I've never had a really unusual job — I was a fast-food worker at a few points in my life, and once I sold stuff on eBay for a pawn shop. But I was curious about what interesting, bizarre or unusual jobs the women I know have had in the past, and when I asked around, I was not disappointed.
"My stripper gig was obviously my weirdest," shares my childhood friend, Ellen, who now works as an attorney. "I did it when I got divorced the first time and was a single mom. The club I worked at had a different porn 'star' come in every week; they would do a day show and two night shows. I had to work days one week, and I didn't have a sitter, so Ginger Lynn and her bodyguard babysat Tanner — took him to the beach, out for ice cream and to McDonald's — while I worked! I hated the job so much but would get through it by thinking of the talking Barney doll Tanner wanted. He was in a big Barney phase, and so I would literally sing the songs in my head to get through my shift. I learned a lot about men, women, sex, porn and money." She was also able to use what she learned then as a life lesson for her son later in his life, and she taught him that he should always respect everyone, no matter what he or she does for a living — because everyone has a backstory.
Jenna, who lives in Missouri, was an Easter Bunny one year at her local country club. The bonus for her was that she didn't have to wear some heavy, frightening and suffocating mask — and she also didn't scare the crap out of the kids. "I wore makeup," she tells me. "Whiskers, nose, lips and eyes, and I didn't use the white 'clown' face paint. I had ears, and I wore the fuzzy suit. The kids weren't afraid — I had zero tears, thanks to my light face makeup I believe. The little ones were in awe of me! It was a special experience that I am happy I got to have."
She isn't the only one who had an unusual job that required dressing up. "I had a one-time gig as a clown," shares Aubrey. "I juggled and made a lot of balloon animals. It was fun to take on the role of someone that most people love. The kids had some great ideas for balloon animals/creations — turtles, butterflies and cars were my favorites. It always feels good to do something that brings smiles to the faces of both kids and adults."
Vanessa had a job on an Alaska slime line, and although it only lasted three days, it made a lasting impression on her. What is a slime line? She says, "You clean fish. It's called a slime line because the fish get slimy — you have people yelling at you to hurry up and clean so the fish won't fall on the floor." She notes that there was more yelling to ensure you didn't spill the eggs, and then she talked about chopping off fish heads, cutting them open and pulling out the innards. "It was freezing, and my clothes smelled," she explains. "I hated fish before, and I still dislike them."
Ashley tells me that when she was younger, she worked as a body collector. "I worked through a company that would call us to pick up bodies," she explains. "Could be old age, murder, accident. Then we would take it to a funeral home or the morgue. I am very interested in funeral directing. I was very intrigued. It was sad but very neat. I found it exciting."
Another childhood friend of mine worked as a pediatric hospice nurse. "All I ever heard from people that found out what I did was, "Oh my goodness, I could never do that.' I felt that they deserved dignity and comfort from pain just like adults, but mostly I was there to comfort and support the parents. Used almost every aspect of nursing teaching, and it was my most rewarding, if not unusual, job."
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