1. My ass.
a) Wearing heels while doing squats and hip undulations (these two moves are the basic steps when performing a lap dance) has turned my sad white girl booty into a slightly less-sad white girl booty. I'm about six light-years away from a shelf, but that's a hell of a lot closer than I was before I first showed a stranger my yoni and demanded 50 bucks in return. And I feel like that is progress.
b) Contrary to every Cosmo sex-tips column you've ever read, stripping teaches you that Jiggle = Good! If you are in doubt, please refer to #9.
2. Men who ignore me when I'm walking down the street. (Or at least the ones who make no mention of the fact that I am a person they would like to fuck.)
You see, there was a time where I yearned to be sexually harassed on the street. It made me think that boys liked me. I was sixteen and would giggle with my best friend when cars would honk at us as we walked the two kilometres to the nearest Tim Horton's:
Me, Age 16: Oh my gosh that truck driver totally thinks we're hot!
My BFF: Oh my gosh oh my gosh do you think they go to our school?
That was ten years ago. These days, I prefer being gawked at in my work environment, where it's profitable. Everywhere else, I like to be left alone. So thank you to men everywhere who leave me the fuck alone. I like you. But not in a like-like way; in a keep-up-the-good-work-by-continuing-to-leave-me-alone kind of way. Thanks!
3. Informal Education.
I used to be Joey fucking Potter. I loved school and thought the only way to measure one's worth was by getting a full scholarship to Harvard.
Then I went to university. There, I learned how to get completely fucking obliterated on five dollars, and maybe a thing or two about punctuation and Socialist Realism. I was young and stupid and it was fun but there is no way in hell I am ever going back to school unless it's fucking circus school. It's expensive as fuck, you never sleep, pour endless hours and letters and words into a paper that no one will ever give a fuck about, and then you get a SINGLE LETTER GRADE telling you it kinda sucks. Then you get a diploma written in Latin so you can't even fucking read it. Who is Zizek, you ask? IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. Go to a bar, chat up a stranger and stock up on some of the good shit.
4. My low-numbers bank account.
Cash is King, and that shit is in my mattress.* Having met every depressed and coke-addled Wall Street guy in Lower Manhattan, I know never to trust those bastards with any sort of investment. But don't worry, I'm not one of those assholes who collects the dole while making a mint under the table.
*It is not in my mattress. I am not telling you where it is.
5. When people think I am a heathen or bad person or best of all - a SLUT.
During my Joey Potter years, I wanted everyone to think I was pretty, pleasant and smart. Now I get off on people thinking I'm dumb as rocks or spreadable like peanut butter. Maybe it's a phase. Whatever it is, it's FUN.
6. Cotton briefs.
When my mom used to buy me six-packs of Hanes briefs, I was mortified. I've wanted cute lacey thongs to wedge up my ass since I was nine. I know, it's fucked up. I've since come around. Cotton briefs are comfortable and hot in a virginity-losing kind of way:
7. My scent.
That's right - I love the smell of my pussy, and you should love yours too. It's been identified by keen sniffers as 'salmon,' 'puppy's breath' and 'hot musk' and it's the fucking best. I used to think if my cunt smelled like ANYTHING and someone were to *GASP* smell or taste her, I would certainly die a thousand deaths unless I lathered her in Dove or better yet - just left the whole fucking bar of soap wedged up in there for the entire session of hanky-pank. Thank god those days are over. Come at my laundry hamper, panty-snatchers!
Gossip used to make me really nervous:
Me, Age 14: Oh my gosh are they talking about Sarah Sawishkison because if they are that means they could be talking about me, too because I just swapped Civics notes with her after third period. I hope they're not saying anything good or bad or totally irrelevant because I don't want anyone thinking of me, ever.
Now I just fucking feed off it like a leech on a boner. I hang out in the dressing room just to touch base with who's pregnant and who got busted for dealing coke to customers and subsequently getting in a cat-fight with the Queenpin.
Gossip is totally fun. And terrible.
It's not that I've become a keen porn collector, but I can appreciate it now. Before I started stripping, I thought porn was gross and silly. A huge part of me still believes most porn to be hilariously gross; if I ever watch it I am laughing for at least 75% of the program. But being in the sexy business has inspired me to have this reverent sense of gratitude for it. Like, 'Hey, look at how crazy awesome our fantastical imaginations are! Isn't it nice to have some talented and generous actors to act it out for our viewing pleasure?'
10. Body Hair (and by body hair I mean my bush)
When I first caught sight of a single curly strand down there, I chopped it off with safety scissors. It's been an itchy, painful and bumpy ride ever since. But now that hair removal is not so much a chore but a money-making necessity, I feel differently about my ghost pubes. I never really get to see my bush in full bloom. Nowadays, if I have a few weeks off I'm really into having that tuft of fluff at the pearly gates of my lady bit. It's pretty! It's soft! It reminds me what my natural hair colour is!
To my dismay, most of my clients are not of the 70's-porn-watching variety. Consequently, I persist with the shave-job. I leave a little bit to remind myself and others that I am a woman, and not a four-year-old, but really it is my heart's desire to grow some serious bush one day. And when that day comes I shall blow-dry it. With mousse.
11. Hot Pink
I used to think hot pink was tacky. I still think it's tacky, and this is precisely why I find it so fun. When you wear hot pink you're giving yourself license to be fucking ridiculous. This is a *severely underrated* freedom.
SOMEONE GET ME THIS PUSSY DRESS:
12. A day without alcohol.
Don't get me wrong - I fucking love alcohol. It's fun and silly and slutty and Shoshana is my new favourite character on Girls after last Sunday's Mean-Drunk-Girl episode.
But a day without booze is so fucking rare when your job is to be perpetually drunk, and when your non-stripper friends think you're 'so fun' because you're essentially a professional fun-haver. And they never see you having fun because that would be AWKWARD. So, when they do get to hang out with you, it's like NO YOU ARE NO WAY ORDERING THAT SHIRLEY FUCKING TEMPLE. WAITER SHE WILL HAVE A LEMON DROP SHOT AND A TECATE.
It's quite possible that every woman hates the idea of strippers until she either meets one, or becomes one. I thought they were drugged up attention whores with daddy issues. Now that I've seen the light, I know that we TOTALLY ARE attention whores with daddy issues (and of course there are drugs, but drugs are everywhere so let's retire this strippers-are-the-only-addicts hypothesis once and for all). And we are taking these needs, wants and Freudian complexes and spinning them into GOLD. We are modern-day Rapunzel-stiltskins with expensive hair extensions.
This is quite possibly everything I could ever want in life: Gina Gershon as Donatella Ver-sayce
Nickelback makes men want to spend money. So now, whenever I hear one of their tracks (I couldn't tell you which one; they all sound the fucking same) I am fondly reminded of having money thrown at me, and this makes me happy.