I was a stripper for five years when I was young, from about 18 – 23 or 24. It was an eye opening experience and one I wouldn’t change for the world (except maybe saving some of my money). I don’t really believe in regret. I think everything you do – good or bad – makes you who you are and being a stripper wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was often a very fun thing. I met lots of people (some of whom are still my close friends) and, if I wasn’t a stripper, I never would have met Jared, my now fiancé (back then he was a kitchen hand then bartender at one of the clubs I worked at).
Nudity aside, stripping is a study of the human race. You meet people from all walks of life. People always assume you meet heaps of dickheads but I honestly didn’t. Sure, there were a few but not as many as you’d think considering the sheer number of people you meet. I found that most people were just shy or not good at talking to women. Of a weekend, it became more about fun and partying but the midweek vibe was definitely more about keeping people company.
The one thing that struck me most while I was dancing was that the girl who made the most money was never who you thought it was. As a newb, I remember worrying that I wasn’t the prettiest girl in the room. My breasts were small. I was brown skinned. A brunette, not blonde. I wasn’t even close to what I imagined everyone’s ideal stripper to be. Boy, was I wrong. Sure, looks are important but not as much as you’d think. The prettiest girls didn’t always make the most money, sometimes not even close. The girls who did well were confident. They could talk. You don’t keep a guy in a private show for hours and hours on end with your amazing dancing skills. You have to be able to hold up your end of the conversation (and sometimes both ends, if the guy wasn’t so great at it).
And don’t talk to me about sexual favours because Sydney has a very strict table dancing only, no touching policy (as in you’re dancing on a mini-stage while the guy sits on a couch and watches). Melbourne has lap dancing but the guys still aren’t allowed to touch you (for the most part, they often attempt an occasional leg or arm graze). Six of the seven places I worked at had cameras in the private rooms so you literally couldn’t get away with any hanky panky, even if you wanted to. The seventh place was a different story, you pretty much did whatever you wanted and it was up to each girl to decide what she was comfortable with.
Anyways, back to what I was saying about the popular girls. In some cases, you might look at them and think, “How the FUCK are they so popular?” Sorry, I know that sounds a bit cunty but it’s true. In an industry where most people assume you’re just a gyrating piece of meat on a pole, your personality actually has a lot to do with your success. Looking pretty will only get you so far.
And so it is with life, I think. Women walk a double edged sword. Society values our looks over all else but women that have that and nothing more are scorned. Women who have brains and no beauty are overlooked or pitied. Women with both are a threat (who can make a shit tonne of money if they’re willing to get nude – or just apply their skills and intelligence anywhere really). I’m not quite sure how I’ve ended up so philosophical when I started out writing a post about my stripping days but oh well. I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.
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