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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Morals in the dance business

This is a reply to a letter somebody sent me on MySpace. I know there are many common misconceptions about women who work in my field, so I thought I'd post it here, too.

Dear Paige:

About a week ago, you sent me an e-mail with the subject "morals" and the entire body of the message read as follows:

"Do you even know what they are?"

I wondered, as in my reply to you, why you were concerned with my education or lack of it, but you never answered my question. I can only assume that you are too busy sending such messages to every stripper, exotic dancer, adult industry model, and porn actress on MySpace. That's OK; as the moral watchdog of MySpace, you must have a lot to do.

As to your original question:

Yes, dear Paige, I do know what morals are. I think my Mom first introduced the concept to me. I further refined my ideas at the University of Maryland (Phi Theta Kappa, Class of '95—GO TARAPINS!) and while serving my country in the US Army Signal Corps. Just to be certain, I looked it up. This is what my dictionary says:

Morals: principles of right and wrong as they govern standards of general or sexual behavior (emphasis mine)

Well, since I am a sex worker, I have to believe it is the sexual aspect of this definition to which you are referring. I have drawn the conclusion that because my principles of right and wrong, as they govern sex-oriented entertainment and quasi-sexual behavior, are different form yours, you have discounted my principles and simply choose to believe I have none.

Shame on you, Paige. And you call yourself a Christian (other).

I would never tell you that your moral convictions are wrong; however I have a right to defend my moral ground as well. I am always honest and forthright in my business dealings. I do not go home with my customers, and I do not pretend that I will. I never lie about my marital status, and I never lie to my husband about what I do at work. In fact, the only time I ever lie about anything regarding my work is to protect somebody who would be hurt by the truth, like my son. I lie to his teachers and the PTA about what I do, to protect my son from people like you.

I am not trying to steal your husband, nor am I trying to steal all his money. I don't want it on my conscience that I helped some man spend the grocery money and half the rent, because I know how devastating that can be to his wife and kids. How do I know? Because I've been there, baby.

What I am trying to do is feed my kid and pay my bills, just like any normal American parent. My decision to work in the sex entertainment field, rather than one of the many other things I could be doing, is all about the hours and the flexibility. I can be here for my family when they need me. (This year I took about 6 or 7 weeks off to deal with an abnormal amount of family drama, and my work didn't even bat an eye.) Yes, Paige, believe it or not, dancing is a family value for me.

I understand that many Christians (other) believe that any sort of sexual behavior outside of marriage is some sort of sin. Obviously I disagree. Lest you think I am being arbitrary, alow me to point out that the Old Testament is full of lovely dancing girls who are praised for their beauty and grace, not condemned. The Ten Commandments state only that a man should not covet his neighbor's wife. Harmless flirtation is not condemned.

Jesus Himself befriended and forgave many supposedly promiscuous women, such as the woman at the well. Even His close friend Mary Magdalene is commonly believed to have been a prostitute. After her famous entrance into the story with the alabaster jar, Mary is said to have traveled with Jesus and the Twelve, one of several women who "provided for them out of their own means." As a prostitute, "her own means" would have to be money she had saved from working, or else she may have been working still. Imagine that: The travels of Jesus and the Disciples all through the Middle East were financed, at least in part, by the earnings of a sex worker! And Jesus must have loved her anyway: Mary Magdalene was the first person Jesus came to see when He rose from the dead.

We humans are sexual beings. If, as many Christians believe, we were created by God, then it is God who made us this way. Scientists are still debating whether humans are biologically wired to mate for life, or, like the majority of species, we are meant to crave change. Perhaps it's true what some people say, that the male mind is always looking for a new place to sew a few wild oats, while the mind of a woman is set to ensure safety and security for herself and her babies.

Imagine for a moment that it is true. Say a man loves is wife, but he needs to get out a little. Take a little vacation from reality. So he stops by a bar on the way home from work. He could go to a regular bar, hit on some girl, and take her to a hotel room. Well, that's about the end of the marriage right there.

Or he could come to see me. Sure, we will have a drink, flirt a little, maybe I will rub his back or even dance a few songs for him. Then I give him a peck on the cheek and send him home in a good mood. When he gets home, he is a little more relaxed and happy. He doesn't kick the dog, refrains from yelling at his kids, and is responsive to his wife. Maybe they even make love after the kids go to bed. I think that is a much happier ending, don't you, Paige?

My point here, the moral of my story you might say, is that yes, I do understand and even practice morals. The moral code by which I work and live is very strong. It is not wrong, it's just not yours. As a business woman in the sex-entertainment industry, I provide, with integrity, an honest service and in return get paid an honest fee. I believe deeply in the value of my work, the value of entertainment and fantasy. And (surprise!) I also beiee in the bible, especially the proverbs:

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

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