My First Naked Stripper Dance Was From a 14 year-old




Jeff and Daniel sit sipping espressos and smoking Cuban cigars. The number of espresso cups and the length of the cigars let us know we are joining the conversation already in progress.

DANIEL: What was the question?

JEFF: I don’t know.

DANIEL: What was the question?

JEFF: I don’t know!

DANIEL: Come on man!

JEFF: I don’t know. It was something about– the question was, “Do you remember anything about Bible School or Summer Camp?”

DANIEL: And what was your reaction to the question?

JEFF: Well, of course I didn’t want to answer it!

DANIEL: And did you?

JEFF: About four days later and right at the last minute before I had to read my answer to my partner.

DANIEL: Partner?

JEFF: The man I’m working through this workbook with.

DANIEL: And what’s the workbook?

JEFF: It’s a fearless and searching inventory around underearning. It’s helped a lot of people get from where I was to where I want to go.

DANIEL: Sounds good.

JEFF: I’m learning a lot.

DANIEL: Like what?

JEFF: Huh?

DANIEL: Like what sort of stuff are you learning?

JEFF: Oh! Well– that most underearners are not lazy, they’re people with invisible barriers– and those invisible barriers were often installed by traumatic events in the past. And if they were installed, they can be uninstalled.

DANIEL: Isn’t it better just to let the past stay in the past?

JEFF: (smirking) Did Giggles Asshat ask you to ask me that?

DANIEL: (confused) Who?

JEFF: Nevermind. It’s a joke. (pause) Look, yes, keeping oneself continually re-stimulated, re-traumatized by rehearsing traumatic events over and over in the mind–essentially hanging out there– is contraindicated. However, if the shrapnel is in there and the shrapnel is toxic, one is never going to really heal until it’s excised. And if the shrapnel’s going to be removed, it has to be located first.

DANIEL: I don’t know, man. There are a lot of people who’d say it’s never a good idea to go reopening a scar.

JEFF: Yeah, and those are the kind of people you don’t want babysitting your niece. You sure you haven’t been talking to the Chihuahua?


JEFF: Look man. It’s a scary, ugly world out there sometimes. People do some pretty fucked up things– things they think the only way to not be consumed by them is to try and pretend they never happened. Those are dangerous people; stay away from them. They’ve not done their work. They make it bad for people around them– oftentimes in ways they’re not even aware of. They hurt innocents. They are– well, they’re sick and sad people– best thing is to steer clear.

DANIEL: Wow, sounds like you’re serious.

JEFF: I’ve had enough brushes with the “anti-scab-pickers” in my life to see what they’re capable of. Do yourself a favor, Daniel. When you meet one, run away. (changing the subject) But let’s change the subject. I’m starting to get the creeps. So the question was to remember moments in Bible School and/or Summer Camp that were hard or difficult– and of course I didn’t want to– well, should I just read you what a wrote?


 Jeff opens his MacBook Pro. The light spills out illuminating his face in the dark coffee house.

JEFF: (reading) In our church community, people were big believers in disciplining the children. It is a hard culture that prides itself on strict adherence to their idea of what is right and to practice quick and very firm “correction” when a kid gets out of line at all. I say all that to cover a thousand different situations that would qualify as an answer to this question. My authentic self had to stay hidden most of the time. Sometimes he came out anyway despite my efforts to stifle him. I celebrate that part of me now, the part that knew if he got too loud or flamboyant, bad things were coming his way.
As far as Christian Summer Camp goes, I went to I.C.Y.C., Indian Creek Youth Camp and because, of course, I was surrounded by other kids, that meant being subjected to ridicule and criticism. I wasn’t like I was supposed to be and was constantly reminded of it. I remember going into the old arts and crafts room they didn’t use any more. It was down by the creek. Some boy had written on the wall “Queer of the Year” with a list of a few names underneath. It was one of the first times I read or heard my people be referred to by any name. I honestly don’t remember if my molester’s name was on there. He was one of the counselors. I feel sad, disempowered and scared when I think of that. While I understand now that it didn’t make me gay, I think it did help to set some dangerous and limiting precedents around sex, namely that something has to be hidden, secret, dangerous, and aberrant to excite me as much as my first exposures to sex and sexuality did.

There were many scenes at Indian Creek that are stuck in my mind, scenes that included the other boys laughing and pointing. One that pops to mind is being in the Ponderosa Cabin. I was putting something in my suitcase on the floor and I heard all the other boys laughing. It was that form of laughter that was becoming very familiar to me. I looked up and Scotty Myers was dancing around naked. And he was dancing around naked and looking at me! I must have turned eight shades of purple. Soon, he was dancing over me and dragging his cock and balls through my hair. I never felt empowered to do anything in situations like this– so I did what I always would do. I just knelt there and let him do it. I’m crying while I type this because I do have deep compassion for the sweet, sensitive and very good-hearted kid I was. I badly needed an older boy or man, some version of what I am today in fact, to step in, take me out of that situation, walk down a path alone with me, and in a very appropriate way (like what this 49 year-old version of me would do) help the little guy to understand what was going on, around him, inside him, and to him. We could talk about sexual attraction. He could tell me or ask me anything. He could tell me that even though he had been horrified by what Scotty had just done to him, he had, in another way, found Scotty very beautiful and had experienced a peculiar, exciting, and new feeling when the older boy did what he did. I could explain power disparity to him. I could explain how inappropriate and dangerous it is in sexual interactions and relationships. I could explain to him how and why what the counselor, Dale Palmer, what Scotty Myers, and all the dozens of version of them, were doing to him was wrong. I could help him understand that, even though he was growing up in a peculiar part of the world where people held bizarre ideas about sex and sexuality, that he was good and there was nothing wrong with him and that one day he would famously help other gay kids get through shit similar to what he was having to endure.

With regard to underearning, it is important to acknowledge that the main feeling behind all this, the feeling that was installed by all this trauma is essential unworthiness. It is the feeling that makes stepping up and asking for what I want and need professionally and otherwise, next to impossible. (stops reading, looks up at Daniel) And that’s all I got.

DANIEL: That’s a lot. Thanks for sharing it.

JEFF: Thanks for hearing it. (to camera) See y’all tomorrow.