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Over Exposure

Chase Kelly —  October 24, 2012 — 8 Comments

If I had all the answers, I would give them to you, but this site is about more than just how to be a stripper.  The reason I started SurvivetheClub was not to teach you how to make money, although I am happy to do that.  What I really wanted to tell you about is how to stay sane in such an insane world.  The long and short of it is, you kind of can’t–the more of an explorer you are, the more attraction you have to the bizarre, the longer you stay in the industry, and the more money hungry you are, the higher your exposure is going to be to really unsavory things.

The sex world and kink world are strange.  Some of you love it and live for it, but as far as strippers go, I’ve met more that are baffled as to why someone would want to buy their socks than those who understand it and know exactly how to work a fetish customer.  In time, most of us figure it out whether we want to “get it” or not.

Consider this post a warning.  You don’t need to “get it” if you don’t want to, but that needs to be a boundary that you set on your own.  Is sex dirty?  Not really, but sometimes people’s kinks can be scary, disgusting, demeaning to women, violent, or just plain weird.  Sometimes they are just too grown up for you.  I think the girls who get this the worst are the very young ones, and they are the girls who should avoid it the most.  You should still have access to “normal sex fantasy” in your brain, and too much bizarre will wipe that out.  Additionally, some of us are victims of sexual abuse, some of us aren’t.  You need to respect your past and realize that some stuff CAN get in your head and mess with you.  Consider where you are in your head before you decide to take on “weird” customers.

The strip club is just one of the places that people come to live out their fantasies.  Some people would argue that the hard core kinksters know where to go to explore their fantasies and it’s not a strip club, and they’d be right, but let’s talk about how dangerous a fetishist can be WITHOUT training, or the specific creeps who only like girls who don’t know what’s going on.  They target strip clubs, and they go for the youngest and most scared looking girl they can find, and they expose her to their weird kinks because they are into how “green” she is.  When I was 18, this was the majority of my customer base and I had NO CLUE what I was doing/how much I should be charging to dump food down my customer’s pants or burn his tongue with my cigarette.  I also had no idea what an impact all of this stuff would have on my personal life down the road.

I had so much experience with fetish was when I was young, and some of it was awful and terrifying.  I was stalked, tricked, lured into places I shouldn’t have gone, attacked, manipulated, and slightly damaged.  Later, I set out to understand this lifestyle and take my power back.  I started taking private BDSM clients as a way to assert myself and make extra cash, and I wish I hadn’t ever felt that I needed to.  Hindsight being 20/20, fetish is really meant for the people who choose it, it isn’t meant to be chosen for you.  Customers don’t care about your psyche–they will expose you to whatever weird shit lives in their brains.  Some of them are crazy and don’t care about your physical well being either.  Some of them are loose cannons, and honestly if you don’t know how to deal with them, they can get in your brain and mess with you, or they can physically harm you.  If you don’t know how to handle these customers and want to learn, I will help you, but if you DON’T want to learn, and don’t want to think about this stuff, that is your right and you should keep your head clear of all of it by avoiding it.

I feel like most fresh strippers never consider what their exposure will be like, they think it’s just normal guys who are bored of their wives, but please be aware that there is A LOT of other stuff happening in the sex industry, things that you will eventually be exposed to.  Some of you will welcome that, and that is, of course your prerogative.  Those of you who value your innocence, who don’t want to become jaded, who don’t want to “know to much” or be spoiled with too much candy, those of you who want to live a “normal” life outside of the sex industry in the future, those of you with small children or plans to have them, may want to rethink your role in this industry or what you allow yourself to be exposed to.  You are an independent contractor.  Don’t EVER think you need to spend time with a guy just to get his money.  If he freaks you out, walk away, there is more money.  I don’t care how bad you need that $200–don’t infect your subconscious with things you cannot handle!  Sometimes it’s best to leave the freaks to the pros, and realize that there is NO SHAME in not being a pro in this industry (there is no shame in being one, either!)

To leather!

Chase Kelly

 

RELATED POST: Stripping is not child’s play: controlling your conditioning

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

Evolution of a Stripper

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

As women and as dancers here in the 21st century, we been victimized by a lot of people.  We have built so many defenses against the way society and media views us.  We have built defenses against what society and media have built men to be.  We have built defenses against our parents, our lovers, and even ourselves.  Remember that post about conditioning?  We have conditioned ourselves to tolerate things that are intolerable, building all sorts of fortresses around our hearts and arming our minds with tons of weapons.  So many of these mechanisms were built under distress, though, and we have begun to see the results of these defenses as “who we are.”

By suggesting that we evolve as dancers, I am also saying that we need to evolve as people.  Each person has things that they do that they know simply do not work, but for some reason they just can’t stop.  This is because they are used to acting a certain way, continuing to do so will help them avoid the discomfort of change.  I will be the first one to admit, change is really uncomfortable.  Learning to be a better version of yourself feels so weird, sometimes it’s like I want to crawl out of my skin, but you know what?  MY LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER.  Taking the time to examine myself as a person and keeping notes about everything so I can actually monitor the change has been the most liberating thing I have ever done.  It has led me here, to be able to share everything that I’ve learned.  I know that I will help people with this project, and I chose it because I passionately believe that we can reprogram our faulty systems and make ourselves happier, and make the world a better place for young girls everywhere.

So what does this have to do with dancing (besides everything?)  Here’s one:

Our building insecurities, our diminished sense of self and self-worth, and the constant feeling of being misunderstood has taught us that we are the safest emotionally if we display our personas loudly.  We flap our mouths at coworkers and at customers nonstop, telling them about what we think, feel, believe, and especially what we hate or disagree with.  By broadcasting our feelings, we have created a simple system: the people who listen or agree are cool, and fuck the people who don’t.

This is just such a faulty way to live.  Not only does it scream your insecurities to everyone who will listen, but subliminally, you are programming yourself to be stubborn, angry, and bitter.  You are turning people off before they even have a chance to get to know you, like you, and especially pay you.  The next time you work, how about you try this: ask questions, don’t EVER talk about the club, how you feel about stripping, or how you feel about anything for that matter, unless you’re saying “omg, I totally agree!”  I am going to ask you to stop being an insecure little girl (at least at work), and for the time being, evolve into a business woman.  If you can get a guy to open up to you, you have him in the palm of your hand.  He goes home to his wife, kids, or girlfriend who all put every thought and feeling out into the world for him to process.  At the strip club, we need to give him a place to decompress from all of that.  Just shut up, listen, and dance.  Your wallet will thank you!

At work, you need to maintain professionalism, but mostly you need to protect that insecure little girl inside of you.  I am NOT asking you to ignore her, I am asking you to shelter her.  Usually this means not getting too fucked up at work.  If you are not in your right mind, you are likely to slip back into comfortable habits.  If there is a part of you that never got the love and support that you needed (I am willing to bet there is) I think you should nurture that, but I don’t think coming at customers with every belief you’ve ever had about anything ever is the way to protect her. I think you are just making her poor.

Evolution takes time.  It takes learning the basics of all the things you know nothing about but have convinced yourself you’re an expert on.  Faking it til you make it works, but not if you never make it.  Start digging at the parts of yourself that you don’t like—somewhere in there lies the trigger of what made you that way, and once you identify that, you can change it!  If you have deep emotional issues, are the adult child of an alcoholic, addict, physical, emotional, or sexual abuser, please consider looking for a therapist in your area to help you dig into this part of your subconscious, and read Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward.  Bringing your dysfunction with you into the strip club can be especially damaging, and unfortunately is what leads to “stuck in the club” syndrome, which slowly and heart-wrenchingly turns into “bag lady” syndrome.  I have seen it happen, please don’t let that girl be you.

If you have ever taken a basic psychology course or visited a therapist at some point in your life, you probably understand the term “conditioning.”  Conditioning is what happens to us when we make the assumption based on past experiences, that A+B will have an outcome of C.  For example, if every time you sold a lap dance, you got a lollipop along with your $20-40, you would come to expect the lollipop.  Up close, it’s easy to see the simple connections we make, “If I smile on stage I will make more money.”  If you know this works, it’s because you’ve tried it and you know it to be true.

If you take some time to reflect on your past, I’m sure you can see the patterns that have been set in your life based on your conditioning.  If your father treated your mother like shit, you probably have issues in your relationships, you have either started dating abusive people, become abusive yourself, or both.  If you had a lot of experiences traveling that made you feel free and weightless and amazing, you probably already have your next trip planned and are working on a way to achieve your travel goal.  While I think that it is imperative that we explore our pasts to figure out what we are going to make of life today,  what this post is really about is how what you do today greatly impacts the person you will be tomorrow.
Choosing to become an adult entertainer, you made a big decision.  I stress the word adult because you really did take on a very grown-up task.  Rest assured, stripping is not child’s play.  If you want to be an adult in an adult industry, it is really important that you take responsibility for how you are currently conditioning your future self.  If you have never seen a dancer in her 40’s or older who has nothing to show for her time in the club except for meth pocks and mental health issues, you know how real it is.  It is not the strip club that trapped them, it was their own minds, and often their drug addictions.  I hope you guys like bullet points as much as I do.  Here are some things you can do to keep your mind healthy and keep you from brainwashing yourself into believing that this is all you will ever be:

-Keep your goal list close.  It is important to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

-Consistently put positive things into your brain.  Always have a project, something that you are reading, learning, working on, improving.  The strip club is pretty negative and being in the “work all night, sleep all day, party and bullshit every other second of my life” will really knock the wind out of your future.

-Hang pictures in your living room of things you really want in life.  I read this in a Feng Shui book once, the idea is that you spend the most time there and you will be burning the desires into your subconscious.

-Be aware of your subconscious mind.  When you “numb-out” like most of us do at the club, there is still some aspect that is creeping in.  Be aware of it, and find outlets to clear out this negativity.  Running, yoga, writing, being in nature, long periods of solitude, therapy, and reading are some of mine, but maybe you love painting and have always wanted to learn French.  Now is a great time.

-Pay attention to the people you are surrounding yourself with.  Do not become friends with people who you do not respect.  If your family is toxic, either keep them at a distance or start doing some ground work to improve the relationship.

-We share a collective consciousness that we cannot see or feel.  Take responsibility for your share.  Add only positivity to our shared thinkspace.

-Make a ritual of something you really love.  It can be anything that makes you smile, just commit to doing it once a day.

 

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.