Straight From the Hustler's Mouth
by Jessica Patton

From Issue 2.4 - February 1996

Stripper Burnout

Well, it's been an interesting few months since I last spewed out a column for Cuir Underground. I decided to leave the sex industry; rather, the ability to get naked for men for money left me, taking my sense of identity and source of income with it. My stubborn ego wasn't ready to quit. Neither was my inner drag queen, with a daily excuse to buy pink shaving gel and Eartha Kitt CDs.

But my body began sabotaging my intentions. I could dance out at a club in high heels for hours and feel great, but I'd put those same shoes on in the dressing room and suddenly have immobilizing pain down both legs. I've had a stomach flu maybe three times in my life; one of those times came on violently ten minutes after I'd decided to work, for the first time in a month, that night. And my favorite: I developed night blindness. As in, I couldn't see who I was lap dancing for. My first positive experience at work in months!

Did I mention the progressive nature of my man-hating in this environment? Gee, "man-hating" is such a generalizing term. I'm sure I don't hate the men who read Cuir Underground. (Except the military man who wrote to me about putting his dick in a watermelon. But I don't even hate him -- I just think he ought to realize that this is a column about sex work, not an interactive sex work column. As in, you don't get to use the writer -- me -- as you would a phone sex lady or gentleman. He should have at least stuck a fifty in the envelope!) Let's say, then, particular representatives of the chromosome Y:

To sum it up, I identified as bisexual before seeing men in all their uncensored glory.

Stripper burnout was realizing -- at 24 -- that my days left in the business are numbered.

It means walking on my tiptoes when barefoot. At home alone. The never-healing rugburn on my inner thighs -- shaved pussy meets lap dancing.

It results in this sort of logic about money: "I can afford to take a cab to Petaluma." Or these famous words: "I'll put it on my credit card!" (two tickets to Hawaii, $400 thigh high platform boots, the rent). Because I believe, for that rationalizing minute, the lie of BIG MONEY looming in the future, even though I'm lucky to make 35 bucks a night these days, especially when not obliterated on drugs.

It is doing weird stripper moves when being fucked by my lover. Not being able to filter out the wet-breathed voices and drugstore colognes of customers when I'm with my lover. Not wanting to be fucked by my lover, period. Or feeling like my cunt is a bottomless fuckpit.

It means all exhibitionism feels like WORK. All social commitments feel like exhibitionism -- play parties, going out in public (except to Blockbuster Video), reading for an audience, allowing my writing to be read at all.

So I'm creeping out of hibernation. The great things I've gotten out of the sex industry are immeasurable. But now I have them. I'm done. Thanks for reading.

Jessica Patton has retired from her first career at 25. She lives with her wife and four feline children in Bernal Heights where she cooks casseroles -- in her stilettos.

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Last updated: 10 February 1996