A self-proclaimed overachiever gets a lot of flak for being close friends with a stripper, but she explains why they get along so well.
During my short visit home last month, a former classmate bombarded me with a series of aggressive questions:
“Why do you want to hang out with Lauren? You’re a successful writer in New York and she’s a Hollywood stripper. I know you were best friends growing up, but why associate with someone like that now when you could have just had a clean slate?”
You don’t need any context to see that my classmate was being unfair. As you can imagine, there are perks to having a stripper friend—wild stories and free drinks at the strip club—but there’s a lot more to gain than dancing lessons and laughs. I’m frequently asked how a traditional young lady like myself could connect with a stripper, so here are some reasons why we mesh well together:
She doesn’t care what people think
To make it as a stripper, you can’t let the stigma of working in that field bring you down. It’s not a profession for the faint of heart.
Thankfully, Lauren handles criticism well and is unafraid to call others out. While others see her as the High School Goody Too Shoes Turned Stripper, I see the girl who confronted my bullies in middle school at the cost of her own reputation, which seems invaluable to most pre-teens. Some view her as the tattooed 22-year-old whose job stints have historically been shorter than Kim Kardashian’s marriage, yet I’ll always remember her as the pint-sized brunette who socked a guy in the stomach and lectured another young man for turning me down. These moves didn’t do wonders for her image, but taking care of friends was more important to her than being well liked.
We don’t talk about work
In the world of young professionals, social gatherings turn into dreadful networking sessions. Everyone ends up discussing work, so I’m thankful she is more interested in hearing about my personal life than my career when we get together. We say a line or two about our jobs before laughing about childhood memories or bringing up what is actually on our minds. I love unplugging with her and not having to worry about answering questions pertaining to my professional goals or milestones.
Nothing weirds her out
Unfortunately, crazy-exciting adventures are few and far between for me now that I’m out of college, but on the rare occasions I have one, I know I can share every detail of the story with her. Unlike some of the folks I know, she wouldn’t look down on me for having a one-night-stand, moving across the country without a job lined up, or relocating to New York on a whim. Because there’s little she hasn’t seen or experienced, she welcomes my stories with an open ear and free of judgment.
Guys gravitate towards her
Lauren doesn’t dress provocatively, but she has a way of attracting groups of men before they even learn of her line of work, which also serves as the perfect icebreaker. All she had to do on New Year’s Eve was stare bug-eyed at a pack of dapper men for them to approach our circle of friends. Thanks to Lauren, who exudes confidence and has become quite the male magnet, I had arm candy on New Year’s Eve. It’s important to have friends who force you to live a little and have fun, and Lauren always has this effect on me.
She’s not pretentious
The worst part of moving from the bay area to the east coast is bumping into pretentiousness left and right. One week of listening to old money Ivy Leaguers at a stuffy club was enough to make me support Occupy Wall Street, so she is a much-needed escape from the pampered, snooty crowd pervading NYC. Though a former honor student and avid reader, she chooses her friends based on character rather than academic background or social status. She’s a breath of fresh air as well as a willing dive bar wingman, so I’m lucky to have her.
She’s full of life
Too often, I am consumed by work responsibilities and push my personal life to the backburner. While this is great for establishing a career, it’s no way for me to spend my twenties. Whenever we hang out, her vibrant personality inevitably rubs off on me and I allow myself to let loose for a change. We may not talk nearly as much as we did as kids or see each other very often, but as long as I’m friends with her, I can count on a thrilling night out on the town.