Straight Talk Advice

May 13, 2014

Father recognizes daughter’s friend at strip club

Dear Straight Talk: I often fly for work and my group recently had dinner at a strip club near the destination airport. Needless to say, I was surprised to see a girl my daughter went to high school with working there as a dancer. I don't think she recognized me as the place was busy. She is only 19. I thought she went off to college. Since then, I've been torn wondering if I should say something to her parents. We are acquaintances through our daughters' school, but we don't know each other well. —Not her father in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Brandon 22, Mapleton, Maine Ask me a question

I suggest minding your own business. What if this girl told your family you were at a strip club? Drug dealing is illegal, prostitution is illegal, but being a stripper is not. If you think it's morally “wrong”, why did you set foot in there? Once someone turns 18 and leaves home, their business should not become their parents unless their parents are providing for them. Moral of this story: Don't go to strip clubs if you don't want to see the reality that some kids would rather make more than $7.50 an hour.

Omari 20, Washington, D.C. Ask me a question

I'd run this by your daughter. Working in a strip club is what some people, including college students, do to pay bills. It's not as looked down upon today, but it is still demeaning. However, if her parents think she's in school and she isn't, they should be definitely be notified.

Breele 20, Dana Point, Calif. Ask me a question

Please don't say anything. I was in that environment, not as a stripper, but as a bikini waitress. Some girls do get caught up in bad stuff, but most dancers are just making more money, legally, than they can anywhere else. Some are in college. Most are good girls with no parental support who work there for six months. For that, do you really want her “labeled” forever back home? Try being 19, working retail and hostessing today. I could fill my car, that was about it. That said, I'm glad I got out because I started drinking a lot on the job, which is common. Plus, even in a bikini, you are treated like an object and I was feeling bitter toward men.

Ashley 26, Auburn, Calif. Ask me a question

Ahem, let me clear my throat. If this seriously bothers you, STOP GOING TO STRIP CLUBS! What do you expect to see? Someone your age? Someone you don't know? Would that bother you less? It shouldn't. If you don't support your daughter and her classmates stripping, then don't support anyone stripping! Regarding telling her parents, “Oh, I was at this strip club…” starts things off badly, don't you think? If you seriously think they should know, tell them. But please make some lifestyle changes yourself.

Moriah 17, Rutland, Vt. Ask me a question

I honestly don't think it's a big deal. I don't support how these clubs portray women, but lots of girls today know who they are and are strictly working for the money.

Dear Not her Father: I don't recommend any young person work in these places. I know it's done for the legal money, but the intense objectification takes a toll — leading many dancers and bikini waitresses to develop substance abuse problems. Since you aren't close with this family, I'm surprised you can positively ID this young woman. The light is dim and many dancers wear wigs and disguising makeup. Unless your gut tells you otherwise, I'd probably recommend positive actions apart from approaching the (possible) parents, like lobbying to double the minimum wage so young people can subsist on entry-level jobs, or — if you have the means — giving her an anonymous cost-of-attendance scholarship for college.

Editor's Note: The only real thing driving young women to work in strip clubs is the money. And people who go to strip clubs help drive the flow of money. Please realize what you are supporting. The work is very demeaning to women (I'm choosing to ignore the very few "feminists" who claim it is "liberating.") If entry-level jobs could support a person, most of these girls wouldn't be there.

Today's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. For the wage-to-cost of living ratio to be equivalent to 1968, today's minimum wage would need to be $10.50 an hour. This means, young people are trying to launch on 30 percent less “wallet fuel” than their parents had — and that's with a bicycle — most can't come close to affording a car, like their parents had. Raise that number for living in California and other states where the cost of living is higher. Then raise it again for college, which has shot up 15 percent in the last two years. Our Australian "mates" have a minimum wage more than double ours — $16.88 an hour. That's more in line with what we need.

The proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, is a step in the right direction. However, some states need to go farther. Some cities aren’t waiting to take care of their residents. In Long Beach, California, for instance, 63 percent of the voters passed a minimum wage pay increase for non-unionized hotel workers to $13 an hour.

Some people worry that a higher minimum wage will cause jobs to evaporate. But that’s not what we’re seeing. Of the ten countries with higher minimum wages than ours, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, San Marino, and the United Kingdom, only France and Ireland have a higher unemployment rate than the United States as of January 2013.

To attend college, student loans are the “answer” for most students. How else can they attend college on their wages? We did a column on this 18 months ago (FEB 19, 2013) and you can read the despair from the panelists themselves. I was shocked to learn from the unbiased Face the Facts USA website, that student debt has grown 280 percent since 2003. To put that in perspective, total student loan debt is a whopping $914 billion— more than our total consumer credit card debt of $602 billion. Only home mortgage debt is higher.

The average 2012 college graduate owes $28,720 in student loans. Some owe six figures! We've got a problem, Houston, because 53 percent of recent graduates are unemployed or only able to find part time work. Not to mention that the work they find pays so little. Over 26 percent of all minimum wage earners are between the ages of 20 and 24. Another 23 percent are teenagers.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, no minimum wage earner can afford a two-bedroom unit at fair market rent —anywhere in the United States.

Again, I urge our older readers who are financially solvent to think of how they can help a young person launch. Many do not have parents helping them and it behooves us all to assist them. If you don’t have money, think about assets such as cars, rental properties, computers, printers, garden produce, groceries, etc., that can be given, loaned, or heavily discounted. —Lauren

P.S. Another shocker: The federal minimum wage for tipped employees, such as wait staff, salon workers, and parking attendants is only $2.13 an hour. Yes, you are reading that correctly. Please tip generously.

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  1. By Mike, age 16, from Sacramento, CA on 05/13/2014

    What a damn hippocrite you are!  You go to a strip club and thus support it financially, and then pass judment on the girls who work there!  Then you try to use the excuse that your group just happened to go there because it was near the destination airport, as if there were no other eating establishments available.  Give me a break!  You’re like the men who patronize prostitutes and then demean them for their lifesytle.  The others are right, mind your own business!

    I say this because my older sister who is very well endowed works at Hooters.  While it’s not a strip club, it still creates a similar reputation for those who work there. She does so because the tips are much better than with a normal waitress job.  She’s going to Community College at the same time to try to better herself and has to pay all the costs herself, as our single parent mom just has a low paying job and can barely make ends meet.  However, a guy I know at school saw her there are told everybody that my sister is a “slut” who works at Hooters.  It makes me so mad , I can’t describe it!  And if it’s so terrible, what was he doing there?  Just like you, “Not Her Father!” Like others who have written to Straight Talk, we have to share a room due to our mom’s limited resources, and I have to admit that I get aroused when I see her attractive body nude, but I have to pretend to have no interest, and I would never act on such feelings.  However, I get cruel comments from some kids who know that we share a room who imply that incest is going on between us, especially now that they know she works at Hooters. 

    Like the Bible says, “Judge not lest you be judged” and “Let he among you who without sin cast the first stone.”


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  2. By Anonymous, age 23, from Northern CA on 05/13/2014

    Wow. You were there because it was close to the airport. Suuuure.

    You know what, yeah working there is probably sucky for her. But you are worse, because you are the reason girls like this work in places like that.

    Striking out on your own with no support is basically impossible now. You people call my generation ‘entitled’ when you guys had far more support, and far more resources than we do. So screw your high and mighty bullshit, face the facts. If she’s immoral, you take the cake for immorality, because her dancing is far less immoral then your “I should tell on her, because I know whats best what with my patronizing clubs and all.”

    It infuriates me, that people like you are so high and mighty. Keep your head of her business, and do like Lauren said. Campaign for a raised minimum wage, or offer to pay for her tuition, because your ‘concern’ rings very false.

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  3. By L.M., age 16, from Salinas, CA on 05/13/2014

    MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!  My big sister is a stripper out of economic necessity because our papa is disabled with high medical bills and our mamma just has a low paying job cleaning houses.  However, they are very religious, strict Catholics would be very hurt and upset and wouldn’t accept the money if they knew how my sister was earning it.  They believe that she makes the money as a waitress because she’s so good and gets big tips.  But she didn’t come close to making what she makes as a stripper when she was a waitress.  Since she strips in front of strange men every night, she obviously isn’t shy about nudity in front of me, her own sister whom she shares a room with, and I can see how beautiful her nude body is and why she can make so much money this way.  However, she has to pay for expensive professional wax jobs so that she looks perfect “down there” for the men who like to look at that.  The wax jobs do make her look very good when she’s nude, but I think it’s sad that she has to spend so much money for this reason.

    We both live in fear that they are going to find out, since it’s hard to keep something like this a secret forever, and you never know when some well meaning friend may someday come into the club and recognize her and think it’s their job to tell our parents.  I also agree with Mike that you’re a total hypocrite to go to a strip club and then pass judgment on the girls who work there!  MYOB and BUTT OUT!


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  4. By Sarah, age 17, from Anaheim, CA on 05/14/2014

    I agree that he should mind his own business and that men who go to strip clubs are as bad (or worse) than the girls who work there.  However, I disagree that the girls who do this do it out of “necessity.”  Millions of people manage to live on limited incomes from low paying jobs without having to lower themselves to do something like this and still avoid starving or becoming homeless.  The fact is they want more, and that’s why they do it.  It’s their business if they choose to do it and I’m not passing judgment, but it is not a “necessity.”

    My sister and I are both still in high school and also work part-time jobs in fast food restaurants to help out our single parent mom.  We live in a small 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment, and my sister and I have to share a very small room and an old double bed with a sagging mattress.  In 6 months I’ll be 18 and could legally work as a stripper.  Everybody says I have very attractive body (including very big breasts), so I probably could make big money, but there’s no way I would even consider doing so.  I’m not shy about my body and am totally comfortable when my sister, my mom, or my girl friends see me nude.  However, no way in the world would I strip in front of men for money!  I would rather stay poor and keep my self respect.  No man is going to see me nude until I get married, and he’ll be the only man to see me this way, unless I have to let a doctor see me for medical reasons.


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  5. By T.N., age 16, from Santa Ana, CA on 05/15/2014

    My mom works part time as a stripper on weekends to bring in extra money.  Even though she’s in her 30’s, she’s kept her body in great shape and is able to bring in lots of extra money this way, but I’m not so sure it’s worth it.  She says she’s doing it for me and my sister, and we’re now able to have our own rooms which solved an uncomfortable situation when we had to share a room as opposite sexes.  However, it worries me sick that the kids at school might find out like with Mike and his sister.  I don’t think I could ever live down the humiliation if everybody knew that my mom’s a stripper!  I also think it sets a bad example for my sister, since she sees all the money our mom makes at it, she starting to say that she thinks she might want to do it too when she gets a little bit older.  They’re also both very casual about nudity around the house as mom still thinks of me as her “little boy” and my sister still thinks of me as “little brother” and they don’t realize that it gives me very disturbing sexual feelings to see them this way.


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    1. By J.R., age 23, from Northern CA on 05/15/2014

      T.N. I am so sorry! Regardless of any situation your mother and sister should not be casually nude around you if it makes you uncomfortable! I don’t know what your relationship with them is like, but have you asked them to stop? If you have and they haven’t taken you seriously that isn’t right. Maybe Lauren can give you some advice on how to deal with this situation, I would be mortified if I were a boy who’s mother and sister did this.

      As for the stripping situation, in some ways I agree with you. It sounds like you guys are in a difficult situation, and your mother decided to do something to earn more money. But I absolutely understand the fear of people you know finding out. Regardless of my opinion of the morality or immorality of stripping, teenagers tease and bully ruthlessly. I really empathize, but try to remember your mother is doing it because she loves your sister and you.

      With the issue of your sister talking about stripping, does your mother know? If she doesn’t, and you can trust her not to say anything to your sister, maybe you should ask how your mother would feel about your sister following in her footsteps.  There’s only so much you can do, and only so much you should even try to do, but I can tell from your post you truly care about both of them. Again, Lauren might have some ideas on how to bring this issue up in a non-confrontational way.

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    2. By LAUREN, from on 05/15/2014

      Dear T.N.—That was some serious prompting by J.R. so here I am, on the double! (Thanks J.R.!) And thanks to ALL of you who write in with such constructive comments and stories that help everyone be more understanding and wiser.

      To you T.N., I’m actually amazed that your mother told you kids about her part time work. That’s the kind of thing, I would keep very discreet if I was in her shoes. There are some things kids are better off NOT knowing, and this is certainly one of them.  But, since you DO know, and you’re not judging her, she must be a good person. Here’s my idea for you: Since there is apparently all this openness in your family, I suggest that YOU be OPEN, too! Tell your mom and sister, “Look, I’m not a little kid anymore and if you guys are going to parade around in the nude, I’m making myself scarce. It makes me uncomfortable.  Could you please start wearing robes.”  (Don’t elaborate on anything, even if prompted.) Just keep repeating that. Then DO make yourself scarce if they don’t wear robes, but be verbal and explain that you’d like to be part of the family, but robes are now required. Period. This is all about speaking in a firm, resolute manner. We’ve done columns on this. They will probably will be helpful. Check out  and

      Regarding talking to Mom about sister’s future thoughts, again be OPEN. Tell your mom privately after she’s agreed to hold confidence. Tell her about all the young girls who develop substance abuse problems from being over objectified when they are still insecure and developing. Not to mention how it screws up their attitudes toward men. I would hope it would give her pause.

      I would also be open in having a family discussion about your fears of being bullied at school should she be recognized. It might inspire her to wear a wig (if she doesn’t already), or, better, to get a different job and move back into a smaller apartment and use a partition in your bedroom. You’re 16, your sister you say is older, why not also offer to get part time jobs yourself to help out? Make this a family conversation. If your kids know you are a stripper, then it’s time for some serious family processing! You will have to lead the way on it. When people don’t say anything, the others assume you’re okay with the way things are. This is a good time to start opening your big mouth. I hope this helps. Let us know!—Love, Lauren

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  6. By J.J., age 19, from Roseville, CA on 05/15/2014

    I sometimes go to a strip club.  Unlike Not Her Father, I won’t rationalize or make excuses.  I go there because it gives me a turn on just like everyone else who goes to strip clubs.  It’s a free country and no one is forced to work there, and no one is forced to go there, so the way I see it, “no harm, no foul.”  However, I feel if someone wants to work there or go there, it’s their business, and no one else’s.  If I saw the mother, daughter, or sister of someone I knew working there, no way would I tell on them.  I don’t advertise the fact that I go to the strip club, and I wouldn’t want anybody telling my parents or girlfriend about it if they saw me there.  I believe that everybody should mind their own business.


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    1. By Chloe, age 30, from Indiana on 09/16/2016

      J.J., it concerns me that you are hiding going to strip clubs from your girlfriend. I’ve learned some people prefer open, poly-amorous relationships and some people prefer monogamous relationships. Each person needs to learn/know which kind of relationship they prefer. It sounds like you would prefer open, and your girlfriend might prefer monogamous. She should know that about you so she can make an informed decision to either stay with you or leave. You might be better suited for a relationship where both people can have sexual experiences outside of the relationship – with proper protection like condoms of course! It really hurts people when they find out they are with someone who isn’t like them. Dating people need to communicate more before getting into a relationship. If it’s OK for you to share sexual and emotional energy with others, it should be OK for your girlfriend to know what you are doing and to be able to do the same or to have the chance to leave you. People deserve to know.

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  7. By Jeff, age 16, from Petaluma, CA on 05/16/2014

    I agree that you should mind your own business.  If my mom, my sister (or my daughter if I have one some day) was a stripper, I would NOT want to know!  Who the hell are you to decide that you should tell this girl’s parents?  I would never go to a strip club, but if somebody wants to go there or work there, it’s not my business.

    It also really surprises me hear that some girls parade around nude in front of their teenage brothers, and even some mothers in front of their sons! I feel really sorry for a guy like T.N.  No way would my sisters let me see them nude, and that’s fine with me.  They keep the door to their room closed when their undressed and I never try to go in there when the door’s closed without knocking and making sure that they’re “decent.”  They do the same before coming into my room, and we all wear a robe when we go to take a shower.  I’ve never seen my mom nude, at least since I’m old enough to remember, and the thought of that is even worse than the thought of seeing my sisters, if that’s possible.  It sounds like some moms and sisters don’t understand what it’s like to be a teenage guy with uncontrollable hormones.  I don’t think it should be necessary but if they are unaware, like Lauren says you must speak up and tell them rather than put up with something like this.


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  8. By S.J., age 17, from Carmichael, CA on 05/17/2014

    I’m very ashamed to say that my sister works part-time as a stripper to make extra money.  She’s still living at home while attending college and our parents are supporting her, so she doesn’t need to do this to survive but does it to have extras, like expensive clothes.  I found out when I was told by a so-called “friend” who thought I should know, and she admitted it when I confronted her.  I wish like anything that I didn’t know!  I hope like anything that our parents don’t find out as they would be very hurt.  I don’t know what happened, as we were raised in a very moral Christian home. 

    This really shocked me as my sister was always very modest ever since she reached puberty.  She wouldn’t permit anybody to see her undressed or nude but our other sister whom she’s very close to and shares a room with.  Just changing in the locker room with other girls was traumatic for her, and she refused to take showers at school even in the hot weather.  She wouldn’t even let our mom see her nude, and now she strips in front of strange men!!!

    I think that family members are better off not knowing things like this, and it is none of your business to take it upon yourself to tell them!


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    1. By J.R., age 23, from Northern CA on 05/17/2014

      S.J., I don’t see anything wrong with stripping personally, assuming the stripper can handle it emotionally, but this doesn’t sound like normal behavior. If you are right about your sister and her modesty and how uncomfortable she was in a locker room… then there might be cause for concern.

      Traumatic experiences can bring about changes in behavior, like deciding to become a stripper when you used to be very uncomfortable even in a locker room with other women. I could be completely wrong, but rather then condemning your sister I would be really worried about her emotional state. Could something have happened to her to bring about this dramatic change in attitude?

      Again, I could be totally wrong, but if I were you I would be asking these questions. I can tell how much you care about your sister with your words, and rather suspect the thought that something may have happened to your sister simply didn’t cross your mind. Don’t tell your parents, I can’t tell based on your post but the chance they might kick your sister out means you must not tell them! If my suspicion is right, and something traumatic happened to your sister to cause these actions, then the best place she can be right now is at home with people who love her.

      Try reaching out to her with love and concern. Again, I could be completely wrong, but in my experience people don’t change dramatically unless something happens to cause that change. Also… people usually don’t strip just because they want fancy clothes. It’s a misconception. I won’t doubt you when you say she doesn’t need the extra money, I also won’t doubt that she spends that money on expensive clothing, but the more important question is why is she doing that? Is it to hide some sort of pain she is in? Is she stripping because something happened that made her feel as if she had no value?

      S.J., please reach out to your sister with the love I can see in your words. I suspect right now she needs you, desperately.

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    2. By R.G., age 17, from Redding, CA on 05/18/2014

      I agree with J.R. that something traumatic must have happened for your sister to go from being so shy that she couldn’t be nude in front of other girls or even her own mom to stripping in front of strange men.  I think she may have been sexually assaulted or even raped.  My sister totally changed after being sexually assaulted on a date.  She was too ashamed to report it and it wasn’t a full-flegged rape and there wouldn’t have been DNA evidence, so she didn’t think she could prove anything and it would have been her word against his.

      She wasn’t overly modest like your sister and never had a problem with nudity in front of me in our room or with our mom or her friends.  However, she had strict moral standards and was a virgin and planned to remain so until she got married.  After this happened, she became totally promiscuous and would have sex with anybody and also got into drugs.  I know that she needs therapy for what happened, but she refuses to get it.  She confided the incident to me, but doesn’t want to tell our mom, who also doesn’t know about the promiscuity and drugs.  I don’t think your sister would have gone from one extreme to the other like this for no reason, so it is likely that something traumatic also happened to her.


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    3. By LAUREN, from on 05/18/2014

      Hi S.J.—Gosh, J.R. and R.G. are really sharp (thanks you two!) and I hope you listen to them. It very much does fit the pattern that she has gone through some sort of sexual trauma which she has decided not to share with anyone in the family. Perhaps the way to handle it is to pick an evening and tell her you have something important to share with her. Then give her a tiny gift, something you know she loves or is meaningful (a flower, a cupcake to share, a card that says “I love you Sis” written in it). Then go online and scroll immediately down to these comments (so she doesn’t shut you off thinking you are judging her for stripping) and ask her if something happened to her. If you ask sincerely and with love, and ASSURE her that you don’t judge her, she might share with you. Sounds like she is over 18 and in college, so also assure her that you won’t tell your parents, but that you really, really, REALLY want her to see a counselor at the college and start working on it and learning that it wasn’t her fault. Because it wasn’t… and she’s worth it. Good luck. Please let us know how it goes.—Love, Lauren

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  9. By LAUREN, from on 05/18/2014

    R.G.—I urge you, since you absolutely know that your sister had a sexual trauma, to tell your parents. The way she is acting out is classic. There is help for her, but she has to get it… and soon… before she become addicted or pregnant and the downward spiral becomes too strong to pull out of. I cannot locate the column right now, but one of our panelists, Kristie, told about her sister who was raped and she made Kristie promise not to tell their parents. Well, Kristie didn’t tell for awhile, but when she saw her sister changing and starting to act out, she did tell. Of course, then her parents were able to help. At first her sister was very angry, but it didn’t last long before she was grateful that Kristie told because she got the help she needed and everyone supported her and believed her. The fact that you sister TOLD you is a cry for help for YOU to tell, because she is too ashamed to tell herself. It’s this shame that has also led her to use substance and be promiscuous (and also a sort of weird reverse control—she decides to be in control of sex by having it all the time, rather than chance letting someone “take” it from her), I know it’s scary and you don’t want to lose her friendship, but I hope I have convinced you that you won’t lose it for long and you will sleep better at night knowing you’ve done the right thing. For now, just tell your mom about the sexual assault, and that she’s not acting herself. The part about the promiscuity and drug abuse can come later. Please let us know how it goes.—Much Love to you and your sister, Lauren

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  10. By Chloe, age 30, from Indiana on 09/16/2016

    Thank you to the editor for shining light on such an important issue and for putting #‘s to it. Financial inequality effects all people in so many different ways and it divides people. It makes some people important, and others disposable – less than human. We need to change things – and most importantly we can change things!

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