Okay, to be clear, when the book first opens, a man called Jim, looking earnestly into Jacqueline’s anus on her very first day as a stripper, is a client. It wasn’t obvious at first, but once you know that, everything is as clear as a day. It could only be clearer in fact, if you were Jim. Or Dwayne or Teddy or any of the hundreds if not thousands of men (and occasionally women) who Jacq describes as having stared at, sniffed, and tried to touch her various holes.
And if you made it through that first paragraph without getting offended, you will thoroughly enjoy The Beaver Show. (The paperback version is available now.)
The Beaver Show is a memoir; a journal of the true-life adventures of an enthusiastic and confident stripper named Jacq. Jacq the stripper. (Because nothing says sexy like a name that pays homage to a turn of the century serial killer of prostitutes.)
Today, Jacq lives in Brooklyn with her wife. But she started stripping when she was 23 as a poor traveler in Australia. She started for the same reason most people take any job – money. And when she discovered the money was good, and didn’t mind (okay, enjoyed) getting naked to earn it, she kept doing it. For years.
In those years she met a lot of Johns and saw a lot of the world. Now she’s left with a few bucks to spare and a slew of candid tales. Candid in the physicality at least.
You’ll find graphic play by plays of Jacq’s experiences, but sometimes her stories lacked a real intimacy. She never has more than fleeting relationships with the people she meets, and hardly takes the time to investigate herself. In fact most of the people she meets, men and women alike, seem to go to great lengths to avoid getting emotionally close to one another, their wives at home, their friends, themselves…
The most genuine connection was a conversation between her and another dancer named Tiffany about what makes a “favorite regular” in a club. But after that it’s back to the insatiable quest for dollars. Or loonies, if she’s spreading ‘em in her homeland of Canada.
At its core, it’s about the search for money. Stacks of it. In fact, the shamelessness of her drive is refreshing. It’s “Fuck you. Pay me.” And for the most part, she gets paid handsomely.
Jacq seems to live the way a stock broker invests. Big risk, big reward. (And big losses.) Sure, she gets an all expense paid trip to France with a married man, stays in a swanky hotel, eats oysters and drinks expensive wine all day. (All without sleeping with him.) But there are months where she works the day shift at a grimy New York strip club with 200 bucks to her name. Sometimes I was thankful for my steady, if uneventful, job. And sometimes I was envious I wasn’t naked, feeding shrimp cocktail to a fat business man for a thousand bucks.
It also serves as a sort of “Stripping for Dummies.” A beginner’s how to. She goes into detail about the proper outfit, how to avoid nipple chafing, how to work around various arbitrary local laws. But she also delves into less stripper-related stuff. Like setting boundaries, knowing your value, and demanding to get paid accordingly. Lessons that are relevant to all of us.
And I think that’s what I got most from The Beaver Show – know your self-worth. Which is more than I expected to garner from a book whose tagline is about “flashing your gash for cash.”
Honestly, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in under 24 hours. The stories are captivating. I even skipped work to read it in a coffee shop. I saw a side of humanity I’ll never see as a man. (And if you’re a woman, the men’s behavior may be grotesquely familiar.) It’s a frank look at the id of men everywhere. Men like me. Men like your father. Men who may even be your father.
And it doesn’t look great out there.
The Beaver Show is available now on Amazon in paperback “for the price of a lapdance.” And is much more emotionally satisfying.