I could not be feel more supported by my ripper sisterhood as Tits and Sass' contributor Catherine Plato reviewed The Beaver Show!
"During my first few years working, I would get my hands on any stripper memoir I could read, obsessed with finding out how other women experienced this bizarre life I ‘d embarked on. I was relieved at finding how common some of my insecurities and struggles were, and occasionally disappointed to discover that none of my thoughts on the business were as original as I had hoped.
The Beaver Show, by Tits and Sass contributor and blogger Jacqueline Frances (AKA Jacq the Stripper), was a reintroduction to my love for stripper lit, and brought with it a sweet nostalgia for my fish-out-of-water feelings as a baby stripper. The book chronicles Jacq’s first days working at clubs in Australia, then follows her to stints in New York City, New Mexico, Alberta, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Like me, Jacq goes from feeling confused, clueless, and decidedly like an imposter, to riding the high that comes with early success, to settling with the persistent irritation that I think is unavoidable after you’ve been in the business a few years. She begins the book with a short personal essay she wrote in fifth grade, where she says that her proudest moment to date is dancing onstage in cool costumes. From there, we follow her to her first day at work.
Like very other stripper memoir I’ve come across, Jacq is hilarious and colorful in her descriptions—it’s frankly pretty hard to write about our business without making fun of it. What I found unique about her, though, was her ability to describe some of the more tender moments of dancing, the more touching and painful parts that ask for a bit of sincerity in the narrative amidst the caricatures of clients and clubs. For example, a few days after starting at her very first club, a customer sits at the tip rail, gives her two dollars, and demands that she perform a pole trick:
“I’m embarrassed because I don’t know any tricks. I feel unprepared. I feel like I owe him a trick. I feel all these things because I’m a rookie stripper and it won’t take long to learn that entitled assholes abound and they are yearning to be put in their place.
But for now, I have to undergo this humiliating feeling of not being enough for this man; to feel like I have to go above and beyond the call of duty to earn his attention, approval, and laminated money.”
A lot of stripper memoirs I’ve read avoid discussing this kind of insecurity. I personally found it very familiar, particularly reflecting on my earliest days of working. I think it’s not uncommon for sex work memoirists to be unashamed in admitting their body insecurities, or their discomfort with having boundaries pushed by asshole customers. But I find this sentiment—the persistent and innate pressure some of us feel to please a total stranger, to not disappoint, to not fail, even without substantial financial reward—to be something people shy away from discussing. It was something I felt all the time, couldn’t explain, and never spoke much about. Maybe moments like this don’t match the autonomous tough girl image we all like to wear, maybe it’s too embarrassing to admit, or just not funny enough to write about in between jokes about whiskey dicks and g-strings. I was happy that Jacq chose to go there, because it’s important to show what working in the industry can do for the evolution of someone’s confidence and sense of control."
Read the full review here.