Signs of the times?

October 18, 2007

If it weren’t for the Internet I wouldn’t know we were in the middle of an economic crisis/slowdown/correction/recession. This offer came in the mail last week:


The offer arrived with a red “decoder” which revealed a whole $1000 credit limit.


The offer arrived for my husband, not for me, but I’m still a little offended. What is this, Highlights for Children? If I respond within 10 days do I get a free tote bag?

Then I saw this on my way to work:


What a wonderful juxtaposition. Apparently it’s still possible to buy a house with no money down, but if you want to put a car in the garage you will have to come up with $299. Fortunately, with my new MasterCard I can afford the down payment on THREE cars!


Entertaining article in Esquire magazine.

September 3, 2007

It’s a bit off-topic and a bit out of date, but I enjoyed this article too much to not pass along:

My Life as a Hot Woman

The (male) author really captured the essence of the female experience. It’s an entertaining read for any curious males. The author describes what happened when he took control of his nanny’s online dating life – effectively posing as a woman online.

When I was sixteen I used to use all those websites that offer you points for signing up for things. One of them offered me points for making a profile on some dating site. I uploaded the goofiest picture I could find. My hair was various shades of brown, blonde, and orange at the time (like I said, I was sixteen) and a weird mess. I was sucking in my cheeks and you couldn’t tell what I looked like at all. In my profile I wrote, “I am just signing up for this site to get points. Do not message me. I’m underage and I probably hate you.” I still got at least half a dozen messages a day. At first it was funny, but eventually I got really annoyed and deleted my profile. My point is that with an obviously fake profile and nothing that should generate interest I still had guys hitting on me online. That was when I learned that men are really not that picky.

I wonder if the online dating experience has improved any over the years. Maybe it has for some people.

Houses – now at half off!

September 3, 2007

Found at HousingPANIC:

Economists predict housing prices may fall by as much as 50% in some areas:

US homes may lose as much as half their value in some US cities as the housing bust deepens, according to Yale University professor Robert Shiller. Meanwhile, Martin  Feldstein of Harvard University says that experience suggests that the dramatic decline in residential construction provides an early warning of a coming recession. The likelihood of a recession is increased by what is happening in credit markets and in mortgage borrowing. Feldstein says that most of these forces are inadequately captured by the formal macroeconomic models used by the Federal Reserve and other macro forecasters.

Here in Phoenix the situation with new construction is the best harbinger of the overall real estate market. There’s a huge glut of new construction right now and my anecdotal research shows that it’s currently cheaper to buy a new house than a comparable used one. The developers understand the reality of the situation and – without emotion or personal finances getting in the way – price their goods accordingly. It’s commonplace to find new homes with prices that have been reduced by as much as a third since the beginning of the year – and they’re still on the market. I don’t think we’re anywhere near the bottom yet.

Naked sales.

September 3, 2007

As someone who reads business and sales books in order to apply the techniques to stripping, I was amused to read Ten Sales and Marketing Tips I Learned from Strippers.

Stripping is a strange hybrid of sales and entertainment. You can make good money if you’re good at either one, but to really excel you have to be good at both. My weakness is in the sales department. I’ve always been an entertainer, but I’ve never been very good at sales. I’ve gotten quite a bit better since I started dancing, though, and I’m always trying to improve. Fortunately for me, where my job involves sales it’s probably the easiest sales job out there. There’s no cold-calling, the customers gather in a central location to be sold to, and the majority of them have already made a decision to buy. The only thing left for me to do is convince them to buy from me.

This is what they call “grassroots support.”

September 3, 2007

I’ve been in hiding for over a week now. Hiding from the search engines, I suppose, and the media. This is not a political blog. I never wanted it to be. I wrote one political post and it turned into a big thing. I didn’t write about my feelings on this before because I didn’t want to negatively impact the opportunities that little post opened up for other people. The interest has mostly passed and I think it’s safe to come out now.

If anything this experience has shown me that the Ron Paul movement is made up of a handful of people who are grasping at straws to make it look like Ron Paul has much more real support than his numbers show. As far as I (being the inspiration for the “Strippers for Ron Paul” movement) can tell there is no “Strippers for Ron Paul” movement. There is me (the unwitting founder of the non-movement) and another woman who apparently worked as a stripper very briefly more than a decade ago and went on TV to talk about it. Let me clarify something: I am still totally confused over how anyone could have interpreted that post as overwhelmingly positive. It really wasn’t. It was more or less a casual remark that I had changed my voter registration despite my extreme cynicism because it was really easy to do. I am not a “Stripper for Ron Paul.” I am some chick on the Internet who is probably going to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. My motivation for doing so has nothing to do with working in the sex industry. It’s entirely financially motivated. I suppose I have to clarify that statement, because most people perceive their job as the beginning and end of their financial well-being. I don’t. For me a job (any job) is just a way to attain seed money for investments so that in a decade or so I won’t have to have a job. I care less about how any Presidential candidate will impact my specific job and more about how he will impact my ability to grow my wealth regardless of what I do for work.

I would like to thank IConrad at Functionalism in Action for being the only blogger in the entire blogosphere that managed to choose an appropriate quote and not take my “support” out of context. As a transhumanist myself, I appreciate and fully agree with that post.

As I said, this whole experience has shown me that the Ron Paul movement is not based on much that is solid. I might vote for Giuliani instead. Someone asked me why I like Giuliani. Despite the fact that I like Ron Paul well enough, I am not a Libertarian as most people seem to have assumed. I’m not overly committed to the ideologies of freedom (short summary: capitalism – yes; democracy – no.) I like Giuliani because his positions more or less mirror my opinions on things. I agree with most of the decisions he made as mayor of New York. Most of all, I like the fact that he’s sensible enough to realize that what worked in NYC will not necessarily work as federal policy and gutsy enough to say so. Most politicians take a simplistic, black-and-white position and stick to it unwaveringly for fear of being called “indecisive” or accused of “flip-flopping.”

We will now return to your regularly scheduled sporadic posting on various matters of economics, personal finance, and how it all relates to my job.

Double the stereotypes!

August 22, 2007

Here’s a funny story about the most stereotypical couple ever:

WENDOVER, Utah  —  The police chief’s wife was arrested during a drug bust at a Nevada nightclub where she works as a stripper named “Ecstasy.”

Sylvia Tripp, 39, was booked into the Elko County, Nev., jail on suspicion of drug distribution and possessing medication without a prescription, said Craig Ronzone, commander of the Elko County, Nev., drug task force.

She was later released, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on its Web site Tuesday. Formal charges have not been filed.

Tripp is the wife of Vaughn Tripp, the police chief in Wendover, a city on the Utah-Nevada border. She was one of three people arrested Friday after undercover officers made drug buys.

“She was a drug store,” Ronzone said.

Tripp works as a stripper at Southern X-Posure in West Wendover, Nev., he said.

Chief Tripp was away from his office and not immediately available for comment Tuesday. There was no home phone number listed for him or his wife.

As someone who works in a much-stereotyped industry, I try not to stereotype others too much. “Dirty cop” is one stereotype to which I cling unapologetically. I find this story kind of hilarious. It will be even funnier if it turns out that the drugs she was selling were “confiscated” from criminals. Chief Tripp doesn’t seem too bright. He should have had his wife work in his district so he would have known when the busts were taking place. Duh!

Union – NO!

August 22, 2007

Legal Bitch wrote yesterday about the flawed logic behind the minimum wage. I couldn’t agree more.

As a stripper, I don’t receive a wage. A lot of people think strippers are paid like waiters and waitresses: a small, less than minimum hourly wage plus tips. In fact, in the vast majority of clubs we are independent contractors. We pay a flat fee to work every shift. Additionally, many clubs have minimum tip-outs that dancers must pay to the DJ, bouncers, bartender, house mom, and/or managers. Some clubs also take a cut of each dance or each champagne room sold. I think most people would be surprised to know just how much dancers pay to work. The most I ever paid for one night was $200, but house fees alone can range anywhere from $10-300 or more depending on the club. If a dancer doesn’t make that on any given night she pays it out of her own pocket.

Charging a fee to work is not illegal, but many clubs violate labor laws all the time by treating dancers as employees when they are not. Some examples of these violations are requiring dancers to work a certain number of hours or to tip the club employees (who do receive a paycheck.) Every once in awhile some girl will figure out that these policies break the law and try to do something about it. The only time this has ever actually worked was at the Lusty Lady peep show in San Francisco. This much-lauded effort received wide publicity and was made into a documentary called Live Nude Girls Unite. The end result is so bad that it should serve as a dire warning not just to dancers but to independent contractors of all stripes who think their lives would be better as employees. The dancers at the Lusty Lady are paid between $14-23/hour. I don’t think I have to tell anyone that that kind of money doesn’t go very far in San Francisco. It’s certainly not good money for dancing anywhere in the country. To put it in perspective, I make at least four times the upper end of that range – AFTER paying all my fees and illegal tip-outs – and I don’t even have to deal with a keeping a schedule.

I am a stripper because it pays a lot better than working a “straight” job. I don’t want to see my industry regulated. I don’t want to receive a paycheck that is far less than what I can make on my own. I certainly don’t want to pool my tips. Legal violations come with the territory, and I’m fine with that. Before I was a stripper I worked in a “straight” industry where the situation was just the opposite – I was an employee treated as an IC without any of the benefits of being an employee. The difference was that the money wasn’t good enough to put up with the mistreatment.