In the Pacific Northwest, where all coffee entrepreneurial hustles, including this one, seem to start, the Trib says there have been reports of servers flashing customers for bigger tips and customers doing the same for better thrills. Not in Fremont, the owner and servers insist. "They don't make you feel like a stripper," says another bikinista, Rosanne Ortiz.
Which, even if they did, might not be such a terrible thing, according to a new study from the University of Leeds, right across the channel from Ms. Bruni.
Most British lap dancers surveyed said they chose to work in that, uh, position, because they earn more. They are "motivated by career and economic choices, not coercion," the report says. One in four has a college degree.
University of London professor Dr. Belinda Brooks-Gordon told the BBC that "one of the most striking things (about the study) is job satisfaction and of course the money. With the money they can earn they can work shorter hours and combine it ... with undergraduate ... and postgraduate education."
We might consider that a "student/stripper" category on the resume. And just when it seemed the whole Madonna/Whore cultural thing had been beaten into hackneyed obscurity by more realistically complex formulations about women.
Dr. Brooks-Gordon also said she'd be OK with her daughter dancing in laps because "as a mother, I'd want my daughter to choose whatever she wants to do in good working conditions and safe environment."
On the same show, club owner Peter Stringfellow (OK, there's a decent joke in there somewhere) compared his lap dancers to Hollywood performers who wait tables while waiting for acting jobs. His employees "can be socially clever. They have to be smart. They're not dummies."
What an endorsement.
So where is the precise tan line between nuturing empowerment and sexual degradation
Thank God some borders are still painfully clear. Last week, feminine hygiene company Summer's Eve stepped in sexist poo with its ad urging women to have deodorized privates if they wanted to get a raise at work. Lissa Rankin, an ob/gyn and author of "What's Up Down There" was asked by the company some months ago to be a spokeswoman for Summer's Eve's new "empowering" campaign. She declined. Good move. Now that she's seen the "hiring tips" ad, she writes on her blog, "Yikes. I swear, it's the opposite of empowering." But women and others "made such a stink" that Summer's Eve pulled the ads not already in print and fled to Twitter for apologies all up and down.
Maybe the ad campaign would work better in Iran.
Causes Phil Bronstein Supports
Good Ones; anything involving the possibility of redemption.