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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

How to be a stripper is not all you need to know when it comes to the industry.  If you have been dancing for 5 years or 5 days, you need to write your exit plan, starting today.  It is automatic to become accustomed to stripper money and require it to survive.  Even if you are one of the low earners at your club, chances are you have the ability to make more now than you would if left to rely on your other resources.  Isn’t that why you chose dancing, come to think of it?

Your exit plan is simple, it consists of 4 things:
-How much money does it cost me to live?
-If I weren’t dancing, what would I like to be doing to earn money?
-What does it take in order to actually “do” step 2?
-How much does it cost to “do” step 2?
Answering these questions is the first step to actually making your dreams come true.  No matter how much you are enjoying dancing today, we need to loudly state that this is not your life goal.  For years I wanted to be a stripper when I grew up.  Now that I am a grown up stripper, I realize that the future of this industry just isn’t for me.  Dancer into my 30’s?  Sounds palatable enough, but dancer into my 40’s just in’t* gonna work.
The reality is that this job is stressful and dangerous.  While I hope nothing bad ever happens in your dancing career, or in your life for that matter, it’s important to be realistic.  Bad things happen to everyone, and this job can create you a safety net to help get you through the really awful things, some of which are brought on because of the job itself.
The day my dad died, I swear I wish I could have traded in my gucci shoes for a flight to Phoenix to be with my mom, but Southwest doesn’t accept scuffed flats for flights.  I had no money and no plan to deal with the hardship I was going through.  I had to dance that entire month to pay my bills.  The same thing happened when I got mugged on my way home from work, and when I went through my big breakup, and after I went past my limits with a customer and had a breakdown.  I can’t tell you what it’s like to have to give even one  lap dance when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.  Having to do it night after night so you don’t end up homeless is unbearable.  UNFUCKINGBEARABLE.
PLEASE, don’t do this to yourself.  If nothing else, prepare for 3 months of living expenses.  3 months is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM amount of time you’d need away from dancing if god forbid something awful happened to you.  Going back to work when you aren’t ready can cause extreme mental damage, even if you aren’t aware of it at the time.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I am here to tell you that you will need to undo that damage if you insist on inflicting it upon yourself.  Sometimes, it can never be undone.  If you want to really do something amazing for yourself, please email me.  I will walk you through the foundation of the program I am writing for you guys.  It’s not finished yet, but I can help you get on the path now if you can’t wait another second.
Lack of planning led me down a very dark tunnel that landed me in a very dark pit of despair.  Even if you think dancing doesn’t affect you on an emotional level, all it takes is one small shift to change that forever.  The entire reason I write this blog is because I want to help you avoid the pain I put myself through.  Girls like us, we just didn’t have anyone to show us how to do it right.  Instead of beating yourself up, instead of feeling hopeless or stuck, take just one simple step to give you some strength.  Get yourself a savings going and use it to fuel your way out of this place, once you’ve milked it for everything it has to offer you.
*I just created an even lazier way to say “ain’t,” which is either indicative of me being an extreme over achiever, or on the flip side, an extreme under achiever.  Food for thought.

 

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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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Promoting your Business

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

If you are reading this, you are already on the internet.  What that means is that you have a valuable marketing tool right in front of you, and you should definitely use it.  In order to effectively promote yourself, you are going to need to set a schedule.  Working the same days every week is really the best way to go, but since I can’t manage to do it, I am not going to suggest that you do.  Just know at the beginning of each week what days you’ll work and MAKE SURE TO SHOW UP.  If a customer comes to see you and you aren’t there, you are running the risk of losing him to another dancer.

Right now, set yourself up a work email and a google voice account, even if you’re not a “give out your number” dancer.  You should set your google voicemail up to that account, and at the beginning of each week you should change your voicemail to say something like, “Hi, you’ve reached Chase, thanks for calling!  If you want to catch up this week, I will be dancing at the _____ club from 7 to close on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.  I hope to see you soon!”

There is really no reason not to do this.  It’s free, it’s simple, and it keeps you from ever having to say, “I don’t give out my number,” or giving a fake number and losing him forever.  There is no reason to lie to customers about how to get in touch with you, make it easier for them, just don’t let them into your real life.  You can even get business cards made up with your google voicemail number and stripper email on it if you really want to. These are great to hand out to creepy old men who hit on you or look at you uncomfortably while you’re putting gas in your car.  If a guy is being a creep, that means he wants to see you naked.  If he wants to see you naked badly enough he will pay you for it.

Another thing I suggest is to do what this girl did.  What a brilliant idea.  You can use a twitter account, facebook, tumblr, wordpress, blogspot, etc. all to promote yourself without giving yourself away.  Men love mystery, so not showing your face or blurring it out is totally acceptable for promotional purposes.  Do not see each customer as a one time deal, get him back, build your customer base, and watch your stress about the summer blues fade into the past.  Loyal customers will get you through all sorts of lulls and are almost as important to your security as your savings and health insurance.

Controlling the Vibe

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

Most things about the typical stripper experience can be relatively taxing on your mental state.  At one time, the thing that I felt the most affected by was the customers and being on the floor, but at some clubs I’ve danced at, including the one I am currently contracting, it’s actually the dressing room that makes me feel the worst about being there.  I am not sure if it’s the degree to which my fellow entertainers are damaged, or if it’s because i falsely expect the dressing room to be a safe haven from the chaos that makes it so unnerving, but it is, none-the-less.  The “misery loves company” epidemic that has been spread through our clubs is contributing to their general decline.

There are so many things that we cannot control inside the clun, but the vibe of OUR dressing room is OURS to take.  We can make this a more pleasurable experience for ourselves, our coworkers, and our customers simply by committing to be healthier people while in the club.  Some things you can commit to that will increase your happiness and thereby increase your profit are:

-Do not discuss deep, personal issues at the club.  If you make friends with someone there, respect her night enough to make lunch plans to talk about what’s going on in your life.

-Bring headphones and use them.  Resist the urge to get involved in other people’s drama, instead get your mind into something positive (when things are especially hectic, I often listen to Tony Robbins or TED talks.)

-Be nice.  Smile at people.  Don’t start fights.  Be gentle with new girls.  They are scared, and good people don’t scorn people who are already terrified.  Remember your own first night and have empathy.

-If you choose to use drugs (not recommended) do so privately, and do not involve people who you are not already friendly with.  There is no reason to start someone else on that path, even if you’ve chosen it for yourself.

-Be considerate of the fact that there are recovering addicts in your midst.

-Report or ignore prostitution at your club.  If you are not willing to report it to management, you cannot take it on yourself to fight.  It’s not worth the war you start, and it affects all of us.  If your management ignores it, find a new club, or a new job.

-Don’t get wasted and act a fool in the dressing room.

-If you need to relax, the dressing room is the place to do it, but if you need to yell, scream, blow steam, etc. get dressed and go to your car or leave for the evening.  Do not bring your negativity on to other dancers any more than you do your customers (which I hope you don’t!)

-Don’t make fun of other girls.  Not only does it make you look mean and ugly, but if you’re so much better than all the girls at your club, you might as well upgrade, you’ll make more at a nicer place anyway.

Addiction and Dancing

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — 2 Comments

I cannot think of a more important and poignant topic to write on for my first entry of this blog.  If you yourself have never had to deal with being dragged onto the merry-go-round of drugs/alcohol/stripper lifestyle, you have surely watched someone else go for a ride.  Dancing is often extremely taxing mentally and emotionally, and with a limitless supply of cash, alcohol, and (depending on the club) pills, powder, ecstasy, heroin, and meth, things can go downhill pretty quickly.

 

Many girls are already volatile upon entering the club for the first time.  For whatever reason, each of us has made the decision to ignore the status quo and expose ourselves to strangers, in some cases allowing them to touch us (and more.)  The coupling of our prior dysfunction and our current level of freedom can often overshadow our desire for normalcy and protection.  Entering this profession, many of us already have self esteem issues and the club does not make it much easier.  Of course, each person has a uniquely crafted constitution, and for some it is easier to cope with the physical and emotional trauma associated with dancing, however for some people it is devastating.  Depending on your background, your emotional health, and your unique experiences, you may end up (or may have already) battling with addiction.

As with any difficult task, our minds find ways to make the challenging tasks easier.  I talk a lot about habit and ritual throughout Survive the Club, because I have seen first hand the effect habits have on humans.  Ritualization makes it easier for the mind to create concrete information and organize it, which is precisely why it makes such an obvious coping mechanism.  Whether you notice what you are doing or not, each one of us has a specific routine that becomes part of our “getting ready” process.  When I ask myself honestly, I have to admit that for about 95% of dancers I’ve met, having a drink, a hit, or a bump has become part of their nightly routine.  If you are one of these girls, get rid of the ritual immediately!  Even if you decide to still use, try not to make it nightly, and definitely don’t make it ritual; ritual=habitual.

If you are worried that you might be developing a problem, you CANNOT ignore it.  You are in a very scary position, one where you literally are completely alone.  Most of us do not have the luxury of insurance, workman’s comp, unemployment, and disability benefits.  For many of us, our family structures are faulty and unable/unwilling to aid us.  We have bosses and coworkers who don’t care, we don’t have schedules, responsibilities, or anyone asking after us.  Many of us have boyfriends, but many of those boyfriends aren’t always exactly what we’d hope for them to be.  It would be an understatement to say that we, as women (and especially as women in the adult industry) have been disappointed before.  I think it would be a stretch to suggest that we would be surprised if it happened again.  We have seen enough of humanity to know: we need to take care of ourselves.

If you do nothing else right now, start looking into insurance that will cover treatment should you decide you need it in the future.  It is almost impossible to get treatment for addiction with no money, and unfortunately, if your use is linked with your job, you will probably have to find another way to make an income.  It is definitely better to address the situation before it is too late.  Camming is always an option for girls who cannot say no.

If you know you’re in trouble, it’s ok.  There is help, and there are people who care.  I urge you to find an addictions therapist and find a support group immediately, like AA.  It would also be a good idea to order a book or two off amazon dealing with you think are your core issues and start getting to the bottom of them.  Addiction is a terrible struggle, but there IS hope, and there is a better way.  Getting through it may be painful, but waiting too long to get help could be fatal.  I know you know what a really bad-off veteran stripper looks like, and I don’t think you want to imagine what she must feel like inside.

It is really important for all dancers to realize that on any given night, there are girls in your club that are fighting to stay clean and sober.  If it is not in your power to stay sober, or if you simply do not want to, please consider these girls.  Talking about meth in front of a former user can trigger addictive cravings, which are multiplied by being inside the club.  Practice compassion every day, even at work.  I know you’re grown, I know it’s your body, but it’s just so much easier and rewarding to be conscious of other people’s struggles, and support them.  Everyone else has turned their backs on us, we need to at least be there for each other.  Please use drugs discreetly, and please keep your conversations private.
Peace and love,

your neighborhood stripper.