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Sheila Hageman

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Sarah Tressler: Marketing Genius or One Lucky Stripper?

Posted: 04/ 9/2012 12:40 pm

Strippers are so 2005.

Years ago, a stripper who could write halfway decently had a surefire hit on her hands if she wrote a memoir. I give you, Diablo Cody's Candy Girl or Lily Burana's Strip City. This was before strippers had become "accepted" into the mainstream with novelties like uber-hip burlesque clubs and pole dancing classes offered at your local gym.

With the decline in book sales overall, the market for stripper stories totally sank. With access to free stories on the Internet and blogs, anyone who wants to read a behind-the-scenes stripper tale does not have to spend a single dime to have a huge library of salacious anecdotes at their fingertips.

When I tried to sell my memoir Stripping Down, a large percentage of publishers and agents were quick to point out that my ship had sailed. The stripper story had already been written and there wasn't room for another one.

It didn't matter that the stripping theme of my story was only one aspect of my book. There was stripping in there; I had been a stripper -- the world's readers had been-there-done-that.

Fortunately, after years of searching, I found a home for Stripping Down with Pink Fish Press, a small press out of Washington. The publisher Renda Dodge saw past the title and the one (g)string of action to discover my book dealt with multiple themes related to my relationship to my body and sense of self, my new roles of mother and caretaker for my own mother who was battling breast cancer and the whole issue of the struggle of womanhood.

I stripped down to what really mattered -- health, time and family. I wrote as I took on the new roles of mother, caregiver and wife. While helping my baby daughter take her first steps, I nursed my mother through the final stages of breast cancer, which triggered an exploration of female identity and body image.

Not your run of the mill stripper story, if there is such a beast.

Enter Texas journalist Sarah Tressler, whose name was unknown except to the handful of women who still read the society pages in Texas until a rival newspaper's Richard Connelly exposed her side job -- stripping.

Tressler also detailed her stripper escapades on a blog titled "The Angry Stripper," where in one widely-discussed post she waxed poetic on Jeremy Piven's less-than-stellar cunnilingus skills. Since she blogged under the moniker sarahtress, it doesn't seem to me she was being too careful hiding her extracurricular activities.

Tressler allegedly even "flaunted" her stripper money around the newsroom, angering other journalists for risking the newspaper's reputation if the truth came out. There's been speculation that someone spilled Tressler's secret to end her display of wealth; unfortunately, the story breaking may have had an opposite effect than intended. Now Tresslar's popularity has spread and you can be sure she'll be penning the story she's clearly wanted to write.

The question is: did she have something to do with her own outing? Was working as a society page journalist all a ruse to create controversy in an otherwise has-been profession of stripping?

If she had simply tried to get an everyday stripper story published, she probably would have had doors slammed in her face; who knows? Maybe she did already. Well, before she became gossip fodder for the week.

You can be sure we'll be hearing about three-figure advances and publishers jockeying for position any day now.

Will it be because she has such an amazing tale to tell? Perhaps, but it is likelier that it will just be the next well-played and marketed salacious book of the moment, which will be guaranteed sales because Tressler succeeded at playing her cards well.

Which in this case means -- keeping her hand a "secret."

 
 
 

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