Adequacy front page
Stories Diaries Polls Users

Home About Topics Rejects Abortions
This is an archive site only. It is no longer maintained. You can not post comments. You can not make an account. Your email will not be read. Please read this page if you have questions.
 Open Letter to a Stripper

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 16, 2001

This letter is written to a friend of mine who works as a dancer in a fairly high-class strip joint. Recently, she made the mistake of asking me what I thought of her current career, and received the honest answer that I think it's about as low a life as any human being could have, that it's exploitative and demeaning and that she should stop doing it. Needless to say this didn't go down particularly well, and we ended up having a long arguments which ended with the classic phrase of all these arguments "How the hell can I be exploited if I'm taking home $400 a night?". The open letter beneath is my answer.


More stories about Sex
Lolita's World: The disturbing tendencies of the modern man.
Solving Teen Pregnancy
Homosexuality - Is it the next evolutionary step for mankind ?
The Sinister Secret of our Schools
Don't look at me.
My husband wants to do my ass!
'English Style Lovers', with jsm
I'm a teenager, and I want it bad!
I have not had relations for months!
My neighbors are foreigners, and they don't fly a flag
Should we circumcize our boy?
Active recruiting
My wife hungers for dark meat, and my nephew is a Commie!
Uncle OSM's Guide to Covert Dating: Episode I
My husband wants me shorn!
Uncle OSM's Guide to Covert Dating: Episode II
My inlaws are not fertile!
Taboo: The Downfall of America
The Time is Right for Manual Sex
Help save a baby, and snowballs
The supposedly civilized Europeans. (A WARNING TO ALL AMERICANS)
It's all about the numbers
Caffeinated mints, and getting into the body you desire.
Why can't I get a second date?
The Heterosexual Geek's Guide to Feigning Homosexuality
I want a mistress!
Mommyism in the Workplace
Lesbian Parenting and the Myth of Gay Children
My roommate is gay! My roommate is a drunk.

More stories by

The Gay Tax
Linux Linux Linux -- Part One -- Trying to Be a Hero
A Declaration of Independence for the Indebted States of America
Kill Yr Idols: Nelson Mandela
Milosevic Goes Free, Thanks to Godwin's Law!
Tax the Childless, Double Votes for Parents
Luv Yr Enemies -- Jesus Christ
Open Letter to the USA: Please Don't Drown Me
The Real Darwin Awards
Harnessing the Computational Power of Autism
'English Style Lovers', with jsm
Why the Bombings Mean That We Must Support My Politics
Kill Yr Idols - Donald Knuth
Linux Linux Linux Part Two - Crossing the Linux Fault Threshold
Teaching Astrology In Schools
Chip Hell -- the AMD story
We Licke Icke
Slashdot Subscriptions and VA Software -- what's going on?
Wicca and the Insult to Religion
Linux Zealot and Economics 101
A New Kind of Feminist Science

Because $400 a night isn't the average. You systematically overestimate the amount you're making because you remember the good nights much more vividly than the bad nights. Plus, you're making a mistake no businessman would ever make; confusing revenue with profit. Out of that four hundred dollars comes taxis, clothes, drinks, makeup, tax, the club's take and a whole load of other ongoing expenses. Take those into account and you're making maybe half that.

Because $400 a night, when all the deductions are in, isn't really that much. For a shift that starts at 7pm and goes on to four in the morning, you're making between $20 and $25 an hour, for a job that keeps you on your feet for eight or nine hours at a stretch without breaks and makes you bear all the risks of the business. Sure, on a good night, you're making four times minimum wage. But on a night when the club is dead, the guy washing the glasses will take home more than you do.

Because you have to work late at night. This leaves you tired at the end of your shift, but when you go home to sleep, you can't because it's light and you're body's telling you to wake up. So you take pills to help you get to sleep, or you have a couple more martinis. That isn't exactly the healthiest way to keep body and soul together. Sooner or later, a schedule like this will catch up with you.

Because your personality is affected by what you do all day. Salesmen have salesman attitudes. Journalists are always curious. Cops are never off-duty and teachers can't stop trying to teach. Your current choice of career has you spending eight hours a day hustling for tips, trying to extract a dollar from a half-drunk suit with a smile and a come-on. Maybe you're one of those rare people who can put an impermeable barrier between their work and their home life. But do you want to take that risk?

Because you are putting yourself in a situation where, every night, you are drinking too much and spending too much time in the company of unsuitable men. Have you ever considered what kind of a guy has the money, let alone the free time, to spend every evening in a strip club? Sure, maybe these self-confident guys who seem to have huge bulging rolls of ten dollar bills, but who don't appear to need to get up for work in the morning, may all happen to be millionaire playboys, heirs to a jam-making fortune. But I think you ought to consider the possibility that you are spending your time flirting and teasing with people a little bit heavier than you may be used to dealing with.

Because these places are full of drugs, all the time. You think you're the exception, that you won't be affected by the ubiquitous pills and lines, that even on those nights when you're half-dead on your feet, you'll never be tempted by a little sniff of something to make the evening pass a little quicker. Maybe you're right. But once again, you seem to be making a decision to surround yourself with dangers in return for what looks like an insufficent reward.

Because the women who work with you are not the kind of people you would otherwise choose as workmates. Which is not to say that they're bad people, or that they are not in some circumstances fine company. But you know as well as I do that the culture of your dressing room is one of eating disorders, drug problems, abusive boyfriends, childhood traumas and deep psychological scars. Which might be healed with the therapy that $400 a night could buy, but the money never seems to be spent that way -- I wonder why not? Because attitudes are contagious, and because you don't want to be like the people who you spend half your nocturnal waking hours with.

Because, in the final analysis, you are young and foolish, and $400 is a hell of a lot when you see it in your hand, all crumpled and lovely, a stack of bills about an inch thick. Believe me, I know how nice it is to make a quick four hundred dollars -- that's why I still bet on horses. But the danger is that you make that daily does of cash into your whole ambition; that your hopes for the future recede, that your plans never seem to come about, that your entire future is made up of dancing for four hundred dollars. Again, maybe you're the exception; the odd one who's saving her money away to dance herself through college and who means it. But it seems a hell of a risk to be taking. How many of those dollars you've earned, do you have in your savings account right now?

Because, and when I've made this point I'll shut up, because I feel like I'm lecturing you, nobody is as sexually liberated as you claim yourself to be. Not the hippy chicks in the sixties, not the Led Zep groupies, not Janis Joplin herself. Everyone values their sexuality; everyone thinks of it as special. When you look at me and tell me that you have no problem with imitating a lover twenty times a night, of displaying yourself sexually for a ten dollar bill, that it makes no difference to you to think of yourself as the masturbatory fantasy of a crumpled, sweaty old man on a business trip ... when you say these things, my friend, I'm afraid I flat out don't believe you. Deep inside yourself, you know that it is a shameful thing to do what you do; just as the hollow-eyed pale face men who shovel bills at you in the hope of a glimpse of your labia know that it is a shameful thing which they do.

The choice is yours, my friend. But remember, you will have to live with it.


Dining at the titty bar (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by zikzak on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:14:08 AM PST
So one of the main reasons people I know give for having lunch at the titty bar is that the food is cheap. No argument there. Prime rib for $6.95 is hard to beat, and while it may not be the best prime rib you'll ever have, it's not that bad, either.

But eating amongst the strippers is definitely an odd life experience. First there's the lighting, which for some reason seems to be blue whenever you want to dine. Do you have any idea how unappetizing blue light is? Try it sometime. Shine a blue light on those mashed patatoes and tell me how tasty they look.

Next is the presence of all the naked women. At first you wouldn't think this would be a bad thing, and they do tend to leave you alone if you have a plate in front of you. But they won't leave the guy next to you alone, and the tables are awfully close in those clubs. Here's something that happened to me in a strip club a couple years ago which demonstrates this perfectly.

There were 4 of us, and one of our party was a regular at this club. We got VIP seating as a result, which means you get to sit about 18 inches higher than the rest of the schmucks and the girls asking you if you want company tend to be slightly less skanky than average.

So I'm eating my chicken entree and trying to ignore how the lights make it look grey when the gentleman to my right decides to buy a lap dance. He's down in the cheap seats and my elbow is about level with his head. He is also so close that a good yawn and stretch would involve invading his personal space.

The girl sits on his lap facing him, but since her head is well above his she is actually facing me. We're at the same eye level, and being only a few inches apart it is impossible not to notice each other. Occassionally she will grind forward and I get to see her breasts bounce on top of the bald guy's head.

Please remember that I am eating and this is happening close enough for me to touch without fully extending my arm.

Now I simply cannot ignore all this, so I start watching the girl closely. She seems really bored, and it's good that her paying client can't see anything above the nipple line because her expression would probably not flatter him. She also looks really skinny. I can count her ribs, and I begin to think that she could really use a little more substance in her diet.

Now I am generally a decent person who will lend a helping hand to those in need. So when presented with an emaciated naked woman grinding her pelvis into a stranger's lap in my immediate vicinity, I did the only natural thing I could think of: I moved my laden fork over her way and offered her a bite to eat.

She didn't laugh. She didn't even smile. She simply did her absolute best to ignore a person who was near enough to see the blackheads on her nose.

The moral of this story is... um, I dunno, but I swear it is completely true. Thank you and good night.

"Eating" at the titty bar. (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 05:58:26 PM PST
You EAT in those places?! So you're the guy. The chick was trying to tell you something about where you were eating pal.

Prime rib - $6.95 (none / 0) (#21)
by zikzak on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 07:38:50 PM PST
It sure beats giving your money to the skanks.

it's all about sexual empowerment (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:30:42 AM PST
Its okay to visit titty bars as long as you leave with a sense of how empowered plastic surgeons are.

Strippers are too much like Windows (none / 0) (#7)
by typical geek on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 05:17:02 AM PST
You get a tease, but if you try to pursue any deeper intimacy, you just get frustrated. That's why I prefer overweight Wiccan chicks. Yeah, like Open Source, they're not as good as the profressionals, but they're more accessible, and the short term costs are less.

gcc is to software freedom as guns are to personal freedom.

I have an old dear friend... (none / 0) (#8)
by elenchos on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 06:17:25 AM PST
...who I think is probably dead now who could have used this advice. But she wouln't have listened anyway.

It is amusing to see what the guys who patronize these places tell themselves to make it all seem like something decent. Such is the nature of our ability to rationalilze.

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

Yes it is amazing (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 06:25:56 AM PST
They think the money makes it all okay, when even the money isn't all that great.

Like so many things, stripping is an american phenomenon. It is a country so straight laced that stripping flourishes there.

Stripping joints aren't nearly so popular in more sexually liberated countries like France, Holland, the UK and so on.

In fact, the more straght laced the state is in America the more institutions exploiting its women are to be found. The deep south states are far worse for whorehouses and stripper joints than the north.

Just another example of strict morals backfiring and lashing at those they are supposed to protect.

I beg to differ (none / 0) (#11)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 08:11:51 AM PST
I live in America (thank God), but within a few hours drive to that UKian bastion of immorality, Canada. I had friends who attended college in border towns, and they would frequently cross the border into Canada (Montreal, Fort Erie, Windsor) to attend the strip bars. Apparently the modest amounts of flesh permitted in America was not enough for these deviants, and they had to go the virtually lawless Great White North to partake in even more sinful and lascivious acts, of which lap dances were but the tamest.

Now those poor deluded Canadian souls are advocating marijuana legalization. I fear it won't be long before the plagues and troubles that have plagued merry old England will soon descend onto Canada. I do hope we can find room for all the right thinking Canadians fleeing this northern Gomorrah, after they've passed a 12 month quarantine for hoof and mouth disease and BSE, of course.

A. Rightmann

Absolute Bollocks. (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by TheReverand on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 10:17:11 AM PST
As a veteran of strip clubs I can tell you that most of what you say is crap.

. Out of that four hundred dollars comes taxis, clothes, drinks, makeup, tax, the club's take and a whole load of other ongoing expenses.

I don't make $400 a day yet I can afford taxis clothes drinks etc. The clubs do not get a "take" out of tips. Have you ever wondered why a can of budweiser is $6.50? Think about it.

for a job that keeps you on your feet for eight or nine hours at a stretch without breaks

Nigga please. You ever been to a strip club? The girls dance every 6 or 7 songs at the most, and sit and talk to people the rest of the time. You my friend are mistaken.

The rest of your points are just fallacious pieces of recycled feminazi clap-trap. It is all hereby discounted.

You know nothing, I recommend in the future that you say nothing as well.


I have one piece of advice for you (none / 0) (#14)
by dmg on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 10:42:19 AM PST
Goodevening Class of 1999 I have one piece of advice for you

no matter what a stripper tells you there is no sex in the champagne room

Oh there's champange in the champagne room but you don't want champange you want sex.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

Please oh please. (none / 0) (#15)
by TheReverand on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 10:49:57 AM PST
Stop co-opting USian culture, especially the African-USian culture. You can keep your Tea and Crumpets and we'll keep the jokes from the ghetto.


OK (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 11:06:01 AM PST
Stop speaking English and learn Sioux.


Actually (none / 0) (#17)
by TheReverand on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 11:09:21 AM PST
I speak Hopi as my native language, and English to communicate with the rest of this idiots.


wow cool (none / 0) (#22)
by jsm on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 12:03:03 AM PST
I speak Hopi as my native language

You mean like in Skippy the Bush Kangaroo? Cool.

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Well, yes... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by SpaceGhoti on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:16:22 PM PST's exploitative and demeaning...

This is certainly true, but the men demeaning themselves have freely chosen to enter such establishments of ill repute and grace it with their money. If they choose to be exploited, a capitalist society such as ours demands that willing women step forward to exploit them.

Sometimes, everyone involved enjoys themselves. The true crime is when someone is forced into it against their free will, either as the exploiter or the exploited.

Free will. It is a bitch.

A troll's true colors.

old (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by johnny ambiguous on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 04:36:05 PM PST
...what I thought of her current career...

"Career"? A career is something one pursues for an entire lifetime. Does your friend think she's going to be making the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $400 per night when she's forty-five years old?

Well, the best part of what you wrote there, jsm, is in that paragraph that begins:

Because your personality is affected by what you do all day...

Now I'm not gonna dictate to a woman - can't anyway, but that's not all that holds me back - what attitude she's supposed to have, especially toward us the enemy sex. But I've known a couple or three girls in the trade personally and they all fucking hate men. Just like a cop can't see you walking down the sidewalk without thinking "suspect," seems a topless dancer can't lay eyes on any male human being who's not blatantly anti-heterosexual and think anything other than "asshole." Not that men, as a group or individually, are all that hot, but I personally would hate like Hell, even today, to despise women as a whole like those girls despised men.

I think one of the things that keeps a guy going in the desert - some guys, some times, anyways - is this kinda dumbass fantasy that one of these days he's going to meet this Woman and she's going to, they're going to - can't quite stomach saying that word, but they're going to get along and it's going to be good. Where it always sucked before, afterwards it's going to be good instead.

It keeps you going, this idle notion. Everything you do that's extra, that's really excellent, where you somehow rise above those bone-deep inner limitations, flaws, defects you've always known so well, you look in a little bit and it turns out that somehow that was at the base of it.

Now do you respect, oh, let's say, scientific truth? Well, that fantasy ain't the truth, you know. And there's this bad thing that can happen; at least, it happened to me.

One day, back in '97, '98 I think, I was taking a walk, and you know how when you're thinking to yourself, you hear something like your own voice in your head? No, I'm not fucking nuts, and I'm not talking about some psychotic demonic invasion or nothing, just the pseudo-sound of your own thoughts, spoken in words? yeah, that voice. Well, that voice spoke to me, nice and calm, but a revelation, "Never going to happen." I knew then, I know today, that's the cold truth.

Everything changed at that moment, and I want you to know that I haven't been worth a shit ever since.

Speaking through jsm to the person to whom this "open letter" is addressed. Girl, is that what you want? Truth is truth and I couldn't say you'd be wrong.

Yours WDK

Getting into my Chevrolet Magic Fire, I drove slowly back to the office. - L. Rosen

Not very accurate... (none / 0) (#23)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 11:42:25 AM PST
Well, I had to make an account to respond to this as I know a bit about the subject.

When I was just out of college, a good friend of mine was roomates with a stripper. Because of various bad things that happened with that friend that I don't want to get into, I got to know her pretty well. I also got to be friends with some other strippers, and even dated one briefly.

Anyway, there's a lot of misconceptions in the above article. The biggest one is simply that stripping is not a "career". It is a transitional job. It is what women do while they are trying to get to the point of doing something else. All of the ones I knew had goals, some realistic, some not, be it "model" or "actress" or even "policewoman". (Or, yeah, "porn star", or "get a sugardaddy", but I didn't hang out with them, just heard the complaints about them.)

The thing you have to understand is that if the hours and the pay look bad to an MBA type with a large bank account, they don't to an unskilled twenty year old woman whose alternatives are jobs like "waitress". Again, this isn't a "career" job. It is a "pay my way through college job.

Are there psychological effects? Yeah. One lesbian stripper confided in me that she feared she was starting to hate all men. (There are more lesbians in that industry than you'd think, by the way. She estimated 1/3rd.) But they aren't as catastrophic as you imply. I doubt they are worse then for a sexually harassed "Hooters" waitress. Truth is, most of the ones I encountered were disgustingly normal in most respects.

(You also underestimate the money many of them pull in, by the way.)

And this is a bit of a howler:

Out of that four hundred dollars comes taxis, clothes, drinks, makeup, tax, the club's take and a whole load of other ongoing expenses.
(Emphasis mine.) Taxes...that's a good one! As with many cash operations, these women were mostly poverty stricken at tax time. And clothes...uh...yeah...that makes sense... (And drinking on the job is generally verbotten, by the way.)

Anyway, this story could only have been written by someone who was never poor enough to work in the service industry, because most of what you say applies to waitresses as well. Or virtually any evening shift service job.

Must be a skank (none / 0) (#24)
by Sylvester Q McNamera on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 02:29:54 PM PST
$400 a night???? I would think a decent looking sripper would be making at least twice that, maybe three times that amount. Shit, if I was a hot woman I would strip for 5 or 6 years, invest most of the profits, then tell the world to F off.

Best wishes,
--S.Q. McNamera


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest ® 2001, 2002, 2003 The name, logo, symbol, and taglines "News for Grown-Ups", "Most Controversial Site on the Internet", "Linux Zealot", and "He just loves Open Source Software", and the RGB color value: D7D7D7 are trademarks of No part of this site may be republished or reproduced in whatever form without prior written permission by and, if and when applicable, prior written permission by the contributing author(s), artist(s), or user(s). Any inquiries are directed to