Advice From the Trenches

Advice from the Trenches: Nurse Stripper

Dear C and Dr. B:

I am saving up to go to school. My parents wanted me to follow in the family tradition and become a medical doctor, but I decided that I would rather become a nurse practitioner. Their approach to health is much closer to my own, and the research I did shows that while three in five doctors want to quit their jobs, NP’s are optimistic and their importance in health care is expanding with the current changes. But now my parents refuse to pay for college, because, “The pay scale starts at HALF of what a doctor makes!”

Even with scholarships (which I don’t have) I can’t swing it, and my parents make far too much money for me to qualify for assistance. Now I have to figure out how to get the money.

My friend Laura is making literally thousands a week working at a strip club. In comparison, the only other minimum wage jobs I could get barely cover rent, let alone food and class supplies. I am thinking of joining her – just for a year or two – until I can afford to go to school on my own.

I’ve read that a lot of people put themselves through school doing jobs like this then go one to find success, so – why not? I have a good body. I’ll never get to school if I can’t afford it. But I would like a second opinion.

– Lola

C says: 

Nobody ever “just” does anything, Lola. You either do it or you don’t, and once you do it, it’s done. Let’s look at this sentence: “I’m just being a stripper for now, until I get the money for school.” Remove the qualifying explanations and what you have is: “I’m a stripper.”

You should know that there are strippers who consider their work to be a legitimate profession and an art form. The top pole dancers can hold their own with gold medal gymnasts. It is generally the opportunistic gold diggers who go down the wrong path – and that’s where your own attitude becomes a problem.

You’re imagining that you’re going to get in and out without any of it touching you, but that’s a fool’s dream. Ever hear of Stockholm Syndrome? It’s a natural human tendency for people to react to, and often bond with, those around them – even their kidnappers. Do you really think that you are going to go in there, perform, take the money and run? The women you work with, the way the men treat you…all of it will affect you, possibly in a way that could alter every goal you now have.

I knew three women who became strippers to pay for school. None of them ever got to school as far as I know. The most successful of the three went on to become a travel agent. The last time I saw a stripper I knew in Buffalo, she was modeling for an artist who painted women in bondage. The other – who knows? I will imagine for your sake that she is now running for congress.

The future is a story we tell ourselves to keep going, but the things that we give our time and energy to are what become real. No one should forget that when they do something “just to get by.” 

If you choose the stripper route, I hope you are luckier than most. One word of advice? Don’t drink on the job. It makes it a little too easy to “go home” with the customers for some extra cash.

Dr. B says:

I have had multiple strippers for clients and here is what I’ve learned:

• They make about the same per hour as I do.

• They, like many doctors, are bad at saving money and for the same reason – the lifestyle is often expensive.

• Their job is more dangerous than mine.

• When a person makes that much money, it is hard, if not impossible, to settle for less and few other jobs pay as well.

• It is impossible to live a separate life and not take the job home with you. Every job affects who you meet, and how you feel about humans in general.

• Being numb to one’s surroundings in order to survive can cause PTSD and personality disorders along with substance abuse problems. Numb is not neutral. Numb is toxic. 

• The attention feels good! Power feels good! It is hard to give that up; it is psychologically addicting.

• If you’re hoping for a relationship, one formed out of a strip club has little chance of surviving. Desire is not love. It seldom has anything to do with love – and it has absolutely nothing to do with a college education.

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