The Nerd, The Stripper, and the High School Reunion

9 years ago

Back in high school, I was a hairy-legged feminist who swore that I would never become ensnared by that most commonly deployed tool of the patriarchy, marriage. At my ten year reunion, which was five years ago already, I was a hairy-legged feminist who brought along my husband of four years. This is why I was so excited when BlogHer CE Karen Walrond brought my attention to a woman who hired a stripper to impersonate her at her ten year reunion, I rubbed my hands together with greedy glee. Ah, the potential for interesting explorations about body image, proper roles for women, and all the good stuff, I thought. Oh, it is so much more.

Let's go to ABC News for the background:

When the invitation arrived in the mail, Andrea Wachner said she was "aghast." Attend her 10-year high school reunion? Never.

Walking into a roomful of past acquaintances can elicit nail-biting anxiety, especially when the No. 1 question on everyone's lips is: "What do you do?" Wachner, a freelance comedy writer, was no exception.

So, rather than attend her reunion, Wachner, who is now 31, sent someone else in her place, a stripper, and made a documentary about it.

"I Remember Andrea" wasn't picked up by the film festivals this go-around, but Wachner did find a manager who took interest in her project. They are shopping it around as a reality TV show or a narrative feature.

One might notice that Andrea is now 31, meaning, as she explains on her blog

I shot this in August of ‘05. 3.5+ years ago. It takes time to make a movie all on your own, people. Especially when you up and move across the country in the middle and lose your incredible editor, the estimable Chris Guido in the process. The first six months of post were also a technomologmical nightmare. But the six-minute trailer currently going “viral” like the pig flu has been up on youtube for a long while. I guess I’m just that far ahead of the media! They can’t keep up with me.

Wachner also blogs at SuperVegan. OK, so Andrea is pretty much my hero right now. She's hilarious, she has causes, she's creating opportunities for herself. I am not the only one finds her inspiring. Susan Gunelius at Women on Business wrote:

The lesson to learn is this — know who you are, what your strengths are, and then think of ways you can combine the two in a unique way. You never know what might happen when you focus on your strengths and making yourself happy. Women don’t do that enough.

At 40 Whatever, Stefania/CityMama explained why she had no interest in attending her 20th year high school reunion, but:

I think I'm going to have to go into hiding before the next reunion rolls around. Maybe Facebook will be dead by then. But if I had considered going, I mean, if it had crossed my mind for more than a millisecond, I totally would have sent a stripper in my place like Andrea Wachner did.

Maybe I'll do that for my 50th.

Here's another aspect of the story that really interests me: most of the people blogging about Wachner and her stripper-reunion project are men. Where are the feminists on this? Seriously, this is rife with interesting ideas. Andrea is a self-described former "drama nerd" who didn't fit into her wealthy school. Cricket, the stripper who posed as Andrea at the reunion, explained that she looked different due to plastic surgery and that she stripped to support herself through grad school. Two great female stereotypes in one: the former-nerd-turned-hot-chick and the chick-with-brains-who-has-to-use-her-body-to-get-by. The whole idea is brilliantly subversive! Maybe I am the only one interested in this? Probably. You know how us hairy-legged young feminists turn out...

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants. Her first book, Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, is about unusual things to see and do in New York City, which is a far cry from the fancy suburbs of Chicago in which she grew up as a feminist nerd who will probably not attend her 15 year high school reunion for logistical reasons.

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