G-Is for String
50 years in the making
Thirteen years in the exotic dance, strip world may have left me with emotional and physical scars. But, what it mostly left me with were stories. Tons of them. Funny, sad, frightening, and eye-opening. Being the only stripper I knew who traveled with a Remington portable typewriter in my costume case, I recorded many along the way. The rest I know by heart.
'G-Is for String' was just waiting for me to work up the courage to write it. During the busiest time of my life last August, while planning and executing my daughter's wedding, I decided it was a good time to begin the journey of writing professionally. In between sewing backdrops, ordering tablecloths and flowers, planning the buffet tables, and baking wedding cake layers, I started the ponderous project of putting my career in stripping down in writing.
What can I tell you? I like being busy, and I'm just a tad bit crazy.
The most difficult part of this process was cutting out the fluff. Anything that did not directly relate to the story had to go. As all writers know, this was a monumental task. How do you delete the words you love? Well, you send your manuscript off to an editor who is not emotionally attached to your tale. I am fearfully awaiting the return of a neatly circumcised book.
I had read previous stories about strippers and watched movies that were supposed to be about the lives of strippers. I was still in the business when 'Flashdance', came out and my friends and I laughed all the way through that movie. A welder was probably getting paid a lot more than strippers back in the 1980s, plus she would have had worker's comp and benefits. Pittsburgh, not going topless? Pfft. Not happening. Not believing that stuff.
Pittsburgh, during the 80s, was so raw I barely survived my two-week booking there. The theater I worked at had a feature who would invite the audience members up to the edge of the stage to perform oral sex on her for tips. She didn't pay them- they paid her, to be exact. Good grief. The dance scenes in 'Flashdance', were so phony, only people who had never been to a strip club would believe them. A dancer pouring water all over the stage?
Nope. Not in this lifetime. I had to follow a girl who worked barefoot and poured baby powder on the stage. The minute I stepped onto the stage in my spiked heels I slid across the surface like the Zamboni had just finished up. I was furious and the girl never pulled out her baby powder again when we worked together.
Dancers never messed with the stage unless they wanted to get their costumes shredded in the dressing room. The phony, idealistic crap about wanting to join the dance company and actually getting accepted without true classical dance training? That did not and would not ever happen. Dancers in companies had been training since toddlerhood. There is no way a dancer, with no professional training, could keep up with the demands of a real dance company. It would be like living in a foreign land and not speaking the language- literally.
The closest read to a true story about stripping was the book, 'Lonely Lady'. It captured the time between stages and showed how the constant travel and uncertainty of the job created difficulties in a woman's life. Relationships, family, and security were all sacrificed for the stage. The cost was great for me. So, I recognized the reality of that novel.
I like to make people laugh, even though there were many sad or scary times in my story. So, I've opted for an Erma Bombeck style. If you're too young to remember the silly housewife, you might be more familiar with Lara Croft. A writer friend of mine suggested my writing was 'Lara Croftish', (Wink). I looked her up and he was right. I am snarky and sarcastic. I always have an observation, which I think everyone should read because I am just that smart...assed. That style, hopefully, will soften the harsh parts of my story.
It may be a good read- or it may not. In writing it I've realized just how fortunate I was to get out of that lifestyle alive and am hoping that readers will enjoy it and perhaps gain a bit of perspective on their own lives.
About the Creator
Coming in 2023, G-Is for String. A memoir about life in the dance lane during the 1970s and 80s. By dancing, I'm talking exotic. Romances, running, and surviving. On the way to the publisher!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Looking forward to your book! Your imagery is great - thanks for sharing and can’t wait to read more.
Good luck with your book! Love the Zamboni image... and well done for just sitting down and getting started. Thanks for sharing on Vocal.
Congratulations on being Top Story
Congratulations on Top Story!!! Yay!! 🎉
Okay, I'll read it. I actually dated a stripper, probably the most interesting woman I ever knew. Glad to have something to look forward to this year... Any photos included? :)
Hey Lara, oops I mean Tina, this one story should generate plenty of interest to get your book on the best-seller list. Maybe it's time to have a heart-to-heart with your editor.
Congratulations on being Top Story, Tina. This is a fascinating piece, and I want to read your book! So, if you want to let me know when it releases, you can message me via my blog contact form or via Twitter. Wishing you every success 💕🙂
I would be fascinated to read your stories about stripping. I also like the tone of your writing in this piece. I want to know more. I’d totally read your book.
Congratulations on Top Story. Your story is very interesting and certainly piques the interest for the full scale version.
Congrats on the Top Story. Well done.
Wow! I love your voice and felt like I was sitting across from a friend. Truly intriguing glimpse into a world I know so little about but do understand how it can be an empowering move when options are limited. Kudos to you for carrying that typewriter so we can read your thoughts today. I'm looking forward to this release. Well done!
I love that you the courage to tel stories that most humans would shy away from or hide in their closet! Your bravery never ceases to inspire me! You are who I think of when I want to be bold and put myself out there!
I’ve been a fan of your writing and am in constant awe of your work and your personal journey.
I’m so excited about this! I love your writing style, and I used to be a stripper too. It wasn’t for very long, just during parts of 2010 and most of 2011. I had an agent. I danced at a club in Pittsburgh called Blush. I danced in several US cities, and also Guam. I’m sure things were much different when you were dancing, and I can only imagine how many stories you collected in all that time!