It’s no secret that politicians are whores—they lie to make you feel good and appreciated, but are always out to make as much money off as many people as possible. So it turns out President Obama is visiting my hometown tonight and getting a bunch of wealthy businessmen to pay for the privilege of having dinner with him. Sound familiar? And don’t fancy escorts call themselves “dining companions” these days anyway? Obama’s not giving it up cheap though, with tickets ranging from $25 to $35,800.
Remember the first time you watched Nomi Malone lick the pole at Cheetah’s? Weren’t you all “Ew, who does that?” as you decided Windex was one of the better things coming into contact with her tongue? Have you seen a new girl at the club cruise by in a mullet tutu and been like “What just happened?” I die a little on the inside witnessing less glaring hustle mistakes. One of the most humbling things about stripping (besides the constant rejection) is that you’ll still be fine-tuning your sales skills and learning from your mistakes even after working long enough that dumb regulars call you a “lifer.” Maybe you’re all business in the front resulting in not enough party in the back. Here are a few cringe-inducing moves I know I’ve been guilty of.
Next On Stage We Have Amnesia: My number one personal problem is consistently forgetting about customers who express interest. Thanks to garish carpet, lasers, loud music, and other things designed to disorient patrons into spending, my attention span seems to clear and reset approximately every thirty seconds. If I’m collecting my stage tips and a guy tells me to come talk to him, I’ll go straighten up in the dressing room and get back on the floor with the interaction erased from my memory. He’ll watch me walk around, cold-calling other men like his money isn’t good enough. By the time I work my way to him and say that he looks familiar from somewhere, the damage has been done. So remember your medication, write on your hand with eyeliner, and set a phone alarm for three minutes in the future. Mostly, don’t get sucked into dillydallying in the dressing room.
I live a double life. By day, I am a software developer, living in a world where your choice of hoodie, afternoon beer, and text editor mark your rank within the social tribe. At night, my mousy ponytail comes down and the Givenchy Rouge goes on as I fire up my snowball microphone and HD webcam. No doubt, I’m probably getting naked for guys whose open source code I use day to day in my projects. I’m a tech geek and proud cam model. That’s why last month’s Federal Trade Commission ruling that the popular photo sharing mobile app Snapchat deceived its users has me fuming.
The story of Snapchat reads like the typical Silicon Valley tech bromance novel. Founded by Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel when they were students at Stanford and living in the school’s Kappa Sigma fraternity house, the early years of Snapchat are chronicled in Forbes. They were frat-bro misogynists with little regard for the women of Stanford, illustrated by some emails obtained by Valleywag that Spiegel sent to his Kappa Sigma brothers which included the term “sororisluts.”
Snapchat’s main value proposition is that the app allows users to send mobile photos that are secure and which are deleted from the recipient’s phone after one viewing. However, the FTC found that the app is not secure at all. The FTC’s ruling details that the company failed to communicate security holes to users. These security holes include a hacker security breach, a recipient’s ability to take a screenshot of a photo without notifying the sender, and the fact that images were not deleted after a recipient opened them. According to a press release from the FTC, “Snapchat deceptively told its users that the sender would be notified if a recipient took a screenshot of a snap. In fact, any recipient with an Apple device that has an operating system pre-dating iOS 7 can use a simple method to evade the app’s screenshot detection, and the app will not notify the sender.” The FTC also found that Snapchat “tracked and transmitted some users’ location information and collected data from their address books without consent.” Although many users who trusted Snapchat with their private photos were surprised to learn about the FTC’s findings, the history of the company points to a disregard for user security almost from the start.
Disability is the reason that I’m no longer a dancer. Occasionally, I’d fool myself and go back to work for a while, and then remember why I can’t do it anymore. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Dancing is hard on the body – and for my body, it’s particularly difficult. I’m having a hell of a time with chronic pain, and as it stands right now, it’s painful when I walk or drive. Thinking I can dance an eight-hour shift these days is an exercise in self-delusion.
I’m Mel, formerly known as Valkyrie. I started dancing when I was 20, and I retired this year. I’m bipolar, and I’m also physically disabled. I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). My joints are very easily dislocated, and I have issues with back and neck misalignment, dislocations, subluxations, moderate to severe chronic pain, and chronic fatigue. Think major arthritis and a hand tremor, and that’s the reality of the body I’m living in. I should mention that I am about to turn 31, and none of these conditions are readily apparent unless I talk about them, or unless I’m visibly wearing braces.
Disability is pretty common in the sex work industry—overwhelmingly, invisible disability. Many sex workers choose sex work because they can pick their own hours. The ability to earn high amounts of money in a short period of time really helps conserve spoons/limited energy, which is particularly helpful when dealing with a painful condition. Many dancers, models, cam girls, and full-service workers suffer from chronic pain or physical limitations. Mental illness is also very common; I’ve personally run into people with PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and at least one sociopath (who, lest you get the wrong idea, is a friend of mine and a wonderful person, all stereotypes to the contrary). Mental illness can be disabling to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon circumstances.
I have some tips for those of us who are dealing with disability. Then I’ll be discussing disabled customers and how we can interact with them in a way that’s good for both them and us.
What’s the best place to make business? A ranking from worst to best.