Interesting video of Wendy Shalit ’97, author of Girls Gone Mild, discussing mentors.

There is a story about a Williams professor toward the end. Previous Shalit posts here.Related (?) is this Record article about Liz Osthus ’96, the only (?) Eph stripper.

For graduating students, entering the real world often means following a dress code. Sometimes it means wearing a three-piece suit, or sometimes it means wearing Abercrombie & Fitch. For Liv Osthus ’96, also known as Viva Las Vegas, it means wearing her birthday suit. It’s not that Osthus doesn’t ever wear clothing for her job; it’s that she takes it off while she works, because while most Ephs start work at 9 a.m., Osthus’s job at her Mary’s Club doesn’t begin till at least 4:30 p.m., or 9 p.m. if she’s taking the night shift.

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It’s been about 10 years since Osthus started stripping. “I was trying to be a musician and a writer and so I needed money to allow me to do those things,” Osthus said. “I thought I’d just be doing it for a year. I had a lot of loans from Williams and I thought I’d do it for a while and get my loans paid off.”

Another reason to be pleased with Williams move to a no-loans financial aid policy? Just asking! Previous posts about Osthus here.

“I’ve been writing my book for the last four years,” Osthus said. “I would like to have stopped [stripping] before now, but I still love my job – and I can still afford my mortgage.” And it’s not just through her well-roundedness that Osthus shows her Eph background. She has put her Williams education to good use – she speaks five languages and has used them all during her act.

“I met Sean Penn, and he just spent some time in East Africa so I spoke Swahili with him,” she said. “I speak French, German, English, of course, and I studied in Bali for a semester and east Africa for a semester. Both are very, very rusty but we had a whole bunch of sailors from Indonesia and I was able to talk to them, and a missionary dude from east Africa.”

Am I a bad father for hoping that my daughters don’t become strippers, for Indonesian sailors or anyone else? I can’t come up with the exact culture reference, but isn’t it the father’s job to “keep his daughter off the pole?”

Her old classmates have been supportive as well, and many have come in to see her act. “They knew I was a wild card, and I think most have been in to see me dance,” Osthus said. “They’re always shocked by how normal it is – I just happen to be unclothed and dancing.”

Even her father, the preacher, supports her now. “He was initially very upset and disappointed, but I’ve taught classes on it and even the philosophy of it,” Osthus said. “It’s my pulpit when I get on that stage – he gets that. It’s so not about the sex, it’s about performance and I love it.”

A good father’s love is unconditional.

I have exchanged e-mails with both Shalit and Osthus. Best to both during the holiday season.

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