Author Antonia Crane writes first-person account, while CNN "This is Life" host Lisa Ling presents "What I learned in strip clubs"The adult club industry is used to getting slammed in the media, especially when it comes to dancers, who are either (a) portrayed as victims of emotional or physical abuse who turn to dancing because they think they have no other options or (b) are sexual deviants or, even worse, whores. So it's refreshing, and very surprising, when a national news outlet presents two stories—both by women—which shatter these typical stereotypes.
"I'm neither a happy hooker nor a sad stripper. I don't have a boyfriend in jail, any kids or a drug habit. I'm a writer, teacher and stripper," Crane writes in that CNN.com article. "If 10,000 hours clocked in as a stripper makes me an expert, then I'm at the top of my game."
"That I make more money stripping at 42 than I ever have teaching, writing, counseling homeless youth, waiting tables or tending bar is a problem of sexism and living in a sexist culture, not a problem of the [adult nightclub] industry," Crane writes, unabashedly. "I'm not going to tell you about the nights I was rejected and insulted, stolen from and threatened, nights I didn't make the money or the nights I wasted time with guys who did not pay off. Like many other jobs, those sketchy elements come with the territoryand I'm no victim."
"Strip clubs exist because people are acutely lonesome. We walk around with these giant knots in our hearts, like a cramp that can't stretch out," Crane suggests. "What I've learned about humanity in my protracted tenure as a dancer is that we are a culture dying of loneliness in a frenzy to feel less so. Men wander into strip clubs not to cheat on their spouses (statistically, cheating happens in the mainstream workplace. I've met thousands of men who have affairs with their co-workers, secretaries and assistants), but to nurse a beer and pay a person to listen to them—a woman who does not require anything from them emotionally."
Ling interviewed a few club operators for the story, including David Boehm of Club Consultant Pro 2.0 (and a frequent Club Bulletin contributor and EXPO speaker).
"What happens when women themselves decide on their own to capitalize on their assets? During the course of shooting this episode, I met many different kinds of women, but one thing was present in all of them: ambition," Ling's CNN report goes on to say. "(Dancers) take advantage of the flexible schedule, like mothers who want to spend more time with their children. I don't know any other job that allows for this kind of flexibility in schedule. If I want to spend more time with my child, I can't just choose when I work. Many dancers can. They dance when they need money, but no one determines their hours but themselves."
"So how did I feel in strip clubs? Frankly, I was utterly mesmerized," Ling notes. "There is an art to seduction, and even if you've been married for decades or you're a devoted churchgoer, every one of us harbors the desire to be able to seduce or excite—even our long-term partner. The way these women's bodies move, the manner in which they play with their patrons: They are veritable masters of seduction, which is something that seems to have unquestionable value. So, why shouldn't these women capitalize on it?"
For the rest of Antonia Crane's story, click here: