Monday, April 27, 2009

Will Strip for Cash: Change We Need

Take heart. CNN Money reports that certain Fortune 100 companies are hiring, including Wal-Mart, which has jobs so numerous they are numbered in the "thousands." Wal-Mart is a whole-hog employer in these less than meaty times and is seeking employees from cashiers to pharmacists to staff new stores. If the Great American Big Box isn't your thing, then there's the smaller box of Bank of America, which is unironically seeking wealth managers (and other white-collar workers).

Somewhere in between these two extremes is UPS, which needs more of the guys in brown to handle our delivery needs, and Lowe's, which has a garden department and might theoretically attract botany students in search of a weekend job and a 10% discount on Burpee seeds.

And for the genetically gifted or surgically bettered, there is The Body Shop, West Hollywood's famous strip club. The Body Shop, reopening after a fire in December, has put out the call for five hundred strippers. Five hundred strippers is 350 more than the 150 (clothed) office workers sought by Hewlett Packard. It's also a job that pays, by the club's estimate, up to one thousand dollars a shift. Granted, a job this lucrative depends upon hefty tipping and making nice to flâneurs, but isn't this good news for the beleaguered economy?

The particulars of the jobs aren't all that demanding when one considers that the aforementioned wealth-management job is not only one of the riskiest of the open positions, it also requires advanced knowledge of complex financial issues. Both of the jobs, however, require experience in dealing with high-net-worth clientele.

The news that The Body Shop needs five hundred strippers is something to exalt over. We may be despondent over the present economic climate, but The Body Shop knows that the good people of Los Angeles are not suffering so much that they cannot afford a lap dance. And what better antidote to depression than a meditation on carnality?

While it's tempting to cite Gypsy Rose Lee as a trailblazer for strippers becoming mainstream, the truth is that the venerable dancer performed in burlesque, which is quite a different thing than what The Body Shop offers. And yet, strippers have become so ho-hum commonplace that even their utility as rock-and-roll decoration is 20 years past notability. There was a time in Los Angeles when having a stripper girlfriend or having strippers dance on stage with your band was de rigueur. Even the saddest of bands knew that at a minimum one needed imaginary stripper friends.

Somewhere over the last 20 years, stripping has become wholesome. Pole-dancing classes are taught at university and the trade in six-inch platform shoes is brisk. Hollywood stars install poles in their bedrooms to be used not by visiting call girls but by their wives.

The Body Shop is the ideological showcase of a happy new economy, at least in Hollywood. We need light entertainment in times like these, even if it collectively costs eighty-four times more than a ticket to 17 Again. Who needs Hollywood anyway? Their best movies recently have been violent ones, and television isn't much better, not with the non-event that is this year's American Idol and the ongoing fascination with Rachael Ray.

Even those who find stripping somewhat less than emotionally salubrious might agree that a stripper of a Body Shop caliber is more pleasing to the eye than Bill O'Reilly.

Those who struggle to buy a frozen Banquet entree will be cheered by the fact that a hard-working Body Shop stripper can singlehandedly make a great contribution to the flagging marketplace, just as President Obama encouraged. Someone has to give us this hope, even as the rest of us are suspended in an act of Beckettian waiting and Fox News fear-mongering.

Things are looking up. Maybe the change we need is anatomical, not political.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

your blog is aweosome, thank goodness for free-thinkers like yourself. .