There has been a lot in the news recently about Robert Marucci, the senior from Cocoa, Florida who was suspended from school for starring in adult movies. Many negative comments have been directed at his mom, Melyssa Lieb, for supporting her son’s after school job. But I get it, because my mom really wanted me to work as a coat check girl at a strip club.
I come from a family of hard workers. Both my parents still hold multiple jobs and my sister and I were no exception. During high school I worked in a daycare, taught fitness classes, ran a summer program for underprivileged teens and slung bagels on the weekends. When I enrolled in the local college at 17, classes took up a lot of time and I couldn’t handle all my work commitments anymore.
One of my mother’s coworkers was a bouncer at the local topless bar and told her they had an opening for a coat check girl. He thought my mom might be interested. She wasn’t, but she pestered me to take the job, and continued to do so for the next four years despite my continued “No’s”. She reasoned that I would be fully dressed, separated from the nudity by a door, protected by bouncers and that I would make a ton of money.
I wasn’t afraid to be around strippers or I thought I would get hurt, but we lived in a smaller town and I really didn’t want to run into a teacher or other authority figure I knew coming in or out of the club and then have to face them later (in hindsight I may have missed out on some fantastic blackmailing opportunities). Also, the bouncer had a daughter that was the exact same age as me, and it struck me suspicious that if the job was so great and amazing, why he wouldn’t ask his own daughter to work there.
Instead, I defied my mother and got a job very typical for a female college student- restaurant hostess. It pains me to admit this, but I should have listened to my mother.
I quickly got promoted to server and from there to bartender and weekend cocktail waitress. Fun Fact- in Conecticut you only have to be 18 in order to serve alcohol, not 21.
There is only one word to describe what happens when you give a bunch of kids in their late teens and early twenties unlimited access to liquor and a place to hang out at all hours- Shenanigans.
Within eight months I faced numerous situations where guys tried to get me to take my clothes off, both during work and off the clock; watched a coworker face an unplanned pregnancy with an ex-boyfriend who had moved on to someone else; narrowly avoided a SDI that ran around the bar; had creepy flowers, notes and fuzzy handcuffs left on my car from an coworker I thereafter had to avoid; accidentally got caught in the middle of a fist fight (I was lifted behind the bar for safe keeping, the recipient of the punch broke his cheekbone and sued); watched a homeless man get taken out by ambulance after he OD-ed in the bathroom; participated in multiple cat fights over working certain shifts where tips were better, and cheated on my boyfriend …twice.
On a good night at the restaurant I would come away with 100 dollars, but to earn it I was covered in beer and propositioned several times. Plus, I my feet would ache. In contrast, I suspect being a coat check girl at a strip club would have consisted of sitting on my butt, fully dressed, texting with my friends while people put money in a jar in exchange for their coat. If men leered at me or made gross comments, I assume there would be a bouncer by the door for me to call on like an attack dog.
Maybe as a coat check girl I would have had to wear a low cut shirt. Let’s be honest, I was doing that already at the bar, plus a mini skirt. At the strip club, there would have been nice, big scary bouncers to make sure no one touched me or walked me to my car at night. At the bar I had to beg one of the managers to get someone to walk me to my car at two a.m. (The others were good about it, but this one hated me for some reason).
Now I know I can’t say definitively that the coat check girl gig would have been better, since I never actually did it. I’m just saying that I don’t think it could be any worse, in terms of the moral corruption factor, than working at a bar. And the money would have been far superior. “Easy money for easy work” my mom would say whenever the topic popped up, and then she would shake her head at me in disappointment.
Looking back I think my mom knew that I could be easily making more money doing things no worse than what I was already doing, and how could a parent not want an easier life for their adult child?
When I graduated college and got into law school my mom thought I should consider stripping to offset the cost. I said no, because I knew that bar applications require you to list employers form the past 10 years and I didn’t know if stripping would affect my application. Also, I had a boyfriend at the time and he was against it. But in all honestly, when I get my student loan statements every month, I think she was on to something.
(Image: getty images)