years ago, we were shooting some 2nd unit stuff for a student film in the front parking lot of a strip club in Winston-Salem. i had been cast as a 1970s news anchor.
while we waited for the sun to go down, i noticed this: an 80s hatchback pulled up, and a 40-year-old grouch stepped out — haggard, leathery, fake body, gaudy makeup and jangly accessories, trouble walking in new shoes; a 90s Maxima pulled up, and a 30-year-old beauty stepped out — nice makeup hiding the wrinkles beginning to form, hair teased out, clothing sharp, but grown-up, a solid gait in high heels; a brand new 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 with rollbar, lights, glowing neon, tinted windows and bass pumping pulled up, and a petite blonde goddess with heaving bosoms alighted from the raised cab onto the pavement with a sexy bounce, gliding across the asphalt in skin-tight pants on platform heels as every eye followed her to the door.
somehow, immediately, i knew they were all the same woman, and i feared that, though they work right next to each other, they would never see it.
i once talked with a stripper on the phone for three hours one evening (research for a script i’m working on). while i knew money was a big part of that world, somehow it still shocked me to learn that everything of value in that world finds its basis in money. a bouncer would only look out for a woman if she tipped well. it didn’t matter if clients were kind, demanding, creepy, drunk, or disgusting; it only mattered what they spent. friendships among the women, even, were not based on common experience or pain or even time in the same place. no, even friendships were based — first and solely — on money.
money isn’t a stumbling block for the strip club world, it is God.
today, I had to my ask myself, if a stripper interviewed me for three hours, what would she see as the basis for all the values in my life…
and would it surprise her?