Saturday, June 07, 2008

They Only Love You When You're 17, When You're 21 You're No Fun

I will admit that I've never been to an actual strip club. Sure, I've seen a topless spectacular, spectacular in Las Vegas, but that isn't the same thing. I've never really had a strong opinion one way or another. I've always figured that it seems like the dancers can make a lot of money, and if they don't mind, why should I? My only direct (known) experience with a stripper was someone I knew (dated, actually) in high school who went on to become an exotic dancer. She would fly down to Las Vegas regularly also, and ended up pregnant at 20 by a 17 year-old guy who had told her he was 22. (They got married and I lost track of them after that. There's an unsurprising rumor that they are divorced floating around.)

So I've read a few articles lately about the Colacurcio's strip club empire locally and how they are under investigation. Although I'm not trying to be the morality police, and I don't think all strip clubs are evil, I doubt that most of them are very positive places to work in or that most women would actually be cut out for such work emotionally and intellectually. Nicole Brodeur wrote an article yesterday for the Seattle Times (Stripping Can Be Easy Money--For Club) that gave an example of a dancer who walked away from a 6 hour shift with $57 after having paid $120 to the house. Somehow it doesn't seem so glamorous OR well-paying for her. This girl started dancing at 20, is now 27, and says, "Dancing is all I know." Doesn't sound to me like she's being empowered. More like exploited.

The other article I ran across this morning was in The Stranger's food review section. Discomfort Inn tells of Lindy West's visit to a Deja Vu lunch buffet. And I think she sums it up when she says, "Taken separately, I am in support of the existence of strip clubs, buffets, buttholes, orange chicken, and sunny Tuesday afternoons. But even if I were into ladies—here's where my PhD in Grandma rears its head—there was nothing sexy or empowering about this commodified, artificial intimacy. Was there? It just made me feel lonely." I think the lunch buffet at Deja Vu is one set of snacks that I will pass on. The article was funny, but the reality of her experience is depressing.

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