The Nun and the Stripper

by Peter McCarthy


One of the challenges of being a sweet and innocent young lad recently escaped from the iron grip of the Sisters of Occasional Mercy, is that your fellow male Aussies feel it is their duty to thrust you into a world full of adventure. It all sounds like fun, but when you start drinking alcohol you rapidly discover that:

  • You can’t last very long standing at the bar.
  • If it was fun, you can’t remember a blessed thing about it, so you missed it, anyway.
  • You may well have made an absolute fool of yourself.
  • The next morning death seems imminent.

Eventually you work it out, but sometimes not too quickly. Years can pass before you settle down. Once you have been through the trial of learning to drink, (and I have proudly reached the dizzying heights of a 2-can screamer) the next thing your “friends” decide to help you with is losing your virginity, or as it is known colloquially, ‘getting the dirty water off your chest.’

This is a hell of a lot harder than getting a beer, I can tell you.

With the hormones raging and thinking everyone else has ‘done it’ and also being clueless at reading body language, you probably do need some help to get started, but I’m afraid friends are probably the worst help you are ever going to get. In all honesty, they probably have the same level of experience as you, and are hoping to learn from your mistakes.

About this time the idea of going to a strip show pops up, though how this fits in with relating to women I don’t quite get. Sure it’s rather fun and exciting, but it’s more distraction than constructive, being about much use to your love life as was falling in love with Sister Petra back in the 5th grade.

Nonetheless, it still happens, and here is where innocence strikes again. Melbourne used to have a rather handy venue called ‘The Sandra Sands”, with a burlesque show accompanying their counter lunch. Quite handy, really, to satisfy three appetites on your lunch break, counting the beer. And in those days, I worked for Telstra, so a liquid lunch was quite acceptable. (I was just trying to fit in, mind you).

At least I was half smart. I thought I might be a target being as I was so inept with the ladies, and as I also wear glasses, (which turned out to be a handy prop for a stripper, as I was soon to discover) I cleverly placed myself halfway along the table so I wasn’t too close to the stage. Untouchable, I thought.

But as it turns out, this stripper was a cunning young lady who deftly stepped from the stage onto the table, and my specs were whipped away before I was able to defend myself. Now the gentle reader might think that this was an educational experience as the stripper held my glasses in front of various parts of her body that I was not intimately familiar with. But alas, I couldn’t see a damn thing even after I retrieved my glasses, now with a mess of fingerprints all over them.

Eventually, the exquisite humiliation was at an end well before I had my wits about me, so all the humorous comments I was to think of later came long after their chance to be uttered.

Did this help me in my continuing search for a replacement for Sister Petra?

No. She did eventually slip from first position on my list of ‘Most Wonderful Women’,

as the safer way to love ─ married life ─ developed as a very real possibility.

I still have the greatest respect for those formative nuns and strippers. Though I know life can be tough on those who choose either lifestyle, I hope their lives have been as much fun and as rewarding as mine has been.

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