16/ 10/ 2013
My best friend asked me today for my opinion, as a woman, about him dating a stripper.
At first the question made me balk because it sounded insulting, like he was assuming that all strippers share the same personality traits, which isn’t true. Strip clubs deliver a certain consistent type of experience to their clients, so many of the guys (and girls) who go to them assume all the strippers must be the same across the board. (Hence all the songs and movies about strippers, stripper fantasies and stripper stereotypes.) But hello, strippers are people, too!
A very close friend of mine stripped to pay her way through college, and after talking to her about it a lot I think the only takeaway I got was that there were all kinds of girls working at her clubs. Other college girls. Straight girls and gay girls. Die-hard romantics and gold diggers. Women of all races and socio-economic backgrounds. Drug addicts. Some prostitutes, yes. The club was about as diverse as the city it was in. So I would never presume anything about a stripper, nor judge anyone for doing it.
As weird as his question came off though, I think my friend knows all this. He’s not a prejudiced moron. What he was really asking for was insight into the psychology of a woman who would strip, the same way we could analyze the kinds of people who have the patience and attention to detail it takes to go through medical school, the narcissism it takes to become a politician, the passion it takes to be an activist or the neuroses so common among writers. And I think this is a fair question if he’s thinking about going into a relationship.
After giving it some thought, my personal opinion is that the kind of woman who can succeed as a stripper is a woman who not only understands her own body well, but understands what it is to feed into the fantasies and visceral desires that cause people to react to them positively. In other words, manipulation. Reading people and knowing innately how to respond to them, how to act, what to say, in order to make them happily pay as much as possible to keep you around. I mean, how long could a person last as a stripper if they didn’t have that skill?
“Manipulation” sounds like a bad word, but it’s not in this case. To a certain extent, all of us–especially women–learn manipulation from when we’re very young, and do it subconsciously everyday from the way we strut when we see someone we’re attracted to, the way we flip our hair at certain moments, and the higher voice pitch we use when we talk to our fathers (as children) and our boyfriends (as adults). No one has to teach us these things; it’s in our nature to turn it up a little to get what we want.
Men can have manipulation skills, too. I, for one, like to date men who know how to handle me. It’s almost a turn-on when my boyfriend can read my mood swings and take them on like a pro, saying the right things to calm me down, make me laugh, or even set me straight, and avoid having something stupid like a bad day explode into a meaningless argument. Those who are bad at it try to make up for it by lying–that’s deception, not manipulation. And it never works for very long.
The way I see it, being a successful stripper means you have to be better at these things than everyone else because you are constantly competing with other females on the floor for male attention and your paycheck depends on it. Imagine a business development manager who has to do 20 deals a day, everyday, with 20 other biz dev people from competing companies vying for the same deals in the same room. It’s good training.
Dating a stripper, then, basically means you are dating an excellent salesperson. You will probably be more inclined to do what she wants because if she’s any good at what she does, she will make you want to do it. Out of professional habit, she will know how to read you, read your mood, and figure out what it is you need to hear or see or feel in order to agree with something she’s selling. That might sound bad, but I actually think it’s a good thing. You’d argue less than with a girl with lesser manipulation skills, and results in the same outcome.
Case in point: my former stripper friend earned a masters degree in communications, eventually started a career in pharmaceutical sales and quickly ranked among the top sales people in her company.
Example: your girlfriend wants you to spend your Saturday helping her do some horrible chore, like cleaning out her garage. You are not looking forward to it, and you’ve already blown it off a bunch of times in passive-aggressive protest. Your non-master manipulator girlfriend would probably throw a fit, nag you, cry, and fight with you until you couldn’t take it anymore and just did it to shut her up. Both of you would walk away from that situation liking each other a little less, because you feel like she ruined not only your weekend, but your entire week, with her nagging. She would feel like you never want to do anything for her.
Enter the girlfriend who has mastered the skills of manipulation from working long hours at a strip club. She would probably find a way to entice you to do it willingly, maybe from appealing to your machismo by acting a little helpless, or making a huge deal out of some other irrelevant mistake you made last week to guilt you into doing her a favor to get into her good graces again. Voila–the garage is cleaned, and you feel good about doing it. She just adores you for being a good boyfriend. Problem solved.
There are other perks to this. For one, your stripper girlfriend’s skills would not end with you. If you ever have to deal with a some customer service rep who is reluctant to help you, a frustrating price negotiation, getting out of a traffic ticket, etc., you can leave it to her. She’ll probably have a greater chance of achieving the desired outcome, and the best part is she’s probably not even doing it on purpose. She’s just naturally knows how to get what she wants.
In short, I do think it takes a certain type of woman to strip and be successful at it, and you might find that that type of woman is exactly the type of woman you need. But you’ll never know if you don’t give her a chance!