Thursday, March 03, 2005

STRIPPER SHOES by Cheryl Bartlett (AuthorHouse)

Cheryl Bartlett—oh, excuse me, that’s Dr. Bartlett to you—tells a humorous and down-to-earth tale of switching careers—and interests, so to speak—to the world of stripping. Unlike the woe-is-me tales of poverty and aggression, like the recent offerings from Traci Lords and Jenna Jameson, respectively, or even the I’m-desperate-and-I’ve-got-nowhere-else-to-go stories like STRIPTEASE, STRIPPER SHOES comes from the base desire to take it all off, for the simple cartharsis of it.

Ms. Bartlett had it all: healthy kids, good husband, solid career and a well-earned Ph.D. She comes to stripping from the other side. Her story tells of her launch into the sex business as originating from an even mix of boredom and feminism. At the tender age of 32, she dropped it all and became the queen of the g-string, stretch marks and all, to a bunch of college kids.

Her first night she got $8.00 in tips.

The journey is both hilarious and compelling. The story is told in bite-sized vignettes and the book is easy to pick-up and put-down without breaking the chain of story—but my guess is that you’ll finish it in one sitting.

STRIPPER SHOES deals heavily with the stripping environment, and delivers a handful of surprises, but overwhelming speaks of the customer base one might deal with and what it is like to dwell and/or work in the sex industry. But the most poignant moments are delivered upon her introspectiveness.

“For a few seconds when I catch a glimpse of myself on stage, I feel really, truly great. I am as good as I want to be, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m underfoot or if anybody likes me or how behind I am on laundry and shopping or whether I remembered to sign a permission slip or help with math homework or whether someone at work has it in for me or if its all in my head. There I am, just me, all by myself on stage. I’m tired and sore as hell, but if I can’t be in bed asleep, this stage is not the worst place in the world to be tonight.”

Well worth a read. If you can find it, buy it.