Thursday, April 16, 2009

I need advice for a flatmate

So my 21-year-old, ex-model flatmate is thinking she might work as a stripper. She's going to the most exclusive place in town I think to chat about it and so far the conditions and wages seem pretty good.

She asked me for advice. I tried telling her some of my struggles with sex work - sometimes it hurts "just to be a body" and not a full person to these men. Sometimes it's tempting to do more than you plan on doing just for the money! And that it's hard to figure out if going forward you'll want to tell people about this part of your life and you may be creating a skeleton in your own closet to last a lifetime.

She wants to do it for university fees - the usual story. Just "one shift" a week and she's fine. She wouldn't tell anyone and would get some other McJob as a cover too. This is her plan. I tried to tell her that the money can become addictive and she may want to do more than one shift and get sucked in that way!

I have my doubts. I think she's young, not mature enough to cope and without a full understanding of sexuality. She's slept with two guys and is pretty messed up about dating and sex and the like and has also had close calls with too many drugs in the past I gather. These are warning signs to me.

But I don't really know enough to advise to you readers? What should I tell her?




  1. Well I almost commented that 21 is not particularly young, I am very understanding of sexuality (though, i also study it), but from the other things you mentioned, being messed up with sex and drugs already, I'd definitely advise her that if she's really interested in this and doesn't want to end up in a place much worse than student debt, she needs to make sure she's well educated and healed in those areas. Becoming a stripper can always wait, even if she amasses some loans now, if she still wants to go ahead with it later she will have no problem paying them off later.

  2. Hey ... I did want to jump in, because you have called it about right. She is young, immature, and already at risk, via her previous association with drugs. Her slope is a dangerous one, and she needs to avoid 'the life' at all costs.

    My inital read is that she is a person for whom being drawn into sketchy situations is a matter of course. This time, the risks are high, and she doesn't even need to take any steps with anyone's help, feel me?

    YOU sour her on the idea. Let someone or something else suggest otherwise. Find the words. They are in you, the ones here are fine. Minor editing, but this entry will do.

  3. This set of circumstances sounds like a recipe for disaster. I hope it works out for her if she decides to go forward with it.

  4. Tell her the truth. Soften it up if you want, but being honest with her is probably the best thing you can do. She did ask you for advice, after all - if she didn't value your honest opinion she would not have bothered.

  5. I have a friend who danced at ALL the high-end clubs in San Francisco's North Beach area, so I got this from the horse's mouth.

    The girls in clubs are all at least alcoholics, and they want you to drink with them. There's tons of meth and cocaine, especially among management, who want you to do drugs with them. Plus, apart from the Lusty Lady, all the clubs are owned by the mob.

    It's a recipe for disaster. My friend started out as an SF law student with bills to pay and ended up as a meth cooker's ho in Louisiana.

  6. I worked as a waitress in a place that had strippers a few nights a week for a year.
    Out of every stripper I saw that year, many were "saving for college", and only ONE was not at LEAST drinking more than was healthy and actually had books with her and classes to attend to. (MANY were so fucked on meth or heroin they could barely walk out on stage)
    If your friend has had substance issues in the past, I think its a bad call, even if she could handle the sex object part, its just not a lifestyle that encourages good decision making when a weakness already exists.

  7. just chiming in to say that i am pretty sure that i was the only clean and sober stripper at either of the clubs where i worked. so if she has any kind of drug or alcohol issues, she should run screaming from stripping. it's easy to lose yourself to being in an altered reality in the clubs. drugs and drinks are literally everywhere. and also, no matter what the club owners or other strippers might say... the money is good but generally not as good as they make it out to be. for some odd reason, all the girls tended to exaggerate what they made to each other like it was some kind of contest. now, *if* she can stay away from the drugs and alcohol *and* can keep whatever boundaries in place that she thinks are appropriate for her... it's a good way to make some quick cash. but it doesn't sound like she would be a good candidate for that imho.

  8. Based on what you've said about her, she is the perfect girl for the job. Which is also to say, she should NOT take the job. Sadly, the ones who are best at it are usually the ones who become the most fucked up the longer they work in the clubs.

    Given that she has the time to take on a "real job" while she's in school, she should go that route. If her bills are exceedingly high and she is taking a heavy class load AND she legitimately doesn't have time to work a real job, then it's an appropriate choice, though it sounds as though she'll be damaged badly by the job.

    The other consideration is whether she'll actually GO to school if she's dancing. I'm the only dancer I know who is actually in school AND doesn't get drunk/drugged/whatever while at work (I don't drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs). I've known a few others who went to school but got so messed up at work (drinking/drugs) their studies slipped considerably (and most were forced to drop out as a result). The money can stop some of them from continuing to go to school, and the availability of altered states keeps many, many more of them from doing well, if they make it at all.