We'll trust a black crackhead to run this country, so I guess I can trust one with my car, what do you say?"

Post-racial America, you say?


I have a regular customer, Steve (two years now and counting!) who's a die-hard Obama supporter. And while he is anti-war and generally further left on the spectrum than 'Bam (which is true of just about everyone except Ann Coulter and the Koch bro's!), he always defends Barry O with gusto. I'll always press him with my critiques, to which Steve predictably responds that the only reason Obama played to the right wing so much was because he was trying to get reelected. A week or so before election, we made a little wager: He said Obama would, in his second term, stick up for Palestinian statehood and stop backing Zionist apartheid in Israel. I disagreed.

Sadly, just a few weeks following re-election, Obama fully proclaimed his support for Israel to 'defend' itself against Hamas attacks from Gaza. (Might I, here, offer a pithy quote from my boy Chomsky: "When Israel, in the occupied territories now, claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population that they’re crushing.")

For me, this meant I got a $200 shopping spree at Sephora, and I didn't lose the bet (which would have meant me treating him to a steak dinner). A tiny silver lining of our country's upsetting foreign policy for this Gaza stripper!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dancers are Special!

Hi, avid blog readers (all four of you...)! Here's a really awesome project I hope you'll be able to help out with -

Please take a minute and watch the video. And then, of course, donate!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's have a toast for the scumbags.

Ah, another autumn at the strip club, when the summer slump ends and horny boys need someone to keep them warm. Thankfully, things are picking up after a ridiculously slow summer - new faces and return offenders are all stimulating the economy - and themselves - this fall!

I was on stage the other day, dancing my ass off during my set. Four years into my stripping career, I've fully resigned my goal of learning a pole trick or two. Instead, I channel energies into my pole-less art - you might say I have a No-pole-eon complex. Regardless, there was a young, clean cut white dude sitting at the edge of the stage, watching quite intently. He greeted me warmly when I went over to collect my tip, and told me to come by when I was done on stage. I went over to him, threw and arm around his shoulder, and asked how he was doing. "Fine," he replied, and glanced down at his crotch. There, under the ledge of the bar, were the shortest pair of short shorts I've ever seen, made of what seemed to be the flimsiest material ever. It doesn't end there - peeking out of the bottom of said shorts was the tip of an erect penis. Yikes! Nice knowing ya, buddy.

Also, in creep-show news, there's been this British customer who shows up at the club once a week or so. He'll buy a dance or two from each of his favorite dancers. For me, the dance has consisted of me dodging his aggressive touch and spitting dirty talk such as "Look at you, you dirty little Indian girl." "I could just ravage you in a sari." And, my personal favorite, "I can just picture you getting fucked hard on the streets of Calcutta." All that is fine, but the last time he managed to get a hand free and use it to both give me a painful titty-twister AND a ridiculously hard slap on the ass. (Thankfully, my "dirty Indian girl" skin is dark enough to not bruise that easily...) So when he came back to the club last week, I let the bouncer know he needed to watch us during our dance, and I also stood about 1 foot away from him for the duration of the dance. When the song was over, he looked at me, disappointed. "That's it? THAT was my lapdance?" "Yup." "Wow. That was the shittiest lapdance I've ever received in my laugh. It was absolute rubbish. What a joke." Well, chap, the jokes on you. (Tucks $20 into rubber band bundle, walks away.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hot Dog/Vendor

Wow. I thought I'd heard and seen it all after my four (yes, four!) years stripping. But then, yesterday happened. You know how they say men are dogs? Well, if that were true that might make this story a little better.

Remember t-shirt guy? He's a t-shirt vendor in Times Square, and he's a generally good, generous, drama-free customer who comes in every couple weeks. He strikes me as your average "family man who loves to cheat on his wife," pretty standard for the strip club scene.

Background on Vendor Man - he lived most of his life in India as a Tibetan refugee. Hence, he loves India and hates China. I feel him on hating China's relationship with Tibet, but then I get puzzled about his years in the Indian army, especially his time in Kashmir. Why is it okay for him to participate in India screwing over Kashmir, given his critique of China's relationship with Tibet? Well, whatever, it's clear he's no Edward Said or whatever. Anyway, he is a little quirky - like the time he started crying after several drinks because he just "loves Gandhi so much" (read about that here).

Anyway, back to yesterday. He was telling me about his time in the Indian army, and how much he used to love visiting the brothels of Delhi.

Me: Did all the guys visit sex workers in the red light district?

Him: No, I'd say about half. Many of the men were actually really faithful to their wives. I'm sure they were still doing this...(makes a jerking off gesture)

Me: Oh, yeah? As many as half?

Him: Well, some of the guys were really, really into sex. Not just with "whores" (he was using the Hindi work "randi" to describe the sex workers).

Me: So who were they having sex with? Each other?

Him: No! No, they're not GAY! (exasperated) But like one night, I saw three of my colleagues trying to fuck a donkey. A female donkey.

Side note - I love how an implication that they're gay is shocking, but the donkey-fucking is reasonable.

Me: (flabbergasted)

Him: I didn't tell them I saw that, because I didn't want to embarrass them. But, yeah, they were trying to fuck a donkey. Oh man, I knew a guy once who told me he fucked his dog.

Me: (more incoherent astonishment/disgust/shock)

Him: It was a "kutti" (female dog) and he used to fuck it.

Me: That's pretty terrible!

Him: Well, yeah, but then again, have you ever seen a dog's pussy? Especially of a pregnant dog? Ssssss, mmm, they look kind of nice. The lips are nice and plump. It looks so good. Sometimes I think about it too.

Me: (shitting myself)

Him: Americans love to fuck dogs, I think.

Me: Why do you think that?

Him: Well, I've met so many people, like the vendor next to me in the city - he says he's a dog person. What can that mean? It must mean he likes dogs to fuck. One guy I saw in Central Park walking three dogs, and I asked him why he had so many. And he told me he likes dogs more than people. I mean, you know what that means, don't you?

Then he got distracted and, already drunk, began singing this Hindi movie song.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Titter Bar

It was Greg's birthday last week, and he came to see me as a "birthday present to himself." Greg's been my on-and-off regular customer for a good 2 years now! He's generous, a non-rapist, and generally good company. On his birthday visit, he put a small cash gift to me in an envelope, along with perhaps one of the cheesiest Hallmark cards I've ever seen in my life. You know the kind, with a raised pastel flower motif along the front and embossed gold lettering spelling out some corny-as-hell poem about belonging together, growing old together, enriching each other's lives. The kind of card you gag-gift someone! He waited for me to read the card, which I primarily regarded as a "cash holder," but it's clear he thought otherwise. "I read that card, and I knew it was for you. It just spells out exactly how I feel about you. I couldn't have said it better myself." Over the next hour of his visit, he repeated no less than four times how "perfectly" that card summarized how he felt about me.

Like I said, he's a good guy. I'd put him low on he list of awesome guys I've met stripping. The hot half-Asian dude who became politicized as we'd drop antiracist political chit chat between lapdances, Irish Gold, Hot Guy (this intensely sexy construction dude from Serbia who I should have been paying for lapdances), Chester Brown guy (a funny lawyer dude who'd gift me graphic novels from my wishlist every time we met up), and the studly Chicano "friend" I made at the strip club all rank much higher than him, though.

Actually, he's starting to annoy me.

He'll make these stupid jokes and wait for me to laugh at them. For example, he asked me if I was going to be working last week on Friday the 13th. When I told him no, he asked, "What, are you a triskaidecaphobe?" I suppose he thought the punchline of his "joke" was knowing that there's a word for the fear of the number 13? Anyhow, I didn't laugh, but he started chuckling pretty hard. When he saw I wasn't laughing, he said, "You know what that means, don't you?" And I said yes. And then he stared me down, waiting for a laugh. Eventually, I obliged.

He does this all the time. He'll make some remark that he finds funny, start laughing, and then - if I don't laugh - he'll explain the joke to me. Greg! It's not that I don't get the joke! It's that it's just not funny! I swear, next time this happens it's going to come to some kind of standoff - picture his sweaty, twirling my hair in tension, a tumbleweed rolls through the club. Will she laugh, or won't she?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No Arrest for the Weary

On Sunday, June 17th, I will march in silence with thousands of other New Yorkers who are fed up with police brutality, stop-n-frisk racism, and the routine harassment of young men, LGBT folks, and (increasingly) women of color. I'll march as a woman of color, an immigrant, a socialist, an educator, and - yes - as a sex worker.

Why should sex workers - strippers, more specifically - give a shit about this march, and join me for it?

For starters, the legal system we have is, at its core, about economics. More specifically, a larger atmosphere of 'neoliberalism,' the reigning economic system in which nebulous 'market' forces are presumed to be the best arbiter of the fate of humanity, in which the 'public' sphere quickly disappears, in which blame - for poverty, criminality, marginality - is to be doled out strictly to individuals for their own personal failings instead of to a system of capitalism that's failed them.

This might explain why corporations like the CCA have actually been buying state prisons and operating them! Yes, a private corporation, with a goal of turning a profit, merges with a system that (we're told) aims to keep those on the outside safe and reform those on the inside. But no, the CCA and other private entities have benefited from incarceration of (mostly poor, non-white) young people. To keep their revenues a-rollin' in, they've lobbied and even had some buddies elected to office, campaigns aimed at introducing Draconian laws and law enforcement. Gotta be tough on crime - those prisons won't make any money if they're empty, will they? Meanwhile, those of us who work in the sex industry - walking the fine line of legality and criminality - are thrown into the mix. Those of us who have experienced a raid, an arrest, or worse for consensually selling sexual services know just how much of a numbers game law enforcement is. That's probably why your lawyer and everyone else present when you got arrested encouraged you to take a plea deal, even though you insisted you were innocent. (After all, no one told you sitting on a guy's lap during a lapdance could technically count as prostitution...) It's what they call "maximum throughput" - the prison industrial complex can only be profitable if it's massive, if it cranks people through it enough to be the kind of growth machine capitalism needs.

Notice how these ginormous prisons are usually in rural, white towns? Many prison towns, usually all-white, were plunged into a terrible type of poverty when they lost their jobs after deindustrialization (thanks again, neoliberalism!). Those jobs were not lost, just sent somewhere else where brown folks can do the work dirt-cheap because their government is giving the US a huge blowjob and keeps labor and environmental regulations super-low to attract dollars. What fortuitousness that mega-prisons could occupy such a convenient niche: at once incarcerating now-redundant workers of color from urban areas (can't have 'em roaming the streets, can we?) and employing poor white folks who'd otherwise be unemployed - as prison guards, food service workers, medical staff, etc. So these poor white folks - who'd largely do well allying with people of color around economic injustice - are now given a token of authority over criminalized people of color. The divide & conquer circle is complete...

As sex workers, we are fodder for the business of criminalization. No one knows exactly what constitutes a violation of the law in terms of 'sexual contact.' Stripping and pornography are legal, provided that money is not being exchanged for sexual services...Wait, what? Isn't stripping for cash a sexual service? Where is the line of legality drawn, exactly? We've all had customers blow a load in their pants during a lapdance (and if you haven't, Goddess bless you, child) - is this tantamount to giving a happy ending massage? Can I be hauled away, labeled a "prostitute," and lose my teaching job as a result? Would I even have time to investigate these issues if I were hauled to central booking in the middle of a shift at work and urged to take a guilty plea to avoid legal costs I can't afford? Would I accept a criminal record permanent enough to affect future career prospects, custody battles, and housing?

My first year stripping, I had a late night customer buying tons of lapdances, begging me for a blowjob in the champagne room. I refused, and his offer became more and more generous. By the time he realized I wasn't going to do it, he'd spent all that money on lapdances while he'd tried convincing me. After the lapdances were done, he flashed me a police badge. He told me I did the right thing, not taking him back there. I had another customer who was going through police academy confess that he'd seen over 200 sex workers during his lunch breaks. I had a retired-cop-turned-strip-club-bouncer confess to me that, during his career as a detective, he made several arrests because he "didn't like the way the person looked." (A very thinly veiled racist statement, since he quite often cursed out "niggers" without much hesitation.) Yes, these are the police who will raid our clubs, banking on the fact that we don't know our rights, and have so few to begin with. These are the police who serve and protect Bloomberg and his cadre of Wall Street cronies and criminalize more and more of us with impunity. These are the police who shot and killed Ramarley Graham, beat the hell out of peaceful Occupy protesters, spied on Muslim students and businesses. The same police who, with each day that passes, get more authority over enforcing immigration law. The same police that can decide that, if you are carrying a condom on you, it can be used as evidence against you in a prostitution case.

The time is running out to raise hell about this issue. How many more diligent mothers will be stigmatized for work that allows them to support a family? How many trans sex workers will be felt up in "gender investigations" by police on the streets of Jackson Heights? How many more university students will be arrested or beaten for simply protesting a tuition hike? Dancing girls, this issue is ours. Let's do this.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I love both my husbands...Isn't that big'o'me?

"Pretty Woman. Memoirs of a Geisha. Firefly. The Girlfriend Experience. Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Moulin Rouge. I began to see a trend: The media says that if you are a person in the sex industry, even one who consensually entered sex work, you will always have to make a choice between love and work. Sex workers, you see, cannot afford to love. Cue dramatic music and wistful looks into the long distance." Check this interesting discussion of loving and sex-working.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cultural Capital

Below is one of the saddest, funniest, most fucked-up, succinct quotes from the mouth of a strip club customer (self conscious working class dude) reacting after I told him what I do when I'm not stripping. "Yeah, see, you sound like someone who goes to Columbier University. I sound like someone who got ass-raped on Queens Boulevard." Aaaaand...that's a wrap.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Isfahan-d Job

There's this 55-year old investment banker from Iran, who comes into the club every week or so in a suit and throws money around like it ain't no thing. I like his company a lot. He's handsome, generous, respectful, interesting, and generally just easy to be around. While he'll fondle and grope all the strippers who hang around him (many of them rub his little boner through his suit trousers), he always respectfully pulls out a barstool for me and talks to me about class stratification, Marjane Satrapi, or why the US is always trying to give Israel a huge blow job. (Ironic, since he's part of the devilish finance sector, that he's such a huge supporter of Occupy Wall Street. He told me several times that he appreciates my anti-capitalist stance and, while he's part of the problem, he's a die-hard critic of US neoliberal economic policy.)

Gradually, over the past six months or so, I've tried to break my "political firecracker" mold and get him to see me as a stripper too - talking to him about my favorite sexual positions or telling him about my Persian rug. (Yeah, I try to make "Iran"-nuendo with him - once, when I noted an erection through his pants, I said something to the effect of, "Well, what do you know, Iran does have a weapons program!") Finally, he has started talking more about my ass, tits, lips, hair, and less about whether I think the Occupy movement still has any steam left (my answer to that, by the way, is yes! Just wait'll May 1st, baby.) He said he was reluctant to do that before because he thought I was "too intimidating." (See, MrMike, you're not the only one who doesn't get into politics with their stripper pals!)

I'm on a little hiatus from work for a couple weeks, and on my last day there, he showed up and decided to take me and another girl for a 2-on-1 lapdance. Hurray! I had danced for him once before and knew him to be very generous and not gropey. Once back there, he told the other girl, "I need some help waking him up," and while I gave him a lapdance, she straight up took out his lil dick and started jerking him off! It took me a minute to realize what was happening, because I was straddling his chest and she was on the floor behind me; once I saw that we were in prostitution-territory, I jumped off his lap, told him I'd see him at the bar, and got myself dressed. The other girl gladly took my spot on his lap and started rubbing his bare dick against her crotch. Nice.

He met me at the bar a few minutes later, gave me $100, and said, "I'm sorry about that. I know that had nothing to do with me and that you probably just don't like that other girl. I should have asked you before taking you back there." I quickly corrected him - "It's not that I don't like that girl. It's that I don't like committing arrestable offenses with surveillance cameras overhead."

Really, though? Hand jobs during a lapdance? This girl is definitely not getting paid enough to do this, especially since I'm fairly sure Mr. I-banker would be happy to shell out for a hotel room and a handsome hourly rate for the very same handjob in private.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strip Search

Ha! I was looking at my blog statistics, and one of the things available for me to view is what people Google search before they land at CivilUndressed. Check out the hilarity and/or name your band any one of these!

-Naked Indian Stripper
-What if I Busted a Nut During a Lapdance
-Came During Lapdance
-Undressed Gays
-Beat the Line at a Strip Club
-Blow Site
-Got off on the Right Foot Fetish
-Aaja Nachle Dress

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Can (Chris) Brown Do for You?

Rihanna just can't win, can she? (And by "can't win," I mean "make millions of dollars before hitting 30".) She's getting her skin lightened on November's Vogue (which Vogue vehemently denies, of course - but there's no denying that blonde wig, Ms. Wintour!), Dutch magazine editors are making overtly racist comments about her, the results of an ugly, abusive relationship are in the public spotlight, and finally, she gets critiqued for collaborating with her former abuser! Yes, everyone thinks Rihanna's an idiot for collaborating on Birthday Cake with Chris Brown, overlooking all the very real, nuanced, living dynamics of fucked up relationships, abusive or not.

Well, my friends, I'm no Rihanna, but I totally dig what the article linked above gets at. Thankfully, I've never been in a relationship that escalated to any physical violence (though I did hook up with a big-dicked guy who refused to use lube - ouch!), but in June this motherfucker basically finger-fucked me while I was giving him a dance and I had to pry myself off soon as I got to the dressing room, I was all in runny-makeup tears yelling at management "Where the fuck were the bouncers while this fucking asshole tried to rape me?!" and caused a big scene. Two weeks ago, the same dude was back at the club, nursing his beer ("I get Budweisers here because the bottle is metal and so no one can tell when I've finished it so I just have to buy one drink the whole day.") and I totally hustled him for lapdances. On my walk back to the lapdance section, I gave the bouncer a stern look, letting him know I actually wanted him to watch me (yeah, the bouncers at our club don't do that unless specifically asked) and gave the guy two shitty "air dances" for $40. Is that bad? I have a knee jerk feminist response inside me telling me the best thing is to just walk away, that I don't need his $40, but for some reason, a savvier, stripper feminist in me tells me that, if possible, he should pay for that unwelcome finger-fuck for the rest of his miserable life. Yeah.

There's this other guy, "teacher nurse." (He used to be a teacher, and is now a nurse. I am considering revising the nickname to something more caustic, like "Rapist Molester," but then how would I tell him apart from the others?) He is fantastic for money. He doesn't want to talk; he finishes his drink and takes me for 6 or 7 dances, then leaves. His demeanor, though, is less than desirable. First, he always asks me to remove my lipstick before I dance for him "in case I get any on his shirt" or something. Bullshit. The reason he has me take off my lipstick is because, every time, without fail, he puts his hand behind my head and force-kisses me as I try my best to pull away. I hate it (mostly because he's old, ugly, and an asshole) and renegotiate space by putting my booty on his lap, or turning around for him, but he always manages to get me in a compromised position and uses his jabby little tongue to rape my face, chin, and cheeks.

I was in a bad mood when he last showed up and didn't feel like getting mouth-violated by him. I strapped a dark lipstick to my ankle in my rubberband stash (it was Mac's Matte Diva, for those interested - great under the blacklight on my tan complexion!), but approached him clean-lipped and took him back to the lapdance area. While he put his coat and drink down, I quickly applied two or three coats of Diva, turned around, sat on his lap, held him down by his hands and said, "You wanna kiss, rapist?" and proceeded to put my lips all over his face for a whole fucking song, leaving smeary burgundy all over his mouth. I'm sure he gave his face a good scrub-job before pathetically going home to his wife, but I'm also sure he was freaked when he saw my pouty dark lips coming at him.

In other news: After work yesterday I went to Duane Reade for some vitamins, and I had forgotten to change out my singles before leaving work. I paid for those $60 fucking pills in singles! The (cute, but too young) cashier looked at me, smiled, and said "coming from a strip club?" I smiled right back.

Also, and this is me on brand new territory, do people ever make friends with their customers? I know people date, fuck, and escort with guys they meet at the club, but how about just friends to shoot the shit and catch a movie with? I've met this guy a few times at the club and (in addition to being rather cute) him and I just have terrific friend chemistry! He's never explicitly asked me to hang out with him, but he always says stuff like "You're hella cool! If I hadn't met you here, we could totally have become friends." And I got to thinking, what's the big deal? So, he's seen me in a G-string (Elena, most NYC strip clubs are topless only) and thinks I'm 2 years younger than I am - does that rule out the possibility of being pals? This last time I saw him, I unabashedly told him to take my number down and smoke a joint with me sometime. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Red Scare.

Ah, those damn tampon commercials! They always show a girl in white pants riding a horse, or someone in a leotard doing yoga. Here's a real tampon ad for you: a girl, freshly flow-ing, in nothing but a teeny tiny g-string, grinding her crotch hard on a dude in white linen pants. (Incidentally, this may also be a great way to get straight men interested in the range of Tampax products...)

Today, I got my (red)wings halfway through my shift, and I was more interested in the cash-flow than the one between my legs. Still, I managed to make my rounds and get that money: This one guy was like gushing over me during a lapdance, but little did he know I was gushing over him too! I mean, the DJ should have been playing 'rag'time, because that's what it was. (Puns runneth over, I know, now that the floodgates have opened...) This one customer who's on the production team for some hip-hop label came in - and I was thinking, the only flow he's gonna catch today is mine.

Meanwhile, dudes in the club didn't hear the rule about wearing white after Labor Day (though, I'm not sure I know that rule either - isn't it always technically after the previous Labor Day?. I guess the only time you could actually wear white was before 1882...). Man, I actually turned down a dude in pale khakis who I know likes hardcore grinding. And I was relieved that one of my regulars showed up in black track pants (normally, anathema to a respectful lapdance).

The girls in the dressing room were remarking that they think men tend to spend more cash on you at that time of the month - talk about blood money! Whew! I thought giving a lapdance was a 'no-strings-attached' kind of fun, but I guess not on the first day of the cycle!

Monday, February 20, 2012

You can't sink your (bell) hooks into me, man.

Yet another type of experience I've accumulated from my 3 years of stripping? I am (tooting my own horn-y guy radar here) extremely attuned to guys' bullshit, emotional immaturity, and possessiveness - even in the surprising guises they may take.

Something about being paid to fulfill club customers' fantasies - many of them not sexual in nature - has helped me, immensely, in dating situations in which I feel a guy is being disingenuous, sexist, or clingy (though those things often go together like oversized plastic glasses frames, jeans from Buffalo Exchange, and the Lorimer/Metropolitan stop in Williamsburg). Conversely, it's also enabled me to recognize those rare dudes who are emotionally mature, straightforward, and respectful of women (the only type of guy I've ever been lucky enough to fall in love with).

In the club, a man might put his hand on the back of your head during a dance to facilitate giving you an unwelcome kiss (and by kiss I mean, a face-raping suck job). In the rest of the world, a guy may subtly or explicitly censor what he tells you about himself or how he relates to other women so he can continue to kiss you. They're the same thing. They're both a big fucking hand on the back of my head that attempt to keep me trapped and powerless.

At the club, a dude might tell me I'm the most beautiful girl he's ever seen dancing; tell me I'm too smart to be doing this kind of work; assure me that I'm the first girl he's ever asked to meet him outside the club. Outside the club, (hollow-sounding) remarks about beauty and intellect stand, and a woman might enjoy a deep-tissue ego massage worthy of a top-ranked Groupon deal. They're both the same tactic - a deliberate strategy to give my ego a hand-job as a way to 'keep' me around. (Sort of like, in the first episode of "Peepshow," Jeremy says "If I laugh at her jokes hard enough, I'm sure to get at least a suck job.")

The stripper kung-fu (remember Lap-oeira?) I've described in the past - the sometimes-subtle (other times straight up violent) physical manipulations to violate boundaries (just because you're touching my breast with your forearm rather than just grabbing it with your hand doesn't make it any less of a fondle!) aren't that different than the ways a loverboy might try to subtly, without invitation, occupy extra space in your life outside the club. And when we're raised as women, we've been hard-wired to take these as signs of love and affection - after all, we're all expected to want the man who's ready to commit and be present, right?

The realization that masculinity and "taking up tons of space" are synonymous is a claim feminists have been making since...well, since there have been feminists. But realizing something academically (big ups to my undergrad "Roots of Feminism" prof from back in the day) is so different than coming to understand it from life experience. I wonder just how much the feminist canon has done to challenge masculinity on the part of men. I know that feminist literature (particularly the Third Wave, race/class centered stuff) has been immensely empowering for me as a woman; it's armed me with language to protect myself, to describe my world, and to experience sexuality. But what about for those hetero, male-bodied people who read this shit? Does their access to 'feminism' just give them an opportunity to get the attention of the fierce goddesses they desire by posting about the current birth control scandals on Facebook? (13 women "like" this post about how much you hate Mitt Romney - maybe one of them will even blow you!) Has the feminist canon actually done anything to change hetero-masculine subjectivities, those deeply-ingrained ways of just 'being' in the world?

In the way Tim Wise's career of railing against white privilege became as prominent as it did is because of his whiteness (for, people of color have been articulating the problems of white privilege ever since racial categories existed), feminist guys get distinctions on their qualifying exams, fierce-minded girls aroused, and ultimately, infinite other types of advantages for knowing the feminist canon and using it in deliberate, space-taking-up ways.

Thank you to all the grope-y, needy, clingy, jealous, and overeager strip club customers; spending time with you in black-lit strip clubs amply prepared me to identify your dopplegangers outside the club. If I can walk away from a champagne room customer dangling hundreds of dollars in front of my face because I get a bad feeling about him, I can most certainly run (not walk) away from a guy who's navigating insecurities, behaving duplicitously, or using his position as a feminist-minded man to enable and forgive these behaviors. And I can spot him from a mile away.

Apologies for the incoherence of this post; I hesitantly started this blog, but gained confidence when I stopped worrying about an audience or my readers and just wrote what was up instead. This post is largely my internal monologue rather than a well-thought out treatise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trafficking Report

Saw this interview on YouTube. I don't know who this dude is, but he totally breaks it down in terms of so-called anti-trafficking measures, labor rights, and sex worker rights.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shit People Strippers

Too lazy to join the YouTube meme-ers, but here's a feeble attempt at a script nonetheless:

"You are way to smart to be a stripper."
"I'm not really a strip club guy."
"I'm a nice guy."
"I know you're lying to me."
"I know you're just after my money."
"You're the first stripper I ever asked out."
"How did a girl like you end up stripping?"
"We can meet outside; I promise, we don't have to have sex."
"Do you do full service?"
"If there are no other customers here, come sit with me."
"The other girl let me finger her in VIP."
"Earn this dollar."
"No thanks, I'm just here waiting for my friend."
"Can I get 2-for-1 with lapdances?"
"Can I touch it? Just from the outside?"
"You're always going to be this beautiful. At least until 35."
"You don't date customers? Fine, then I just won't spend any money on you."
"Yeah, sure, you're a grad student."
"How are you getting home after work?"
"I can tell we really connected today."
"Whatever you do, don't get any skinnier."
"Whatever you do, don't gain any weight."
"What are your rates for outcall?"
"I'm about to bust a nut."
"I'll come back after I get paid."
"I hate the way fake tits feel."
"You speak good English."
"Kiss me."