Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Similarities



So what DO stripping and being a paramedic have in common? Other than the line “I couldn’t do your job” and the inevitable questions about the weirdest, grossest things you see and put up with.
Well it’s surprisingly a lot. These are some of the things that I think about a lot. Some of these are going to get their own blog posts.

Dealing with people who are drunk and/or high.
So drunk guys like to do two things. See boobs and find ways to fall over. Sometimes, the falling over can be elaborate and involve a fist fight. Other times, they’re just more unsteady on their feet than a LOL right after her hip replacement.
In both jobs, I have to manage these people. I have to get them to willingly do what I need them to do so that I can either take their money or take them to hospital. As a paramedic, I don’t have added incentive of well presented cleavage, but often their instinct for self preservation can be an asset. 

People who waste your time.
I’m going to devote an entire blog post to this, but paramedics know exactly how annoying it is. Ever transported a patient who was obviously not sick? Or picked someone not critical up from a house with 13 cars out the front? Well at least you get paid for that. I can’t tell you how annoying it is when a paramedic walks into the club and pulls the “we’re just here to have a drink” line, clearly enjoying the company of the girls and refusing to even tip one.


Avoiding bodily fluids
Depending on what’s wrong with a patient, life in the back of an ambulance may have you contending with blood, vomit, diarrhoea, saliva, CSF, and anything else a body might find a way to ooze.
While CSF is less common in the strip club (unless one of the strippers snaps and attacks someone with her stiletto one day?) the others are all regular contenders.
Vomit – drunk people. They vomit. Sometimes explosively and sometimes without warning.
Blood – Get too close to a fist fight, get stepped on with a strippers heel, suddenly there’s a blood hazard around. More common, however, is awkward moments when your body decides that NOW is a fantastic time to menstruate. This has been known to happen on stage, mid lesbian show, mid lap dance, walking around the club… any time you’re not taking a break seems to be a great time to get your period. Oh and then there are the tampon string accidents to be wary of later in the night.
Diarrhoea – See drunk people, loss of control and also girls who work when they’re sick.
Saliva – So first things first, some education for the people reading this who are not strippers.
NEVER PUT A STRIPPERS NIPPLES IN YOUR MOUTH! NEVER! NUH-UH! NO! Those of you have never thought about it before are now hopefully having an epiphany. If your mouth is on those nipples, then other people’s have been, too. So for the not so medical readers, what does saliva to saliva contact expose you to?
Off the top of my head, I can think of HSV, bacterial and viral infections (including not-so-fun to admit to ones like chlamydia), Hepatitis (That stripper DID just rub her anus before playing with her nipples), colds, mononucleosis, and thrush. Guys often want to do intimate saliva-ey things like kiss our necks, although one charming gentleman once licked my face. At least as a paramedic, when I’m dealing with airways I have gloves on. I can also wash any part of myself that gets drooled on without having to re-apply fake tan and lose time on the floor.
Semen - Some guys cum in their pants. Some of them don't tell you.

Injuries
Paramedics hurt ourselves way too much. We lift heavy patients, or frail patients, or the incredibly common heavy, frail and positioned really awkwardly patients. Apparently, the average weight of a person lifted by paramedics is 120kg and growing! Even with the best lifting techniques, sick people sometimes topple over or are in hard to reach places, so paramedic manual handling injury numbers are huge!
But what do strippers lift? Well… ourselves. Gracefully. Up and down those slippery poles above a hard floor. And we do it in some of the most ridiculous shoes you can think of. Torn muscles and tendons, repetitive use injuries, back injuries, fall over and break your ankle injuries, FOOSH injuries. Even without falling over, our shoes are by definition injuring us. So why do we do it? Because the money is (usually) worth it, and this is a trade off we make with our body in return for money. If you think that’s unethical, I suggest you go and take it up with your local labourers before strippers. Your local bricklayer is making exactly the same trade.

The uncertainty of the next job.
You never know what you're going to get next. Will it be something simple like a lift assist, run off the mill like chest pain, or crazy like a multi trauma MVA? And just because it starts out innocently enough doesn't mean it won't deteriorate quickly and unexpectedly.
It's similar in Stripperland. The work gets very repetitive after a while, and the types of jobs don't change much. 3 song lap dance? 3 song lap dance that is actually sexual therapy in disguise? Drunk guy who flips out and becomes aggressive and violent for no reason half way through? Rowdy bucks show getting handsy and the bouncer mysteriously disappears? Or it could be the one you don't see coming. It starts out innocently enough with a polite gentleman who asks you for a lap dance, which then deteriorates quickly the second he thinks no one is looking.

People tell you their secrets and problems.
A large part of stripping (and sex work, or so I've been told) is connecting with people intimately. People tell you things they don't usually tell people. Their fantasies, their problems, their secrets. To be a good stripper, you need know when to be a good listener, and be able to make people feel good or better about themselves. Although you tend to get fewer sexual fantasies admitted in the back of an ambulance, people still tell you their secrets and you need to know when to be a good listener.

Management.
In theory management is there to help you stay safe and provide a great service, right?
But management has other priorities, like profit. Good management provides you with what you need to do your job safely and support when things go wrong.
In paramedic land, this includes the right equipment, police backup, reasonable guidelines. In Stripperland, it includes security, cameras and reasonable guidelines. No one likes it when their client/patient is being an aggressive or downright dangerous and management finds a way to make it our fault.

Burn Out.
Paramedics burn out. So do strippers.
The crazy hours, the long shifts, the assaults, the repetitive nature of the work. At the end of the day though, it's always the people that burn you out. The time wasters, the emotionally needy, the people who abuse your existence, and yet you still need to be able to connect with and provide a service to these people. It's your job. And it burns you out.

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