Overview:

Strippers can be just as hard to herd as atheists. Atheist Day is important because it's our chance to be herded for a common cause.

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The first time I heard the phrase “like herding cats,” was when the DJ at my strip club complained about getting all the dancers together for a naked conga line to help liven up a subdued weeknight crowd. When it eventually happened, it was quite the sight and extremely effective.

I’ll give you a moment to savor the visual.

My experience was that strippers loved attention, albeit on their own terms, and tended to be fiercely independent, so organizing them in the same space could be difficult. You know… like cats.

Our only commonality was that we all had the same job. We all faced the same criticism and judgment, not to mention were the undefended butt of many jokes.

But despite the one commonality, we were all unique individuals. Some were smart, others not so much. Some were kind and compassionate, while others preyed on the weak and emotionally vulnerable. And even so, we managed to rally behind each other when necessary.

During a recent conversation, someone made the comment, “I bet it must have been hard getting along with all the girls.”

And she was right, it was, from disputes over who got the coveted corner spot in the dressing room, to who may have spoken to someone else’s customer. These arguments were quite common and could become pretty heated. But if a customer dared to offend a dancer in a manner that insulted all of them, they’d face the wrath of the entire dressing room. All of a sudden, the cats were herded, and they proved to be a glittery force to reckon with.

All we needed was that one thing.

Herding atheist cats

As I began to shed my Catholic roots, I found the online atheist community. It happened slowly. I started by reading The Friendly Atheist, aka Hemant Mehta, because well… he seemed friendly. Soon I followed others, all with mostly similar thoughts as my own. I became more involved and outspoken as I found my tribe.

My other cats.

As many people have preconceived ideas about strippers, I had the same about atheists. Without the adherence to an often-convoluted and twisted religious code of morals, I assumed that all atheists were kind, rational, and smart. I mean, if you’re not trying to justify the horrific acts of a narcissistic biblical god, you must be one of the good guys.

But like many blanket assumptions, I was wrong.

As there are shady strippers, there are definitely shady atheists. There are plenty of strippers I’m still friends with and even have to my home. As there are many atheists I am fond of, and some I’d rather not associate with.

Like with most things, atheists exist on a spectrum. Good, bad, stupid… they’re all represented in the atheist community. You know, like the human beings they are.

I still tend to think that the good people outweigh the bad, but I also tend to lean on the optimistic side of most things, if only to avoid crippling bouts of depression.

But here’s the thing: even the vilest of atheists are still helping to normalize non-belief. Like it or not, they’re still bringing nonreligious issues and presence in society to light.

It is only that one thing that makes us atheists. That’s it. And it doesn’t require kindness, rationality, or intelligence to be an atheist. Because we’re all just people.

Even if the atheist community isn’t always nice, the atheist community is responsible for me deleting “Catholic” from my personal Facebook profile. I needed all of them to believe that I wasn’t alone, even if not always in great company.

And just I supported my fellow dancers when it was appropriate, even the ones I found unappealing, I will continue to support atheists, even if I may not support anything else about them at all.

Atheist Day is important because it’s our chance to be herded, if only briefly, so that other atheists who may still be in the closet will know, they aren’t alone.

Like it or not, they’re all still part of our conga line. Let’s just appreciate that we don’t have to see them naked and covered in glitter.

I'm a former adult entertainer and author of Dirty Money: Memoirs of a Stripper and Expose Yourself: How to Take Risks Question Everything and Find Yourself- Humor and Insights from my life as a Stripper....