I'm gonna take you to the Opera.
I've been thinking a lot about sex workers this weekend. I'm watching 'Pretty Woman' right now, and when Jason Alexander tries to rape Julia Roberts in the hotel room he says, "Maybe I need to screw you, maybe I need to take you to the opera." (Because Richard Gere took Julia to the opera, which opened up her provincial, L.A. prostitute mind.) It sounds like a euphemism though.
I like 'Pretty Woman' a lot. Yes, it is a highly un-realistic film. Some people think that it's un-realistic because what street hooker looks like Julia Roberts? I don't know, I think there are probably some really pretty street hookers. And definitely there must be really pretty non-street hookers out there. Also, she's not on drugs, and it's common knowledge that hookers hook to feed their drug habit. Except I was watching a COPS type of show that picked a young woman up for hooking on Sunset Boulevard, and she said she lived in Compton and flew down to L.A. once a month to spend a weekend hooking, because she could earn her entire rent in that weekend while her mom watched her kids. She had a normal day job in Compton, and she didn't have any debilitating drug habit. So I don't think it's preposterous that Julia Roberts doesn't have a drug habit. No, what's actually un-realistic about the movie is that a businessman would secretly have a heart of gold. But isn't that message of hope why people like the film? There are both businessman and hookers out there that can turn their lives around.
At the Lincoln Lodge this week our variety act was some films that are going to be in a documentary about the 'Stone Burlesk,' which was a burlesque house in Detroit. The films were black and white clips of women stripping, and some super tame clips they used to show outside of the theater to bring guys in. The latter were kind of silly, and I couldn't see the sexiness of them at all. One was of a girl trying to golf, but she kept missing the ball, so she got on the ground and used the golf club like a pool cue. Of all the clips, that's the one that offended me.
So at a bar after the show someone asked, "Do you think the women in those films were whores or just fun girls?" I asked, "You mean whores in the technical sense?" He said, "No, whores in the sense that they'll take their clothes off for anyone."
I think that's always a problem for us girls: where is that line that separates whores from fun girls? It depends on the person judging you, and what their goals for their interaction with you are. If you make out with a boy at a party, he'll call you a fun girl, and his ex-girlfriend will call you a whore. Then the boy will call you a whore when he gets back together with his ex-girlfriend. Then the ex-girlfriend will call you a fun girl years later when she's forgotten about him and you've been buying eachother shots during the Michigan game. I got called a whore last halloween for wearing a sexy nurse costume. I was later informed the guy who called me a whore was a big republican headed to law school, and I'm sure it was very upsetting for him to see a happy girl wearing a costume that implies she's confident other people would like to sleep with her. Life is so simple for us happy, confident half-naked girls, and so complicated for judgmental, insecure, delusionally entitled guys.
I've only been to one strip club, with a bunch of law students. (Law students are the craziest partiers I have ever known.) I had not realized how hard strippers work. They dance really hard for 5 minutes, then 15 minutes later they have to come back and do it again, and in between they're hustling lap dances. One girl in my group kept screaming about stripping being degrading for women. I don't know about degrading, but it did look difficult. Honestly, if you've ever waited tables, you know better than to run around calling other people's jobs degrading. One guy in the club was being a real asshole. He was throwing ones at a stripper's butt while she was on all fours shaking it. Then he was PICKING UP THE ONES HE HAD ALREADY THROWN and throwing them again. I wanted to kick him in the nuts. This woman is engaging in a simulation of submission so he can have his ego stroked, and he's being a cheapskate. All dollars that are thrown are now the stripper's dollars, you insecure maggot.
But, it was strikingly similar to a customer I had when I was waitressing. His family had 6 people in it, they were all rude and loud, then he paid the bill by whipping out a billfold full of ones and counting them out loud to me. But he counted them out wrong, and paid me 3 dollars less than what he owed. If I had been shaking my ass at the time, at least I would've gotten some exercise.
Once you've stopped believing that the only acceptable way to have sex is to be part of a young and spunky heterosexual married couple who are excitedly charting the wife's vaginal mucus, how can you justify using 'whore' as an insult? There are lots of people in this country who have become millionaires by producing nerve gas, and nuclear bombs, and agent orange. Then there are other people who have become millionaires by having slaves put together their sneakers, or pick their tomatoes. There are people who become millionaires by being LAWYERS. I say paying your rent by taking off your clothes or having sex is the more ethical route. It doesn't pollute the air, no wars are started, you don't have to install any dictators. You don't even have to send out junk mail. Worst comes to worst, someone's marriage falls apart. Credit card and video game companies have similar blood on their hands.
"Uh oh," some of you who are aware of my money situation are thinking, "Is Carrie now a stripper?" No, I'm not that brave. If I have to pick my getting degraded poison, I'd rather be a temp or a waitress. I couldn't deal with all the people who would hold stripping against me. I could barely deal with that republican calling me names. (And if I could go back in time I'd plant my red high heel in his eye, and strangle him with my plastic stethoscope.)
I just kind of wish "whore" would stop being an insult, and people would start using "defense contractor" instead.