I had a discussion with a very fresh dancer whom I really like. I sense that some things are pretty hard for her and she is sort of confused. She is unbearably beautiful, dancing is quite lucrative for her and will continue to be, regardless of whether she plays her cards right—this is pretty much a guarantee. What is not so sure, though, is what will happen to her. Anyone who has been dancing more than a few years has seen exactly what I am talking about: sweet young girl tries her hand at dancing and ends up a suicidal mess in a pile of pain pills. It kills me.
Tonight she told me that stripping makes her feel like she needs a “shower on the inside.” Just that phrase, wherever she came up with it, it seems so hopeless. I have been thinking about it all night (girl, if you read this, please know I care, for real!) and I can’t quite shake it. My advise to her is the same advise I have for all of us: build yourself an exit strategy from day 1. Know what you need in the bank to be able to quit at the drop of a dime. If something changes tomorrow to keep you from ever setting foot in the club again, be sure that you have the cushion you need to escape. For someone like her, who has only been dancing 2 months, she simply needs $3,000 and a new job, but for girls like me, who have been dancing longer, we have a higher goal (mine is 1 year living expenses, a 1 month trip to Australia, a downpayment on a home, and 20k for my education—this is doable in just a couple of years with enough discipline!) I think it’s a good idea to set that goal for yourself and start adding towards it, if even only $10 at a time.
The other thing I told her is that the club isn’t going anywhere. Although I had waitressed, bar tended, and even managed a club before I ever got on stage, I waited until I was 24 to start dancing. I knew I did not have the emotional maturity to handle it prior, so I fed my curiosity by working in other positions at the club. I encourage you to tap into yourself and decide what’s right for you, ESPECIALLY if you’re new to the game; maybe you don’t need to be here yet, maybe you don’t need to be here at all. If something feels totally wrong, get out. If you have been with us for some time and have no emergency savings, you are in a serious crisis and you NEED to fix it! Stop living your life as a series of reactions. Take some control, and decide if this is really the job for you right now, and if it is, make a plan, so that if your “right now” changes, so can your occupation. In order to avoid disaster, one must plan. Disaster may still strike, but you will have tools to help you survive. Money is power. You have money, will you build yourself some power?