I’ll start my post today saying that I know I said in my last post that I’d write about my camping and hiking experiences from a month ago (was it only 3 weeks?), but I got a bit side-tracked. Last week was Mr. Muses and my 16th wedding anniversary, plus – we had a house guest – plus, we had a get-together grill-out with friends for their visiting family. Their family seems to have become our extended family so, therefore…
But I digress…
As I sit here in my screened porch basking in the final rays of the sun and sipping a Bee’s Knees, I feel compelled to write about a message I received via Facebook from a young woman of 18 asking me about modeling.
She wanted to know what I modeled, did I make any money, and ultimately she disclosed her desire to get into modeling as a way to make a living and get out from under the rules of the house with her parents.
Now, let me remind you that I’m 39 – old enough to be this young ladies mother – and I found myself staring at my computer screen, shaking my head at what I was reading. Sadly, I told her that most models lose money and the likelihood of her making enough to live off of was very slim. She said she’d been told the same thing by a couple of other people she had asked and then said that she’d probably look into dancing at a gentleman’s club.
I advised against it even though I admitted that some dancers have been able to make quite s a lot of money. She retorted that I probably have never done it based upon my response; I admitted she was correct and while one day I may entertain the idea of jumping on stage for amateur night, the idea of being a dancer at a gentleman’s club had not even entered my mind at age 18. The conversation effectively ended with me saying that while I appreciated and admired the dancers’ athletic prowess, the fact is that most of the these women are objectified and that went against my “code”.
Later, I pondered this conversation wondering how it is that a young lady would even seriously consider the idea of, for the sake of shortening a few words as we go along, a stripper?
I went to college when I was 18, and I picked a degree I felt I would reasonably enjoy: Agri-business. By my second year, I decided to double-major, adding History to the Ag-biz, simply because I had so many credits in History. But stripping? I didn’t know anyone who did and only one guy in the dorm who would make the multi-mile drive to the closest strip joint in a seedy part of the city in which it was located. He would come back with stories of dancers ridden hard and put away wet, for lack of a better analogy.
Twenty years ago, so many of the stories I had heard about stripping were about desperation and last resort moves. They were about a lack of options. Eighteen seems far too young to have a lack of options.
And now? Now, I still think there is a whole world of opportunities before this young lady – but admittedly, I don’t know her whole story. I don’t know her reasons for so desperately wanting to get out from under the house rules or for entertaining the idea of a career, however long, where the statistics for sexual assault, abuse, drugs and sex trafficking are so high.
The world is your oyster – no matter your age. When opportunity comes along, I’m a firm believer in grabbing the door handle, opening the door and saying, “HELLO!” So, normally I would end my posts with a question, but rather than continue to speculate upon what I feel are rash decisions by the young, I will take a more positive route.
What is an opportunity that came your way which you were unsure about that you took and now know it was a great idea?
At one point in my life, I was a cop in north central Illinois. I have great respect for those that do it for life. It is truly a thankless profession. People either “love” you or hate you. They are pissed you’re there or pissed you weren’t there quick enough.
Anyway. In order to escape that life, as it was truly ruining mine, I toyed with joining the navy. After some discussion with my significant other, I joined the nuclear power program and spent 2 years in school and 4 on board a submarine. My significant other will tell the story about how she didn’t think I was serious but it was the best move we’ve made.
Well dang, Dave, I learned something new about you! I think it’s great that you figured out that being a police officer wasn’t working out for you and found something that did. I bet your significant other is glad you did, too.
I’ll admit to frequenting strip clubs in my younger days. What started as a “curious trip” with my best friend while in college (where we both discovered that we couldn’t afford anything close to regular trips to a strip club) quickly turned into me being a bachelor in Baltimore, living two apartments down from a stripper. One night, she called me for a ride when her car was broken, and from there, I was, kind-of, a “regular” among the strip clubs on “the block” in Baltimore.
What I found was this: those with drug problems used stripping to further their drug problems. Those without drug problems commonly were tempted by those with drug problems. Those who “did extras” always took home more money, and, commonly, we offered the better hours by the house manager. Those who kept their heads about them, though, did quite well. My neighbor was somewhere in between — she had a drug problem, before I moved in – but she claimed to be clean during our friendship. She was the single mother two two kids — as I moved out, she was pregnant with a third (she was unclear as to who the father was – I would NOT have been surprised to find that it was a client) and was unsure as to what she was going to do (it was quite early in the pregnancy).
But, I did know other strippers who put themselves through college, and lived comfortably, with the money they made while working the strip clubs (and weren’t making/following-through with “back room promises”).
Before I had a daughter, I used to think that an attractive woman could always find a way to make some money through this. Yes, it might be skeezy . . . but, if her head was on right, and she said “this is why I’m doing it, this is what the money is going to go for, and this is when it’s /too much\,” she’d be ok. But, now I’m a father. And that story is changing.
So this is a longwinded way of saying “fuck if I know what’s right or wrong”.
I think what troubles me so much about the conversation I wrote about is that the language the young lady used was that of defeat and, essentially, a written throwing up of the hands. It wasn’t as if she said, “I want to do X with my life and to get there I believe that the best path is to spend time stripping, rake in the dough, save my pennies, go to school and graduate with a degree in Y, eventually reaching Z.” It was “well I guess”…
I completely understand that at eighteen, I dare say most, people don’t know what in hell they want to do with their lives, or as I put it, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…. if I grow up.” I left college after three years because I was seeing the debt building in student loans, STILL didn’t know what I really wanted to do and did I really want to spend all that money on a degree if I wasn’t sure I wanted to work in those fields? In 2008 I found out I was 2 credits short of an Associate of Science Degree – so I took a class for the summer and earned that degree. And what do I do? Social Media. LMAO.
I can’t really say that I figured out what I really wanted to be, or do, when I grew up until a few years ago when I really started to feel in my gut that writing was the right thing for me. Even then, I get ideas that I could pursue botany or naturalist routes as I’m close to a walking encyclopedia on all-things-nature. But, who knows, I may get my writing down and in another 10 or 20 years go for the botany or naturalist field.
So… that was a long-winded way of saying “I agree that I don’t know shit when it comes to living life… I just do it.” LOL
18 is so young…I was a high school senior at 16 (back then, Dec 1 was the cut off for acceptable age to enter kindergarten and my 5th birthday was in November) I was in the secretarial course because most of my friends were either going to be nurses or teachers and I didn’t want to do either so made no plans for college. Part of the secretarial course involved “On the job training”. I was scheduled to go to our local bank cause I was good with numbers. Just before I was scheduled to start, the local Savings and Loan contacted the school looking for a trainee as they had lost one of their tellers unexpectedly, so I interviewed and got that position. 8 weeks later, lost my Mom to a heart condition. My 18 year old sister and I found ourselves being substitute Moms to our 6 younger siblings and responsible for taking care of home and family. Following the “On the Job” training, I was offered a full time job at the S & L. Opportunity? I suppose. Ultimately, I spent a total of over 25 years there. Learned a lot, met scads of wonderful people and some not so nice. Discovered that for me, change is a difficult thing but eventually moved on. I envy those who are not afraid to try new things and take chances. In my case, I couldn’t afford, financially, to try a new field Had 3 kids and I home and a husband with much smaller income than I.
Should an 18 year old “settle” for dancing at a gentlemen’s club? Its a free country but I would hope she finds someone she can speak with who can steer her toward a goal with longer term potential. There are just too many people who struggle hand to mouth every day who deserve better.
I agree – the world is a big place. I’ve also not been much of a defeatist.
We struggled with how to reply to this one a lot because there is no good answer. It comes down to what one expects and wants out of life. Being a stripper certainly is not for every woman. It is/has been the end to a means for some quite successfully but has been the downward spiral for most. My wife regrets not ever having the opportunity to try it. She came from a family that was active in music and choirs and was a pom girl in HS. So she has been entertaining for a long time. Ever since she was a pom girl she loved the attention from the guys. To her being a stripper would just be an extension of that only bare or mostly bare. She’s nudist anyway so the nudity would pose no problem and she says the money would be nice but just knowing she was making people happy and smiling would be the reward for her. It’s not a job she needs, just one she dreams about.
I agree that there is no good answer to the question. I also think you’re correct in that it comes to one’s expectations and desires from life. Recognition for my looks has never been something for which I strove – even with my modeling. My expectations for myself are lofty, and I acknowledge that I hold the bar for myself too high most of the time which causes a host of issues, but, when it comes down to it, the phrase “You do you,” seems to apply. What’s good for me won’t be good for someone else and vice versa.