08 April 2011

Support Your Local Stripper

On the radio tonight I heard a promo spot for a strip club in Indiana, just across the river from Louisville.  The narrator emphasized that customers can still get there what they can no longer get in Louisville: lap dances.  See, thanks to legislation that went into effect 1 February, it is now illegal for a strip club to provide alcohol, nudity or lap dances.  Dancers must remain six feet away from customers.

Robert Henderson
Louisville Metro Council member Robert Henderson said in response to the impact of the new ordinances, "Money is not an issue there. This city will go on and many cities will go on. We're not putting them out of business" (quoted by WHAS-11).  Jefferson County had twenty five adult businesses at the time the ordinances took effect.  Here we are, two months later, and what has happened is that Jefferson County has given our neighbors across the Ohio River a tremendous opportunity to profit.

You know what galls me most about this?  It's that, once again, self-righteous moralists have run roughshod over a smaller group of people.  Bible-thumpers are well organized, well funded and clearly have so few problems of their own that they've got to devote themselves to attacking other people.  When a self-righteous mob felt justified in stoning to death a prostitute, it was Jesus who intervened and admonished them--not her.  It's a shame He's not standing up to these self-appointed soul savers today.  The challenge from God is not to rid the world of vice; it's to live among it while remaining faithful to your beliefs.  In theory, then, if you were to abolish temptation you would ironically negate the entire point of having faith.  To be a "good Christian," you cannot live in a bubble.  If your faith is never tested, then it is meaningless.  Moreover, because something disagrees with your religious ideals is insufficient justification for government action in a democracy.

Get thee back six feet!
And who, I ask you, is there to stand up for the strippers?  I'm not going to make excuses for what they do for a living; it's none of my--or your--business why they dance.  Maybe they were abused as children.  Maybe they really are putting themselves through school.  Does it matter?  No other person is asked to justify his employment to society, and in a free society we have no business applying different scrutiny to strippers.

How many strippers are there in Louisville, anyway?  It's difficult to know, but here are the figures shown on Findastripclub.net for seven of the sixteen strip clubs they show in their directory for Louisville:

Body Shop: 11-20
Foxy Lady: 21-30
Silver Slipper: Under 10
Thorobred 2: 11-20
Tropicabana: Under 10

It seems that 11-20 is the average number of dancers employed by a given club.  That's 176-320 dancers in sixteen clubs in Louisville.  But wait!  It goes beyond the strippers themselves who are impacted by this self-righteous legislation.  What about the rest of the employees?  Each club employed at least two DJs, bartenders and bouncers (one can't be expected to be there from open to close, every day, right?), and a maintenance worker.  That means that you're looking at 96 workers in Jefferson County whose livelihood has been threatened in addition to the dancers themselves, and the owners.  In all likelihood, there were more than two bartenders per club and certainly more than two bouncers.  If we increase our guess to three each per club, that puts us up to 144 workers potentially out of work--and, again, this is in addition to the dancers themselves.

That stage design won't go around here.
All told, we're looking at 272-464 dancers, DJs, bartenders and bouncers who will very likely have to begin looking for new work very soon.  And remember, in all likelihood the actual number of non-dancing employees is even higher than the figures I've hazarded here.  It could very easily be that 500 people will be out of their job by the time it's all over.  Five hundred people may not seem like much, but the county's population was an estimated 741,096 according to the 2010 Census.  That's one in every 1482 Louisvillians employed.  The effect goes even further, because these people--yes, they're people--have families of their own.  Let's say each bouncer has one kid; that's at least 32 and very likely 48 or more children in Louisville whose households won't be able to count on Daddy's income.

What do we have to show for this?  Up to 500 (maybe more) people more in Jefferson County's already overwhelming unemployment pool, and a lot of families whose income will become unstable until it is cut off entirely.  At least, until club owners can establish a new location across the river.  I'm sure New Albany will be happy to take Louisvillians's money...until the Bible-thumpers take the Sherman-Minton Bridge and resume their crusade.

Enough, I say!  If you have a problem with strip clubs...then don't visit them.  If you're afraid of your precious children being corrupted, I've got news for you: they haven't been allowed into the strip clubs.  They're no more dangerous to your children on Dixie Highway than they are on TV.  Does it bother you that your husband/boyfriend/son/whomever goes to strip clubs?  Then take it up with him.  If he chooses to continue patronizing strip clubs over your objections, then your problem isn't with strip clubs.  It's that you're in a relationship with somebody who doesn't respect your wishes.

No one will rush to defend the victims in all this, so I'll be the one to say it.
Strippers are people, too.
And I, for one, support their right to dance for tips.