According to the prestigious online network, Wallpaper News, the term "stripper" can be defined as "A gel or liquid that is applied to walls to facilitate the removal of old wallpaper."
Oddly, I find it difficult to accept this as a an accurate description of my working life. At the same time, however, as I remove my clothes, pin my hair up and check my body for any embarrassing toilet paper residue of an average working day, the last thing on my mind is any form of "strip tease" or "exotic dance" (that is, of course, if I am not letting my mind wander to potential evening activities for the mutual enjoyment of my hubby and I).
I'm more likely to be giving myself a little kick in the bum for being slightly late - once again - and missing the chance to do a little light stretching in preparation for the marathon of stillness that lies before me.
Throwing on my bath robe and a pair of flip flops and cursing any chilliness that might be causing annoying goosepimples to crop up all over my arms, I make my way down the hall towards my "office" which - considering my lateness - is abuzz with tired morning faces, chatting with each other, desperately sipping at the final traces of their morning coffees, and preparing their work areas.
I step up to the podium, take one last hopeful glance at the clock as if it might be nice today and give me a couple of extra minutes. Having ascertained that this is not the case, I remove my shoes and robe, turn my head away from the clock so that I can see out the large windows onto the (rather dreary) asphalted carpark, place my feet into the little feet shaped outlines on the podium, and settle into position.
Two and half hours, four short stretch breaks, 10 white cars, 7 red, 3 green and 8 pedestrians later, I am handed my robe and I am allowed to wander around for a bit, chatting to the artists about their little versions of me and - sometimes - what they had for breakfast. Rather stiffly, I make my way back down the hall to the door marked "Modellrum" ('Model Room' in English).
Once or twice, as I change into my casuals, I have found myself pondering the relative absurdity that I spend most of my paid working hours completely naked and a hell of alot more time naked in public than most people could ponder even in the worst of their "walk-into-a-room-full-of-people-and-suddenly-realise-you-have-forgotten-to-wear-pants" dreams.
Certainly, there are situations where nakedness is perfectly acceptable, if not a necessity. Showering for instance. Sex, also, becomes rather complex in the absence of some degree of nudity. Even in some public domains, people are expected to be somewhat unclothed; nude beaches, bath houses, gym change rooms, etc. But, still there is a strange wall or fence or other form of metaphorical stop point that evokes various reactions from those to whom I choose disclose my current proffesion, none of which, might I add is "oh, that's nice".
I have heard everything from "you do realise that makes you a prostitute...'cause you're selling your body" to "AWESOME! How much does it pay and where do I sign up!". Most people are interested to know how I manage to stand for hours on end with a room full of people staring at my naked body. And, while I'm more worried about what would happen if my mind suddenly ran out of interesting things for me to think about to pass the time, I can see their point. I can't say that I'm perfectly happy with my body and, like most women, I suffer from the unfortunate result of modern society's portrayal of the female specimin, a poor body image. But to tell you the truth, after about 4 seconds, any uncomfortable feelings dissipate and I can even forget that I'm naked. It's just a job, like any other, except with more bare skin.
For want of a better way to conclude today's rant, I will say: