Newspaper Archive of
Bellevue College
Bellevue, WA
May 9, 2001     Bellevue College
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May 9, 2001

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6 VICE Wednesday, May 9, 2001 |reselt$ An interview with a stripper Ryan Hoffman Jibsheet Reporter Glamorous. Untouchable. Hot tubs filled with sexual honey. Whether you refer to them as exotic dancers or strippers, they equal sex, and for twenty dollars they'll sell you the illusion of just that. One dancer told me she was in the business of selling the fantasy of sex and soda pop. Well now that you mention it, it really is that simple. Men love beautiful women. We can't help ourselves- in one way or another, we're here because of them. For some of us the acquisition of a beautiful female is common. For others a treat. But for the patrons of strip clubs the glittered vixen that rule the stage exist only in their dreams, and for twenty dollars those dreams come true. I don't believe strippers are glamorous. For the most part, I think they're messed in the head, and I don't believe I'm alone on this. I feel sorry for them; bumping and grinding on strangers for tips; working into the wee hours of the night. Many of them are addicted to one form of drug or another. Maxim magazine says 110% of them sleep with their clients. Nick Lightning is a dear friend of mine. We call him lightning because he looks and dresses like a porn star. He also sells cars. When he invited me to join him and a friend on South Tacoma Way in an evening of raffish indulgence I accepted out of curiosity. Inside the club there was one stage. The girls were attractive, but not Paul Reubens, 'excuse me for a minute' hot. I sat and blew kisses at the girls for a while, handing out the occasional buck. It was good, dirty fun. The dancers were playful. After several propositions one girl decided to talk to me in private- not in the shower, just away from the action. She had beautiful brown eyes and brown curly hair. I watched her intently but she rarely looked up from the recorder. She just looked down and stirred her drink with the little straw. It's difficult to not judge people; it's in our nature to categorize and exotic dancers are easy targets. Her name was Star. She was a twenty-three year old beauty, about five-four, thin and curvy. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Star. The following interview is true. Star is an emotionally distressed woman and this story may cause discomfort to sensitive readers. My intentions in sharing this with you are two fold: 1. To show you how good you have it. 2. To breed compassion in all our hearts. Star is a very real person. Tell me about your mother. When I was like eleven I was my mom's best party partner. Like I started drinking when I was nine. She would say she was going to the store and three days later I'd get a phone call and she would say she was halfway across the state. She did that a lot. First hangover I ever had was in the second grade. She'd buy bottles of liquor and bring my friends over. How about your father? He's a long shoreman. I didn't speak to him from age twelve or so till I was eighteen. Now he lives two blocks away from me, but he doesn't want anything to do with me. WJly? I've been told that I'm nothing but a burden, so, I' m a burden. But you're not. How does that make you feel? It doesn't matter if you say I'm not, because I was brought up believing I was. I have a little sister and we'd go to visit my dad and I'd wake up in the morning and him and my sister would be gone. They'd go out to breakfast and leave me at home. Are your parents remarried? Yeah, my morn is. She has a lot of men in her life. A lot. Her second marriage, yeah, before she got married to him they went out drinking and his brother babysat me. I was like nine. He did some messed up stuff to me that night, and I told my morn, and she was like, 'why don't you shut the fuck up?' How did you end up in Washington? I got pregnant and my morn asked me to come out here. She was getting married for the third time to some guy I'd never met. She's supposed to be getting married the day after we got here and she ran and got married the day before, knowing we were coming out from Minneapolis. It kind of hurt. What was childhood like? My mom kicked me out when I was twelve. I rived under bridges and in abandoned buildings. I ate out of garbage cans. Rode freight trains all over the U.S. Hitchhiked. Spent Christmas and birthdays alone as a kid. No morn or dad, but that was better than living at home. How does that affect your view of Christmas and holidays and family? Do you still believe in those things? I tried to kill myself on New Years because this was the first Christmas least on other Christmases I could call them up and say, 'I'm a million miles away, I love you and I miss you.' Knowing they didn't want anything to do with me hurt even more. Do you deal with these horrible memories on a daily basis? They haunt me. It's like you know when you get your heart broken and it really hurts but time goes by and you heal. You'll never be the same but you know, you'll mature and maybe you'll meet somebody else. It's like my soul is broken. It runs deeper than my heart. Who do you live with? I live with my daughter and her father. Having someone tell you that you're worthless every day, that the best thing you could do is just disappear, it makes me want to disappear. He's an alcoholic too. Are you an alcoholic? Yes I am an alcoholic but when I got pregnant I quit drinking, I didn't smoke, nothing. I breast fed for a year and a half. Before I got pregnant I used to drink a liter of tequila and a twelve pack every day. I'd wake up at five in the morning and I'd be shaking. I'd hallucinate. Like I was lying down one night and I thought my friend's house was on fire, and I was totally awake. What was it like living on the streets? Living on the street you have no adult authority, except for the police. You know, life sucks, so just drink every day. We'd drink bottles upon bottles of wine, the big bum jugs, you know, burgundy, because it had the most alcohol content. I don't know how many times I had alcohol poisoning. When I got pregnant I thought I had alcohol poisoning. I hope I'm not making you uncomfortable, dragging out these old feelings. ........... It's okay. It makes me sick inside. It makes me want to wretch. People go, 'oh you need to talk about it, you know, therapy.' I've talked about it for years but it doesn't go away. My family denies it. My mom will look at me and go, 'what have I ever done to you to make you so fucked up?!' What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? I see trash. I see garbage, when I look at myself. What would you rather see? All I've ever wanted is to be happy and content, and I don't know what it means to look in the mirror and see that, I just want to feel that way. I think if I felt that way inside I would be more appealing to myself on the outside. What do you think is the key to your happiness? Do you see any conclusions, something where you say to yourself, 'if I " just do this...ifI can only get here?' I never, I didn't get to finish school, cause I was sleeping under bridges. I've never finished anything. I went to get my GED and that was almost two years ago. I never finished it. I always was told that I was going to amount to nothing, that I was a loser. I can't keep a job because I'll start...I'll freak out. I'll have breakdowns at work. Have you had one here? Yeah, last night. What happened? When I first got here I danced really fast. I guess I was afraid that if I danced like most the girls did, you know like they try to seduce you, it would hurt me more, inside. They said it looked like I was fucking them. I guess it's easier to not be emotionally attached to somebody if you just get up there and pretend to fuck somebody. The first night I worked here I was shaking pretty badly. I got in my friends car and cried all the way home. I feel like I sold my sold to work here. I'm afraid that one day it's not going to bother me to work here cause I think it should bother me to work here. What would you rather be doing other than this? I want to finish school and I want to get a job working with Cont. on page 12, STRIPPER