Stripper with a PhD, Part Two

lipstickHere’s what happened.

A week after I wrote “Stripper with a PhD,” I began stripping. Within four days I had made two thousand dollars.

I went into tiny rooms alone with men. I became whomever they wanted. I smiled until my face ached and I smoked cigarettes for the first time in years. I did things.

I remember thinking one night, as I counted 1K of twenties across the dressing room counter—“Finally, I am being paid what I am worth.”

I danced naked on tables the night I defended my dissertation. I became, officially, (perhaps the one-and-only) “Stripper with a PhD.”


I made this in one night–a Monday night, at that.

I can’t beg my way into a permanent academic job with livable conditions and a good wage, but I sure can walk into that club tonight and come out with rent. “I’ll never make this much money again,” I think sometimes as I drive that dark highway at four a.m.

I think, sometimes, as I drive that dark highway at four a.m.:

What does it mean that, despite my education, despite my intellectual sophistication, despite my demonstrated ability to bring wisdom to the youth, my ass is worth more than the sum of everything else that I am?

What does it mean that even selling my ass is a privilege—available only to those of us young enough, thin enough, “attractive” enough to convince men to consider them a fantasy worth paying for?

Tell me—for this plagues me—tell me what it means that the sex trade leaves me feeling more accomplished and fulfilled than making peanuts grading papers? Tell me–should I be ashamed? I’ve been a feminist for years. Should I be ashamed? Please, I beg you, don’t tell me “yes,” because I love my house and I don’t want to lose it. I’m used to this money now. I’m used to this stability now.

I live a double life. No one knows who I really am.


5 thoughts on “Stripper with a PhD, Part Two

  1. Drops of Jupiter says:

    I think what you are doing is not only brave in today’s society where the Madonna/Whore complex is wide-spread to where if you are caught doing anything considered “taboo” that you are not worthy of being acknowledge.

    Bravo to you for finding a solution to your debt problem in the smartest way possible and having a bit of fun while doing it. Your blog is incredible.

    For those who are jealous/hateful/accusatory – let them be. They will never understand what it is like to be in your shoes. You have found a loophole in the system that works for you and many others. Be thankful you are intelligent, witty, attractive and know what people (especially, men) want and able to turn a profit. What difference does it make it you are in an Armani suit or a Birthday suit? You are making hand over fist for cash for a service that few can provide! Your blog makes me thrilled to know there are other open minded women out there not afraid to do as they please to make their life better.

    If a man went out and did the same thing you have done, would he only get giggled at or be called out for being an indecent person to “Go get a -REAL- job.”? Moral views in today’s society is a strange beast, indeed. Sex is bad. Violence is good.

    Now excuse me while I go work on my technique. I have some bills I also would like to pay off!

  2. Lori says:

    Good for you! No, really. GOOD. FOR. YOU. Because it IS. I think that you are really working for your money instead of kissing someone’s ass. You are always in control. Whereas, if you were in academia, you would be playing the game and being SOMEBODY’S bitch, for sure. At least as a stripper, there are no illusions. You are the fantasy and that fantasy is worth something. If you worked in an academic department, you would be hustling all the time with no control over the outcome.

    I respect you for this choice. I think this job offers you far more dignity and control than academia ever could. I think you should write a book about this experience, with a compare and contrast. Seriously. DO IT. And be proud of who you are.

  3. John says:

    You are a whore no matter what you do for a living. Which pays more is up to the law of supply and demand. So many people want to get into academia that they can afford to use you, pay you next to nothing, and throw you out into the alley. It is best to choose a profession that feels good after you come home from a long day and you can finally relax. Meeting a need has value, that’s what employment and commerce is all about.

  4. Tiffany says:

    In all sincerity, you are my hero. I applaud you for recognizing what it is that you need and taking care of you.

  5. Cool–so happy to read this.
    (From an ex-professor. Last dissertation defense tomorrow. Good to see we haven’t crushed you all.)

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