Taking it off on the New York Times Op-Ed page

Stripper to businessmen: Pay your damn bills!

Topics: Broadsheet, The New York Times, Love and Sex,

Why can’t there be more strippers on the New York Times Op-Ed page? Broadsheet loved today’s article by Elisabeth Eaves, former Seattle peep-show employee and author of “Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping,” about a lawsuit being brought by American Express against Scores customer Robert McCormick, a Missouri businessman who racked up $241,000 in charges on his corporate AmEx at the tony Manhattan strip joint. McCormick is refusing the pay the tab, however, because — surprise! — he was drunk at the time.

Eaves scoffs at the fact that this and other lawsuits have spurred the district attorney’s office to action: They’re now investigating allegations of overcharging at Scores. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she writes. “There’s no such thing as overcharging in this industry.” Eaves argues that going to a high-rent strip club and spending $3,000 on a bottle of Champagne is akin to owning a $13,000 Christian Dior handbag — “a passport to an exclusive club.” McCormick and “his colleagues probably went because being surrounded by fawning, semi-naked Champagne-flute-wielding women was for them a symbol of success.”

Sadly, Eaves’ own clients needed more than that flute of Champagne to feel successful. One of them — a man by the name of “Excalibur” — gave Eaves copies of his poetry to read. Part of her job, she says, was to make him feel like a “Knight of the Roundtable,” to take him seriously and show an interest in his work — acts for which she was paid handsomely. “What a stripper sells is not her ability to dance or take off her clothes,” she writes, “but her ability to suspend the customer’s disbelief. If she is doing her job right, his bald spot and his mortgage cease to exist.” Naturally, Eaves has “little sympathy” for the boorish businessmen who won’t pay their pole-dancing bills, and reminds them that the dancers who slithered across their laps “weren’t in it for kicks.”

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

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