Dear Tits and Sass: Dating Edition

by suzyhooker on April 14, 2016 · 2 comments

in Dear Tits and Sass

Those two biblical lovebirds, Ruth and Boaz. (image via the New York Public Library Digital Collection)

Those two biblical lovebirds, Ruth and Boaz. (image via the New York Public Library Digital Collection)

Dear Tits and Sass,

I’m 28 and I’ve been a stripper for almost seven years. The last couple have definitely been the hardest, but the most profitable. I’ve created a life better than I could have imagined for myself before I started dancing—riding horses at nationally rated jumping shows, buying a house, driving a nice car, zero student debt and actual time to go to college as an adult, traveling to marathons and going on luxury vacations often, eating healthy food, and more. I wake up every day to a life I love, good friends, my pups. I’ve spent the single years doing my own thing.

I’m ready for and really want a partner. I haven’t dated in almost five years, save for a month of dating an impotent obese man. My 65-year-old customers probably have exponentially more sex than I do. Dear God, I want a steady flow of conversation that doesn’t involve being paid, and holy cow I would love a steady supply of dick before my vagina dries out like the Sahara. Online dating was a big fail on one free site and two paid sites—the few dates I had were either okay and didn’t work out, or sucked. I choose not to date customers of the club I work for as a personal boundary. I’m not so much into casual sex, but the few partners I’ve tried have led me to believe that I’m an unsatisfying-penis magnet.

It’s gotten to the point where even thinking about dating really sucks, and makes me unhappy for days when someone brings up the idea. It seems like as soon as I reveal my job, guys either flee or do the “trophying” thing until it quickly gets old for them. Recently, a friend wanted to introduce me to her boyfriend’s attractive pal. When I asked her if she’d told him about my job, she said she and her boyfriend would wait for me to tell him.

I feel like I’m tricking someone into a date with me if I don’t come with a huge red flag, a scarlet “S,” and some infamous Jaws-esque warning music. I don’t want to quit my job, and I’m not apologetic about what I do, but it does seem to be a big deal to men who aren’t meth addicts, have all their teeth, and live indoors. I don’t think it’s fair if they’re set up on an outing with me if they’re being…um, tricked. I’d want to know if someone was setting me up with someone that had a pretty big possible dealbreaker.

My question is: How in the fuck do I start dating again? Do I tell prospective gentlemen about my job, and when? Should my friend tell this man about my job before he decides whether he would like an outing with me? Do I lie entirely for as long as I can, despite my work being at obvious hours, and the stilettos and g-string laundry that litter my house? How long do I lie? Do I really have to wait another six-to-sever years (quittin’ time) before men will take me seriously as a partner?

Sincerely,
Calloused Masturbation Hand

Juniper Fitzgerald, former stripper: One of the more insidious aspects of social stigma against people in the sex industry is the internalization of whore stigma. And while everyone on this planet struggles with the most fundamental question of humanity—am I loveable?—sex workers have an unordinary landscape of love-ability to navigate. Our children are routinely taken away because of our work, we are fetishized while simultaneously denied human rights, and we carry the burden of general social unrest and larger insecurities surrounding the expression of sexuality. No fucking wonder it’s hard to trust intimate partners. But I’ll tell you what—stigmatizing meth heads, making snarks about obese people, and propagating the ageist assumption that vaginas “dry up” won’t assuage your pain or fear. So, first, muddle through this internalization of social stigma and the ways it expresses itself through the stigmatization of others. It will help you love others, regardless of their weight, drug use, age, impotence, or economic/homelessness status.

Second, don’t lie. Lying for love will only ever bring you back to the fear that you’re unlovable. In the best of circumstances, which it sounds like yours is, sex work affords people a sense of economic agency. Furthermore, treating your work as work will serve to normalize it. Of course, sex work is not like other forms of labor. But it is labor nonetheless, and should be relevant to any conversation between two humans inasmuch as said humans are trying to get to know each other. For example, potential mates tend to talk about their line of work when first getting to know each other. Responding with the clear, confident statement that you’re an unabashed stripper will signal to your potential mate that 1) you’re lovable (because you love yourself) and 2) that he can go fuck himself if he has a problem with your self-love. Hiding or lying about your labor expresses a sense of shame, and you can’t expect a man to respect your labor if you yourself do not. Now, this is not to undermine the myriad reasons sex workers have for staying closeted about their work. Those reasons are usually related to issues of legality, family issues, future employment options, etc. But, seeing as you are privileged—you work in the legal sector of the sex industry and actually like your job, are unapologetic and want a man who is equally cool with your labor, etc.—I see no reason to hide your status as stripper to any potential mate.

Third, might I humbly point out that dating as a 28-year-old woman living under a white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy is a necessarily complex endeavor, regardless of one’s chosen profession. We live in a culture wherein sex and intimacy are loaded with all kinds of cultural meanings. As women, we gain status by being passive sexual objects to be consumed in a marketplace without our consent. When we actually do consent to sexual objectification or sex generally, we are pejoratively labeled a “whore.” This is one piece of a larger cultural sickness that we all navigate every day. And the only man worth your trouble is one who readily admits there’s a problem and actively resists these structures of violence as well as their materialization in interpersonal relationships.

You are infinitely loveable and deserve a man who 1) recognizes the complexities of your labor, never shying away from defending your honor in situations wherein that labor is reduced to spectacle and 2) respects your boundaries both as an erotic performer and as the girl behind the heels.

As a former stripper who is now married with a child, I can tell you that non-commodified intimate relationships are possible. But as a general rule, they’re hard as fucking hell.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernard April 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm

My answer would be “if she can handle the fact that she earns more than me, then I can handle her job”. Everything else is down to mutual respect and good communication.

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Martin April 25, 2016 at 2:09 am

I feel for you. It would take a special type of man to understand your situation, but I think it’s entirely possible. I’d suggest being upfront with them and really explaining what you need. From reading your post you sound cool as shit, so in my book that’s a big part of what makes someone attractive. One thing I’d suggest you don’t do is assume will reject you once they know your profession. I hope you find some love out there!

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