Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A pic of Craig, the stripper

A lot of people write me and ask if I have pictures of myself from when I used to be a stripper, and I really don't. I stripped back in the late '90s, before digital cameras were everywhere. The only picture that I have from that era is the one above taken by the manager of The Follies, the porn theater that featured dancers on the weekends. It was used to advertise my appearances. 

Recently, there was some discussion on the Feast of Fun website about why the picture wasn't in my memoir, ALL I COULD BARE: MY LIFE IN THE STRIP CLUBS OF GAY WASHINGTON, D.C. I had no contractual control over the cover or the pictures in the book. I showed the picture to my publisher and they chose not to use it. 

I do write about the picture in the book, however. Following is an excerpt about the last time I ever stripped, which happened to be at the Follies.

As I left the theater and took that familiar walk down the dark, litter-strewn street to my car, I heard a voice call out from behind me. It was the Follies’ manager. He’d forgotten to give me the framed photo that they used to advertise my appearance at the party. He handed me the cheap, plastic pop-in frame with the picture of me smiling widely, and “Craig” written in showy cursive above my head. I looked so happy. I thanked him and said good-bye again.

I continued toward my car, and as I walked farther and farther away from the theater, this strange feeling rose inside me. I was sad, but in a hard-to-pin-down way. Sure, I’d felt ready to quit stripping for a while now, but the finality of it felt so, well, final. There was a voice in my head saying over and over again, with a James Earl Jones–ish thunder, “No matter what else you will become in life, you will never be this again.”

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