Wednesday, April 13, 2005

CliparToon #47: Shake that money maker.

Stripping. Are you for it, or against it?

Where do you feel the limits, if any, should be? Fully nude? Topless? Pasties and G-string? Not allowed at all?

Is it morally wrong to make money by displaying your own, personal, God given or evolved skin? Is it more acceptable to earn money for causing direct harm to other people?

Should it be kept behind glass, limited to a stage or allowed in a lap?

Would you be fine with your neighbor stripping? What about your wife or girlfriend? Sister? Daughter? Mother? Where is your personal line?

Is it the display of flesh that is the problem? Or is it the other things that seem to grow around it: crime, drugs and violence?

What if there was a state run, clean, crime and drug free strip club and you knew that the strippers received good health benefits, a 401k, were tested for drugs regularly, were treated with respect by the management and were actually skilled in exotic dance rather than just wiggling around shedding clothes? Would that change how you felt?

I have no idea what the laws of stripping are around here these days – the last time I was in a "strip joint" was over 12 years ago and even before then I wouldn't have been called a "regular". Back then I recall the law was if the bar displayed full nudity – like "DejaVu's" where Pat was a bouncer – there couldn't be any alcohol served. The way a lot of patrons worked around that was to arrive pre-blitzed. If it was topless only, alcohol was allowed and the strippers didn't have to wear pasties. That might have changed, I really don't know.

I've never been to a male strip show so I know very little about them. I've heard from friends and seen in movies and on TV that when women go to a strip show it's like a big party with lots of yelling, whistling and talking to one another. However when a woman is stripping the guys watching are usually pretty quiet, keeping their eyes on the stripper, and not talking unless they are there with friends and even then it's kept to a minimum ("Got a dollar I can borrow?"). Although I have heard quite often how stripping is degrading to women, I've never heard the same applied to male strippers. I suppose being quietly appreciated is far more dehumanizing than being wolf-whistled at. Odd that. Back in the days when I did go to DejaVu's I'd heard from several of the strippers that they would rather the men make some noise to show that they were appreciated for what they were doing. It was disturbing to just be quietly watched, and I can see that point.

Personally, I have no moral problem with anyone close to me choosing to dance nude for money, as long as they don't get involved in drugs, get mixed up with criminals or allow themselves to get in a position where they are having to do more than they were willing to do.

Yes, it can be dangerous, but so can a lot of jobs. When I worked at the theater I was told to clean out the grease trap under the kitchen sink. It hadn't been done for at least two years. Two years worth of built-up popcorn oil, fake butter, nacho cheese, hot dog grease and God knows what else. It was a job that really should have gone to a company that was actually equipped to do it, but our manager didn't want to spend the money for professionals when she had perfectly able monkeys on staff. I was given a pair of heavy duty black rubber gloves and that was it. When I was finally able to pry the lid off the thing it was like opening a casket. The stink hit me like a fist and spread through the entire building. I had to dip a bucket down into this stink pit and pull up what used to be water and pour it into an empty coconut oil (artificial butter flavoring) barrel. I had the barrel about half full, was still gagging on the stink, had the slime on my shirt and pants, slipping on the drops of it on the floor and then I dipped the bucket in too far. My entire right glove filled with that fluid and I was done. I told my manager I was not going to do any more. I felt sick and I was going home and didn't think I would be back the next day. She got Sean to finish the cleaning. He wound up going to the hospital that night and was out for the following two weeks. He said he almost died. I had to throw away the clothes I had been wearing and it seemed like it took forever to get the stink out of my skin and hair. I wish I had known enough back then to try and sue the bitch. I do know this: I wasn't making even close to what a stripper could make shaking her rump for a silent fat man with funny eyes.

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