Monthly Archives: October 2013

Like a Stripper in Church… Yeah, Just Like It

We all laughed a bit as we continued to tease her.  She was an outcast, not as cool as the rest of us.  We were loitering in the halls, sneaking vending machine purchases that our parents forbade, lest we break the Sabbath day.  She looked like she was about to cry. 

“You guys are so mean!  And especially you two!”  She pointed right at my sister and me.  “You guys are the Pastor’s daughter’s!  You are supposed to be nice!”

My sister and I had just participated in mild bullying only by observation, but with the position of a “Pastor’s Daughter” hanging over our head, the expectation was always much more severe.  We set expectations for behaviors of others, with our own good behavior.  Our lives were looked at as a good example, what other children in the church would be held to.  When we were allowed to get our ears pierced, the rest of the girls showed up their ears pierced.  Our good manners and ability to maturely interact with adults was the bar that the other parents felt pressured to have their children live up to.

I lived in the spotlight.  Every move was judged.  My father stopped in the middle of sermons to correct the way I was sitting in front of the whole congregation.  When we had even mediocre behavior we were judged and talked about endlessly.  When visiting other churches, upon learning my last name, the tone and posture of the conversation would change instantly.  

As a pastor’s daughter, if I wasn’t the female Jesus, church members started throwing stones.  I grew to the point of clinging to a fake perfection, dodging the stones and flashing fake religion.  It was intense.

On the flip side of my experience, when the church had “really bad” visitors stopping by, they were viewed as some sort of hero, for giving God a shot at their lives.  They were met with open arms and forgiveness, and then paraded around for the rest of the world to see how accepting the church was.

I was kicked out of my parent’s home at the age of 18.  I began to visit some churches that were outside of our circle, less strict.  I would get done with my weekend job of stripping, throw some clothes on, and head to church.  Going straight from a strip club into a church service, I was met with open arms.  I transitioned from the highest expectation to the lowest.  No one knew where I was coming from; whether it be from a pastor’s family, or the strip club, but I dressed a bit closer to the later.  I was able to feel the embrace.  

Jesus tell us that He did not come to call the righteous in Luke 5:32.  In some cases the church has taken that to such an extreme that we have abandoned those that silently stumble and struggle right before our eyes.  Recently when meeting with a client, I answered his question of when I was saved.  I told him I was saved at the age of 14.  He chuckled, and then asked me when I fell away.  I then took my turn chuckling and proceeded to answer that question.  This client has no idea of my past, but there is definitely a pattern with the second generation Christians today.  It seems as though  our second generation Christians tolerate the church for as long as they can before rebelling and then hopefully experiencing the grace that scoops them into the arms of Jesus after hitting rock bottom.

What if we started to recognize the abundant grace that is given to those that don’t fall to the wayside?  What kind of grace is more amazing than the grace of a steady walk with the Savior?  How about the grace that keeps you by the Almighty’s side, and does let your foot stumble.  So my friends, as you reach out to the sinners, to the sick, and to the needy, look to those standing right next to you.  Praise God for picking me up from my glaring darkness, and praise God for granting others the grace to avert the darkness.

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Justice Served From the Hand of a Stripper

I brought him to the third floor.  This was where the real money was spent.  It was there that I was in the midst of hookers/prostitutes/whores, girls that gave a little more bang for your buck/holla for your dollar.  With an exchange, due to the third floor manager, girls would take it as far as they wanted, as long as they paid off “Play.”  Play was easy going, his eyes were never right, he was always high, always drunk, but somehow still able to track transactions like a CPA.  Play was sweet, always complementing the girls, using sugary nicknames, and anything but confrontational.  He never expected more than what we were up for.  He let the dancers create their own boundaries.

The elevator door opened, I found an empty bed in the dimly lit room.   We stepped over a used condom that had been carelessly dropped on the floor, and closed the curtain.  This customer was past the limit, he should have been thrown out.  He was an easy target.  An early 30s, white, well dressed but disheveled, married man.  His name was probably something like Jim or Steve.  He had a great job, a wife, young children, and that pretty little white picket fence everyone wants.  In fact, his last name was most likely Jones, he is the one we are supposed to keep up with!

Mr. Jones got comfortable on the bed while I slipped off my top one shoulder at a time, and began my routine.  Mr. Jones was quite obnoxious.  With an alcohol level that was  off the charts, he couldn’t hold still or keep his mouth shut.  When getting a “clean” dance, this behavior is unacceptable.  Mr. Jones kept moving and moaning.  

The most disrespectful thing about a strip club is not degrading the dancers, we were treated like goddesses and pampered most of the time.  What killed me was every night when we closed, there would be some clown looking for the wedding ring that he lost that night.  Our ATM withdrew money from accounts under the name of “DJ’s of America” to protect men from their significant other.  Men with good women at home made them feel as if they were physically not enough.  Infidelity dripped from their wallets.

As Mr. Jones enjoyed his dance, I noticed the content of his pockets beginning to fall on the mattress.  I helped destiny move along, wriggling out the rest of his loot.  Those who misbehave, get punished.  The third song ended, I put my top back on, giggled as I gave him his keys and license, repremanding his carelessness, and warning him not to drive tonight.  I gave him back enough money for him to tip me, which he did.  I brought him back to his friends, and hugged him good night.  

I happily counted the score.  I didn’t consider it stealing, I considered it compensation for bad behavior, and a lesson for Mr. Jones.  I would tip the valet boys extra that night.  I was a modern Robin Hood, later I would discover more profitable strategies to carry out justice.

May I Have Your Attention Please??

I was almost on empty, so I stopped to fill up.  I leaned up against the gas pump as I waited, brushing my hair out of my eyes – courtesy the lovely breeze.  There was a bit of a commotion between the two muscle heads from the next pump over.

“Oh my God, are you Jezebelle?”  One of them yelled as he ran over.  His partner in crime followed a little more quietly and slowly.

I smiled, and soaked in the celebrity moment.  We exchanged some small talk, I refused their phone number, but let them pay for my gas before getting a commitment to see me in the club this weekend.  I got in my car, still smiling, soaking in the affirmation that I yearned for.  The reality is, those guys just wanted to get laid, but to me, they gave me the approval that I have never had.

It’s that wonderful feeling.  Something we all crave at one time or another.  Better than the money, more fun than dancing, and not even comparable to the joys of buying shoes or cute outfits.  Being the best, being the most sought after, the most wanted, the most approved of, the most shown off, the highest on the totem pole.  I want it all.

After accomplishing a small feat, a young child will promptly run to their parent for approval, and praise.  We are wired to seek approval of others, some more than others.  I crave approval on a larger scale than your average Joe.  I want everyone to love me.  I am a pleaser.

Once the feeling of affirmation sets in, confidence and then power follow.  I felt most powerful when  I was on stage with a pressed crowd.  I loved having men willing to spend hundreds of dollars just for a handful of minutes spent with me.  I loved the looks on their faces, the complements flowing from their mouths, the sweet little lies they told me, the loyal customers that only wanted me, that claimed no one else could compare.

This was more than a job, this was a void that I had tried to fill for a long time, now being filled.  It changed my life, Jezebelle gave me power and worth.  Not only did it give me the affirmation I had been looking for from men, but it also gave me a sense that I was better than the rest.  I was a clean dancer, I never did anything for money other than dance, I never did any drugs, and I didnt sleep with the managers or bouncers.  I was better than the other dancers because of this.  I was impossible to stay clean for so long in an environment like that.  I was stronger and smarter than all those bimbo strippers, and I looked amazing without surgery.  I was the best.

I was disillusioned.