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Live Nerd Girls
There comes a time when a girl can no longer be paid (or loaned money) to read books and then write clever papers about them. Presumably this is because the girl has read enough books and written enough papers that an institution of higher learning has handed her a piece of paper signifying that they are finished with her. No employer will ever care to see this piece of paper. Most employers will not even believe that this paper marks a significant level of intellectual achievement in the girl's area of interest. This paper does not qualify the girl to do anything she could not do before she took a vow of poverty and decided to read books and write papers for an unspecified number of years. In fact, since it has been several years since she has done any work for pay, she is now less qualified for the workforce than she has ever been in her entire life.

Oh my imaginary readers, soon I will graduate and I shall need to get a job. Somewhere there is a company in desperate need of my International Relations/Political Science/China-studying skills, but I strongly suspect that this is the summer in which I will learn to operate an espresso machine and ask, "Regular, or soy milk?"

Work has been on my mind lately, which might be why I broke my rule about non-scholastic reading during the semester and picked up a copy of Indecent: How I Make it and Fake it as a Girl for Hire by Sarah Katherine Lewis. If I had more publishing industry savvy, I would talk about how trendy sex-industry memoir has become. Perhaps I'd go on to tie it all to the mainstreaming of the porn aesthetic and reality television. Fortunately, I am lazy. All that I know is that Indecent goes on my bookshelf next to Michelle Tea's Rent Girl and approximately a thousand miles away from anything ever written by Tracy Quan. No one will ever call Lewis' book a "funny, insightful romp."

Gentlemen and ladies, imagine that the next time you find yourself in the professional company of a lingerie model, stripper, or peep show girl, imagine that while she is gyrating in front of you that she is thinking about how much her feet hurt in those lucite heels. She is thinking about making her stage fee. Imagine that while she pantomimes desire, if she thinks of you at all, it is only because she is thinking about how much she would like to stab you repeatedly in the face. Yes you, especially if you're trying to relate by asking her if she's putting herself through school.

Tracy Quan's sex industry is half HBO special, half chick-lit novel, full of urbane, supernaturally slender women rushing from the gym, to their waxing appointments, to $300/hour in-calls. Lewis and Tea's sex industry is decidedly proletarian, full of women in itchy wigs peeling their clothes off for what adds up to minimum wage. While I'm finding a place for Indecent on my bookshelf, it ought to go next to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed. In the manner that all service industry drones come to hate their customers, Lewis and Tea come to hate men, or at least whatever it is that drives men to pay women money to simulate desire. The Michelle Tea in Rent Girl hates everyone. She's a mean little sociopath who has stopped seeing interactions between people and can only imagine interactions between herself and the contents of your wallet. Lewis, on the other hand, genuinely loves her co-workers - the smartest, funniest, kindest, wisest, and most beautiful women in the world. That affection is what enables her to chronicle ten years of peep shows, whack shacks, and strip joints and still come out of it seeming rather...well...sweet.

I am glad that the world contains women like Sarah Katherine Lewis, but I dread my overeducated, underpaid future. I hope that the people will be smart and funny, kind and wise - and also that I don't stab anybody in face.

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I have a friend who finished her PHD at Berkeley and immediately- like instantly- got a job teaching "Feminist Archeology" at Stanford. They pretty much dovetailed the professorship to her skills. If there's a job like that out there for her, there's a job out there doing exactly what you just finished studying. Or you can always sell out to skillset-specific evil, like an old boyfriend of mine who did "Peace Studies' at Santa Cruz and then became a defense analyst for a weapons tech company.

It's true. There are so many programs, schools, grants, etc. out there. ALL OVER. You can find the one for you.

sk says she doesn't hate men. just the ones that pay for sex

I know, hence: or at least whatever it is that drives men to pay women money to simulate desire.

Ahhhh... we all think we will be superheros if we do stuff... if we get our qualifications, etc. What I have learned in seeing various successful people is that they just kept going while being passionate about their work, and seized opportunities (even small ones) to work their way closer to their passion. The twists in the path are entirely unpredictable in most cases. What looks like a tiny step you might turn down turns out to be a secret windfall. The promised path frequently doesn't pan out.

It's the focus and jumping after things, pursuing you passion, regardless of setbacks and hardships that finds you (often years, even decades later) in a position to live your dreams.

If you have focus and determination, you're lucky. I feel like I've got much talent and luck, combined with learning and skill all over, but so much alll over that I don't pursue any one thing with enough focus or passion to get too far. Trying to fix that.

The trick is doing what you're interested in. Better that and poor/busy that disinterested and lacking passion.

Two of my first roommates upon moving to San Francisco were C and J, who paid their rent by being the "double in the bubble" at the Regal Show World - "where YOU are king." (J was C's boyfriend's little sister, and years later I STILL think that was pretty damned weird.)

The revulsion and disdain with which C and J spoke about the people who paid their rent was my first adult glimpse into that world, and it left an indelible mark.

When M is done with the adult industry, I will ghost write her memoir. If I'm feeling particularly perverse, it will be a funny, insightful romp.

i have a lot to say about all this. you should see my bookcase.

You know I'd be happy to come over and take a look at it.

So...where did you put Indecent?

This is one of those subjects that fascinates me, probably because I know a lot of people who can be considered sex workers.

My favorite class was probably the anthro "Sexuality and Society: A Globalized Perspective" (the required reading was awesome). We watched "Live Nude Girls Unite" (which I then remembered gigglingly when I actually got to visit) and talked abou Phillipino drag queens, and the Taiwanese marriage racket.

Somehow the topic got on to pornography, and one of the girls in the class spent fifteen minutes ranting about how pornography enslaves women. I had to leave, I was so upset by some of the blanket statements she was making - I wanted to yell at her "Seriously honey do you know any dominatrixes? Hell, have you ever even had an orgasm?" The professor was so alarmed by my expression that she followed me out the door to check on me. By the time the girl had stopped her tirade (at the prof's behest) there were five other girls who'd posed nekkid on the interwebs sitting outside with me.

Mmm, you may or may not enjoy reading boobiebar, and/or Mistress Matisse's blog feed.

I am of two minds about sex work. On one hand, I think it's vitally important that sex work should be legal and regulated because driving it underground creates a danger to sex workers. On the other hand, I don't think that sex work is necessarily a great job. I think it's possible for sex work to be sex-positive and empowering, but I think that more often it's exploitative and alienating.

I would not want to be a sex worker, nor would I want to be a customer, but I want to live in a world where both sex workers and customers are at least reasonably safe.

I was going to suggest that you put the two things together, and just go straight to nakkidnerds.com, but for some reason the domain seems to have gone away. The myspace is still there, though.

It was a website devoted to putting up naked pictures of 100% of the Boston People I Never Want To See Naked.

The Naked Brain (in a jar)

I'm familiar with the site. At the nadir of the dot-com bust, when I was threatening to turn the concrete bunker into a strip club staffed by unemployed geeks, J immediately pointed me there. There was going to be a fooseball table and a two-Snapple minimum!

Honestly, I don't think that anyone would pay me money to take my clothes off. Likewise, I can't think of anyone who would shell out money for me to keep my clothes on. It looks as if I will have to make my living using only the mighty power of my brain.

Heh. markedformetal is two degrees of separation away from me. The internet makes the world a really small place, at least superficially.

As the proud owner of a degree most suited for the question; "Would you like fries with that?" I can assure you that your fate need not be coffee jockey, at least not for very long.

I think your first paragraph here would make good copy for the back cover of a pornographic video. Perhaps you should talk to John about this, I hear he knows people.

You should work in education: the field with the highest percentage of advanced degrees for the lowest pay. You'll fit right in.

Seriously, though, whatever you do, just remember: it's all writing fodder. To date, I still haven't located the quintessential novel of our generation on any bookstore shelves, so I am counting on you.

i would say, "hey eva darling! come dance at poproxx...." but sadly i have nothing to offer you other than drink tickets and free entry" ....:( i'm sure you have those anyways.

so, clubs....blahblahblah....

how about more actual hanging out? you supposedly have books for me? indulge my geekiness....please!

you are beautiful, and you don't kiss my butt....wheeeee!


ps- i am a terrible cook and i burn/fuck up everything.....

i want to raid your closet....
i bet i have things for you.
i'm throwing away everything size 3 and up...

even though you are teenie...

I had this idea, but it turns out Woody Allen already had it.

The Whore of Mensa

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