The baby stripper speaks! 5 months ago I started stripping and damn it’s been an experience. I thought about keeping my job a secret to most of the world. However I’ve gotten used to being candid both on and off the screen. I’m a terrible liar and I see more harm in denying working in this industry than being honest about it. I notice the more honest I am the less opportunity there is to feel any shame around it. At this point I am fully comfortable disclosing to anyone what I do. It provides as a good filter for me weed out the folks who I’d rather not interact with.
This is how it started…
One day before Christmas Eve I walked into a strip club in Portland (my 4th ever in my life) and I started my first shift as a stripper. What the fuck was I was doing?
[this image is from NY daily news-photographer:Debbie Egan-Chin from article: Underground strip club out of Bushwick apartment run by dancers, it was an interesting read, link here ——>>> underground goddess strip club ]
I went to my first strip club in the summer of 2016. I sat there with my two friends one woman and one man. I noticed my male friend was mesmerized. He continued to trail off from our conversation with unfinished sentences. Where as my female friend and I kept a steady conversation going. I mean, I can only so many cervixes before it gets a little repetitive. At one point she said: “If my job ever doesn’t work out, I would totally do this.” while I responded with “I don’t think I could ever do this.”
However something inside of me felt liberated by the fact that she had said that out loud.
In the middle of December I was sitting in front of the TV. In between commercials I continued to look up places to go audition but I continued to chicken out and watch the sun go down. The night time rolled in and I finally made a decision to go to a trucker bar. It looked fine enough, nothing too nice, someplace where no one would have expectations of me. It was a dingy bar far away from where I live. It looked like a place where I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. I called them and they told me auditions were open until 7:00 pm. The bartender told me that the booker was a female and used to be a dancer too. She was super nice on the phone and she told me that a lot of new girls come there to dance. Nice bartender + female booker + new girl titty bar… that was all I needed to hear.
I arrived to the audition with my outfit under my clothes because I was so nervous! I don’t know what I was thinking?! What, was I going to have to stage dive onto stage and rip my clothes off? Like Clark Kent? Going from off duty stripper into Super hero Stripper? I don’t know. Needless to say I was ready for immediate birthday suit action.
The audition was painful. Awful. I wish I could have recorded it because I would love to look back at it all the time. I’d show other performers who were going through their first audition and were nervous. I’d show them and say “Yo, do not even worry there’s no way you could be any worse than this. Watch.”
The audition was two songs which doesn’t sound that long but when you’re going on stage for your first time two songs feels like an eternity. It takes me 10 seconds to take my clothes off, what the hell am I going to do with the remainder of the time?
I got my plastic leather boots on and took one step toward the stage and thought to myself I don’t think I can do this I have to leave and somehow my legs continued moving forward until I was on stage. I remember circling the pole probably about five times with my head down. When I finally looked up there were 3 people sitting there. Two customers and one of the dancers. I attempted to do some tricks but would completely bail in the midst of it and get afraid. What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck what the fuck I kept thinking to myself. Finally I did what I knew how to do. I dropped into a split. In theory this was a great idea, however, I was wearing the sticky leather boots which got stuck on the floor of the stage and made a loud screeching noise and held me in my position for a while. I mean a while. Slowly my legs managed to wiggle and wiggle and wiggle until I fell into the most ungraceful split anyone has ever seen.
I woke up stressed because I had gotten my face waxed the night before which I never do. My skin freaked out (go figure) and I had to cover it up with make up. Thus I walked into the bar 30 minutes early and the cocktail waitress said “Hi honey.” I got into the dressing room and acted like I knew how to apply make up to cover up what looked like a sunburn. I put on Fleetwood Mac’s Gypsy which would later become my morning song everytime I worked a morning shift.
My strip club is a titty bar, it’s been around a long time and it’s small. We choose the music off of a jukebox and there’s no more than 8 girls on a time. In the mornings which is what I was working initially there were no more than 3 girls.
Soon the other two dancers arrived and not much dialogue was exchanged between us. I just followed the other two girls leads and tried to keep to myself although I honestly didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. The cocktail waitress came back and told us someone had to go on stage because they were opening the bar. The enthusiastic young girl volunteered, smiling through her braces, and marched on stage.
Before I knew it I was going on stage and began to shake my butt and acted as if I knew what I was doing. By the third song I always would be naked. I wasn’t making hardly any money! It sucked. Then, one of the girls who worked there and approached me. I’ll call her R.
R said: “Honey let me ask you something. When are you taking your clothes off?”
I said: “Well by the third song I make sure I’m naked.”
R: Well here’s how I do it. I won’t take anything off for less than $5 dollars. $10 dollars I’ll take my top off, but only at the tail end of the second song and if they tip me $20 then I’ll take my bottoms off during the third song. You can tell when they’ll want to see your pussy and make sure you milk it.”
I said: “What? I didn’t know you could do that! I thought we had to get naked no matter what.”
R said: “No sweetie. The other girls here get mad because other dancers take their clothes off for so little money but I always ask them, well did you them not to do that?”
I said: “Oh my god thank you so much for telling me. So I don’t need to get naked if no one is paying me?”
R said: “Fuck no!”
I took her advice and the next set I walked off with $21 dollars. It was an amazing feeling! I was incredibly appreciative of her to take the time to explain that to me in such a sweet manner. Most dancers I’ve met since then have yelled at me when I’m doing something ‘wrong’ or something that fucks with their money.
I would change my outfits a lot when I first started. Partially because I loved wearing all the different kinds of outfits that I got. I felt like I was playing stripper dress up. It was a lot of fun for me. I think costume changes are good but not necessary. Now the outfits that I know work are what I’ll wear over and over again. This outfit below is basically my uniform.
Shockingly, asshole customers actually haven’t been as frequent of a thing. Trust me, they happen, but not as much as I thought they would. My second shift introduced me to the ‘young i want to be a thug so bad’ prick. Amongst the blue collar men with dirt stains on their hands and steak stains on their shirts were two boys with chains on and white pristine sneakers. One was wearing a sweater with an Illuminati print all over it, surprise surprise.
I began to do floor work on stage when I felt a dollar crumpled into a ball hit me in the chest. $1 fucking dollar. He proceeded to ask me to put a dollar in between my butt crack. Cute. Real cute. You think I’m putting $1 dollar in between my butt crack for your stupid ass? This was my first lesson in a cheap customer who wasn’t going to pay. Since then I’ve gotten a lot of customers like him in the sense of the guys who seem to have the least amount of money. They continued to ask me questions that were supposed to be degrading but I wasn’t entirely sure what they were even getting at so I just ignored them.
One good thing about this interaction was learning who was in control. It wasn’t them. Not today, not ever. I proceeded to basically lay on the floor and not look at them. I took my top off but I faced my back to them and didn’t show them a thing. I continued to sit on my knees facing the wall opposite them. Finally at the end of my last song a guy walked up to my rack and I rushed over to him. Just to piss the Illuminati wanksters off I took off my clothes immediately. He gave me more money than what a lap dance cost and even waited for me to return to the rack on my next set. I walked off feeling like karma had immediately instated itself.
What Club Do You Work At?
In a city that has the most strip clubs per capita (yes, even more than Las Vegas) you have a huge menu of choices to choose from. There are 54 strip clubs in Portland (curious if the number has changed in the past 2 years).
There’s Casa Diablo the vegan strip club, Devil’s Point where the performers seem like they’re circus performers, Kit Kat club where the sets are as much theatrical as sexy, or Acropolis, a 30 year old club, that’s partially owned by a cattle farmer and offers their customers $7.00 steaks. I love working in Portland because if I don’t like a club I find solace in thinking, well I have 49 more to choose from.
Performers will say “What other clubs do you work at?” or “What club do you work at?” When someone is asking about other clubs they’re trying to get a feel of what other options are out there and rightfully so. If there is money to be made wouldn’t you want to know?
When someone is new I’ve noticed that girls will ask “What club do you work at?” Kind of like, “I haven’t seen you here before, what’s your primary club.” Or, what I have labeled as a ‘home club’. To me, a home club is where you primarily work. Money is good there, you like the staff, the aesthetic, the vibe, or you’re generally comfortable there. Now, the last three are bonuses. A home club ultimately is where you’re making the most $$$. Again, this is my own personal definition.
Now my titty bar is different than other places I’ve worked so far. The girls I work with are either really nice or civil. The staff is kind as well. Everyone calls each other ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’, except the male staff, they just call me by my name, Plum. It’s super old! I hear it’s been around for years and years and years. Someone told me one of the cocktail waitresses has worked there for 28 years! She even has her own parking spot.
The Stripper Super Hero
To do this job successfully you must be a body builder, have a master’s in psychology, and be the best car salesperson on the lot. I watch women who make it look so fluid. For every remark, statement or question a customer has, the best strippers always have a quick witted comeback they throw back like snapping a whip. It’s actually incredibly impressive in my opinion.
You want to be fit enough to not only fit into your outfits and feel confident but you also want to be able to keep up with your stage sets, pull yourself up on a pole using your abs, spin around, land in spilts and all while doing it in 8 inch heels (mine are 7 inches), and if that isn’t enough you then have to get off of stage and wrangle in lap dances which is not only a physical feat of seeking out your prey but even more so psychological.
You begin to get a sixth sense around people who notice you. You can feel it. They don’t even have to look at you but you can feel their attention on you. You figure out what they like. Do they want you to talk dirty or do they want you to listen to their problems? Do they want to see you naked as quick as possible or are they in it for the tease? Do they want you to be their girlfriend (and actually believe you might leave with them) or do they just want you to be bright and bubbly and get their minds off of what ever is happening in their lives that they are trying to escape from?
Whatever it is. It’s your job to figure it out within seconds of meeting them. You want to read them psychologically then manipulate them into paying you. Sound hard? Good because it fucking is. I thought it would all be about taking your clothes off. Honey, if that was the truth I would have made a lot of than $3 dollars on my stage set with my clothes off. Trust me, it’s a lot less about your naked body, less about your dance moves even, and more so about your ability to engage them. Don’t get me wrong. Their preferred engagement might be seeing naked and if that’s the case you’re in luck. You simply do your slowest most sensual strip tease, show them a titty or your butt and your golden.
However, the girls I notice make the most money are the ones who are good at sales. The ones who can read a person real quick and manage to pitch their ‘product’ to them just right. Once hooked they reel them into the private dance room for multiple dances. Just like anything in life, keep it moving. If someone ‘rejects’ you, it has nothing to do with you or your self worth. You are the product, and sometimes people are looking for something else. Aesthetics and this persona ARE NOT YOU. Remember this is a character. Oh and HUSTLERS, I.have.respect.for.YOU! I will say, I’ve never had a vocation where I am in sales. I’ve never had to be so relentless in pushing my ‘product’. It’s a challenge I’ve been enjoying.
I love doing it. I love dancing and I love taking off my clothes. Sometimes when I’m on stage I just look at myself in the mirror and I’ll think “Damn you look good. You are so damn beautiful. You have such a sexy body.” I really truly will. It’s given me back so much about my self esteem and the way in which I respect my body by keeping it nourish that I don’t feel any shame around what I am doing. I also don’t carry around the shame of how other people view me.
So far what I can tell you are the pro’s outweigh the cons, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I have to say, I do love walking into my bar and having all the staff greet me as honey or sweetie. I do love being able to eat lunch naked. I love hearing the funny stories from my coworkers. I do like how the perspective on my body has changed. At the end of the day, it’s a job, and a job that pays well giving me the freedom to navigate through life with a hell of a lot more fluidity and convenience. Until next time…