Archives For ask a stripper

Lots of single moms strip.  It’s not a new concept, we all know how expensive and exhausting it is to be a mother, and there are few jobs as flexible and lucrative as stripping  to help you along the way if your sperm donor isn’t holding up his end (and even if he is.)  It’s not a crime to dance and be a mom.  It’s normal for lots of people, and really it’s better than exposing your children to poverty.  Children shouldn’t have to handle that reality.  There are other realities that come along with it that they shouldn’t have to handle either, frankly.  I am not a mom, so I have been hesitant to post about motherhood and stripping, but a discussion I walked in on last week has backed me into a corner.  I have to write this or my conscience won’t let me forget it.  I hope it helps someone out there.

I’m not a mom, but I had a mom.  My mom did some sketchy shit, let me be really up front.  Her dating life was weird and I was privy to more of it than I should have been, to be honest.  The older I get, the easier it is to piece together all the weird things she got involved with that likely eclipsed the parts of her that I was aware of.  As a kid though, everything in my life seemed normal.  That’s really true for all of us.  When you’re a child, you lack the range of experience to be able to compare yourself to what’s actually normal.  This is the kind of thing that follows us throughout our lives.  The stuff your mom let you be a part of molded you, and the stuff she excluded you from, if she was good enough at concealing it, hopefully didn’t infect your young mind and distort you.  Ideally, your mom’s weirdness doesn’t become apparent until you are old enough to be able to digest it…in other words, until you have the scope you needed in order to determine if it’s right or wrong.

 

I was protected from a lot, thank god, but the stuff I wasn’t protected from has formed the core of my own personal struggle.  Relationships were the weak spot my mom exposed me to, and now forming a healthy one has become greatest challenge. My mom tried to hide things from me, but of course, kids are SMART.  Not everything was concealed as well as she thought it was.  Nevertheless, her intentions were good: adult stuff was for Mom, and kid stuff was for me.  I have my suspicions about what my mom did while raising me to supplement her income, but I have no proof at all.  No part of my childhood includes memories of my mom as anything but my mom.  Whatever she did for work was a blissful mystery to me.

In my fourteen years in the industry, though, I have seen some other approaches to parenthood.  Some were bearable, although you do feel bad for the thirteen year old boy who knows his mom strips in the town they live in, but technically, not illegal, and definitely not the worst case.  I have seen toddlers with Daddy playing in the parking lot at two thirty AM, waiting for Mommy to come home.  I have seen babysitters storm into dressing rooms drunk, screaming, “Your kids in the car!  He’s been in that bitch all night!  Get your ass home!” and thought to myself, “Is this it?  Is this when we call CPS?” (CPS stands for Child Protective Services, for those of you who don’t know.)

Last week, I walked in on a dressing room convo between two girls I don’t know at all.  I was guesting at a club I don’t usually work at.  I was touching up my face next to a couple girls talking about Seeking Arrangement, and my nosey ass opened my ears up for the convo.  I’m going to name the girls Pink and Green for the colors they were wearing.

Pink: I didn’t really have a choice, I had no babysitter.

Green: You ALWAYS have a choice.  Listen to me.  Don’t EVER bring your kid on a date with a dude.  Ever.

Pink: No it’s cool.  She’s only two and a half, she don’t know what’s going on.  She just sat and chilled while we ate.  It’s not like we did anything, it was just lunch.

Green: Yo.  Seriously, kids are smart.  That’s not cool, don’t do that.

Pink: We weren’t fuckin or nothing.  It was just a date to talk about maybe if it was gonna work, but that site is wack.  It probably won’t be anything.

Green: You’re not really listening to me, so fuck it, do what you want, but listen.  I’ve been a ho.  I’ve been a two hundred dollar ho, and I’ve been a two thousand dollar ho, but none of it has had anything to do with a kid.  I’m not judging you but you cannot bring your kid on dates with tricks.  A trick is a trick, and you cannot involve your kid with any part of it.

[OK THIS SHIT IS RAW AND PINK LEGIT IS IGNORING HER.  I interject because I can’t keep my mouth shut ever.]

Me: Listen to her, dude.  She’s right, this girl is smart.  You should thank her for taking the time to talk to you, she could save your kids life.

Green: Your daughter is smart and you are writing on her soul.  You can’t undo that.  She is a little girl.  If you want to write on your daughters soul, that’s your choice, but she will live with what you teach her for the rest of her life.

I think it stuck with Pink.  Really.  It stuck with me.  I hope it did, because what she shows her baby will certainly stick with her.

Your kids are only young once.  You think they’re tough, you think they can handle reality, you think you’re doing your best all the time, and I hear that.  Parenthood looks hard as hell and I commend every one of you who handle it like the bosses you are, but a little discretion goes a long way.  It is your job as a parent to protect your child from things that might hurt him or her.  Your job is most certainly one of those things.  The more you do it, the more normal it becomes for you, but this line of work is not normal for most adults.  Don’t poison your kid’s soul by making it normal for him or for her.  Sex is for when we understand it.  No two year old, five year old, or ten year old needs to know about it.  In fact, when you DO start talking about sex, please make sure you’re doing it for him or for her, when he or she is ready.  Your sex life does not have to be a part of your child’s life. To Ms. Green, thank you.  You are the realest one.  I wish we had gotten to know each other better.

To Miss Pink, I hope you heard her.  I hope you hold your baby close and keep her safe from all of it.  If I were a mom, I wouldn’t even bring my shoes home, y’all.  For real.  My prayers to her and to you and to all of your babies.  Keep them in their blissful youth for as long as you can, quit this job, and let them see you shine in whatever your dream job may be.  Inspire those kids, man!

chasekellysig

Stripper in Solitude

Chase Kelly —  October 5, 2015 — 4 Comments

Even if you are a really great stripper and a really great person, there will be a time in your stripping career that it seems like every person you work with hates you.  It’s a thing, I think, that happens to most every woman at some point, whether you’re a stripper or not.  Girls do this community thing that can be really beautiful, but the dark side shows when you are the one on the outside of the clique.  Sex work is alienating enough, so when you combine the discomfort of being naked for strangers with feeling unwelcome at the club, it can send you into an emotional whirlwind.  Being the lone soldier can feel stifling, but you aren’t stifled.  You’re good, girl.  There are healthy ways to deal with this kind of stuff that actually work in your favor.  There are also very unhealthy ways to deal with it that will leave you broke and questioning every choice you’ve ever made.  No matter which direction you focus your energy, a domino effect is bound to happen.

1408681384222When we do something positive in one aspect of our lives, it tends to have a positive impact on other parts.  In these scenarios, when you’re feeling totally alone and depressed, there are things you can focus on that will make you feel better which will in turn make you a better person and in turn will make you more money.  You don’t have to turn self conscious, you don’t have to let it ruin your money, and you don’t have to deal with it at all, really.  You can control your emotions and your actions to get the results that you want from your life, and like 50 said, “If they hate then let em hate and watch the money pile up.”

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The simple answer, obviously, is to find another club.  Unless you live somewhere that you are at the only nearby club, you could just go somewhere else where you don’t know anyone.  Eventually, people will find someone else to pick on and you could go back to your old club, but who knows, by then maybe you’ll love the new club more.  Maybe you love your club or have no other options, though!  Maybe you have regulars, feel safe, comfortable, and happy!  It’s probably the case, actually, because no one picks on the girl who isn’t a threat.  That’s the simple solution, but life isn’t as simple as it should be, really.

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Being the new girl is always a bread winner, and it’s good to feel uncomfortable at a strip club.  The feeling of “home” keeps us from working.  If you’ve been at your club for more than a year, you know you are guilty of putting your feet up and gossiping in the dressing room instead of working.  You know sometimes you straight up ignore customers so you can finish your conversation.  Don’t kid yourself!  You could be making more money and dealing with fewer haters.  People aren’t always welcoming to the “new girl” but best believe they don’t have any dirt on you!

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Maybe switching clubs isn’t an option, though.  Maybe it’s not appealing to you at all and you’re staying put no matter what.  Cool!  I applaud your resilience.  You have no choice but to be on top of your game.  You have to look great and let the haters be your motivation…this should be your truest test of how great of a dancer you are.  If you can smile the warmest smile to that fifty year old finance exec in the Prada loafers and look through your enemies as though they aren’t even there, you have officially made it.  There is no reason to bring up people’s distaste of you unless the customer notices it and brings it to your attention.  At that point, laugh it off and drop it!  “Yeah, girls can get a little jealous sometimes, but they’re all nice enough girls.  Im just gonna stay with you until they find someone else to pick on!” ::wink wink::

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Don’t fuel the fire.  Don’t talk about it at all.  Let their anger hurt their money, but don’t let someone else’s negativity take cash from your hand!  No one has control over you.  You came to work to work, and you aren’t letting a bunch of girls who don’t pay your bills determine your income.  Girl, you’re doing it.  You should be top earner every night you are the most hated.  If not, stay home.  Find another club.  Figure out why everyone hates you and fix it.

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chasekellysig

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.

chasekellysig

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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!

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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.

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-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

 

Q:  I work at a very nice club. I live conveniently close, and I get treated well by management and I love all the house girls .. Here lately they have been hiring some less classy girls and the energy and vibes in the club have been off. I’m finding it harder to stay positive and stay all night and work. Please help!

A:  If you really love your club, try and talk to the managers.  Go in and speak to the GM specifically, and be humble.  Understand that strip clubs are a business, and dancers are the club’s best customers.  If a club has 20 dancers a night and charges $40 a night for each girl, they will make $290,000 each fiscal year.

When I first realized this, I was really angry, but then I realized that business is business, and if you can’t beat them (I for one am very angry with the girls suing clubs for charging house fees), join them.
We are in a partnership with management, so when approaching them, make sure you keep this in mind.  Be articulate and let them know that you understand the business and money is everyone’s objective.  Understand that more girls for them equals more money, but explain that when they saturate your market and lower their standards, it hurts your money.  Desperate girls can really hurt your profits.  Once your manager knows that you understand his or her point of view, they will be more likely to hear you out on yours.  If you have always been professional and you are consistent and polite to your coworkers and have been a generous tipper throughout your career, this is when it pays off.  Then ask your manager if you can work at a discounted house fee.  There are clubs where I have never paid to work, just tip outs, and I have never had a manager deny me a negotiation.
Also, without getting too involved, try and be kind to the other girls.  Unless they are the tweaker girls who latch on and will never leave you alone, a kind smile and a little bit of understanding may change your whole perception, and if you are nice to them and they see you making a lot of money, you can help them clean up their acts a little just by setting a positive example.  Remember that a lot of the most depressing girls in the industry have a really shitty story, and what you are dealing with them is NOTHING compared to what some of them go through on a daily basis.  With this understanding of the entire situation, you can change your mindset.  Also, if you are nice to the new girls, they are more likely to listen to you.  You can say, “Hey, girl, you don’t have to do all that, here.  These guys will pay you just to talk!”  or “I just don’t understand why girls get so close to guys on the floor.  If you make him wait until he’s in VIP to touch, the time passes so much quicker!”  You are going to get more flies with honey than vinegar.  When girls who have a rougher life perspective, they’re just doing what they think they have to do to get money.  Show them a better way; EVERYONE wants to work smarter instead of harder.  You can tell them about my website and other dancer websites–I am about to get some stickers ordered and you can plaster them on the lockers-maybe they just need someone to take the time out to teach them a better way.
Don’t repeat to yourself over and over that there is no money because of xyz, just stay your positive, beautiful self.
If none of this works, you can always considering looking for clubs in other cities and going away for weekends to work.  Lots of cities are still doing well, find one you love and go there often.  If you’re a top tier girl, you should have no problem getting hired!
xx

The thing that I hear strippers complain most about and also probably is the most emotionally draining part of the job (when you first start stripping, at least) is that guys insist on touching, grabbing, pinching, licking, biting, and blowing on you.  Not only does it feel like a complete violation of your bits, it’s also really ridiculous for a guy to expect to touch you like that for a measly $20.  Once upon a time, strippers could just dominate guys out of doing that, and sometimes the dominatrix act even made them more money–but this isn’t the nineties.  These days there are LOTS of entertainers and way fewer fetishists in the clubs.  There are tons of lawsuits (don’t believe me, google it), and the popular image of women has shifted back to “fun girl” from “fierce girl.”  Beating a guy off of you and yelling at him is going to hurt your money, especially if the dances at your club are on the floor where other guys could witness it.  No matter WHO was in the wrong, you are going to look like the crazy one.  He isn’t insane for trying to touch you.  You are hot, he is a dog.  He can’t help it–so use your grace and charm and smile to keep your boundaries firm.

A young girl I used to dance with would jump up and say, “OMG, I just really didn’t expect you to touch me like that!”  and guys would feel awful.  They would see her as a “good girl” and many would pay her for her time after that.

I like to say, “Oh no baby, you can’t touch me like that out here, I’ll get in trouble.  We have private rooms though, where we can get a little closer.”   Next thing you know I am in a VIP room, and I honestly spend the majority of the time talking.

Does yelling at him to sit on his hands save you?  Yeah, it does, for that song, but the likelihood of that guy stacking dances with you diminishes (and if he likes you enough to lick your nasty stage body, he likes you enough to spend money on you) the second you cop an attitude.  Successful strippers know that keeping his desire alive is what makes him pay you and it’s what makes him upgrade.  Biting his head off might make you feel better for the moment, but controlling your impulses is integral to boosting your sales.  You might hate this guy right now, but if you handle things with finesse and grace, you just might end up turning your horny dog into the guy who pays your rent every month.

It’s been a little over a year now since I started teaching girls how to be safer and more mindful during their time in the adult entertainment business.  I have talked to girls who are dying to learn to become a stripper, girls who want to learn how to quit stripping, girls who are happy dancing and miserable with everything else and those that live dream lives but don’t feel comfortable in their occupation.  The more I speak with girls, the more I realize how different all of our stories are, but also how many universal truths exist within our community.  Survivetheclub is on a mission to unite us and make us stronger and better.  I hope that by sharing the stories of the women I meet along the way, we can inspire and teach each other.

This interview is with the lovely Alice, aka Sativa.  She lives in LA and can be lurked @jadedstripper on twitter and tumblr.

tumblr_mqb8cvKpCM1s0axgjo1_1280STC: How long have you been dancing?

JS:  3 years and three months

STC: Are your long term career goals the same or different than they were when you first started dancing?  How have they changed?

JS:  They have changed a lot. When I was going to school I realized my particular field of study was not the most lucrative, so I decided to drop out, take a vacation and find a new field that I liked. I had the typical expectations, telling myself I would only dance for 1 month, then go back to school. Well that turned into 6 months, a year…. Now I’m 22 and still don’t know what I want to do for career.

STC: If you wanted to quit dancing, would you be able to?  How easy or difficult would it be? –

JS:  It would be easy to quit, but hard to stay out of it. I have financed a car for myself and one for my parents, leased a condo, signed expensive cell phone contracts, used credit cards.. it would be very hard to keep the promises I’ve made and pay for the things I have financed if I only had a regular job, even two jobs.

STC: Are you open with your friends and family about what you do? –

JS: Most of my close friends now are dancers. When I first started I told most of my fiends, but slowly they have lost contact.
I told my parents I bartended at a popular strip club in LA to explain the fact that I can afford to pay their rent for them.

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STC: What is your earliest memory of “money” in your life?  What experiences in your childhood shaped your concept of earning, saving, or spending money?

JS: My earliest memory was that my dad had a piggy bank for me, my sister and my brother, one for each of us. He kept them on his dresser and put change in them every day. We would sit on the bed once a month and he taught us to count the change. If my siblings and I wanted to buy something we could combine our money, but usually I saved mine and my siblings bought ice cream and video games and things.
My experiences with money were shaped from my parents, who had very different spending habits. Growing up my dad had a great job and liked to spoil us every now and then. He taught us to appreciate when we could have nice things. My mom stayed home and was very frugal. She taught me how to double coupons at the grocery store and how to be crafty at home and about saving money by doing things yourself.

STC: Are you happy with the amount of money that you have in savings right now?
JS: At this particular moment, no. Six months ago I was but shit happens.

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STC: How has dancing affected your relationships with your…

friends?

JS: It’s hard to keep girl friends that aren’t in the industry because usually they just look down upon it.
And it’s hard keeping friends that are dancers because they come and go, sometimes never to be seen or heard from again. Most times you never really get to know each other personally, I have a lot of girl friends that I can call up to party with but I will never know their real names or anything about them. That can be lonely.

STC: family?

JS: I have changed from the spoiled baby of the family to the sole provider, which is stressful and difficult. But dispite that I have grown very distant from my family. I hate having to lie to them over about where the money comes from.

STC: significant others?

JS: Dancing ruined my first real relationship slowly over a two year span.  He was cool with it then I grew me confident in myself and sabotaged our relationship so I could make more money. Now I feel like men don’t take me seriously as a potential partner due to my job. So I pretty much stay single now.

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STC: What has been your biggest challenge since starting dancing?

JS:  Trying to get guys that I like to see me as a human being in lieu of a stripper slut.

STC: What has been your greatest accomplishment?

JS: Financial independence and confidence I could have never achieved by any other means.

STC: If you had a daughter and she wanted to dance what would you say to her?

JS: Go back to school


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STC: Are you in debt?  Only go into as much detail as you are comfortable with.

JS: No, never have been

STC: Have you ever been unfairly targeted/abused by anyone because of your occupation?
JS: There have been several occasions while working at the club when patrons have verbally abused me. That’s just part of the job. But luckily I have never really had anyone try to hurt me physically.
STC: What is the thing you really would like to improve in your hustle?  What about in your financial life?

JS: I wish I was a better liar! :p

STC: What advice would you give a girl in her first month dancing?

JS:  Save your money.  Don’t let yourself get stuck.

If you have more questions, advice, or would like to be featured on survivetheclub.com please comment below or use the contact page.  Thank you and be safe!

xo
Chase Kelly

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No matter what your job is in our economy driven society, it defines you-so when you become a stripper (or sex worker), that means something pretty serious.  Everyone asks you what you do, and every time, you have to agonize over what to say, or choose to just blurt it out and take the social consequence (Read So, what do you do?).  The worst part isn’t the strangers, though.  It’s your friends, and sometimes even your family.  The feeling of being a novelty to the people you love is really hard.  I remember a conversation I had with an escort friend, in which she said she felt like a girl we both knew kept her around to be able to say, “This is my escort friend, ____.”

People have a bizarre curiosity when it comes to what we do for a living.  It can make it really hard to feel cared about when you have a job like ours, the only people who understand are other girls who do what you do, which makes you feel crazy, because then all of your friends are strippers, and what does that say about you?!  Being a social outcast is something that NO ONE wants to be, especially people who have never really felt “normal,” like us.  Finding a balance between your identities can seem almost impossible sometimes.  I have googled obsessively to figure out how to keep my professional and personal life separate, but like everything else, the results were aimed towards young professionals in an office setting.  Being that we are a fringe tribe of people, most “stuff” won’t apply to us.  We need to create it ourselves and embrace that we are a little bizarre, a little different, and beautifully unique.  That’s what Survive the Club is.

So, all of your friends who “get you” are strippers, big deal!  Strippers need to stop beating themselves up for liking each other.  Somewhere along the way we were told, “Strippers are junkies and liars and thieves, and they will fuck you over, steal your customers, steal your boyfriend, and kick your dog,” and, “women never get along.”  Despite being women and strippers OURSELVES, we still assign these qualities to others, thinking that we are the only ones who are cut from a different mold.  This kind of “strippers suck” (or “sex workers suck”) (or “women suck!”) attitude just adds to our own self loathing and keeps us divided, and keeps us from making progress!  I don’t know whose idea it was to make strong minded, empowered women hate each other, but it’s a bad idea.  We, more than anyone else, need a little love.  Maybe no one else can see it, but we can recognize in each other that strength and independence are born out of hardship and loss.  More than anyone, we deserve a little tenderness, and there is no reason not to give it to one another.  Of course, avoid the girls who are life sucking leeches.  In this industry you need to learn who those girls are and recognize them (and be mature enough not to talk shit, just to ignore them!) and who can help you become the woman you want to be.  This is a job that lacks mentorship, and that sucks.  I would have done things SO MUCH differently if I had someone I could ask questions to, bounce ideas off of, and adjust my behavior to not repeat their mistakes.

Outside of work, explain to your friends that you don’t really want to talk to much about it.  Tell them not to ask how much money you make, ask them not to probe about your customers and how they act.  Encourage your family and civilian friends to treat you the same way they did before, do your best to act the same way you did before, and tell them that you’ll let them read your memoir after you write it.  When you need to vent, know that there is a community here for you to do that to.  You can email me anytime with your thoughts, concerns, questions, or ramblings and I promise to respond.  Keep hobbies outside of work that you love, whether it’s learning a new language, going to school, making jewelry, painting, yoga, WHATEVER, but something else that has a community that you practice with.  I am a loner, so many of my hobbies are “on my own” hobbies, but I have learned that the community ones really keep me much more grounded in reality.  Thank you, girls, for being part of my community.  I am SO lucky to have you.

xx

Chase

**featured image by Lee Jinju