Images of young girls accompanied by the words “Fuck it, I’ll be a stripper” have been littered all over the internet as of late. Our generation has adopted a belief system that says that women are too weak, stupid, unmotivated, or damaged to assimilate to modern society. The strip club offers a lucrative alternative in which financial planning isn’t necessary to immediate survival, so it’s expected that girls who have an underdeveloped sense of self-esteem, body issues, or a history of trauma will just “give up” and become strippers. They don’t know what else to do.  Although these women actually exist, there is a serious imbalance between the “stripper princess” and “lowlife stripper” ideals that are being portrayed in the media, and it’s up to us to set them straight. They are BOTH inaccurate.

For me, being a stripper does not mean giving up on life, but I also know that being pretty and getting paid for it doesn’t make me royalty. This industry is full of amazing, powerful women, many of whom have been soldiers from the day they sashayed out of the womb, all pink, bubbly, and ready to take on the world. They have done everything but given up, they have found a new model for success. However, despite the fact that being a dancer will not make you weak, pathetic, addicted, or ‘slutty,’ in large part, making this decision requires awareness that other people will see you in a negative light when they find out what you do, and if you are running the risk of becoming the girl who dances because she can’t do anything else; it’s time to change that.

The reality is that a lot of dancers do start to embody awful things, because they fail to plan, prepare, or take responsibility for their lives. Dancing is a cop out for a lot of people who can’t figure it out any other way. You need to make sure that it isn’t you who turns out badly, all while dealing with the fact that some people will always confuse you for those strippers who really can’t get it together.

Perhaps you are thinking, “I have already been labeled my entire life, I really don’t care if people think I’m a stripper whore or not,” and that is a realistic sentiment. Chances are, if you are beautiful, you have already been labeled a ‘slut’ or a ‘bitch’ for your entire existence, whether or not you’ve promiscuous or rude. You have learned to live with being judged, and in your short life you have grown accustomed and calloused to being hollered at, coveted, objectified, targeted, and dumbed down. It’s your right to do what ya wanna, and I hold the ability to customize my lifestyle very near and dear to my heart. I just wanted to remind you all that you are in charge of yours, and no matter what anyone thinks, if you’re setting proper goals and hitting them, it’s of no consequence what anyone else thinks.

Weigh in: CUSTOMER CONVOS

Chase Kelly —  February 27, 2015 — 5 Comments

Strippers deserve good customers, and today I received an email from a strip club regular asking what he can do to enhance his experience as well as yours.  While I am going to answer him personally, I also wanted to open up the comments section so you all can weigh in as well.  Below is the email I received from John.  You can view my response and leave your own in the comments.

Hi Chase;

I wandered in here through looking at strip club ettiquette because I quite enjoy it even if I don’t make enough to partake very often.  I found Mounting and Counting blog and then came here.  I like that you bring a healthy but safe veiw of stripping.  I share your thoughts that it shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed, insulted, or demonized.  I also appreciate that you take it realistically since it will affect ones position in society, no matter how wrong society’s position is.

After reading your post with the rape warning, I definately want to be as respectful as possible next time I go.  I didn’t see post with eittiqutte for guys so I’m asking here.  I’ve got the don’t stalk, ask them to come home with you, or calling out insults.

I’ve thought that maybe slacks would be politer to wear than jeans since the preformer will be rubbing against me.  Do you have a prefered outfit for your clients?  Slacks and polo for casual nice, but suit to indicate that one is there to spend lavishly and be treated the same?
Are there ways to know if your dancer is ok with touching or should I specifically wait for her to say so?
Do you have any other advice that would make the night more enjoyable for both parties?
Thanks!

John

Safety First

Chase Kelly —  August 1, 2014 — 4 Comments

Amidst all the glamorization and stigmatization of strip clubs, sometimes what gets glossed over are the the dangers of stripping, or more accurately, the violence that sometimes burdens strippers and the vice industry in general.  A few weeks ago nine people were shot on Bourbon Street a few blocks from where I work.  Last week one person was stabbed and 6 people were murdered overnight. In 2010 there was a shooting INSIDE a club I worked at, and a few years before that there was a drive by at my club in Connecticut.  I’ve seen entertainers decked in the face by grown men, subsequent stabbings, and heard more dancers confess to leaving the club with customers and then being raped or drugged than I’d like to really remember.

Some of us work in small suburban areas, but due to our desire for community and anonymity and to access a larger clientele, many strippers choose to live in cities, and with that comes violence, especially against women.

Despite the risks, most of us are still dancing, because we are either blind to the possibility of it happening at our club/to us or because we have consciously decided that it’s a risk we are willing to take.  With the rise of strip club culture, more and more young women are getting into the industry.  It’s our duty to be aware of the dangers that do lurk around and do what we can to keep ourselves safe and how to stay away from the drama.  More safety tips here.

 

 

by Dre Dee

No matter how carefully you warm up, or how much you stretch after you’re done with your pole dancing workout, you’re bound to injure yourself at some point while doing pole tricks. Although injury is inevitable, how you care for your injury can make all the difference in whether the injury heals or becomes an ongoing problem.

Here are some common issues strippers and pole dancers face when working the pole and how to care for them.*

1) Pulled Muscle (Muscle Strain)

Muscle strain is usually an acute injury (meaning the onset is sudden) and occurs when a muscle is torn. Strains are usually caused from stretching a muscle too far, but can also be caused by exerting the muscle too forcefully, such as lifting something too heavy or pulling too forcefully. In pole, commonly pulled muscles include muscles of the neck, upper back, and arms.

What it feels like: Pain from a muscle strain is usually present right after the injury occurs and is sharp. The severity of pain can range from mild to severe. In more severe strains, bruising and swelling can occur.

What to do:

– Rest the injured area for 1-5 days, depending on how badly the muscle was injured and pain level.

– Consider an anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling and pain. Ibuprofen is a common anti-inflammatory and I’ve been told to take 600 mg in order to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Your dosage should be determined by your doctor as dosages can be different for different people. Generally, you should not take more than 2400 mg per day. Taking Ibuprofen with milk or food can avoid stomach issues that can occur.

– Avoid immobilizing the injury – gentle active range of motion and stretching with little to no pain is best. Be sure to move the injured area slowly and avoid movements that increase or cause pain.

2) Tendon or Ligament Strains

Tendon or ligament strains are generally more serious than muscle strains because ligaments and tendons take longer to heal. Tendons and ligaments connect muscle or bone to bone and have less blood flow to them than muscles do – this is why they take longer to heal. The length of time it takes for tendons or ligaments to heal obviously depends on how badly they were injured, where in the body they are located, and how much they are used during the healing process. Generally, it should take 4-6 weeks to heal if rested and stretched properly.

What to do:

The course of treatment for tendon or ligament strains can vary greatly. Generally, right after the injury RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) is the best way to reduce initial inflammation. After inflammation subsides, alternating heat and cold, gentle stretching and active range of motion are best.

3) Wrist Pain

Wrist pain is very common in pole for obvious reasons, and is also a common symptom of floor work. To prevent wrist pain, remember to always warm up your wrists before doing any level of pole and stretch them afterwards.  Also try to distribute your weight evenly when placing your hands flat on the stage.

What to do:

Follow the RICE protocol as long as pain and/or inflammation is present (Rest Ice Compression Elevation). Depending on what is injured, it may take a couple days to a few weeks for pain to completely go away. An elastic wrist support is a good way to provide compression and reduce inflammation, especially if you have to continue using the wrist. Be careful not to leave a wrist support on for too long though.

One type of wrist injury is nerve compression. There are three nerves in the wrist – the ulnar, median, and radial nerves.

Compression of the ulnar nerve is common in the bottom hand in bracket or split grips. Tingling or numbness are usually signs of a nerve compression or issue. The best thing to do is to avoid movements that are going to cause further compression, follow RICE protocol, and give the nerve enough time to heal before attempting further activity.

Performing gentle wrist stretches and active range of motion may also help. It is important to have ongoing or persistent pain in the wrist looked at by a doctor.

For All Injuries:

Remember to take it slow as you return to activities and work on strengthening and stretching the affected area gradually. Once fully healed, it is important to continue to strengthen and stretch the injured area to avoid future injuries.

Do you have an injury you have a question about? E-mail me.

Also, don’t forget to check the site later as I add more info!

 

*Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before taking any medications or following this or any medical advice. A doctor is the only one qualified to diagnose your injury and decide on treatment.

Hey y’all
Sorry for being MIA lately–I have been focusing so much on personal projects and dancing 5-6 nights a week, so I haven’t had much time to write about it, but some things keep coming up that I can’t help but address.  Recently I had a run in at my place of business.  A customer spent a ridiculous amount of money (5 digits) on me and another entertainer.  During that time, I had mistakenly given the customer my phone number; a thing we all do from time to time even if we preach against it and even if it’s against the rules.  In this case, I had used the customers phone to send myself a photo that he had taken while we were in our champagne room.  It’s a good photo, you can see why I’d want it.

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At the end of the night (7 AM) the customer got angry because I asked him for a tip instead of asking for the name of his hotel.  Tens of thousands of dollars in, this guy wanted a cuddle partner or two in his bed.  Neither she nor I are offer extras, so that was out of the question.  The problem is, now this guy had my number and he was sort of unstable, and he wasn’t getting what he wanted.  The argument is that I shouldn’t have asked for a tip at the end from both his and my clubs point of view, and perhaps they’re right, but I think the bigger mistake was giving out my number.  Had I not done that, he would have still spent the money but he would not have had the opportunity to do what he did next.

The texts started about 15 minutes after I left club property.  Asking me to go on vacation.  Telling me he fell in love with me.  Asking when he can see me again.  Referring to himself aptly as “needy boy.”  Talking about how we “connected” and al of a sudden I realize that my home address and last name are attached to that cell phone. I never answered or responded to his texts; quite frankly I wasn’t feeling so safe anymore.   Then the call from my club came: the customer is disputing the charges and I might be losing my job because of the exaggerated (read: bullshit) story he painted to the management when he realized I wasn’t going to be his girlfriend for the evening or in the future and wouldn’t respond to his messages.

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I got to the internet and started asking my twitter followers if they had had any similar experiences.  Immediately I had responses like this:

 

It should have been common sense to me, but I was still living in 2010.  Immediately, though, a lightbulb went off in my mind.  It isn’t the same as it was a few years ago; personal information is accessible to common people through the internet if they know where to look and are willing to pay a few bucks for it.  The mental health crisis is in full, glaring effect, and where do crazy people go to be “understood?”  To sex workers.  That’s me.

In the texts that followed, psycho custie made sure to let me know that he had “fallen in love with me that night” and that I was so good at my job, “maybe too good,” and it gave him feelings he didn’t know how to deal with.  I am still in the middle of the fiasco, but in the end the moral I think will be the same, whether I have to find a new club because of this nutcase or not, it will be the last time I give out my number for real.  In the wake of the Elliot Rodger tragedy and all of the other terrible crimes against women, it’s important that I take care of myself first.  The mental health thing is the major argument in this case to the civilian world, but what does it mean to women?  Does it matter if a perpetrator is “sick” on paper to the person who he murders?  Young men posting on the forums that Rodger posted on talk about their experiences with sex workers; we are sometimes the only women mentally ill people get to feign intimacy with, meaning that we are directly in their field of vision.  We want to believe that our customers are normal, and most of them are, but some are crazy and we have to account for that.  We also have to account for the fact that the craziest ones can often manipulate us into trusting them.  You might be quick, but sociopaths are quicker.

The money and the job are cool, but my safety is priceless.  I urge dancers who plan to give out their numbers to get google voice or a burner phone that cannot be traced to your home address.  The days of having fetish customers over to clean my living room are far gone.  We live in a more terrifying and woman hating world than ever, I’ve even taken back a “fake real name” that I’ll be using again.  I’m glad my wake up call didn’t leave me dead or hurt.  It’s still unfolding but I will probably change my number shortly.  Please cover your tooshies as much as you bare them!  Safety always first.

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I was out with a guy I was dating and a stripper friend when a drunk girl flat out tried to start a brawl with us. Defense mode activated, as my mind flooded with the memories of a thousand stripper fights and an unsurmounted amount dressing room drama, that (I will be the first to admit) I haven’t always handled with utmost grace.

So here we are trying to get a decent view of the performance we came to see and the short girl behind us was FREAKING OUT that she couldn’t see over my friend’s head.  We could have moved, but it was general admission and a packed house; not too many decent places to go.  We weren’t in the wrong and we quite liked where we were standing, but the passive aggressive commentary escalated to insults, and eventually she slammed into me with her shoulder on her way to the “ladies” room.  I felt my blood boiling.  I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath while I decided what to do.  Kill?  Perhaps.

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I looked to my right at my friend, who knows that I am a seasoned stripper from New Jersey who does not take sh*t from anyone; I look to my right and see the guy that I’m dating, who adores and respects me and knows me as an ultimately loving, tolerant, and beautiful person.  Then I looked down and see the $900 Saint Laurent heels that I was wearing and decided it was go time.

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Although yelling at this girl, shaming her for her squat stature and subsequent inability to see over my statuesque goddess friends’ head, and possibly throwing my cocktail in her eyes was beyond tempting, I remembered what good any of those times that I snapped with the intention of “putting someone in their place.”  None.  Fighting back when people have been assholes to me has literally never been a winning tactic, and has cost me more opportunity than it has ever earned me “street cred.” (Even if the aforementioned street cred DID outweigh the consequences, what good did it really do me?  What, was I in prison serving a life sentence?)

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And although this is a bar story, we can all attest that the scenario is common in strip clubs.  The mixture of alcohol, immaturity, money, personal ethics, and ego crash hard in dressing rooms and although watching beautiful mostly nude women pull each others’ weaves out is BY FAR one of the most entertaining things to witness ever; it certainly isn’t doing anything to change the stigma or contribute to personal growth by being one of the women IN the actual fight.

So I thought about my shoes and my boyfriend and my level of compassion, understanding, grace, and tolerance, and when the woman returned and started fussing with my friend again, I leaned down and said, “Honey, do you want to stand with us?  I understand we are in the way of your view but why don’t you just come stand next to us?  My name is Chase, this is Stephanie, and like you, we are here to have a good time, not to ruin yours.  Let’s have fun.  Can I buy you a drink?”

AND SHE STOPPED.  AND APOLOGIZED.  AND SHOOK MY HAND.  AND WALKED AWAY.  

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Street cred: owned.  Self respect: earned.  Pride: off the charts.  Lesson: learned.  My friend and date looked at me like I was some magical Mother Teresa, and I think in that particular moment I actually “grew up.”  I thought about the dozens of times earlier in my career that I felt a false need to defend my rights or prove myself as a strong person and everything became clear.  I proved more strength in my tolerance than I ever had with violence or anger.

The point of the story is not to let some b*tch ruin your night.  Don’t get caught up in the drunken barbarism of anyone, let alone someone you work with, handling yourself with grace is SO rewarding, and had this happened at work and not at home, it would have doubled my self confidence for the evening and thereby made me tons of money.

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Happy Hustlin

chasekellysig

smile-quotes

Dear Vacant-Stripper-Eyes, So-Hot-I’m-Bored, Jaded-Better-Than-You Entertainers-

You! The one up on the stage mouthing the words to that same Nickleback song we’ve heard a million times with your gaze blankly fixed on your own reflection. Yes, YOU, staring off into space thinking about your grocery list or studying the fat roll you get during your lapdances nowadays, you are killing your profits and numbing your soul with your inability to be present and mindful during your shift.  Cut it out!

Marilyn-Monroe-Beautiful-Smile-Cruising-Sweden

Hello!  Are you here? Checked in? Available to comment? This is your savings account calling.  Please help!  I know it gets redundant but I really want your moneys!  Please start smiling more, so that I can grow!

-Smiling actually releases endorphins in your brain. Even a fake smile will make you happier, and being happy will make you money. Customers hate jaded strippers. The world in general thinks are jobs are easy (they’re wrong, but we indulge fantasy here) and they do not want to hear about how hard your day has been, and they DEFINITELY don’t want to read it on your face.

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-A smile makes you approachable to men. Pretty women are really intimidating to most guys. In fact, inability to talk to them is what brings most money customers into a club, so make yourself as easy to speak to as possible by lowering your wall down.

H.-Jackson-Brown-Jr.-Today-give-a-stranger-one-of-your-smiles.-It-might-be-the-only-sunshine-he-sees-all-day

-Smiling makes you more approachable by coworkers, too. The girls I work with love my positive attitude and that I never bitch that there is no money. I often ask girls what their plans to do with the GIANT STACKS they’re about to make and I like to tell jokes as often as possible to keep them giggling. The culture in your club is largely dictated by the individuals who work there. You are one of those; so contribute to the pack by being a nice girl with something good to say.

-Eye contact makes all the difference. Connection makes a sale, even from the stage. During private rooms, private dances, stage sets, and just sitting around waiting for my guy, I try to engage as many people into prolonged eye contact. Combined with a delayed smile, this is as good as ANY one liner, if not better. Entertainers must learn to SMIZE. Y’all fierce ass models, afterall!

-As cliche as it is, the eyes are the window to the soul.  Everyone loves a soulful performer more than a plain hot one.  Humans feed off of one another’s energy.  Tune in and experience this totally crazy life you’re living.  It’s (if nothing else) interesting as hell and worth paying attention to!

 

chasekellysig

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Sex workers and strippers face so many of the same issues when it comes to relationships.  Can a stripper have a boyfriend and not be miserable?  Yes.  Are those relationships few and far between?  Absolutely.  Even as dancing becomes more accepted, the stigma remains the same for the majority of men.

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If you’re under 24, you’re labeled as a person with no self esteem and daddy issues.  If you are over 25 or have children, you are a “single mom with no other choice.” We know men are going to judge us and when they are angry, we know the easiest target is our jobs.  That’s something that’s hurt me, but it’s something I can live with.  It really helps me detach from someone actually–when they are so low to call me names because of my job.  Goodbye, sir.  You are done.

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What I can’t live with is the manipulation.  What many dancers don’t realize when getting into relationships is that there is a large number of men looking for “sugar mamas” or even subsidiaries (there are stripper pimps, you know about them if you live in the South or North East) and sex workers are known for having expendable income and a lack of love in their lives.  There are wolves looking for lambs who need to be loved, and which one of us can definitively say that we don’t need it?  It’s really hard for a boyfriend to be comfortable with a job like ours, so if early on your guy seems way too comfortable or encouraging, don’t be ashamed of doing a little homework.


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A parasitic boyfriend won’t complain about your job ever, because he plans on paying his bills with your ass.  Please watch your money.  Please don’t give it to anyone, please only invest in yourself.  Please never trust someone who expects you to purchase their affection (unless, of course, you have hired them to do that, like so many men have hired us to do.)  Please know your worth (priceless) and require that your needs are met (or walk!)

chasekellysig

 

Humans are pack animals, but strippers are so often lone wolves, darting through life avoiding .  “Isolating” is probably the leading term I hear when discussing sex work, “crazy” being second.  Of course some of us have a little crew that we hang with, and some always go to work with our BFF , but the advice we hear most often is “don’t get too close to the other dancers,” as if these women are bad or tainted, the mainstream view is that it’s best not to get too close to the “crazy.”

But what if the crazy is sort of relatable?  Strippers ARE a little crazy, but isn’t every single person you have ever met?  CEO or high school teacher or escort, crazy is a term that has been overused and shoved down our throats, and now it has effectively made us feel ashamed of ourselves and afraid of others.

Stunning-Photography-by-Annett-TurkiMost of my friends are dancers from one place or another, or they are people trying to learn how to strip or how to quit stripping, and they have become like a motley adopted family to me when I sometimes can’t find anyone else who understands.  All of them are unique and all of them have their own personal weaknesses.  Some of them work hard at those weaknesses until they become strengths, and those people are my heroes.  (Thank you, you know who you are.)

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My personal struggles in this industry have been real and the lessons have been intense.  Why would I ever want to avoid the other women who are experiencing or will experience or have experienced a similar struggle?  I don’t.  I want to hug them and show them that if they follow their dreams and refuse to go down the dark path and stay diligent, that they can build an empire and make amazing things happen.

I want each person who walked that rocky path to get here to know that there is always balance in the world.  If it has been cold for you, it doesn’t always have to be that way.  The warm world is welcoming, it just takes work to change the cycle.  You’ve got it in you.

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I know the struggle has been hard, and I know many of you still have much more climbing to do before you reach the top of the mountain, but those of you who have figured it out, please pass it on.  If you have recovered from addiction, if you have learned to deal with your family issues, walked away from an abusive relationship, or survived losing people you love, or even if you recently learned to budget and save, pay your taxes, or raise a child with morals, ethics and boundaries, pass that information on to someone who needs it.  Listen when people talk to you and help a sister out.  Remind one another that you are all important.  Remember what you needed when you were down and give it to someone, even if no one gave it to you.

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I know for a fact that a person with a very impoverished and abusive past can take what they learn in this industry, invest what they make, and completely change their lives.  I also know that the bumps in the road are sometimes bigger than we expect, and they end up killing some of us.  Hold your hand out, a candle loses no light by igniting another.

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*all photos by Annett Turki

 

 

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