Are the dumb things politicians say a distraction from the real damage they're doing behind the scenes? This strategy works for strippers.

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As a stripper, people often assumed I was dumb. Outside of the club, I loved proving that assumption wrong. That stereotype and others are one of the reasons I started writing in the first place. It’s not that I’m a MENSA member, but I don’t think I’m nearly as dumb as some people have thought I was.

At least most of the time.

One of my favorite aspects of dancing was the intelligent conversations I would have with customers. Both one-time customers and long-term regulars would sometimes like to have long talks about all sorts of topics you might not expect to have in a strip club. Everything from philosophy to science, books to politics. 

The anonymity of the environment coupled with the diversity of the clientele facilitated many great discussions. Without the normal constraints of polite society, I was able to learn so much that I would not have learned in another context.

Sitting half-naked in a lap-dance booth might seem like an unlikely place to learn about the world, but it is, at the very least, honest. There is no reason to place a shiny coat of sweetness on difficult topics when there is a good chance you’ll never see that person again. Or when there is no chance that they will come in contact with anyone in your life.

I’m a stripper, you can tell me pretty much anything.

The strip club is the ultimate place for authentic opinions and life experiences. It is the place to be open and honest without the fear of judgment. Nuance can be expressed and understood in a way that just doesn’t seem to happen in everyday life.

These kinds of conversations gave me a sense that I wasn’t just a pair of boobs. I knew in many cases I was appreciated for my mind as well as recognized as a multifaceted human being. It also helped me to humanize my customers. In a way, I left dancing feeling like I had been conducting a naked informal sociological study on my fellow humans.

But I didn’t always want my customers to know that I had a brain behind the eyeshadow and fake eyelashes.

In fact, in some cases, it would have been stupid of me to correct their assumption. Did I really want the jerk asking if I knew that Kansas City was in Missouri and not Kansas to know that I graduated early with honors and a 4.0 GPA?

I did not.

I very much wanted him to think I was a stoner stripper with the IQ of a brick.

I smiled and nodded while he condescended and smirked at me. All the while, I was taking in all his mannerisms and body language. I let him prattle on about things “I wouldn’t understand” while I calculated how many times I could get him to go back to the ATM before he would have to call the bank to release more funds.

He would leave the club feeling superior and mighty, albeit a lot lighter in the wallet.

The danger is in the assumption

When Donald Trump first appeared as a presidential candidate, I cringed when I heard people say he was dumb. Sure, he’s vapid, selfish, and completely devoid of morals and business ethics, but he is not dumb.

He is calculating, manipulative, and an expert at facilitating the underestimating of his intelligence.

To run a con as long as he has, he cannot be nearly as dumb as he appears to be.

Even as I am guilty of poking fun at the new round of dumb politicians, I know very well the danger in buying into the act. We’ve heard everything from Jewish space lasers causing fires, to windmills causing cancer, to Bill Gates forcing us to eat fake meat from a “Peach Tree” dish in order to track our bowel movements.

Gross. I know, and inexplicably stupid.

But is it?

Was that deliberate mispronunciation intended to cause an uproar and gain attention?

If so, it might not be so dumb after all.

People who are out to manipulate count on the marks being primed to accept the con. Playing dumb works beautifully in that respect. While we are laughing at the idea of lizard people imposters and drinking bleach, the real dirty stuff is happening behind the scenes.

You know…like installing federal judges en masse.

Resisting the urge to repost and make fun is hard. Really, really hard. I’ve given in too many times, even though I should know better.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think chasing each dumb shiny thing might actually be exactly what they want us to be doing. So who’s dumb now?

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....