One of the problems with nonfiction authors is that they don't often write as many books as popular fiction authors do. Frankly, William Langewiesche couldn't write enough books to keep me happy, although he is starting to put together a lengthier backlist.
On the other hand, I sometimes find authors like Lynn Snowden. I don't know where I heard about it, but something possessed me to request her book Nine Lives: From Stripper to Schoolteacher, My Yearlong Odyssey in the Workplace. I brought it home and perused it slightly, thinking I'd look it over, find out some interesting tidbits about stripping*, and take it back. Before I knew it, I'd read the whole thing by reading a chapter or so every night.
I really enjoyed this book. An early example of "participatory journalism," a la George Plimpton and Barbara Ehrenreich, it's also a surprisingly good one. I loved her chapter on cocktail waitressing in Las Vegas (which turned out to be her hardest job, as well as one of the hardest to get), as well as her chapter on being a housewife, which she also found exhausting. But the chapter on stripping was still my favorite, precisely because she gave a very forthright accounting of her reactions to her customers. I particularly enjoyed this:
"Taking my clothes off in front of strangers turned out to be pretty easy to do. It's walking by a construction site that's a hundred times worse than disrobing in a strip joint. Men are much more cowed and intimidated in front of strippers than they are on the street. They're on our turn in a strip club, and they don't want to do something wrong or they'll be thrown out." (p. 186.)
I really enjoyed the other strippers (in New Orleans) teaching Snowden how to size up the customers for how much money can be had, and for pointing out that therapists make hundreds of dollars an hour (which, they argue, they are, as most guys just want to talk about themselves); I also enjoyed this:
"One guy was smiling at me the whole time I was onstage, but never came up to tip. After I finished I went over to him and asked if he enjoyed the show. 'Yes, I deed,' he says. Oh, shit, he's French, I think. Bad tippers as a rule. 'I like ze girls who smile.'
'If you liked it, you should have given me a tip,' I say.
'Ees zat why you were smiling at me?' he says indignantly. 'To get ze dollar. Eez zat why you are doing zees? For ze money?'
Yes, you fucking moron." (p. 201.)
Finally, finally, a case where women can say, "Boys, she's just not that into you."
My question is: where is Lynn Snowden now? This book was published in 1994, and she published another book, Looking for a Fight, in 2000, but since then...I can't find any other books she's written. Please write another one, Ms. Snowden, even if you don't want to write any more about stripping.