I’m really lucky to have grown up in the way I did. Even though there was a lot of trauma and bad things and insanity, I grew up with a lot of very basic things that it seems like a lot of people miss out on. When I was a kid we never had a TV (okay, twice we did, and both times make entertaining stories but they didn’t last long) and we didn’t listen to the radio or read magazines. I had a vague idea that stupid rich people made themselves sick over trying to look like movie stars, but I really couldn’t have named a movie star. Every other weekend, at my mom’s house, we’d watch british comedies and eat popcorn, and that was the extent of my media-indoctrination.
In school I realized that people were wearing cool clothes and make up and stuff, but I just wrote them all off as stupid rich people. Most of my friends were older, anyways. I stayed home for the eighth grade, and ended up going to an alternative high school (where what people looked like was the last of anyones concern, really) for a year. Then I spent a few months finishing high school in a really cool place with, like, no exposure to mainstream cultural ideals either.
When I started dancing it did not occur to me even once to wonder if I was fat. I knew that women looked good and I knew that I was a woman, and that was enough for me (though I was pretty proud of my big boobies). I had been around naked people my whole life (thanks to hippies, saunas, and other group bathing rituals) so strippers were just naked women to me. And it was Alaska and it was this crazy dumpy little club where anyone could dance, and no one ever said a thing about being skinny except for this one older woman who I thought was just crazy and listened to stupid rich people too much.
I was, fortunately, rather naturally slender with big, perky boobs back then. I never had a problem getting hired at nice clubs, though I did end up getting my hair and nails and stuff done when I was in Vegas. I knew some girls worried about being fat, but I still was pretty oblivious and just blamed it on the stupid rich people.
I stayed that way until I left LA and left a nasty habit behind, too. My metabolism crashed. I got fat. It didn’t really bother me though, because I was still normal for a non-stripper, and it didn’t stop me from making money or anything. Eventually another stripper convinced me to go on a diet. She was like, “look, you have rolls! Cut out the freakin carbs!”
I was so oblivious that I was like, “really? That’s bad?”
When I started going to college was when I really realized how lucky I was. Here was a world full of young girls wearing skimpy clothes and dieting and spending hours doing their hair and make up every day. For free.
I made friends with a girl who agonized over her virginity and swore that she had a problem with over eating. She was so skinny that if she had been a stripper she’d have been the kind that guys told to eat a sammich. One day she was all excited. She showed me a book with pictures of muscular naked woman. “This is what me and my sister look like!” she said. “I never knew there were other women who looked like us.”
“Um,” I said looking at the pictures, “that’s how most women look?”
Then I realized that the only naked women she’d ever seen were airbrushed in magazines. Probably all those other college girls, too. And every newbie 19 year old stripper who asks me a gazillion times a night if she’s too fat. Holy fuck, all these women are deprived of growing up knowing what normal people look like under their clothes, and then they look in magazines and think everyone looks like an airbrushed model. Y’all need to get your kids around some nekkid people.
You know what? There are fat strippers. Maybe not at Scores or Hustler, but in every city there is a club with a 200lb+ dancer. Because this isn’t a magazine, it’s real life, and in real life real men sometimes like fat women. And where there’s a market there’s a stripper to meet it.