I’m a 22-year-old college student trying to pay my way through school. I have a horrible relationship with my mom and my dad’s been out of my life for years. So I’m pretty much on my own financially. I work a part-time retail job, and it’s just not enough. I’ve had student loans in the past, but I’d prefer not to rack up too much debt.
I have several friends who are dancers at adult nightclubs, and they make great money. They’ve been encouraging me to try it out as a way to pay for school. I’m a little shy and not completely comfortable with the idea of being naked in front of people. But if the money’s good, I can get used to it.
However, my boyfriend of two years isn’t thrilled with the idea. He doesn’t want other men seeing me half-naked (the club they work in requires the women to wear thongs). How can I convince my boyfriend that I need this job to pay for college? I certainly wouldn’t be attracted to the men I’d be dancing for. Why does this bother him so much?
— Soon-To-Be Stripper
Dear Soon-To-Be Stripper,
It sounds like your boyfriend’s jealous, which seems like a typical response for a dude whose girlfriend wants to show her ta-ta's to other men for money. But I’ve known quite a few exotic dancers in my day, and none of them had feelings for their clients. In fact, most were a little repulsed by the men who showed up at the club night after night. Those men were nothing but a payday for them, and that’s likely how you’d see them too.
You could ask your stripper friends to talk to your boyfriend about their experiences. Do any of them have long-term partners? If so, you could try arranging a meeting with their partners and your boyfriend. It may help him to hear from other men (or women) who date dancers.
But if your boyfriend just can’t get into the idea, you should evaluate what’s most important in your life. Is this a guy you plan to stay with for the long haul? If so, you should consider another career choice. If not, maybe it’s time to ditch him and do what you have do to pay the bills.
If you break up, he might even come back later when he sees that you’re not hooking up with clients after all. But he might not, so be sure that’s a risk you really want to take before jumping in.
One thing to note: The Shelby County Commission passed new regulations for local strip clubs that would require background checks for dancers and prohibit the sale of alcohol. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it wouldn’t hear an appeal by strip club owners. That makes it easier for the county to begin enforcing the new regulations soon. And that could put a serious damper on strip club business in Memphis. It might be worth waiting to see what happens with that before you make any rash decisions.
There are other ways to make money out there. You could search for other job options, or you could simply take out more student loans and hope you land a good-paying job after college.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.