Journalist Shocked — Shocked! — to Learn That Newspaper's Society Writer Is Actually an 'Active Stripper'S

Residents of Houston, ready your pearls for the clutching: it turns out that one of the city's newspapers had in its employ a woman who, while spending her days writing about society goings-on, was spending her nights taking her clothes off for a living. And the writer's secret life as an "active stripper" was not-really outed by none other than a writer for a rival newspaper. It's just like how the song goes: The Hester Prynnes are full of sins! (Clap clap clap clap) Deep in the heart! Of Texas!

The strippery stripper of a stripmonster is Houston Chronicle writer Sarah Tressler, and the finger wagging strippleblower is Richard Connelly of The Houston Press, who finds Tressler's whole schtick entirely inappropriate. In fact, in addition to her Chronicle column, she's been tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging under the barely-guarded pseudonym "The Angry Stripper."

Connelly's scarlet A smackdown of Tressler's extracurricular activities oscillate between ridiculing what he sees as a transparent attempt by Tressler to snag a book deal or make a movie about her life (because what kind of shameless writer aims to get something as filthy as a book deal? The very nerve.) and questioning whether or not it's appropriate for someone who's a stripping stripface to be writing a society column, because strippers can only be strippers and they can't be anything else except strippers. They shouldn't even really be talking to normal non-strippers because they're unclean, you know. It's all that bronzer. Clouds the lungs and the judgment.

According to Connelly, her coworkers don't like Tressler's stripprosy either,

Her fellow Chronicle employees have found out and they're furious. Furious because she barely bothers to conceal her identity and they're worried about the reaction from the "ladies who lunch" when they inevitably find out that they've been hosting an active stripper at their benefits. And furious because she "flaunts" her "stripper money" around the office in the form of expensive designer clothes and handbags. And furious because the Chron staff feels like she's just using them as fodder for a future roman a clef.

"Active stripper" is sort of like being a "card-carrying communist." Or "practicing Catholic."

To borrow a phrase from turn-of-the century strip club philosopher Juvenile, let's back that ass up for a second. What, exactly, has Tressler done wrong here? Want a book deal for having a kind of nutty life? Having a kind of nutty life in the hopes of snagging a book deal? Hell, whatever gets you out of Houston should be fine by anyone. Is the problem here that she's writing about people who are uncomfortable with strippers while herself being a stripper without disclosing to people beforehand that she's a stripper? Is the issue that she's not ashamed enough of the fact that she makes money by taking her clothes off? Does Sarah Tressler have dangerously low levels of shame and discomfort with the way she's chosen to express her sexuality and/or make money? I was unaware that the state of Texas had a stripper disclosure law that required exotic dancers to inform all non-strip club conversational partners at least 24 hours in advance that they were, in fact strippers.

Stripping is legal. It's something that Tressler apparently chose to do on her own accord, and it seems like she's enjoying doing it, and writing about it in an angry voice. I fail to see the hypocrisy here. She's not having a gay extramarital affair while running for public office on an anti-gay "family values" agenda. She's not chairing AA meetings while completely lit up on cocaine. She's not a journalist writing a whole big column about how shitty it is for another journalist to want to make more money than most journalists make.

Conelly's prudish takedown of Tressler deserves, at most, a shrug coupled with an eyeroll, and maybe a slight head shake. So Sarah Tressler's a stripper? So fucking what?

Sarah Tressler: Houston Chronicle Society Writer by Day, Stripper By Night [Houston Press]