Tuesday, February 19, 2008

La Diablo

I should forewarn that there is some mature subject matter in the blog to follow. Though I will be carefully choosing my words—my blog is already blocked on my local library’s general use computer for some unknown reason—today I talk about the business of stripping. Oh, the lengths I won’t go to support the blogging community.

Diablo Cody is up for an Academy Award this Sunday for her first screenplay, the movie Juno. I’ll be rooting for her. Diablo is a long-time blogger, having chronicled on-line her days as a stripper in Minneapolis. She even wrote a book about it—Candy Girl-A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper--which I read recently out of curiosity, so I thought I would review it here.

Upon completing the 200 or so pages, I have a great deal of respect for Diablo Cody the writer--very fluid writing, colorful if sometimes overly explicit detail, eminently readable even if her vocabulary is interspersed regularly with the type of words that would challenge the final round participants of the annual Scripps Howard spelling bee.

No kidding! Here are three such words which can be found on the final page: adamantium, frisson, and detritus. Even my spell-checker only recognizes one of the three. Obviously between sets on the runway at Deja Vu, Cody either was breezing through the latest New York Times crossword puzzle or reading James Joyce.

But there is nothing titillating or erotic in the way Cody describes the exotic entertainment business that includes private peep shows and lap dances. Her nightly escapades in the exotic entertainment district are described in minute, unflattering detail, much like those guys from C.S.I. might describe the experience for an official police report, if they knew the big words.

The book reads like an extended blog, a journal of sorts mostly set in the bordello-like atmosphere of the local clubs. The only background Cody relates from her own past is recounted almost as an afterthought in a final chapter, as if suggested by a would-be publisher for those readers wondering why an obviously bright, college-educated young woman from a respectable Chicago family would suddenly lose her scruples. Cody seems to blame her strict Catholic upbringing.

Diablo begrudges respect for the women who sell their nakedness to “bank”, earning their daily pay only to give up a large percentage to the men who run the business. These women ingratiate themselves to delight even the most perverse of male customers. It was all in a day’s work for these women, from high school age to pushing middle life.

Whether they are the managers or the customers, men are generally treated unsympathetically throughout the book, especially the young college age men. They were “abominable tippers” and desired the whispery-voiced airhead strippers “who could make them feel intelligent by comparison.”

Oh, oh. You’re supposed to tip strippers? Uh, didn’t know that. Once I was dragged by my old college roomies to a bachelor party that wound up at a strip joint. This was before lap dances were de rigueur, when stripping meant customers paid exorbitant cover charges and sipped extravagantly priced drinks to stare wide-eyed by the runway’s rail. Cody called it a tip rail, something else I learned.

I remember my old college roomie putting, instead of a greenback, a few credit cards on the edge of the runway once as kinduva joke. It would have been the kind of joke ole Diablo wouldn’t have appreciated had she been working. And our stripper didn’t appreciate it either, gathering up the credit cards and flinging them to the far, darkened corners of the room. We were lucky the rest of the patrons in that hole-in-the-wall were honest and returned them intact.

Now, after reading Cody’s book, I understand why that stripper did that.


Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Does the word titillator come from tit? Did she have that?

Tish's blog looks fine to me, kid. Can't help you, sorry.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I don't think I'll be reading her book..... It is not a trade that I would go into for any reason. The strong Catholic unbringing is only an excuse, she chose the trade and now she is making another buck off of it.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Well Shucks. Big Dave! I didn't know you were that kind of a guy, but then --- I guess there is only one kind of guy , after all. Let's hear it for normal guys!

3:47 PM  
Blogger jan said...

Shouldn't there be some sort of written etiquette book about how innocent college men (cough) should behave around strippers? I mean if no one tells them what is gauche, how do they know?

Can't wait to read this book.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

hmmm, well, one of my friend who runs the www.fabulously40.com site saw her movie Dave-she was appalled by the story. Maybe b/c she's a mom of 4-3 of them girls. 2 are in college.
but on the flip of that-good for her, using the tawdry experience to write a book and get it published.
She probably knew many of the people in the room she signed the contracts with.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--I checked out that website. Sounds like the visitors there were making the same comments I was making at a movie critic's website: Juno is a good movie, but you can't say that what happens in the movie is a fair representation of real life.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

Hi Big Dave- You comment on many of my favorite blogs, so I decided to stop by.

I'm always glad to see another stereotype broken. It doesn't surprise me to hear of a highly intelligent woman who has worked as a stripper.

Here's to multi facets!

whirling betty

7:13 PM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

HEY DAVE.. any idea what the heck is going on over to TRuckerBOB's blog?? I have tried three days to get into there is it my computer or what?? Are all the people from canada off line or what? Can't get into Jude's either!! What the????
Take care more snow is coming.. it never ends.. : (

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANKS DAVE.. must be my computer then..it keeps saying that the haloscan is loading and then the page never opens so I guess I have to adjust it some how. BOB e mailed me so I am just glad to know he is doign okay.. THANKS AGAIN.. : )

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many of these type blogs are getting picked up for book contracts. Not sure you're familiar with Belle du Jour....that's another one. And although she's not a stripper, how about Petite Anglais over in Paris...a Brit girl, single mom working in Paris, gets sacked from her job and VOILA! Gets offered a FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUND two-book contract from Penguin! You can check her out at www.petiteanglais.com

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:39 PM  

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