A Consumer’s Guide to Tits and Tweets


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I had never been to a strip club before I visited New Orleans for the College Media Association convention this October. I spent my days at workshops about layout design, web tools, and inbound marketing. I spent my nights eating po’ boys, drinking daiquiris, and riding the streetcar at three in the morning.

 

A little blonde with long nipples and a flat chest humped a bed on stage in a place called “Love Acts” on Bourbon Street. Her hips were small and her abs were ripped and she had the Forever 21 body-type with hair halfway down her back. She didn’t know any pole tricks, but instead she took out one of her piercings, stuck a match through it and lit her nipple on fire.

 

That was a spectacle, but it wasn’t very erotic. I felt unattached through the whole thing, almost like when I’m watching football or wrestling (I’m not sporty). There’s some form of social control that makes me passively accept this diversion as entertainment, even though I know it’s not really entertaining for me.

 

Sexual manipulation is my biggest turn off. I hate it when cocky women confuse me for a tool and try to get free drinks, or smokes, or money, or rides out of me. I like to think my intuition is pretty solid, and even when I’m willing to play along with mind games in dating (just to see where it’s going) I can usually tell when people are being genuine.

 

I feel the same way online. A lot of blogs and personalities are just strippers, trying to tell me what I want to hear so that I’ll buy a lapdance. Stories about naked celebrities, DIY bacon, drug music, GIFs of people falling over. Sure. I’ll gladly click through a hundred HuffPo pages on a hangover Sunday before my brain starts working, but when I’m on my game these environmental contaminants just make me search harder for something beyond the pale of mainstream web-content. Maybe even something meaningful.

 

There’s something to be said about an internet that tries too hard to cater to you. Online filter bubbles show us only the Google results that fit a personality developed via algorithm. It becomes harder and harder to be surprised and challenged. I used to get my fix from Stumbleupon, because I also listed a bunch of school subjects as interests, but now I’m so accustomed to using the internet to distract myself that when something too sciencey shows up, I just click through it.

 

Adrift in gratuitous TnA on Bourbon Street, I tried to take an opportunity to really analyze my sexual attraction concept. I realized that the women I passed by in the street who triggered that autonomic turn of the head and furtive downward glance that signifies hotness were not necessarily sexy girls, but were usually dressed pretty modestly with faces that were cute over hot.

 

I noticed that even though I wasn’t looking at the exposed top-boobs and tear-away nylons as much as I was the pretty-normal girls in long-ish dresses or t-shirts, their presence made me take more glance chances than I would have normally.

 

The sexual economy of the city seemed to function on a level where sexy girls made the cute girls seem more sexy by being too samey. In a sex saturated market, what’s sexy (like skin and lace) becomes unattractive and things that are comforting or challenging (like flannel and leather jackets) become sexy in their place.

 

It’s the same way I feel about my Facebook feed. Whenever six people post the same “sexy” new trend piece, I feel honor bound not to click it. But at the same time, it makes me desperate to get ahead of the curve and find links to share that none of my friends are into yet.

 

By the time we left the strip club, I felt like I couldn’t get an erection if I tried — which might have been because my colleagues were sober that night and I had to drink their one drink minimums for them. The experience was jading, but my colleagues — who were themselves former sex workers, poo-pooed the performance and encouraged me to try a different club before I wrote off stripping altogether.

 

The second night we went somewhere with a cover that was more upscale. From velvet chairs against the wall we evaluated the performers on metrics of boob size, tattoos, songs choice, and athleticism; all under the auspice of buying a lap dance.

 

An Asian girl with a skimpy Snow White costume, and red circles painted on her cheeks led XXL Jos. A Banks suits one after another to the VIP room upstairs. Even though it was two in the morning we knew we had to stick around for her solo before we left. By that point, however, we had abandoned the idea of the lap dance, because the ATM had a $10 surcharge. But if we’d have made an election, it would have been her.

 

Unlike the other dancers with bigger boobs, ripplier abs, or more delicate faces — Snow White was happy. She was clearly the queen of the club, giving private shows left and right and getting the most tips during her solo. She had an aura of warmth, and a genuine love for her job. She wasn’t just stripping her way through medical school, she had found her calling.

 

There are so many writers, myself included, who don’t really want to be on Twitter (or LinkedIn, or Pintrest, or Digg, or etc.) for their own personal reasons but are told by everyone they meet in media that they’ll never get anywhere without it. And, yes they’re all right. You do have to make yourself available over every platform just so you can be visible. But each platform has it’s own voice, and if that doesn’t suit your subject or your inspiration than the posts you make on it won’t be attractive.

 

The best writers on Twitter are like Asian Snow White. They’re not treating it as a means to an end, they’re coming up with specific characters and voices, or finding a very specific element of culture to analyze and report on that fits the 140 character model.

 

If you don’t like texting, don’t bother with Twitter. Just sync your little bit.lys and move on. The most important thing I learned in New Orleans is not to adjust your writing style to your medium, but to find the medium that works best for your style. If you do that, the audience will find you. Even if they don’t, your writing will age like delicious, bubbly word-champagne and eventually someone’s bound to pop dat cork.

 

The same goes for non-traditional platform posting. In a seminar by Brett Michael Dykes, editor of UPROXX, he explained that his big breakthrough was actually writing fake-posts on Craigslist (about sucking dick for Genesis tickets). Being a good writer online means finding a good place to play around just as much as coming up with good content. Don’t just limit yourself to WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter and Blogger.

 

I think some of the most fun I had writing is when I used to troll the OKCupid forums, or maybe some of the wiki-vandalism my friends and I would do when the Smirnoff ran out. That stuff never made me any money, but it kept me from getting bored with web writing while allowing me to interject myself into the lives of strangers. If you don’t like doing that, than you’re better off reading the internet than making it.

 

Like everything in life, writing for the internet is best when you’re not reaching too hard. Just like you’ll never get a date when you reek of desperation (like the men in the strip club), you’ll never be able to really brand yourself if that’s all you’re trying to do.

And if social media doesn’t work out, there’s always sex work.