January 9, 2008

Of Science, Banks, and Lap Dancers

carmen%2Belectra4.jpgGeoffrey Miller, assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, is hot on the tenure track with his new paper, Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?. (PDF HERE)

"To see whether estrus was really "lost" during human evolution (as researchers often claim), we examined ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by professional lap dancers working in gentlemen's clubs. Eighteen dancers recorded their menstrual periods, work shifts, and tip earnings for 60 days on a study web site. A mixed-model analysis of 296 work shifts (representing about 5300 lap dances)

showed an interaction between cycle phase and hormonal contraception use. Normally cycling participants earned about US$335 per 5-h shift during estrus, US$260 per shift during the luteal phase, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. By contrast, participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrous earnings peak. These results constitute the first direct economic evidence for the existence and importance of estrus in contemporary human females, in a real-world work setting."
The meat of the article varies between basic information
("Dancers in these clubs perform topless but not bottomless; law requires them to wear underwear, bikinis, or similar garments to cover the pubis.)
way-too much-information
( "...menstruating dancers can wear tampons (with strings clipped short or tucked up) and change them often during heavy-flow days, without revealing any visual signs of menstruation.)
the cluelessness of researchers information
(We believe that this brief mention of possible cycle effects on tip earnings in the consent form did not bias participant responses in any particular direction.)
and "your-tenure-is-assured" titillating information
(" Dancers typically wear very little perfume, but they often have breast implants, dye their head hair, trim their pubic hair, shave their legs and underarms, and adopt a "stage name" different from their real first name. They typically do regular aerobic and resistance exercise to maintain a fit, lean body shape.")
And while it is true that lap-dancers who weigh north of 200 pounds with excessive body hair do not exactly thrive in the trade -- or so I am told by reliable sources -- the concept of a club devoted to hefty dancers is not utterly out of the question in the age of the Internet. Perhaps it might be called, Brunhilde's; with special poles and harnesses installed to prevent unfortunate accidents.

Although, taken as a whole, Professor Miller's study is the finest example of science porn in many years, it seems to me to be deeply flawed. It shares the basic flaw of lap dancing in that it lacks depth. It also fails to look beyond the lap of the dancer and into the needs of the dancer. Any man who has patronized these establishments, as have many of my own team of crack researchers, will tell you that the patron's needs and the dancer's needs are not, shall we say, co-terminus even if at the same time they are not mutually-exclusive. Indeed, the critical relationship between the two may be given with a simple Venn diagram:


As a close friend of mine (who has made a very extensive and long term study of lap dancers) notes, "You can't really get close to the truth about these women for much less than $400 per night. These nerds are woefully underfunded." As for the "cycles" of lap dancers, he notes, "I see the effect of their cycles every month and have for years. But it doesn't revolve around estrus but around when mortgage payments are due. I always know that's happening because I get calls from them asking me to come in. The fact that they all ask around the same time has to do with the bank and not the moon."

In other current cutting-edge scientific research, boffins have discovered that Gay Men Navigate In A Similar Way To Women. The investigation was performed at Queen Mary University in London.

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Posted by Vanderleun at January 9, 2008 8:17 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I understand that this research grew out of some of the pioneering work of Elmore James, on the precise conditions which encourage a woman to "shake her moneymaker" and "roll her activator." Nor should we neglect Big Joe Turner's important research into assuring a good catch of minnows down at the crawdad hole.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at January 9, 2008 9:45 AM

Speaking of Joe Turner -- and I don't mean to dominate the thread -- but isn't this researcher more like a one-eyed cat peepin' in a seafood store? Or perhaps a Mississippi bullfrog sittin' on a hollow stump?

Or, conversely, should Joe Turner have sung,

I'm like a biology professor
who studys strippers in pumps
I got so many women,
I don't know which way to jump

Posted by: gagdad Bob at January 9, 2008 10:57 AM

Gee, it only took the Prof 5300 lap dances to find out they're crazy on the rag. Whatever he's smoking, I want some.

Posted by: rexrs at January 9, 2008 1:12 PM

Smells Like Teen Spirit.

I'm in Albuquerque: I'm certain I've been to those strip clubs. There is a good chance I unknowingly participated in this experiment as a, um, 'donor'....

Good for me!

Posted by: Gray at January 9, 2008 1:25 PM

Next NIH grant will take them to Chippendale's.

Posted by: Fausta at January 9, 2008 2:00 PM

Hey, Fausta - how does one get to be a part of that research team? ;)

Posted by: Julie c at January 9, 2008 10:00 PM

Senator Proxmire, where are you now that we need you? Perhaps a new award is needed--a Golden Dildo?

Posted by: bill at January 10, 2008 10:06 AM

We all owe a debt of grattitude to these tireless researchers who risked their financial stability, to say nothing of their epidermus
(friction dances) for the benefit of mankind. Is there no goverment research grant available for these selfless pioneers?

Posted by: flannelputz at January 10, 2008 9:21 PM
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