I am not really an armadillo breeder — I am a stripper

We the strippers of Las Vegas have been menaced with the same dreaded question, time and time again, wherever we go. I speak of the question that invokes an awkward, rehearsed answer, at least from me. In general, the answer is a lie. I wish I could tell the inquirer of the question that the answer is not his business but I’m not so bold or rude. I hate answering honestly and I especially dislike the associated reaction.

The invasive, audacious question is none other than, “What do you do for a living?” Then I lie. “I’m a student,” or an armadillo breeder from Texas, or a secretary, or a cocktail waitress. So why must I lie? Am I ashamed of my profession? Not necessarily. I suppose there are many reasons to lie.

For one, people have a limited understanding of strippers. Perhaps they knew a stripper once. They’ve maybe been to a strip club. In their minds they’ve developed a set of attributes associated with strippers. I admit that even I have a whole slew of crappy ideas I associate with strippers. There are probably twelve words in this blog alone that many strippers wouldn’t understand. Someone once told me that she had to explain to a stripper that pork was a broad category of meat. “Have you ever had ham?” Ham is pork but pork is not always ham, she explained. Anyway, I’d say my conclusions are drastically more researched than the civilian knowledge of strippers but I think it’s still unfair to be judged immediately based on the profession.

If you tell certain people that you are a stripper, they expect that you’re always on duty. You’re a sassy, greedy, drug addicted girl who coldly sells sexuality. You’d do anything for twenty bucks. Oh and you’re lazy too. You’re much too lazy to have a real job. It is much easier to con desperate married men out of their hard earned money than to wake up every morning and show up at an office. Your redeeming quality is that you can do cool pole tricks. They’re pretty neat.

I was once at a court-ordered presentation in a small theater venue and a woman walked in. There were a couple hundred attendees there, all by court order. The woman was very thin with very fake breasts. She had bleach-blonde hair extensions that came out from a brightly colored trucker hat with rhinestones all over it. She carried a small child into the theater. “Check out the stripper,” a fellow college student/court-ordered attendee said. We looked. We laughed amongst ourselves. Strippers are comical, no? With our big hair and inflated painted lips, we’re rodeo clowns aren’t we? The cosmetically enhanced prancing butt of a joke.

Of course we’re not, though. No, we the strippers of Las Vegas are hard workers. Doing what I do, I am Joe the Plumber of this damn city. Perhaps we should quit saying we are actresses or waitresses or part-time butchers. We get naked and get our hands dirty and perhaps shouldn’t be so ashamed. I somehow still don’t see myself answering this dreaded question honestly. There are subsequently more questions about the job that I just don’t feel like answering. Wouldn’t that make me simultaneously lazy and dishonest? Maybe they’re right about strippers?


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