MANY STRIPPERS regret not going to college. I regret that I did.

The idea that you need to go to college to make something of yourself is flawed at best. When you graduate from high school, you have no debt, no responsibilities, and tons of time and energy. That is exactly what you need to "make something of yourself." Granted, you probably don't have much money, but the truth is, you don't need much. Ideas are free. Also, you can strip.

Stripping at 18 isn't without drawbacks. Frequently, the younger you start, the more vulnerable you are to your ego/brain/liver exploding. But if you dance your ass off and sock away your dollar bills, you can buy a house after four years on the boards while your went-to-college pals are mired in debt. You can always go to school later when your knees wear out or your tits get too droopy. In fact, many places offer scholarships to people over 25 who are going back to school. If that's what you're into.

Me, I hated school. School, as I've experienced it, trains you to shut up and sit still for eight-plus hours a day, things I believe are anathema to the human organism. Just because you're good at it doesn't mean it's good for you. It bothers me when strippers seem to feel inadequate because they didn't go to college. I'm admittedly not the best judge of intellect, but the gals I work with in the Shanghai tunnels seem far brighter than most of my peers in the ivory towers.

Perhaps the key to both stripping and college is that you use them as means to an end. The "ends" presented by academia were abhorrent to me; stripping provided the time to work on things that actually mattered to me. But now, 14 years after I started (and eight years after I paid off those damn school loans), I'm realizing that the journey is more important than the destination. Every day I strip is like an awesome road trip, filled with interesting sights, bizarre characters, near disaster, beatific companions, and unexpected epiphanies. Maybe I'll do it forever. I'll be that famous old-lady stripper at Mary's Club. Why the fuck not? I love it. Things I know I do not love: air conditioning. Sitting still for more than 15 minutes at a time. Employers that don't like it when I take off for a week every month.

I hate to sound ungrateful. There were a few grand things about my four years in hell: semesters studying wildlife, language, and culture in Africa and Indonesia, a handful of splendid friends, and a steadily mounting suspicion of society and wealth. Which, in hindsight, is what propelled me into stripping, a career I adore. And that's all I wish for any human, friend or foe—that they find a deep vein of happiness, whether in a relationship, a rock band, a strip club, a suit, or academia.

Perhaps it's a good thing I went to Williams Fucking College.

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