Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fun Times

Stripper Mom is going to be a mom again. Mom times two. That is if I make it through this pregnancy. I’ve been lucky enough to be suffering from severe morning sickness again, just like when I was pregnant with Genny. I was in the hospital for dehydration a week ago. I lost eight pounds.

My due date is Christmas Day.

I should be feeling better in a few weeks when the first trimester is over.

Until then I will probably only have grouchy comments about how I feel like throwing up 24-hours a day.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pole Tax

Judge declares $5 'pole tax' unconstitutional

A $5-per-customer fee on strip club patrons dubbed the "pole tax" has been declared unconstitutional.

Check out the article here.

Interesting new tax idea in Texas, but it’s been shot down for the moment.

A state district judge ruled Friday that clubs can't collect the fee. The charge went into effect in January and was expected to raise about $44 million for sexual assault prevention programs and health care for the uninsured.

I find it very humorous that witnesses for the strip clubs argued they would go out of business if they had to charge customers an additional $5. Most strip clubs, even a decade ago, charged $15 for a cup of soda. I don’t think men would be arguing over another $5. They would pay it. And it would be a clever way to raise awareness.

I wonder what else we could tax to help save the world?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Stripper Claims Sexual Harassment!

Now if only there'd been a club like this around when I was stripping. What stripper wouldn't want to work in a vegan strip club?

The Entrepreneurial Spirit!
When Johnny Diablo's year-old vegan restaurant failed to catch on in Portland, Ore., last year, he converted the space into Casa Diablo's Gentlemen's Club, which is what he believes is the world's only vegan strip club. He has no rule against meat-eating dancers, he told Willamette Week newspaper in February, but won't permit leather, fur, silk or wool outfits on stage (no "murder victims" in the club, he said). [Willamette Week, 2-6-08]

Hmm...no murder victims, but I'm sure sexual harassment victims are fine. I mean, isn't this a bit ridiculous? I'd really love to hear the owner of this place explain his animal rights on one hand, but his owning a strip club on the other.

I think it's time for someone to points out the absolute ridiculousness of the world. Maybe it's time a stripper sued for sexual harassment...

This is America! The country where everyone is entitled to his or her fifteen minutes of a lawsuit. I can just see it now. Stripper sues for sexual harassment! I think I'll look for representation. I think I have a pretty good case.

I’m an ex-stripper. My charge? It’s sexual harassment, of course.

My only question is—whom do I sue?

The club owners for providing a hostile work environment? The bar patrons for the actual harassment?

I guess it would be pretty hard to charge the thousands of customers who harassed me, seeing as I’m not even sure of their names. Could I bring charges based on physical descriptions, for example…that fat bearded man with body odor at “Flashdancers” who grabbed my hand and shoved it down his pants, or…that skinny Viet Nam veteran at “The Blue Angel” who said, “I bet if I had a dick, it would be getting hard right now” as he reached for my nipples?

Or maybe I could just sue society as a whole, for creating a culture where it’s permissible for women to be treated like sex objects in strip clubs?

One thing I know, somebody should have to pay for all my pain and suffering. Do you have any idea how many times I was subjected to cat-calls, sexual innuendoes, and flat out propositions?

I was grabbed, kissed, fondled, groped, leered at, and name-called. And make no mistake about it—these were unwelcome advances. I was just trying to make a buck. None of us asked to be manhandled (okay, maybe a few…), or did we?

Was my nakedness on stage a license for a man to grab my breasts? Was my bare butt a call for it to be spanked? Was my exotic dancing really a yearning to be asked out for a “date”?

And what about the fact that I said “no” when propositioned, but was asked again and again? I just wanted to be treated like a human being -- with a little bit of respect.

The heart of sexual harassment seems to me that one can claim injury even after one “allowed” the behavior to occur. If women in offices and bars can sue leachy jerks, then why can’t I?

Strippers all over this beautiful country of ours are subjected to the worst sexual harassment imaginable. In a way, strip clubs have become the last great sanctuaries for ignorant men who still feel the need to degrade women to feel better about themselves.

Striptease is no longer an art form, rather it has evolved into one of the final resting grounds for legal sexual harassment. No one considers the toll expelled onto us, the stripping women who take the abuse so normal women can walk freely down the streets unharassed by construction workers. Strippers are a final dump sight for the toxic sludge of sexual degradation.

Well, this exotic gal isn’t taking it anymore! I want reparation, damn it.

My self-esteem was shattered. My body image was distorted. My relationships with men were devastated. My sense of guilt and shame crippled me.

I figure I’m looking at least a couple hundred million dollars in damages. Any lawyers care to take on American society with me? Let’s take it to the Supreme Court if we have to!

My only worry is that I fought off a few of those obnoxious men with pointy high-heels to their sweaty faces, warm beer on their bald heads, or shoves to their bulging bellies.

I hope they don't counter sue.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are You a Stripper Mom?

I am a stripper mom. Are you?

It doesn’t mean that you’re out there working the stripper pole at your local “Gentlemen’s Club.” It’s about being a woman who’s willing to strip down your present self to discover who you were. It’s about embracing your past. Stripping down to the truth, to the bareness, to reality. Facing what was there.

By remembering our past and discovering and creating meanings from it we learn how to move forward.

Being a stripper mom is about stripping down to your past, no matter what it may be, and embracing and accepting it, so that you can live more fully in the present. We all have experiences or jobs or actions from our personal pasts that we view as negative. Instead of letting those things constantly hold us back in life, we can look them squarely in the face and learn from them.

I was a stripper. I was a nude model. I was a serial sexaholic. I was in an abusive relationship. I struggled with my body image, with self-image, with what I wanted to do in life.

Now I’m a mom. I’m happily married. I have a wonderful family. I graduated as valedictorian from college. I have a Master’s degree. I write, I teach, I practice yoga. I create who I am. I look at my past stories, so that I can discover and glean new meanings from who I was. I rewrite my future.

Are you a stripper mom? Are you a woman engaged with using her past stories to create the life you want for yourself now?

Be a stripper mom. Strip down to the truth, to what and who you were, so that you can move forward and become who you want to be. Claim what was, so you can claim what is. See yourself naked then, so you can truly see and be yourself now.

Be a proud stripper mom. Tell the world! And even show the world by wearing a Stripper Mom shirt proudly (plug, plug)!

Tell me about your experiences. Have you stripped down? What did you find?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stripper Mom on Oprah

I heard through the Internet-vine that Oprah had a real, present-day, stripper mom on her show today. She’s 41, single, and has three kids. And she’s a stripper. Now. Today. In her present life.

Pretty amazing. Makes me think about a lot of things.

I couldn’t imagine being a stripper today at 36. Although I do have to admit, if I was doing it with today’s brainpower, I’d be making a lot more money than I did back when I was a teenager. I had no idea how to be a saleswoman then. At least now I would know what to do to make good tips. And by that I don’t mean doing more than I would want to. I just mean that I would know how to relax and enjoy myself more. I wouldn’t be so wrapped up in whether I was the “perfect” stripper.

But, of course, when I was a stripper, I was not a mother. These two aspects of my life have been mutually exclusive. Although I knew a lot of strippers who had children. I even remember mothers having to bring their kids with them to work sometimes if the babysitter cancelled.

I remember one time; a little boy of maybe seven sat in the dressing room for my entire shift. He did his homework. Ate supper. And went to sleep on his mother’s coat. He didn’t seem to pay much mind to the half-naked women walking around him. I wonder how it affected him.

Stripper mom. Teacher mom. Writer mom. Yoga mom.

Will everything I do forever now be followed by “mom”? Once a stripper. Always a mom.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

No Hurry, No Worry

Patience is a virtue. My God, it is.

I read something the other day about ways to avoid temper tantrums before they begin (in your child, not yourself).

One of the suggestions was to not hurry your toddler. They’re busy exploring their world and how things work. Along comes Mommy, who needs to get the child dressed, the lunch packed, the car to the Montessori School, and her own self to the train for work.

It’s easy to become frustrated when we’re in a hurry. I guess the solution is trying to always plan extra time for everything in life. Ha, ha. Not so easy.

Yesterday, Genny was chatting on about princesses and lollipops and her friends at school, while I managed to get her to step into a pair of blue pants that she never wants to wear. Yes, I was aware that she was so wrapped up in talking that she hadn’t noticed what I was dressing her in, but I hoped that once the pants were on her that she wouldn’t mind. Not so.

We walked into the hallway when all of a sudden she looked down and freaked out.

“I don’t want to wear these pants!”

To save time and avoid the whining fit, I marched her right back into her room and said, “Then pick out the pants you DO want to wear.”

At least at this point she realized I meant business and she went right to her dresser and pulled out her stretchy aqua pants that are too small on her. Yes, I should remove the pants that are too small for her and box them up and label the box, etc.

Then we had the whole discussion about what snack she could eat in the car on the way to school, about what she could not bring to school with her, and about which foot each boot goes on. And I tried not to rush her as I shuffled her out the backdoor while carrying a pink princess lunch box, my black purse that weighs 20 pounds and my brown work bag slung on my shoulders while I simultaneously hissed at the cat and stamped my feet to prevent him from running outside where he could be hit by a car.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Yoga of Bath Time

Yoga in action tonight. I’m usually very resistant to giving Genny a bath. It’s such a big production, makes the night drag on longer, and generally leads to my frustration.

Tonight, I asked Genny if she wanted me to bathe with her, which of course, she did.

And I don’t know how or why, except to say that all the yoga of staying in the present moment must really be paying off. I kept returning myself to the moment of bath time, of fun, of splashing, and playing. I did not worry or even think about all the student papers I need to read or the letters I need to write.

I just played. And splashed. And it’s amazing what a fun time I had. And Genny didn’t get cranky or have any tantrums either. I know she sensed the difference in me. She told me that I was her cat. I meowed.

After her bath, sitting on her potty, she noticed her veins on her inner wrists for the first time.

“Mommy, did someone draw on me?”

“No, Honey. Those are your veins that carry blood through your body,” I said. “Look, I have them, too.”

“Someone wrote on you, too?”

“No, this is the blood that runs through our bodies. Keeps us healthy. Brings oxygen to all our body.”

“And we have blood in our ninas, too?”

“Yes, but that’s a little bit different.”

“And in our tushies? And in all our body?” Genny rubbed her hand across her round belly.

“Yes,” I said.

Then, when we were snuggled into her bed, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, I really like you.”

“I really like you, too.”

“You’re my kitty-kat, Mommy. And I miss Lula.”

“I miss her, too,” I said.

Genny rolled over onto her side, slipped her two fingers into her mouth, and rubbed her nose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Genny's first "sick" day

Genny is 3 1/2. Today may be her first official "sick" day.

Don't get me wrong. She has honestly had a bad cold for three or four days. I even had to take her to the Medical Walk-In Center yesterday because her ear was hurting. The doctor said Genny has a cold and the goop is running down her throat and filling up behind her ears. She's taking Mucinex and feeling much better.

But this morning, I made the mistake of asking, "Do you feel well enough to go to school?" I probably should have said, "You seem well enough to go to school!"

She dropped her head down, batted her eyes, sniffed a little, and said, "My nose is crunchy. And I'm a bit coughy. I better not go to school today."

She got me. I'm the one who asked. And she gave me my answer.

So, Genny is home today. I have about a zillion things to try to get done today. I need to finish a syllabus for my Intro to Literature class, which begins on Friday. I need to send queries to agents. Wash clothes. Do dishes. Write. Practice yoga. And, of course, there's more.

Right now, Genny's saying, "Moooooomy..."

I need to go look for a little pencil.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello again

It's been quite a long time since I've blogged. If you remember why I stopped, it was because I began my MFA program. Well, I graduated in June, so I do not have that as an excuse anymore.

Quite a lot has happened since 2005.

In April of 2006, my mother passed away from breast cancer.

Nick, Genny, and I moved to Connecticut this past October.

My life is slowly resettling itself.

I still teach yoga to private clients and a gentle yoga class at fresh yoga (freshyoga.com) in New Haven. I've been exploring how to define my approach to yoga practice...as an opportunity to begin again, another chance to remember who we truly are, another possibility to find joy in being fully alive. My teaching focuses on a gentle, slow flow, and encourages students to discover their own selves and how best to nurture and express themselves.

Since receiving my MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College, CUNY, I have been teaching Creative Writing, Composition and Literature at Hunter, too. And, of course, I've been writing.

My focus has been on completing my memoir, “Stripping Down,” which has been excerpted and published in Salon, Conversely and Moxie. I have been editing like a mad woman for quite some time and am now doing an agent search. The project has taken on much larger themes.

And I've started work on some new writing projects. I'm also busy exploring the connections between yoga and creativity, using yoga as an entryway into creative expression.

And how am I doing all of this and still being a mom? Good question!

I'm just doing it. Because I feel like I must. My happiness is that important.

Genny is doing very well. She's three (and a half, she would have you know) and just as wonderful as ever. And just as much a handful as ever.

Well, that's a quick summary of where life is right now. I promise to update this blog more frequently now. It shouldn't be hard to beat my latest record.