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COLUMN: Honey, I'm finished with the strippers

Thursday, September 23, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 23, 2010

My name is Amanda Woytus, and I might be addicted to strip clubs.

It all started in July when I wrote a column that received a lot of positive feedback about the new adult entertainment restrictions, which involved a visit to Club Vogue.

I suppose the number of hits the piece received on the website doesn't lie, but by positive feedback, I mostly mean jokes from my friends who thought picturing me at Club Vogue among strippers was hilarious.

It's also fairly easy to collect page views when a headline reads: “Nixon is giving strip clubs the bad touch.”

But I thought my reputation as the lovable columnist who hangs out at strip clubs would eventually die. I was wrong.

As you might have read in this week's issue, Vox has been working on a feature since August detailing the new restrictions. My life, along with the life of the writer, Ettie Berneking, became all about strip clubs and adult entertainment. Some weeks, I went to the clubs two or three times. Ettie spent even more time there.

It wasn't unusual to hear me around Vox and the Missourian asking: “Can we really call them G spot connoisseurs?” or, “Can we run those photos any bigger without seeing genitalia in the background?”

Even though I was often tired after a night of hanging out with Ettie at Rumors Cabaret or editing her story and trying to write headlines at 1, sometimes 2 a.m. ("Thighs wide shut," maybe?), it was worth it. If working on packages like these is the hardest part of my job, I'm lucky.

My favorite moment while working on the piece was sitting in the photo studio on a shoot for the magazine's cover with Missourian staff photographer Eve Edelheit, which involved hunting for a stripper pole with one of our art directors, Theresa Berens, an hour beforehand.

The point is, I’ve been having fun. But I also learned that it's incredibly difficult to be Vox's resident strip club maven and sustain a relationship. I might be the world's worst girlfriend, in fact.

It was a Friday, and Ettie needed someone to go to Rumors with her the night before the new restrictions took effect. Safety in numbers.

My boyfriend and I had already planned date night, something that rarely happens with work and school and friends. But sometimes work comes first, especially if my writer needs to be at a strip club until 1 a.m.

To be fair, I extended an invitation for him to join us at Rumors, which he declined. For a second, I was the world's coolest girlfriend.

But as I was leaving, I realized I needed cash in case I had to pay a cover.

"Do you have any cash?" I asked him.

"All I have are ones," he replied.

Perfect.

As he handed over a wad of $1 bills, I left him behind so that I could spend yet another night at a strip club. I even felt a little proud that we were so obviously refusing to let stereotypical gender roles apply to our relationship.

I returned home and found him patiently waiting for me. He had also cleaned the apartment and washed a pile of dishes in the sink I had been neglecting.

I felt like scum. Then I felt as though I had no idea how to balance my work and personal life.

A few weeks later, I still don't.

I'm not sure I'll ever find the secret to having a career that follows you home from the office while maintaining something — anything, really — that resembles a personal life.

But the story is in print, and though the job was fun, I can safely promise my boyfriend that I'll no longer be spending my Fridays and his money at the strip clubs.

Amanda Woytus is the deputy and calendar editor for Vox Magazine.


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Comments

Ellis Smith September 23, 2010 | 7:12 a.m.

Great! Reminds me of my misspent youth as a student at another campus of this university. Occasionally on a Saturday night and having exhausted the endless cultural offerings of Rolla, Missouri, four or five students would pile into a sedan and head northeast on Route 66 to St. Louis to catch the midnight burlesque show at the old Grand Theater. There one would discover numerous Miners, always the cheapest seats.

The dancers had exotic stage names, like Tempest Storm, Anne Paris (pronounced "Paree"), and Gay Dawn ("gay" then tended to have a different connotation than it has now).

After the show students normally "crashed" at the family home of a student.

Take a date to the Grand? You bet! Lindenwood girls (in those days Lindenwood had no male students) were for it, partly because for the next week they were the center of attention on their campus. "John took you to the Grand?" "Tell us about it!"

It was, as the saying goes, a simpler and more innocent time.

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