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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

Getting Unstuck

Chase Kelly —  October 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

If you have become a stripper that really can’t handle life or responsibilities, it’s time to come clean with yourself.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you want to be a stripper to help you get through a tough financial time, or if you want to be a stripper to help you achieve your goals, pay for school, start a company, etc.  There is not even anything wrong with being a stripper simply because you like it!  Often times, though, all being a stripper does for girls is support their dysfunction.  If you are one of these girls, it’s best that you at least admit the problem.  It may seem weird, awful, uncomfortable, and a huge affront to your self-esteem to admit that you simply cannot function in modern society, but truly, the first step in fixing a problem is identifying it.  Admitting that you are stuck doesn’t mean that you are doomed for life, it means that you are self-aware, that you have the clarity to admit you need some guidance, and that you at least are aware that your lifestyle could use some tweaking.  Admitting a problem means that you are not insane.  Ignoring it means that you are.

Have you ever met someone who is bat shit crazy and everyone knows it but the actual crazy person (Hi, Mom!)?  That is the result of self-denial.  That is what happens when there is a problem with your personality and you choose to ignore it, say, “It’s fine!” or joke about your bad life decisions.  Like cancer, early detection is the best cure for a diseased lifestyle.  If you catch it, you can change it.  If it goes ignored for too long, though, it spreads like wildfire and mental illness comes in and grabs you.  Let’s not pretend that the strip club will be around forever—eventually we will be too old for this shit.  Let’s also not pretend that crazy people are a scarcity in the industry.  And while we are at it, let’s not be so pompous to think it couldn’t happen to us.  Lifestyle dancing is dangerous because it is unrealistic.  Unless you LOVE the industry and plan to be in the adult industry for the rest of your life (eventually you will have to quit stripping, at which point it will be the cams, porn sites, escorting, or Dommeing) you need to be able to function outside of it.  If the only people who “get you” work in the club, it’s time to reassess.

Some of the problems I see most often are ones that I have myself struggled with from time to time.  Some girls are lazy, can’t get out of bed in the daytime, others literally have no idea what to do with authority-they lack the social skills to follow direction.  Rage issues, no “filter,” inability to maintain a schedule, inability to connect with people, no desire to do anything that doesn’t result in monetary gain, addiction, codependency, and battered women’s syndrome are just SOME of the  many things that strippers have to overcome.  You add a career that encourages your behavior, and managers that turn a blind eye, are completely oblivious, or simply don’t care what happens to you, a peer group that has adopted the “sink or swim” approach to life, and a shit ton of untaxed income, sexual assault and complete disregard for your humanity, and you have a recipe for disaster.  It’s no wonder most all dancers suffer from PTSD at some point.  You are not alone, but you will be if you don’t do something to change the direction of your actions.

Women have SO much more responsibility than men do when it comes to being emotionally stable, if only for one reason.  Most of us are already or will be mothers one day.  We will literally take on the responsibility of another human life at some point, and like many bad moms, those who end up totally crazy won’t even realize it.

I am asking you to take a look at yourself and do something about it if you are one of these girls.  Thinking about it is great, spend some time on that, but start making a plan as soon as you’re ready.  During your thinking process, take notes.  Your journal is your best friend when making life changes.  If your’re writing it down, you are making a commitment.  Do that!  Commitment is good, failure to commit is a really common stripper problem, so now is a great time to work on that.  Start small, do the things you know you SHOULD be doing, but don’t.  Something as simple as keeping your bed made when you aren’t in it, keeping an empty sink, or cleaning up after your pets will bolster your “I can do it!” esteem pretty much right away.  Taking care of the basics is essential to being able to take care of the extras.  The things you need to do to get the ball rolling vary from girl to girl, you know what you need to work on.  Start small, don’t give yourself a panic attack, instead reward yourself for your achievements, and counter some of your bad habits with good ones.  If you suffer from anxiety, this is seriously one of the best things you can do to alleviate some of that.  When “I can’t do it,” is constantly playing in your head, OF COURSE you have anxiety.  As of right now, you are broken up with “I can’t.” Your new mantra is, “I’ve got this!”

And you do.  You’ve got this.  Now get off the internet and go clean your kitchen.

Lots of love,
Chase Kelly

 

*Featured Image by Klaus Kampert

Making a Regular

Chase Kelly —  September 13, 2012 — 2 Comments

Anyone who dances knows that the best money comes from being a stripper who attracts regulars.  I want to tell you how I do it.

The other night I had a customer the who was really sweet.

He had been going through a really hard time.  A bad divorce, some time locked up, lost his kid to his ex, working 60 hours a week at a job he hated, and NO strip club experience/etiquette.  Typically an annoying guy, but since it was early on a Sunday, the club was really slow, I decided to go talk to him.  It seemed like everyone was avoiding him because he was sitting in a kind of unapproachable spot, but I assume that’s only because he wasn’t really comfortable.  He had heard about my club on the radio and decided to come out for our Sunday happy hour special, which is $10 dances all night.  People with no strip club experience make the perfect regulars, because n one has gotten in there and burned him, given him too much for too little, or fucked him up some other annoying way.  I decided it was a perfect opportunity to take on the project of converting him to my regular.

I was really sweet and patient, showed him a great time, gave him some heartfelt advice, and took 2 shots with him (a serious limit for me).  On $10 dance nights I still always charge $20, but a lot of customers who hear the ad expect to pay the “sale” price.  Here is how I get around that.

“So this is really only your second time at a strip club?  Do you know how it works here?”

Even if he knows, he is going to prompt you to tell him.  He wants to hear your menu.  Dances here are typically $20 anywhere in the club, but options are key.  People gravitate towards the middle ground, so 3 choices is best.

“So, since it’s Sunday, we are running a $10 dance special.  They take place here in your seat, there is absolutely no touching, and I leave my top on.  We can also go against the wall back there, and those are $20.  We also have private VIP dances, which are way more intimate, allow touching, and are really fun.  Which do you think you want to do?”

He chose the $20 dances, and we did a few.  Then I gave him a massage for awhile, and charged $10 a song.  Eventually I excused myself because I was bored of him, and could feel his attention wavering.  The club had picked up, so I went in search of greener pastures.  I knew I showed him a great time and he’d want to see me again, so I offered my email, even though he is FAR from a regular.  It was actually his first time in a club since the 90’s.  Today I received an email from him.  It read as follows:

Hi Chase. Hope all is well with you. This J the guy with the skull

hat. I was there Sunday.   Just wanted to say thanks alot! For taking

your time and talking and being real. You made my night. You and the

drinks got me loosen up. So I went with it and had fun. dance with

others to. Nice place! easy going. Stiil I had best time hanging with

you. Send me a line as to when you work and if its not a work night

Ill come out. dont worry I wont hang on you. I know you need to work.

Thanks very much for your email. very sweet.  Hope to here from you.

take care, have fun.

J

How lovely.  It feels nice to help someone when they are having a hard time.  Sometimes people just want to relax and have fun, and I am lucky to be professional and personable enough that I can feel okay about charging for it.  If you take someone who is down in the dumps for a ride, take all of their money, and treat them like a trick, you are a shithead.  Don’t be a part of the problem, people already think we are thieving whores, that’s why they don’t care when we get raped or murdered.  Being a good person is your responsibility, we need you to help us get the respect we deserve!  I know that I am not a negative thing for this guy, so taking his money is A-OK.  There are lots of occupations in which you get paid to help people, and dancing can definitely be one of them.  It really is one of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the job, to be able to give someone who never gets to smile a great night.  Sooooo I did that for this guy, made a regular, and then got to write an awesome blog about it to share with you all the ins and outs of how to be successful, ethical, and rich young ladies!  How good is life, can you tell me?

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Should you be a stripper?

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

 

If you have never danced before, the questions you have are infinite, and so is the advice I have to give.  Deciding to become a stripper is a very big decision and one that will affect the rest of your life; ie: please don’t take this decision lightly!  I know what you really want me to address is what to wear, how to give lapdances, what to do on stage, how to talk to customers, other dancers, and club management, and I promise I will in future posts, but this being the first time I address new dancers, I really want to focus on the big picture.  It’s definitely the most important part.

You need to take an honest assessment of yourself if you are just starting out dancing.  Even if you’ve been working for a couple weeks, months, or years, this is a good thing to go back and do.  Given the fact that negativity is contagious, and you are a good person, it is the right thing to do to handle your business appropriately and not spread around the toxicity of your demise.  The maturity to determine if this is really what you need to be doing right now is the first thing to focus on.  You need to be honest with yourself, for your own well-being and the well-being of others.  I ask you to always bring that self awareness with you when you read my blogs.  I don’t like denial, it keeps us from achieving greatness!

The very most important thing you need to survive as a dancer and to generally be a happy person is integrity.  Do you feel like you really know who you are? When you say or think something, does it come from a place of sincerity?  Do you consider the facts and adhere to them without altering the “truth?” Do you feel like you have a solid, firm, stable, and mature character?  It’s totally ok if you aren’t there yet, but making it a goal is a necessity.  People who go their whole lives without ever committing to a life that they deem worthwhile usually live under a veil of darkness.  When you put a shaky character like that into a strip club, very bad things are imminent, and those things are the only things the public sees.  If you are going to dance, please do so as a liberated, free, and independent woman (or man, or trans person!)

The next thing I’d encourage you to have is a sense of clarity.  Do you have a pretty good grasp on reality?  It’s important that you are the kind of person who does a lot of analyzing and soul searching-someone who can see when things are taking a turn for the worse and come up with a creative solution to the problem.  If you are the kind of person who shuts down when she is afraid, or the kind of person who lies to herself and tries to keep up appearances when you’re falling apart inside, you should take some more time to think about dancing and work on that.  If you have a hard time with this, I suggest meditating.  Exercises on mindfulness can really help you evolve.

How do you really feel about yourself?  Do you feel beautiful?  Would your heart be broken if a customer told you that you were fat or a girl made fun of your c-section scar?  This might happen.  Even if you think you are perfect, people will find something to pick at.  If you are the kind of person who obsesses, please don’t dance.  If you have an eating disorder, this job also isn’t for you.  The strip club takes everything that is wrong with how society views women and amplifies it times a million, and as someone who is already suffering as a result of a sick culture, the last thing you need is more negative body image shit.  You need to feel really comfortable, and realize that when people say awful things about you, it has nothing to do with what’s wrong with you, and everything to do with what’s wrong with them.  Inner strength is really key.

If you are touchy when people say things you don’t like and often find yourself in confrontation with the people you are involved with, you will probably have quite a few problems at the club.  It really is best to be a level headed person.  You have way more strength if you solve problems with logic than if you solve them with anger or rage or violence.

The qualities above and a generally positive attitude are going to be the most valuable weapons you can wield against the taxing environment you’ll be working in, and actually will be pretty useful tools for surviving life in general.  Remember that just because you are reading this and will take these things into consideration, not every dancer (or person) does.  You will encounter a lot of difficult people in this industry and knowing how to handle them is important.  Do not measure yourself against other girls, and do not bend your morals for anyone, whether it’s in the name of agreement or disagreement.  You know it’s a bad idea to do cocaine, and you also know nobody listens when you are irrational, so keep your head on straight and be able to handle confrontation with grace.

Not having all of the qualities you need to be a dancer right now doesn’t mean that you can NEVER be a dancer (or that you’ll never be happy.)  You are an ever evolving being, and knowing what your weaknesses are gives you the ability to make a clear cut plan to improve.  Stripping is a fun and exciting job, and it will have lots to offer you for many years if you allow it to, but just like you wouldn’t want to see Paris for the first time with a significant other during a break up, you don’t want to see financial freedom for the first time while you’re in the middle of a break down.  If you are unprepared mentally, you will not only squander your entire income, but you will ruin the image of this awesome profession for yourself and never be able to return, not to mention add to the negative stigma we are trying so desperately to shake!

Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope this helps.  Keep coming back!

Chase

Money customers love me.  It doesn’t matter that I am covered in tattoos, that I grew up poor and sometimes lack decorum, that I don’t bother with jewelry or curling my hair, my boobs are real and kinda deflating, that I have the world’s most embarassingly tiny ass—business men are my men, all the time.
Why?  What really stands out about me?  It’s really simple.

I am confident.  I smile A LOT, I am sober, I am witty and funny, and I say “Oh stop it!” to at least every other compliment.  I am able to talk to them about things that they are interested in—after all, I am an educated business woman, myself!  Nothing turns a brainy customer on more than a stripper who is “on the level.”  I am constantly told that it is my energy, and the fact that I am tuned in-not zoned out when I am dancing for a guy.  Lots of eye contact and ear breathing…yes, it turns them into animals, but rich animals are my absolute favorite kind.

Stripping is not something to do to feel good about yourself.  Stripping is something you do to make a customer feel good about himself, then you take his money and do something with it that will give you the desired “I love me” feeling (go to school!  start a business!  make art!  buy a home!) that you were originally trying to obtain by talking a lot about yourself, twirling your hair, and acting like a bitch diva.

So how do you become a witty, fearless, happy stripper?  LEARN.  Knowledge is power.  When you know what you are doing, there is nothing at all to be afraid of.  BE NICE.  A good core group of dancers is imperative to be happy at your club.  If it’s really awful at your club, again, read this and this.  Controlling the Vibe is probably the post that I think is the most powerful I’ve posted thus far.  LAUGH.  This guy wants to see you smile!  His wife and kids probably don’t show him much of their youthful, carefree sides.  Customers see us as having money, and thus not having problems.  Give them their fantasy*!

Please be happy, be safe, and shine from the inside—it shows!

Love,

Chase

*some rare and occasional customers have a captain save a ho complex, be an astute profiler!