Archive for August, 2013

Untrained Psychologist Meeets Professional Psychologist

August 28, 2013

I can’t contain my excitement about beginning prerequisites for a PhD in Psychology. Some strippers make close to, or over six figures, but I can’t say I’m among them. However, I have acted as something of an amateur psychologist over the course of many years as a bartender, and of course, as a dancer, which could prove a foundation for professional counseling. Due to the short shelf life of stripping and the fact I’m starting to age out of it, I have started seriously contemplating my transition into white collar, age-proof work.

I have a Bachelor’s, but didn’t choose my major based on a solid career goal; I studied foreign languages and simply wanted to be proficient, if not fluent, in them, debunking the stereotype of shamelessly monolingual Americans. I have spent a good six years post-undergrad floundering around the work force, settling for unsuitable office jobs out of financial urgency, struggling as a proud, but broke freelancer who didn’t have to deal with office culture, and working gigs I was overqualified for like Liquor Promos, bartending/waitressing followed by stripping. I’ve been predominantly in the adult business since January 2010, save a hiatus the second half of that year, and much like career bartenders, haven’t broken free of the dead-end instant cash source of income.

In my still-subsiding “military phase,” of dating, I’ve noted how cliche’ it is for servicemen to become firefighters, cops or correctional officers, which is perfectly fine and logical. It’s plenty cliche’ for strippers to study and work toward a future in counseling or Pschology. Some become true writers like Diablo Cody and Lily Burana and I started this blog with the same aspirations. But we all need a plan B.

As any of you familiar with my blog know, I have a long way to go managing my own mental health and substance abuse issues. I’m abusing my friend’s Adderall this very moment, not only to focus, but to suppress my appetite. In addition to giving the trial and error process of medication a chance, I could use some anger management, talk therapy I stick with and, most importantly, an ability to be compassionate without being too affected by the emotions of others. A middle ground between cold as stone and empathetic on a professional, non-boundary-crossing, level.

Because I am only taking prerequisites now, I can always rethink whether a career in Psychology is realistic, but I hope this zeal isn’t just another phase. Prerequisites allow me to dip my toes in the subject, which I never took undergrad, and gain contacts for recommendation letters. Psychology PhD’s are incredibly competitive and according to a family friend who practices, schools are favoring 22 year olds who majored in it as undergrads. Superior maturity and “real life” experience outside the bubble of academia are not terribly appreciated these days. There’s something to be said for making ends meet without student loans, even and especially, through stripping. It builds character, gives you perspective and exposes you to less-sheltered, less coddling environments, making you more scrappy and resilient.

I initially considered psychology because, in my own experience, I never enjoyed the separation between my pill-pusher doctors and talk therapists. My new therapist, who I love, actually has a firm grasp of various medications, unlike certain hack social workers I’ve dealt with. I always pined for the Doctor Melfi of The Sopranos treatment: talk to me for an hour and prescribe as you feel appropriate. The system makes this rather hard to come by, so it’s a no-brainer that I’d prefer speaking to patients and gettting a Psych PhD instead of going to med school (the latter would never happen thanks to my squeamishness.)

I like my current therapist because she is not afraid to be sarcastic and straight-talking. A primary goal of hers is to increase my self esteem and help me toward my goal of having a real romantic relationship where I take myself and the guy seriously. She will call a guy cheap if I paint him that way and say “He’s a loser, get rid of him.” She’ll also remind me I’m a good catch, smart and pretty, and discourage me from using my struggles as an excuse to feel unworthy and be used as a “filler” sex toy between “real” girlfriends. I have to get over the attitude I’ll never be wife or mother material, and that this ho truly can’t be made a housewife (by housewife I mean dual-income earner someone loves coming home to.)

I didn’t initially like my psychopharmacologist when I saw her in 2007 to treat me for ADHD (which has many overlapping symptoms with Bipolar Disorder.) During our first or second appointment, which was in the morning before work, she was digging into my past in a Freudian way, pushing me to talk about my mother’s death. That put me in a sombre mood, interfering with the work day. I’ve come around big time to her now. She is a one-woman counseling department at a community healthcare center I’ve used since 2007 and, while she is small potatoes compared to the renowned Psych department at Mass General Hospital, she suits me just fine. Compared with a previous doctor, it’s clear she hasn’t been wined and dined by specific drug companies. Many patients of means turn their noses up at Community Health Centers, since they serve lower class individuals on subsidized insurance. But I think the nature of the public, versus private, health care operation, helps my pill doctor not to be swayed by drug companies. Plus, my primary care provider is easy to book on very short notice, instead of the ridiculous intake waits and advanced appointment requirements of more snob-friendly doctors.

Because I have suffered trauma in the past and dated a Marine with severe PTSD, I’m interested in being a VA Psychologist and/or private practitioner specializing in PTSD and related issues such as anxiety and depression. I am big on suicide prevention and would get great satisfaction out of helping veterans and adolescents avoid ending it all in lieu of healing their personal wounds to the best extent possible. As I said before, I hope to avoid oversensitivity to the emotions of others, because as of now, the thought of losing patients to suicide, or “failing” them is a tough cross to bear, even though one can only do so much and often don’t see it coming.

I may explore a career in Psychology that is more research-oriented, with less face to face interaction. I like the idea of writing articles for medical or mental health trade publications about my findings, fusing one career goal with another.

Besides my aformentioned apprehensions, I have one particular beef with the field of Psychology. I have a lot to learn, but given the recent controversy over the DSM-V’s release, I’ve gained some understanding of how things work. Assigning a diagnostic code to a person equals money in the bank insurance claim-wise. Instead of saying “I think it’s appropriate to see a doctor for antidepressants as you recover from grief over the loss of someone close to you,” many are inclined to put the diagnostic label on a possibly temporary problem. This new defiance disorder where kids don’t obey their parents? That’s called being a kid who, with proper parenting and some unmedicated professional counseling, can grow out of it. I’m not against the recent inclusion of overeating without purging as a mental health disorder, because anorexia and bulimia certainly are, but I’m sure some unapologetic overeaters may recieve the diagnosis when it’s less related to mental health than being in a community where bigger women are appreciated, or having a blissfully care-free attitude toward body image, which is quite the opposite of obsessing over food and body dysmorphia.

In any case, I don’t want to make diagnosis’ on commission, assuming it works a tad that way. While watching the key Psychologist for the prosecution of Jodi Arias, I was fascinated, taking copious notes as she and the prosecutor addressed diagnostic criteria for PTSD and Borderline Personality at length. I was surprised by how few of the criteria have to be met for a diagnosis, though I was grateful for the layperson-friendly descriptions.

I’ve been told by an army friend the VA almost force-feeds returning vets PTSD and it’s definitely a “diagnosis du jour.” I’ve formed a habit of diagnosing people I know, such as a fellow blogger who demonstrates insanely high levels of Narcissism (takes one to know one, but she is truly extreme.) I’ve diagnosed several family members in my own mind as having anxiety and manic-depression. They say these things are genetic, and if I have to have a stigmatized label, why shouldn’t they be fairly assessed, instead of judging me as the scapegoat on the extreme level by comparison?

I think it’s time to stop rambling, but I’d love to hear what some of you think. Over and out!

Advertisements

Private Party Pimps and Klepto Strippers

August 26, 2013

They say cliches and stereotypes exist based on truth. While my peers on Twitter and at blogs like TitsandSass make vigilant efforts to debunk stereotypes and humanize sex workers, I was dissappointed to experience petty theivery at a private party gig.

I had worked for the company last year in Long Island and they generally book golf club parties that request eye candy companionship. I worked a party with a total of 40 girls and had the common sense to leave my phone and wallet in the car, but I wanted to bring some wardrobe changes inside and I hadn’t thought to change into stripper gear during the drive there, so I could leave my civvies in the car as well.

First of all, I was shy about mingling at the beginning of the party. I found out there was going to be an auction and all of us wore sashes with state names (I managed to score Miss Massachusetts to represent.) The one guy I clicked with during mingling time was one of only two to bid on me; all I went for was a lousy $60 plus and extra $10 he gave. Also, I had misheard the company owner when she told me what the base pay was; instead of the $450 I expected, my check was a measely $150.

So the bidders were representatives of four men groups for golfing format, which means they get the girl to themselves during the party. The one flattering moment I had was an older guy saying “oh no, I missed the chance to bid on you; we’ll have to arrange a “trade” during this outing when we see each other” (we never did.) The guy who bid on me immediately tried to solicit a blow job and didn’t even have cash on him! We caught up with his group and played just a few holes. Fortunately, his friend was generous; at one point, I pretty much demanded a proportionate tip and one of the black guys who loved my body gave me a $100.

When I returned to the locker room to change and leave, I couldn’t find the bag of possible wardrobe changes I’d stupidly brought in to supplement. I had a brand new set of lingerie from Italy, a couple flattering Victoria’s Secret bathing suits, and a very cute bathing suit from the same lingerie store in Italy, not to mention my very cute civilian dress and damaged but decent Nine West heels. Between the decreased pay, lower than expected tips and loss of goods, I really lost money on the gig in a way.

I had a better experience this past week. I decided “fuck it” and posted a Backpage banner ad for private stripping. The site has a bad rap but seems like a good resource for guys seeking private dances or private party girls. My ad only cost $4 and I managed to get one $150 dance so far. I said in the ad I wouldn’t see someone who didn’t provide information for me to vet them and feel safer, such as a LinkedIn profile, ID or Google-able information. I wasn’t about to see anonymous strangers, so I ended up not booking a few inquiries. Oh well, I certainly got the ROI on the ad.

In addition, I applied to two private party companies that were at the top of my Google search. The first one I spoke with gave me a run-down that honestly made me feel uncomfortable, but since I am hurting for cash lately, and I need money for a new apartment, as well as (hopefully) tuition money for Pre-PhD classes, I was tempted.

Fortunately, I heard from the other agency about a booking that same night before starting with the shady one. I worked a party of six cute guys for under two hours, making nearly $700. So much better than the pay per hour you average at a strip club, and of course, no house fee overhead and tip-outs helped too. The guys were cute and generous. One in particular was great at encouraging the others to keep the cash flowing, and not just $1’s.

A few things proved helpful. First of all, working the party alone meant twice the money of working with another girl. It also showed that up to six guys were tipping at once and I didn’t have to waste time on small talk and buttering guys up toward a sales pitch. I know they set the bar too high for me and other guys won’t be so loose with their money, but I’m looking forward to a fruitful future with the agency. Plus, compared with strrip clubs that often require 3-4 minimum weekly shifts, this is a mainly Friday/Saturday only gig where you’re not obligated to accept parties or work long evenings. The female owner is laid back and didn’t say I was expected to provide particular services or do gross things beyond my comfort zone. Another positive aspect is, out of the $200 the party has to pay, I only give the agency $100, which means I have a guaranteed $100 base pay, plus at least SOME tip money. Most agencies operate on tips alone.

Now, the other agency said a number of things that reeked of red flags; had they not said certain things, I may have gone ahead and worked with them. I’ve already had a negative experience with a Russian driver in New York threatening me and acting controlling like a pimp. You don’t have to be prostituting to have a pimp. Anyone who insists on controlling you and is willing to threaten you and cause you troubles in “real life” qualifies in my book.

First of all, the company requires exclusivity, and the male owner, who strikes me as working one millimeter on the right side of the law, said he’d not only fire a girl, but “make her life miserable” if he found out she was working indepently or with another agency. He also said something along the lines of “once you cross me….(I forget the end of the sentence.)

Another controlling red flag included the clear implication that our driver/chaperone would watch us like hawks to make sure we didn’t drink alcohol, exchange numbers to meet guys on our own another time, or even stay in the bathroom more than two seconds, as that indicates drug use. The guy told me the mandatory tool of the trade to bring was a “double ender” as if every single show, like a broken record, required fucking the other girl. Seems like I’d have a sore-ass pussy, and possibly loosened one. For the time being, I’m only comfortable working alone so there’s no lesbo shit, or doing lame girl-on-girl involving rubbing each other’s tits together, fake going down behind hair etc…

The guy said you have to be full nude the entire hour within about five minutes and I prefer a little more time before dropping my bottoms to break the ice and get a read on the guys.

The only promising aspect was that he was short on redheads and I might be a go-to to fill that niche upon request.

The agency I went with has slower business and is nationwide, not specialized to Boston and New England, meaning less volume of work and less money, but parameters I’m comfortable with.

The local agency owner claims to have very high volume, which may or may not be true (my accidental Russian pimp claimed I could make “at least” $500/night at a club that turned out a shitty Bridgeport, CT dive with cheap blue collar customers.) He is very demanding about time, saying Saturdays are mandatory, unless you truly can’t work them, in which case Friday would be mandatory. You have to show up at the main office, then you get dispatched with 1-2 other girls (or maybe on your own) with a driver. You are expected to be out all night until up to 6AM, when guys book last minute gigs (yeah, real appealing to deal with guys who are still up then, possibly thanks to drugs, and are probably drunk as shit.) The guy said “you’re on MY time when you get in and there’s no bailing out halfway through the night.”

I’m fine with his strict no-drugs, no-prostitution policies. This helps assure him any legal troubles won’t result from working with a given girl. But there was so much else that put me off, despite my need for money. I don’t need to be coerced into Stockholm syndrome and fear of “crossing” the guy. I am strong-willed and not as naive as I once was about the pimp-like, mentally abusive seizing of power and the upper hand. I refuse to work on the basis of fear; why would I when I strip largely to avoid the intimidation of office culture?

I missed out on a Saturday gig with the other agency because I don’t have a partner for two-girl party requests and live further from the location than another set of girls the agent has. I posted a thread at StripperWeb.com that I’d like to recruit a partner, so hopefully I meet someone who is sufficiently pretty and either willing to work within certain boundaries, or be the one to provide a slightly more raunchy show than me if she’s comfortable and used to it. A carpooler with wheels wouldn’t hurt, either.