Houston Woman Bares All in Stripper Memoir

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Stacey Keith was no ordinary child. "Raised," if raised is the word for it, by two self-absorbed rock-and-roll parents, her dad committed suicide by jumping off an LA freeway overpass on acid when she was just a a tyke. A strong-willed, precocious child, she ran away from school in the first grade after a teacher scolded her for her creativity (basically for not "coloring inside the lines"). She was molested by uncles and other relatives, and grew up with a deep mistrust of most people. She skipped school for a week when she was 16 to write her first historical novel, and by the end of high school she was on her own with little to fall back on but a nagging mother, a couple of close friends, and an unmatchable "endowment."

Keith wisely begins her book with her dramatic entry into the world of stripping, and, oh boy, did she ever start in the right place. Houston was the strip-club capital of the world, and the Men's Club was its crown jewel. By the time Keith finished her first night at the club, she was the golden girl, the chosen one, the girl with a chest every man had to see.

She dived into the table-dance hustle like a pig finding a nice mudhole.

"I brazen up to every table, offer every guy a dance, then smugly fold the money into my shoe. A dozen times I make a beeline for my locker, lay the bills flat to dry, then dash out to the floor again. I'm not even trying to keep track of my totals anymore. Complete annihilation of the competition is the only thing that will make me happy. I understand intuitively that money is status here and reflects my desirability as a female."

The other girls hated her immediately and to show their displeasure with the hot-stuff newcomer put crushed glass in her shoes while she was onstage. And so began her journey into the bowels of the American skin trade, in which she would learn to take care of herself if not so much her self esteem.

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William Michael Smith