So, to clear the air, when I say entertainer… I do mean “stripper.” I was a dancer for a little under two years because I had to take advantage of the “easy” money and “flexible” schedule. It just made sense but I am 1000% a different person walking out than I was walking in.
Walking in I was excited and giddy! Nervous for sure but excited for the money and people “making it rain” for me. Walking out, I wish I had never stepped foot in a club and although I love performing and dancing, it is a whole lot more than just physical looks and dancing.
Before I start I want to disclose that every country or state has different laws about touching and precautions that take place. In particular, where I live, not much law enforcement is in place. I have worked in about 5 clubs (which isn’t a lot) and all are different, but similar in many ways.
But lets get started…
You don’t need to have the perfect body to be a dancer. I have seen dancers with all types of bodies. Men straight up are attracted to one thing and it’s confidence. However, if you go in thinking men don’t care about appearances without being 100% confident in yourself, it can cause some severe body dysmorphia. When I first started dancing I made good money because I was the new girl. A shiny new toy everyone wanted to test out. What could they get away with? How could they take advantage of me? My confidence skyrocketed. It took about two months before the newness wore off and my confidence hit rock bottom. New girls had arrived and they were “prettier,” “sexier,” or “better dancers.”
I started comparing my body to the other women and I was scared to get on stage after or before a girl that was “better” than me. How could I compete with her? But the truth is, if a guy is attracted to you, he is attracted to you for something that the other girls don’t have. Something I had to learn was beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Because while yes there were very beautiful girls that danced, there were some questionable girls (in my opinion) that were rocking the job better than I was. They were confident in themselves and it showed. Everyone can see when you’re not confident and it affects how you think, move and talk. If you can’t tell already, I have two beautiful kids that “destroyed,” my body. I tried to cover that on stage because I felt that it wasn’t good to look at but all that was translated to the men in the club was that I wasn’t confident in my skin and it affected even more what I thought of myself. I wasn’t making money and it wasn’t because of my body but my lack of confidence.
Depending on what club you work at, the type of money you make is different. There are some clubs that girls make all their money on stage and the pole work is their primary focus. In some other clubs, private dances is where girls put in their hard work. Also it depends on the shift a girl decides to work. Day shift is a lot more laid back where men come in during lunch and talk to a girl a while before going to get a dance. Night shift is more of a party night life and everyone is talking and dancing, money flying everywhere. I worked in a very laid back club as a day shift girl. Therefore, private dances were a huge part of my job. As I mentioned before, every state has different laws and how they much they enforce the law is really up to the dancer. When a new girl shows up, some men will try to test her out and see how far a girl is willing to go. Many managers don’t really enforce the “no touching,” rule and may even encourage that behavior.
Anyways, after so many private dances in a day, coming come to two small children that needed their mother for love and affection was very hard for me. I feel very guilty about it but there were some days where I would shrug them off because I didn’t want to be touched after being touched all day. Hands on my thighs, butt and breast and then constantly being tugged on my babies. It became very hard to want to come home.
How I Viewed Men and Dating
This is a mixture of my job and lack of time to go out without my children. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say, I have zero time for myself. Right now, in my new apartment, is the first time I have had the chance to sleep in my own room, KID FREE, in five years. Another reason I loved dancing so much was because as a teen, I was very reserved. I never partied. I was never the cool kid and then I had my first baby straight out of high school. This job gave me the opportunity to “party,” and make money! It was great, until it wasn’t. The only men I ever had contact with were men from the club. I had been single for two years (three now) and I needed… well, sex so who else could I possibly meet? About 7 months in, 1 month at a new club, I met a man and we just “clicked,” got a long great and he wasn’t super pervy besides being at the club. We exchanged numbers and started talking, seeing each other outside of the club… the works. About 6 months in after little facebook search (another story: why didn’t I look before?), I found that he had a girlfriend the whole time. There were little instances that were starting to make sense. So since then, men from the club were off limits, no matter how “genuine,” they seemed.
Besides him, I had tried my hand at dating sites and such, with no luck. I am very honest, to a fault, and told the “men,” I would date about my job. It wasn’t long before these boys would start commenting how “hot,” it was or how “sex must be awesome, because you know how to move your body.” I was a sex object to them. Some guys would form other opinions and assume the worst. That I was after their money, or would get jealous and call me horrible names. I was more than just my job, and no one could understand that.
Now, I still work in a club, but as a waitress. I still have to deal with men trying to touch me, but I have a little* more control. However, if a man touches me and I slap his hand away and tell him to pay me, the damage is still done. He has still touched me. I am literally repulsed by men. A lot of the men in the club are married, or in a “committed,” relationship. And yes, these girls are working and some men understand that. It is EXTREMELY RARE where you find a man that goes in, gets one dance and leaves immediately, after not even touching the girl and completely respects her – sitting on his hands and the whole nine yards. My biggest fear in dating is my partner going to a strip club, because while yes, its just a job, some men think these women are genuinely interested in them and it is potentially dangerous to their (real life) relationship. Personally, most of the men that asked me for sex or other extra’s for money, came from married men, and some girls don’t care about the wife or girlfriend. Knowing that, from inside the club, has completely warped my faith and trust in men.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are a huge part of the job because of how mentally and emotionally taxing it is on the dancers. Many girls can’t do the job while sober because we would hate everyone and everything. There was a time that I would get drunk everytime I went to work and I always told myself I could quit but it was never long before I was taking a shot or having a beer. Drugs was never an issue for me personally, but they are a huge issue in the club. At one of my first clubs I got offered $100 to allow a guy to do coke off my ass*. I’ve been offered drugs such as molly, ecstacy, coke, and the likes by other dancers and customers. I drank because the club was too slow and I needed something to make me seem more fun. Some guys will try to bargain with you and having a beer is a small price to pay to convince a guy to buy a few dances with you. But many guys try to get you drunk to take advantage of you.
I stopped drinking a few months ago because it was potentially dangerous. I hated waking up hung over and not wanting to spend quality time with my kids because I was too exhausted. I think it’s another reason I hate my job even as a waitress because I’m seeing everything clearly instead of a drunken haze.
I want to be clear that I never had sex for money, although that is a very real thing that happens in clubs. Compared to some girls, I was very prudish, in the way I interacted with customers. Because I wasn’t willing to meet outside the club or have sex for money, it affected the money I made. I wasn’t making enough which then lead to… body dysmorphia. I wasn’t pretty enough therefore I wasn’t making money. There were just things I didn’t know was going on (I’m pretty naive). I didn’t want to believe this ever happened. I thought we were all just dancers doing a job. When I finally realized what was going on, I felt slightly* better about my body, but now very concerned about my money.
Almost at the same time of learning that this was an issue, a meme started popping up all over my social media (probably because I was facebook friends with some other dancers). The meme said “If having sex for money makes you a whore, then does having sex for free make you a non-profit whoreganization?” I started questioning if sex for money was so bad? I’m having sex anyways might as well charge for it. I never* did charge, BUT I did start feeling disgusted with myself for giving my body away for free. I started to trying to assign my body a price and calculate how much money I had lost. What was once enjoyable became something I hated doing because I was losing money.
This was a very dark time for me, but I am still propositioned and I try to be smart about it by pricing so high that I know no one would pay it that way I don’t seem like I’m prudish, just insanely out of your league. And I have been shamed for it by customers telling me to lower the price because “men want more for their money.” Insert *eye roll.
Everyday life and work.
Something I need, is a flexible schedule because I only trust my parents to watch my kids. This only allows me to work two-to-four days a week. As a dancer, I was able to just not show up to work if I wanted the day off, needed a mental break, or last minute baby sitter changes. I wouldn’t get fired. However, this lifestyle became very normal to me. As a waitress, I’m still able to make this same type of flexibility especially in a club. However, I am no longer comfortable with the job environment. I don’t like seeing the men look, touch or disrespect the girls, or myself. But I am so comfortable with the money, and flexible schedule that I cannot bring myself to find a normal job (even if I could – lack of availability) because I love the freedom that the job offered me. Even if I put my kids in day care I would hate being away from them 5 days a week. I would hate that I had to actually go to work and be on time. That’s why I’m trying so hard to find a way to work for myself. Structure no longer suits me and my crazy life.
So that is how dancing has changed me. If you’re ever thinking becoming an entertainer, please keep in mind, it is not all it is worked up to be. However this is not the case with all entertainers. Some love their job and have the mental and emotional strength that this job requires. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re a dancer or other form of an adult entertainer comment down below how it has changed you.
Stay blessed, Liz