Opinion ColumnsCulture

Changing Spaces, part one

For the past eight weeks I’ve been getting used to my new job as a waitress.

I’m learning that the customer is always right, even when they order extra cheese telepathically instead of verbally. I’m learning to bite my tongue when my boss asks, “How does it feel to be wrong?” And I’m accepting that no one is going to ask me what my schedule is so they can come back and tip me 200 percent again.

It’s quite different from what I used to, as a stripper.

I’ll sometimes refer to getting off the pole, the transition from stripper to waitress, as “being in recovery” because it takes such effort to adjust to, and also because there’s a chance I’ll relapse. Most do.

In the final months at my club I was slowly gaining distaste for the industry that even lucrative trips to Vegas couldn’t cure. After an embarrassing eruption of drama with another dancer, I knew it was time for a change and began taking steps to soften the blow of the pay cut I was about to take.

I move into a cheaper apartment, took on roommates and finished paying off my car. I even dyed my hair back to its natural color, knowing that $300 hair treatments would soon be just a memory.

I’ve been waitressing for two months now and I’m delighted with the new, “normal” atmosphere where I meet regular people who see me as a regular girl.

Waitresses don’t have to convince their patrons that they’re hungry. They also don’t have to convince them they’ll enjoy the burger that she brings better than one delivered by a different waitress. Strippers peddle the intangible at an outrageous price, but you can’t put that on a resume.

I invite you to eavesdrop on my progress and set backs as I transition from a fantasy world of secrets and stereotypes to the real world where sweat and hard work is often under appreciated.

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