Fuck This Shit, I’m Becoming A Funeral Stripper

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Credit: Wilhelmine

“I’m going to take that razor you shave with and slit my fucking wrists.”

My head shot behind me so fast I almost lost my grip on the collection kept tight to my chest. Normally I’ve been the one responsible for getting drunk and screaming about how I want to die, but it seemed as though somewhere between adopting a lifestyle of espresso and avocado smoothies I had passed the torch (and to a little frat boy, no less).

Somehow, the conversation between the muscle-teed, Sperryed-out lad and his homeboy had escalated from finding the cheapest six-pack to releasing repressed suicidal desires. Everyone in line shifted uneasily as eyes tried to peep the voice behind the spectacle.

My morbid curiosity lessened as I second guessed my choice of sour gummy bears over peach rings. Scrutiny where scrutiny’s due.

Fortunately, unfortunately, or just a matter of fact, the only place in my hood where you can get late night snackingtons is this one corner store attached to this one college bar. Let’s just say it rhymes with “Les Poot.” I never fucked with it even when I was still Drinking and I’m about to tell you why.

For one, I once observed 13-year-olds chugging Mad Dog out front whilst “Get Low” thumped 100% non-ironically from inside. It was instant PTSD to that scene of True Life: I’m an Alcoholic when that girl with the music staff tattoo turns her khaki carpet blue in one fell stumble. But my hesitancy has also been a lot more existential, and surprisingly, has come to leave me regretful of casting quick aspersions.

Perhaps I should set the scene a little more.

Just the walk leading up to the place is like a synthetic wonderland trapped in a snow globe. I try to keep my steady gaze to the ground, but sometimes a scream or siren will jolt my curiosity awake. It’s a portal into what I thought womanhood would be when I’d look at the early-2000’s comedies lining the walls of Blockbuster. You know the ones. The all-white background met with a collage of big tiddy blonde bitches (because big tiddy goth bitches were still considered ugly back then), some jock throwing a football, and a scrawny dingus with his pants around his ankles and his arms scrunched in that I-don’t-know stance. The title would be written in Greek lettering, offering some shallow insight into college cliquery that conveniently forgets to include scenes of reading from textbooks or babysitting a desk for Work-Study stacks.

I still feel just as confused by the rainbow of frat row and its Poot of gold as I did when my eight-year-old self was just trying to bask in the golden age of Lindsay Lohan. Part of me wants to cringe at the sight of insecurity being combatted through conformity, or more specifically, all of the stumbling girls in the outfits I know they must be freezing in. But, in my heart of hearts, having once been the big tiddy goth girl equivalent, I know that insight is as shallow as Van Wilder himself. Superiority—moral, artistic—is as confining as a world brushed black and white.

Maybe I’m jealous that I’m not as skinny as I was four years ago. Maybe I’m mad that He’s talking to Her. Maybe I’m resentful that there are people who can just drink on Friday and Saturday nights, content enough in their lives to remain clear-minded for the other five. Meanwhile, I’m scampering off with my Arizona to go die in a puddle of blankets while Trisha Paytas cries for me on her kitchen floor. Or maybe, just maybe, independent of both of our existences, the Four Loko-wielding chick hanging from the light pole is just as genuinely happy as I am falling asleep in front of my computer, and there’s no reason to read any more into it than that.

On the flip side of the color dichotomy, perhaps there’s also no use in throwing stones of scrutiny into genuine unhappiness.

If you’re as far up the ass of Sofia Coppola as I am, you’ll probably recall this scene of Marie Antoinette. Kirsten Dunst sits in her bathtub decked in crystals and purple lipstick as she parodies the defamed queen’s infamous line. Cut from 1700’s France to modern day internet tomfoolery, Lana Del Rey had found her own “let them eat cake,” allegedly delivered in the same enchantingly nauseating fashion.

I wish I was dead already.

Like a pout clouded with cigarette smoke, it was a quote taken as out of context as any other. But Frances Cobain, who, obviously, isn’t one to take life for granted, interpreted Del Rey’s words as being worthy of execution on the grounds of utter tone-deafness. It became a contest of who’s the most hurt instead of accepting that each party is living her own story of sadness—no more, no less.

A parallel phenomenon occurs in the casual expression of wanting to become a stripper. I cannot say much about the specifics because it’s like Fight Club, but there’s a secret network of strippers who come together every so often in mutual discussion. A recurring theme in this forum is frustration towards the idea that dancing’s some easy back-up career in which anyone can find success. But, I would argue that a woman throwing up her hands and yelling “fuck this, I’m going to be a stripper” on a bad day at her vet tech job isn’t worthy of persecution. My visceral angry-strings try to convince me otherwise, but I know they’re weaving the dialogue into a web that’s quick to clump.

No job is easy, no life is easy, and no job nor life is certain. But what is certain is that majesty lies on the other side of the looking glass. There’s a certain sanctity in knowing greener pastures are there even when the road to paying them a visit is filled with shards. You shouldn’t be scathed for being ignorant to an underbelly you’ve never known, because chances are, you’ve suffered in your own personal underbelly to which the rest of the world is blind. It’s not a matter of glamorizing, but rather, seeing a light in that foreign land. Whether it be satin panties or a satin coffin lining, it’s all sewn with the same fabric of frustration and despair. Stitching runs in limitless directions.

While as a lesser woman, I might have been quick to dismiss Sad Frat Boy™ as another Logan Paul using suicide for a slice of attention. But, as my frontal lobe steadily turns into that dependable firm tofu, I am cognizant of the fact that a man can wear muscles tees and be just as legitimately depressed as the next goth. How in the fuck am I supposed to know anyone’s true motivations? I can’t. So, the next best thing is to lend respect rather than to simply chalk them up to being an ignorant shit. If they really are struggling in their career path, or in every path, the last thing I want to do is cast judgement or shame.

Hell, maybe those 13-year-olds would have even given me a swig of their hobo wine.

As tempting as the snap of the trap may sound, I’m trying to get better about burying my moral high ground six feet deep. Go out and sing your siren song, whether it be about a funeral, a stripper, or, better yet, achieving the stardom of a funeral stripper. Yes, that’s a real job in Taiwan. They dance on makeshift stages atop trucks in funeral processions. There you have it; a little cultural relativism for moral perspective.

As I clutched my paper back turning wet with condensation last Sunday-elect, I turned to catch one more careful glance of the boy inside. The release in his voice poured forth while he clutched his manhands to his chest, his friend looking lovingly onward with one eye refusing to shut. He had clearly gotten out all of the words that he needed to, or at least that he needed to for one night. As for me, descending back home into my happy world of Haribo, I only had two:

Carry on.

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