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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!

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I feel like this statement needs to be shouted from the rooftops of every building in every city in every country, and in every language, but especially it needs to be said to strippers and sex workers.  You are not a whore no matter what anyone says about it.  Your job DOES NOT determine your character, and it does not eclipse your values.  Many of you have had arguments with close friends and significant others in which the person/people you love most will tell you that you’re worthless.  “You’re a whore and no one will ever want you.”  is something I wish I could say I’ve only heard once, and only heard from one person I loved.  Talk about something that could cause a person to start to die inside.  But no matter what they say, don’t self stigmatize, do not believe it.  I wish one blog post could undo that feeling for those of you who have had it (and will in the future).  I wish it could undo it for me.

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This is the second best thing.  I can teach you what I’ve learned and I can show you how I’ve grown.  When people cut you down, when society does it to you over and over, when dead hooker jokes are on primetime television as though that girl is not a person, it’s easy to start considering it, even in the back of your mind.  When people say things like that it is because they feel weak and they need to kick you down.  Then they use your broken spirit as a step ladder to their own validation.  Do not give anyone that power.  Refuse to lower yourself to the “you” they want you to be.  Elevate.

The truth is that who you are is based on your character, which can suffer from being in this industry, but it’s mostly because of the associated lifestyle, not from the job itself.  I can sit here for hours and go on and on about how it’s the oldest job and that there’s nothing wrong with using your body for money, but you already know that.  If people you love are cutting you down, you don’t have stripper problems.  You have boyfriend problems, girlfriend problems, family problems, and maybe even identity problems, but being a stripper, escort, sugar baby, cam girl, dominatrix, or any other type of industry performer is not the problem, and it’s definitely not who you are.

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Your job doesn’t need to demean you, and if you feel like stripping makes you less of a person–you should quit.  Now.  Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do or how you’re going to do it; trust me-you’ll figure it out.  Work one more shift, make it a money night, and call it a day because really, you deserve so much more.  Maybe you can be a waitress or maybe a customer you know can help you find a 9-5, maybe you can live off of your savings until you figure something out (because you saved, right?)
If you are a stripper and you’re having a hard time with your identity, you can figure it out.  You can determine what is going to define you.  Instead of going shopping for your 100th pair of cheeky panties, you can make a plan to implement some community service or charity into your life.  Instead of sleeping in bed all day and ordering delivery every night for dinner, learn to cook, or at least get great at dining out.  Developing your other “non-stripping” skills and values is going to be essential to feeling like you are a real human being with a real purpose in life.

Untitled 6At some point I stopped being a stripper and became an entertainer (when I learned to dress myself and perform on stage and give a great lap dance).  Next, I graduated from being an entertainer and became a hustler (when I learned about sales, especially in the commodity industries), and now I have a day job in a luxury industry, because instead of seeing me as a useless stripper, smart people saw that I was a well developed individual with integrity, honesty, work ethic, intelligence, knowledge, and hustle.

If you let it, money will replace passion and drive in your life, so don’t coast.  Spend your time defining yourself, and it will be much easier to identify the TRUE problems in your life (like the people who drag you down and diminish your self worth) and get rid of them, or better yet use them as a ladder and climb.

happy hustling, you beautiful humans

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