I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, but now that my inbox exploded since my follower list grew, I’m getting a lot of the same questions sent to me. So here goes:
How long have you been stripping?
Since late 2008, though I’ve taken off a few months here and there for finish school and travel. All-in-all it’s been around 4.5 years I believe.
What made you start dancing?
The economy was in the toilet in 2008 and I couldn’t find a job during my junior year of college. I had been unemployed and looking for a job for almost 4 months straight but there was almost nothing available in my area that I qualified for. I’d worked in restaurants and retail for about 5 years at that point, but had a secret, growing interest in sex work. I tried camming for a brief period but didn’t know what I was doing and just didn’t make any money at it. That’s when I saw a craigslist ad for a strip club in my part of town that was hiring. I went, applied, and was hired that day. I only worked at that club for about 8 months before I left to work at a better club, where I work to this day.
Are you paying your way through school?
Been there, done that. I got my Bachelors in 2012. I’ve thought about getting my Masters degree next but I’m most interested in studying tattoo art as my next career, so I’m going to wait to see how that goes first.
How much do you make?
It’s quite rude to ask anyone their income, even a stripper. I’m not ever going to answer this question, so don’t bother asking. All I will say is that I live very comfortably and have an appreciating savings account while only having to work 17 hours a week. Some dancers make a lot more than me, others make a lot less.
How do you get a job as a stripper?
Hiring practices vary by club and state. My advice to anyone genuinely interested is to check out the clubs in your area and figure out which ones appeal to you the most. Call them during slow hours (like around opening time) and ask them if they are hiring. Clubs generally are always hiring for day shifts (which is the best shift to get when you’re new anyway, because the pressure is low and you have more time to learn how to dance and hustle). Then just follow their instructions to get hired. That usually involves coming in an audition, sometimes they ask you to email the manager photos of yourself first.
What are strip club auditions like?
Again, it varies from club to club. My first club, all I had to do was open up my winter coat so they could see my body shape, and I was hired on the spot. When I switched clubs, I had to dance to two songs on stage and strip down while the bartender watched from across the room. If you are intrigued by the idea of stripping but the idea of an audition where you climb up on a stage and dance for multiple songs in your underwear is petrifying, you are not cut out for this job. Sorry.
Do you have to take pole classes to learn how to be a stripper? How do you learn if you don’t have experience? What is your dance experience?
I have taken dance and gymnastics classes since I was 5 years old, all the way through high school. It definitely made pole and stage dancing way easier to pick up, but most dancers just learn as they go. Getting hired for early-day shifts gives you more time to practice dancing on stage without a huge audience watching, so I recommend that. If you really want to take classes before you start stripping, I recommend pole classes. But I had never touched a stripper pole before I got hired in a club and I managed to teach myself almost everything I know.
I have stretchmarks/small boobs/a flat butt/a fat belly/a big nose/ etc. Could I still be a stripper?
I have no idea. You might be exaggerating these features more than anyone else would notice them, or you might just have some quality that will keep a club from hiring you. That’s not to say that all strippers should and do look the same, because they don’t and shouldn’t. Variety is what makes clubs interesting, and people seem to have this notion that all strippers look like bleach-blonde, sunless-tanned, giant fake-breasted amazonians, but I’ve seen a HUGE variety of body types and personal styles in the clubs in my city and there is a lid for every pot, so don’t assume that being 5’11 or having A-cups or a surgical scar will keep you from earning good money as a dancer. Go to an audition, and if you’re hired, then you know at least the club thinks you’ll make money. And try out at a few places if you don’t get it right away. Some clubs tend towards hiring a certain type, so don’t give up if you don’t get hired at the first place you try out. If you have a certain “look”, see if there’s any clubs where that niche is valued and you’d fit in better. I would say that stripping as a job is 40% looks and 60% confidence and ability to hustle. A girl could look like a Victorias Secret model but if she can’t hold a basic conversation or sell lapdances, she won’t last or make money.
Have any advice for new strippers?
My main points of advice are
1. Approach every customer at least once, especially if they make eye contact with you.
2. Always be friendly initially.
3. Act twice as confident as you feel.
4. Set strong boundaries with customers and hold to them. Learn to say no and mean it.
5. Always stand up straight with your shoulders pushed back and point your toes when you’re dancing on stage.
6. Make eye contact with customers when you’re on stage. A lot of girls get nervous and look away or watch themselves in the mirror, but looking in people’s eyes with a smile while you dance makes you look 100x more confident and approachable.
6. Remember that every minute you’re at work is your time to make money.
7. If people aren’t tipping, approach them nicely and get them on your side rather than getting annoyed or demanding money off the bat.
8. After every shift, wash off all your makeup and shower before bed. Wash your body with anti-bacterial soap like Dial.
9. In terms of work expenses: buy cheaper clothes and nicer makeup. You have no need for a $80 VS bra/panty set that you’re going to trash by throwing it on the ground every time you undress, but quality makeup that stays on when you’re sweaty IS worth the price.
Do strippers get paid by the club?
No. At least for the majority of places, we pay the club to work there. We aren’t considered employees but ‘independant contractors’. Because we depend on the club as a means of selling our product and reaching customers, they charge us a “stage fee”, and at my club we also give tip outs to the staff. It varies from club to club and also based on the potential of the shift, but stage fees around the world can vary between $5 or $250. I generally pay between $50-$90 for a night shift.
What etiquette would you recommend for a strip club customer?
Check out this cool comic I was interviewed for that answers this very question!
What do strippers do on their period?
Wear a menstrual cup or tampon and cut off or tuck the string.
How do you stay in shape?
I have pretty good genes (my parents are both in great shape), so I’m lucky enough that stripping three days a week, along with a healthy diet, is enough for me to stay fit. Eating well and drinking lots of water is a huge part of it. I used to have a gym membership, and I would do elliptical and core workouts there, but I got lazy and cancelled it. Pole dance is super athletic, especially for your core and upper-body, so if you do it enough, it’s all you need.
Can customers touch you? Do you do sexual things in the private dances?
Again, rules vary from club to club. There are some clubs where touching dancers is allowed in private dances. But in my club, it is one-way-contact only (meaning we are allowed to touch customers and sit on their laps, but they can’t touch us). As a customer, you should ALWAYS ask before touching a dancer, even if you are pretty sure it’s allowed. Consent is the best. To answer the second question, I have never done a sex act in a strip club. I don’t have sex for money. Lap dances are not sex. They are sexy and sensual, but there is a difference.
Do you ever get female customers or give women lap dances?
Absolutely. My clubs actually have a high percentage of female customers. We get a lot of straight couples coming in together. I’d say about 25% of our total customers on any given night are women. I’ve given lots of private dances to women. I like it because they always smell better, lol.
How are you a stripper AND a feminist? How can those two things be compatible?
For me, feminism means letting women have full autonomy over their own bodies and trusting them to make the right decisions for themselves, as long as it’s not hurting other people. My stripping doesn’t hurt anyone (on the contrary, I bring people a lot of joy by entertaining them and keeping them company), and it definitely has made my life much better. Therefore, stripping and feminism are perfectly compatible. The majority of strippers I know in my city identify as feminists and many of them work as sex workers rights activists and advocates. I also try and use my power in the club to promote my feminist beliefs. For example, if a guy talks to me or any other women in a sexist way, I call him out and get him kicked out from the club. If a guy makes a homophobic joke to impress his friends, I call him out and deflate his ego in front of them. If a guy is being disrespectful of the dancers in any way, he gets publicly berated and kicked out. I find my ability to defend myself and stand up against bullshit super empowering, especially since I was never allowed to do anything other than suck up to the “always right!” customer at any other service-based job I’ve held. The longer I’ve danced, the stronger I’ve felt in my feminist beliefs.
What do you like about your job?
Money is the most cliché, obvious answer, and of course financial stability is awesome. But other than that, I love the other women I work with and the solid community of dancers in my city who support and stand up for each other. I love that I make my own schedule and can work as often or as little as I want. I love that I can leave town for multiple months to travel or work in other places, and pick right back up at this job when I get back. I love that my entire shift is spent hanging out and chatting with people in a fun, casual bar setting. I love dancing for an audience and the adrenaline rush of performing. I love getting made-up, wearing sexy lingerie, and feeling attractive. I love the barrage of compliments I get all night. I love teasing guys sexually and flirting with no pressure or expectation for it to go anywhere. I love the huge variety of people I meet. I love making people happy and cheering them up. I love making people laugh. I love changing the way people look at or think about strippers.
How do you feel about other kinds of sex work?
I fully support the rights of full-service sex workers and am anti-sex work hierarchy. I think sex work between consenting adults should be decriminalized. Doing so would make it a far safer job (since sex workers could ask for police help without fear of arrest), and decriminalization would also make a clearer distinction between consensual sex work and nonconsensual sex trafficking, which is a crime that currently is too soft on pimps and doesn’t offer adequate support or safety nets for survivors.
I’ll add more as new questions come up.