Strippers: How Bizarre, How Bizarre!

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.

I heard a song today that made me realize I’ve known quite a few  strippers over the past couple of years, and hey, ones I wasn’t even related to!

Attract Him Back

No, not  currently  “working”  strippers  and  “exotic dancers”  but  rather,  both  men  and  women  who  once were. It seems that by the time a person reaches their 30’s and 40’s, they often have something in their distant pasts that they would  like to keep buried there. Once they’ve had a few drinks, their secrets come out. It’s sometimes shocking to find out how the person in the  next office paid for college tuition 20 years ago!

I’ve often heard that strippers have awfully low self-worth. I found that to be true at least 90%. Actually, I can think of only one who was really a confident person and always had been, and that’s not necessarily in a good way. The rest I’ve known had…many, many esteem issues and still do.

During the years I wrote romances, I got to meet a lot of cover models. They’ve never impressed  me any more than  any  rocket  scientist,  and  those  don’t  impress  me much either. I’ve often been considered the “safe” person for them to sit with, sorta like a mom to them, when they were being harassed by pathetically horny women. Their physical appearance was just a commodity, and I recognized it as such.

I guess it’s still the way a man thinks that appeals me because even in a strip club full of dancing men flapping around, I was still the “safe” one to hang out with during breaks when some of the  other women got a little too rowdy for a couple of the married boys there. That’s been a number of years ago, the one time I went out with a group of a dozen romance  writers the year all the NYC editors wanted  us to write cop heroes who went undercover (no pun intended) as  strippers.  They suggested  a group of us go research the topic at the next writer’s conference, and of course, who were we to say no to our editors?

I kept a low profile, I admit. I didn’t want to be the next “star” getting my fifteen minutes of fame before the entire audience. One fairly  well-known author somehow ended up on the stage in a chair with three  naked men dancing inches  from  her  steamed-up  glasses  while  she blushed profusely.

During the  breaks,  we  interviewed—seriously,   with pens in  hand—several  of the dancers.  Jody,  the pirate, was earning money for med school. He planned to retire from dancing in two years, just as soon as he earned what he needed. Though I really did like his costume, it was his obvious intelligence  that  I admired  and all the authors with us really adored him…in a purely motherly way, you know?

Oddly enough,  the editors  wondered  why,  the next year, there  were at least half a dozen novels  published that featured cops undercover as not full Monty strippers (the editors were aghast at the idea of making the stories realistic and wanted the clothes to stay on!).

But things have changed in the publishing world and this year, editors want books that are super-hot.

Me? If I hadn’t been driving home to let the bug guy in, I never would have heard the song on the radio that always make me think about strippers.

“Every  time   I  look   around…every   time   I  look around…every time I look around, it’s in my face!”