Over time, you develop “cognitive dissonance”


I remember having a low opinion of strippers before I was a stripper. I felt sympathy for them with a healthy dose of judgment. I used to read a stripper’s blog on some blog Web site. I remember being horrified by the things she would say. She was just talking very casually about work and would say things like, “Work was bad. I did thirteen dances last night,” and I remember thinking how disgusting the thought was of coming in such close contact with so many excited members. I wondered how anyone could disconnect with their own body and emotions so much that they could be intimate with so many strangers on a regular basis.

I was sure I would cry after work every night if I were in her high-heeled shoes. I remember even being disgusted by feeling a man’s “arousal” while dancing with someone at a nightclub. I once had a discussion with a friend of mine about a stripper we both knew. (She graduated into prostitution now but that’s another story.) I pondered, “How can one sell something so private?” I felt bad for her. The whole idea seemed so degrading.

That’s not the case anymore at all, obviously. I come in contact with so much “arousal” through work, I think I have it in my mind that men are almost permanently that way. It almost seems weird when I give a dance and don’t get this kind of “biological feedback.” I certainly don’t cry about all that contact. Perhaps I have disconnected with my emotions, like I thought strippers did. I don’t ever sit around thinking how terrible that part of work can be. I have better things to worry about like razor burn, homework and sticking it to The Man.

So what changed? I wonder if it is simply a matter of cognitive dissonance. It is my job, and what I do on a regular basis should not send me into an emotional outburst. I would stop, right? Perhaps I’m justifying something dishonorable because the money is great. I enjoy it. It’s fun … but then, maybe I’m justifying it again. Either way, my comfort zone associated with physical contact has been stretched far beyond what I thought it could be.


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