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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Passing the Baton

Before I sought education to become a mental health counselor, I was in a romantic relationship with a bartender who worked at a local strip club. Frequent visits during her shift afforded me an opportunity to become acquainted with a number of dancers at the establishment.

Rather than fantasizing about the women who worked the stage, I came to know them on a personal level. Over time, they taught me about how to hustle and informed me about logistical matters related to sex work.

Then and now, I’ve remained unconcerned with sex positive versus sex negative approaches to the lives of others. Simply stated, I reject this dichotomous perspective and choose not to tell others about how they should, must, or ought to live their lives.

Acquainted with the strippers, I was particularly fond of one dancer who I’ll call Tweety. Prior to stripping, she wanted to become a journalist and briefly gave college a try.

She had two young children, the father or whom was incarcerated, and with little education or skills she chose to sell a predominately male audience the illusion of romantic conquest facilitated by hypergamy—the act of forming a sexual relationship with a person of higher sociological status.

In reality, Tweety finessed men out of thousands of dollars per month and displayed little intention of actually satisfying their sexual fantasies beyond whatever went down in the VIP room. She taught me that loyal “customers” would pay for her car, home, and other high-priced items for little more than a night of attention in the club.

While I could get into specifics, the game is to be sold, not to be told. Besides, the purpose of the current blog entry isn’t a how-to reference guide.

As Tweety taught lessons I thought were intriguing, I was able to share an anecdotal observation with her that she apparently found useful, as well. It appeared as though with every graduating high school class, new waitresses and dancers were introduced into the club.

One high school that was within a mile of the sex work establishment could supply three to four girls per year. This didn’t account for the other five high schools in our town and surrounding area.

At three graduates per school, there could be 18 young females infiltrating the club per year. If a dancer didn’t have an exit plan, within three years she would likely compete with 54 new women at the gentleman’s club.

Granted, there were other shake joints in the area, though the one at which Tweety danced was the most sought-after establishment in town, due to its high-end clientele. To add context, I worked in the lucrative nuclear security field at the time and my bartender girlfriend made as much money as I did annually.

Select dancers such as Tweety could handily out-earn bartenders. Distributing the number of dancers amongst other striptease bars, Tweety would still have to contend with approximately 14 new 18-year-olds within a three-year timeframe.

Ostensibly loyal customers who were paying for the attention of an often much younger woman tended to eventually gravitate towards more youthful dancers. Suggesting why this may be is a matter of contentious debate.

At this time, rather than opining as to what I think contributes to this phenomenon, I’ll instead highlight the case of Blac Chyna—said to earn $20 million dollars annually from OnlyFans, though she is apparently no longer using the website.

Recently, Blac Chyna reportedly began to “reverse some of her cosmetic surgeries” for which she is famous. Discussing her decision, one source states, “She even cut her long, sharp nails off, saying, ‘I’m past that stage. Been there, done that. I’m passing the baton to the younger ladies.”

As a man, if I were to suggest that on average “younger ladies” have a benefit over women who are older than them, when it comes to attractive capital, I’d undoubtedly be labeled a misogynist. Ask Don Lemon how well it worked for him to purportedly suggest something similar.

Setting aside the pearl-clutching, Blac Chyna’s decision to pass the baton to women younger than her is precisely the conversation I had with Tweety. When abandoning what one thinks ought to be and instead focusing on what is, sexual attractiveness is—in general—fleeting.

Rather than shaming a person facing this conclusion, or contributing to the self-disturbance by demanding that society must not be as it is, I held extensive talks with Tweety so that we could come up with practical solutions concerning her predicament.

I agreed to become Tweety’s photographer as she launched a clothing line. Ultimately, she flipped her brand into a profitable apparel printing company.

I had similar discussions with other dancers. One went on to become a registered nurse, another is a manager for an unspecified agriculture company, and one became an international model and makeup artist.

It would’ve been effortless to whine, moan, and complain about so-called socially-constructed beauty norms which were supposedly instituted by the conspiracy theoretical “patriarchy.” However, Tweety and the other strippers I helped were rationally and not emotively driven.

They understood that the race they were running was a sprinting event when life is more akin to a marathon. Alluding to a relay race in which one runner passes a baton to the next runner; Tweety opted to bestow her job upon future dancers.

Passing the baton, rather than using the instrument as a cudgel with which she could beat others over the head through activist disapproval, better served Tweety’s interest to abandon the club and a goal to move on with her life.

What will you do when reality sets in and no amount of social grumbling will impact your circumstance in a meaningful way? Will you swing the baton as a weapon or simply accept the facts of your existence, focus your efforts in a more helpful direction, and pass the baton?

Personally, I’m proud of Tweety for sticking to the plan we formed. Following through with the coaching method didn’t come easy, though the payoff appears to have been substantial.

Are you ready to abandon woeful excuses and challenge yourself by pushing through discomfort in order to accomplish goals? I may be able to help.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

(Well done, Tweety!)


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