Archives For safety

Safety First

Chase Kelly —  August 1, 2014 — 4 Comments

Amidst all the glamorization and stigmatization of strip clubs, sometimes what gets glossed over are the the dangers of stripping, or more accurately, the violence that sometimes burdens strippers and the vice industry in general.  A few weeks ago nine people were shot on Bourbon Street a few blocks from where I work.  Last week one person was stabbed and 6 people were murdered overnight. In 2010 there was a shooting INSIDE a club I worked at, and a few years before that there was a drive by at my club in Connecticut.  I’ve seen entertainers decked in the face by grown men, subsequent stabbings, and heard more dancers confess to leaving the club with customers and then being raped or drugged than I’d like to really remember.

Some of us work in small suburban areas, but due to our desire for community and anonymity and to access a larger clientele, many strippers choose to live in cities, and with that comes violence, especially against women.

Despite the risks, most of us are still dancing, because we are either blind to the possibility of it happening at our club/to us or because we have consciously decided that it’s a risk we are willing to take.  With the rise of strip club culture, more and more young women are getting into the industry.  It’s our duty to be aware of the dangers that do lurk around and do what we can to keep ourselves safe and how to stay away from the drama.  More safety tips here.

 

 

Taming your emotions

Chase Kelly —  January 20, 2013 — 5 Comments

About 3 weeks ago I finished a book that had been on my list for awhile.  Between having a childhood that lacked guidance, running this blog, and being an entertainer myself, I often turn to books to answer the difficult questions this industry has brought up.  Over and over in books like The Power of Now, The Road Less Traveled, The Secret, The Art of Loving, The Dance of Anger, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Power of Positive Thinking and a ton more finance and self help books proclaim the same thing.  You cannot act in response to your emotions.  You need make your emotions respond to you.

After weeks of contemplating, I have rewritten the concept (with the help of my trusty steed–a 5 year old Pomeranian), and I am now passing it on to you.  This WILL help you make money, and it will help you to preserve your sanity.  Guaranteed.  I am going to break it down Dr. M Scott Peck’s way, but instead of using the awful analogy he used (if you read it you know what I’m referring to), I will call you the master, and I will call your emotions your pet.

A good dogs sits, stays, and comes when commanded.  They don’t beg and they are ready to defend you from an intruder.  A good dog knows it’s place and can help it’s master accomplish many things.  The best dogs can sniff bombs and rescue babies from burning buildings and even serve as eyes for those who cannot see.

Bad dogs, though, they jump up on children and scratch them.  They bark at every passerby, out of fear or aggression, or a simple compulsion to make their presence known.  They sit next to your chair and whine while you are trying to enjoy a meal.  They chew your Louboutins and piss on your new couch and they tear up your beautiful garden.  The worst dogs attack people or other animals.

But when you think about the dog, are they really bad or good? Or is this just a matter of discipline? Seeing eye dogs and canine units go through extensive training to achieve all of the wonderful things they achieve.  Is it ever the dog’s fault that it lacks a sense of purpose, that it must act out in order to get noticed?  Of course not.  It is up to the master to set boundaries, to choose battles, to show her pet when it does not need to fear.

Have we, as young women, not acted out when what we need is guidance, love, support and understanding?  Can we not understand this behaviour?  When we are longing for something, security, happiness, money, love…these are the times that our emotions get out of control, when they act for us.  This longing is our enemy, it messes everything up.  What we need is self discipline.

A dog’s place is at the end of it’s human’s leash.  It’s sole desire in life is to bring you happiness, to serve and protect you, but in order to reap the benefits that this infinitely generous creature can offer you, you must speak to it with kindness and firmness, train it, show it it’s purpose in life.  Your dog WANTS to make you happy, but it only has the tools that you give it.

So learn, like you train your trusty BFF, to train your emotions.  When you feel your blood boiling, your temperature rising, your hands trembling with anger or disgust, sternly say to your anger, “Nooooo.” and pull on it’s leash.  Give it a firm hand, show it that you are in control, and it can trust you.  And in return, show trust in it.  When your dog is sad or sick, treat it with understanding and tenderness.  Reach down a hand and give it a comforting pet on the head.  Say, “Good girl,” when it’s earned.

We have all heard the stories of the amazing animals that have saved their families from burning buildings or the peril of drowning.  It’s true, like golden retrievers, your feelings can warn you and protect you from harm.  It is up to you to spend enough time with your emotions to understand which bark is just chatter and which is an alarm.  Like a well-loved pet, your must get to know your feelings…become comfortable enough with them that you actually hear what they’re saying, not just try and quiet the barks, ruffs, and whimpers.

So what does this have to do with stripping?  Probably a lot.  You need to harness excitement, happiness, and approachability to make money without degrading yourself.  People DO like sad strippers sometimes, but those people are not people you need to come in contact with.  Avoid them.  Additionally, most girls in the industry often let their emotions get the best of them, which is why they are best suited for a job that takes them in all their erratic and irrational childish glory, and this inability to control one’s emotions is what keeps them stuck in the industry forever.  Not that this job isn’t REAL, because it’s as real as it gets, but in the COMMON world, no one is going to tolerate your outbursts.  You can’t say to a client at a law firm, “Don’t TALK like that, you are SO GROSS,” throw a drink at them, and walk away.  In the strip club, though, your craziness is tolerated.  It shouldn’t be tolerable to you, though!  You can’t let yourself get that way, just because your job allows it….of any occupation, this one will stretch you to your max and having control of your emotions will determine if you sink or swim.  It will be the deciding factor between those of you who start successful business and those who down into a hole of addiction and defeat.  If you ever want out of this kind of work, if you don’t want to become this industry, you need to learn about your emotions, you need to learn to love them, to be kind to them, and to discipline them so that they can best protect you from this scary world.  Hope is a girls best friend.  Good luck and be safe out there this weekend.

Chase K.

http://www.survivetheclub.com

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

Maintaining your Privacy

Chase Kelly —  September 28, 2012 — 8 Comments

Once you become a stripper, your privacy means more to you than most anything else.  When you share your ‘private parts,’ your private information takes on a whole new meaning to you.  It is easy to get angry with a prying customer; even “What’s your real name?” has set me off a few times.  This week alone I have been asked what part of town I live in on two separate occasions, and what my last name was once.  I get asked my last name quite often, actually, because my strip club character is 100% Italian, people want to hear my funny last name.  The most obnoxious thing about the prying is probably the civilian obsession with the industry as a subculture.  I don’t really want to explain the inner workings of sex work to a customer.  If you want to know how to be a stripper, read my website.  The more your customer knows, the less advantage you have, but talking is key and this is where they want to lead the conversation.  To formulate a plan, I did some research.

I think the most important part of sales, especially when you are learning how to be a stripper, is the ability to understand your client’s needs, and so instead of incessantly worrying about my own, I started considering where he was coming from.  Instead of the instinctual, “Why the fuck are you asking me this?” I started asking myself, “I wonder why he’s asking me this?” and the answer appeared, right under my nose.

Just like women, men want intimacy, and despite popular belief, they too know that intimacy is more than just sex. 

Sometimes guys just want to get to know the person that is grinding on them, it alleviates the guilt of objectifying someone’s little girl.  Now, please don’t think I am saying all customers feel guilty, but some do, and those are usually your money customers AND the ones who will treat you with the most respect.  These true gentlemen are your bread and butter, so don’t push them away!  This certainly isn’t stripper 101, but it’s something every stripper should know how to do.

My natural hustle turned out to be the best one and I am so glad I returned full circle to it.  When I first started bartending in strip clubs, I was 18 and I was worried about my safety, so I made up a story.  I used my real name, but I told people that I traveled 2 hours from upstate New York to work, because I didn’t want anyone to find out.  I formulated a fake hobby (horse back riding) and was going to school (I lied about which) and explained that it was why I worked in the industry, to fund my passions of intellectual success and equestrianism.  My candidness and sweetness set me apart from the other girls in the club who would protectively withdraw.  Even now that I have become a stripper, I still see those customers every time I go back home (about once a year, and it’s been 10 years since I was their bartender).  Although I don’t get much money from them, I appreciate their loyalty and their welcoming smiles; it definitely ups my hustle!

A girlfriend of mine was telling me that she admits to customers that her stripper name is not her real name, but when pressured, refuses to give out her “real name.”  Man, I know you want to establish your dominance; I understand the desire to be frank with guys.  During my first year actually dancing, I threw away my hustle for chaos and would even say things like, “It doesn’t matter, you don’t care about that, let’s just treat this like the transaction it is,” and although those guys usually still would get dances, they rarely stack them, and they NEVER become regulars.  This kind of hard ass, protective mentality makes you seem wounded, jaded, rude, cold, and ugly.  Guys want to see you shine.  YOU want to shine–So shine!

Say your real name is your dancer name, and that fake names are so 90’s, or have a fake real name on deck!  Chase Kelly is my dancer name, and Chase is short for my real name, Chastity.  Still sound strippery?  It’s ok.  Lot’s of girls have stripper names in real life.  Why isn’t my name italian?  I’m adopted.  Duh.

All you have to do is formulate a character.  It will make your life SO much easier.  Keep it consistent so you never have to remember who you told what.  Your stripper character should be as much like real life you as possible in personality, but all the details should be changed to protect your identity entirely.  You will feel protected, because now you are selling your character’s identity and time instead of your own, the customer will be pleased because he will feel like he is getting some special part of you that the other guys don’t, and you will have been morally sound throughout the entire process, despite your white lies.  These guys know that we are actresses as much as they want to deny it, so act, but do it well enough that they CAN deny it.
Happy hustling, ladies.

Chastity “Chase” Kelly

Keeping ourselves safe

Chase Kelly —  September 5, 2012 — 6 Comments

TRIGGER WARNING-this post talks about rape and sexual assault.

As if sexual assault wasn’t an issue for all women everywhere, dancers face a whole different set of concerns than the average woman.  Being objectified makes most girls feel uncomfortable, and although at some point every girl is hollered at by some toothless wonder on the street, only the Megan Fox’s and Kim K’s of the world are objectified to the level that we are.  Women in the adult industry choose this line of work knowing that we will be sexualized, coveted, and sometimes treated poorly.  We know the perks, so we tolerate the drawbacks without much complaint.   Some crazy assholes think that because we have given them the go ahead to look at us like Barbie dolls that we have extended an invitation to do what they want with us.  As absolutely insane and wrong as it is, it just keeps happening.  Some men realize that what we do is a job and that we are real people outside of work, but some just don’t.  Some think that we are just crazy, drunk sluts and no one would miss us if we were gone.  The stigma in the sex industry has always been the same:  “These girls are objects, they are not human.  It is ok to rape them, and it is ok to kill them, and it is not worth government money to do thorough investigations of either.”  We have always been the victims of heinous crimes.  Just off the top of my head, there’s Jack the Ripper, the Craigslist killer, the Long Island killer, and whoever keeps snatching those girls in New Orleans.  No one does anything to stop it, unfortunately.  The education is nearly nonexistent, and the “She’s asking for it,” sentiment is not limited to any certain demographic.  It’s everywhere.

We (kind of) know where the blame lies, and we know it isn’t with us.  We live in a sick society, too many people, too much greed, the media, bad parenting, etc.  But blame does no more good in this situation than it does in any other.  Blame doesn’t empower us, it enslaves us, and while I support demonstration and activism to educate the public, it doesn’t do much to protect us today.  The SlutWalk in Vancouver might be a really fun event (I bet it’s awesome actually), but if you are going to get sexually assaulted tonight in Kansas City, it really doesn’t do much, does it?

I’ve heard the story a thousand times, of the girl who was followed, stalked, raped, or assaulted by a customer.  If you haven’t been through it, do everything you can to avoid it.  It messes with you more than you think it will and it isn’t worth it.  Lots of girls are headstrong on the safety issue, and it’s so unnerving.  You are a target, empower yourself by being protected, not by living in denial!

It’s sad that society teaches, “Don’t get raped,” instead of, “don’t rape.”  It really does point the finger at the victim, but before you become the victim (again or for the first time), let the light come on.  Realize that it IS up to you to keep yourself safe, especially when you are knowingly putting yourself in a questionable position!  We need to respect that one of the draw backs of this job is that it’s dangerous.  We need to be somewhat cautious.  My inner feminist hates me for saying all this, but she also respects my inner smart, savvy woman who does what she needs to in order to protect herself.

So let’s make a pact to focus our efforts on ourselves as individuals.  Let’s promise to watch our own backs, instead of hoping the guy we’re hanging out with doesn’t have that mentality because he “shouldn’t.”  Lots of people are wolves in sheep’s clothing, so do what you need to in order to protect yourselves.  Being more responsible individuals will strengthen us as a community, and that’s what we really need!  Can we decrease the rate of sexual violence against women in the sex industry?  Yes, absolutely.  Before you even think it, NO, we shouldn’t have to.  But we do have to.  No one is going to do it for us.  Men should be able to control themselves, but it’s becoming apparent that they can’t, so something has to be done.  Please feel free to comment with any other ideas.  These are just a few from my brain:

-We should dress modestly on our way to and from work whenever possible.  Leaving work in a short dress and heels with your stripper makeup still on and your shoe hanging half way out of your bag says, “I have cash on me, I am tipsy, and I am loose,” during the most dangerous hour of the night.  We will avoid giving people this impression by wearing something modest.  If I am not getting paid for it, the attention is unwanted anyway.

-We will not see a customer outside of the club without doing a proper screening.  Always take a picture of his ID on your phone and send it to a trusted friend who knows EXACTLY where you are and what time to expect you back.

-It’s a bad idea to promise things we have no intention of delivering.  It is an easy $500 to say we will meet someone later and then never show, but drugs+alcohol+sexual frustration+thievery=disaster.  Not only is it morally wrong, but it’s just putting yourself in a compromising position.

-We won’t leave the club alone if we are fucked up.  Drunk girls are easy targets.

-We will stick to the buddy system whenever possible.-We won’t go somewhere with a guy so he can “get us” something.  I don’t care if he has all the cocaine in the world and you REALLY want it.  These guys use drugs and money to coerce you.  Don’t fall for it!  These aren’t your friends!

-We will never let someone define our boundaries for us.  We know what we are OK with, and we can and will firmly say stop if someone tries to cross them.  We are not afraid, and we need our self respect more than we need money from those assholes.  We all know that there are GREAT customers out there who want to pay us and treat us right, but we don’t find them if we waste our time with the ones who push.

Will this stop rape from happening?  Probably not, but it might stop yours.  A larger impact isn’t impossible, either.  Stranger things have happened.  When everyone takes responsibility for themselves, the whole improves.  Again, should we have to come up with a solution to this problem?  No.  We didn’t cause it, we are just effected by it, but as the ones over whom the issue has the most chilling impact, we NEED to do something.  We can’t just throw a fit in our pink panties that people don’t see us as more than we show them.  We have to show them more strength and less vulnerability.

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.

Dancing on the Road

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

If you are considering becoming a traveling dancer, I say go for it.  I have gone through phases with traveling and am back in full force.  I have danced in quite a few US states, and most experiences have been pretty fun and rewarding.  I do not think that there are many things in life as fulfilling as seeing new places, so scratching your travel itch while earning money is ideal.  I cannot wait to go on more adventures and learn more things to share with you!

The first thing you need to be aware of is the danger of breaking even or losing money.  There is nothing in the world more frustrating then going to make some money and discovering that you’ll be going home with less than you left with.  This is totally common, so plan ahead.  I recommend driving as the cheapest way to get to your destination, if it’s possible and your car is reliable.  If not, check Amtrak.  Taking the train is fun and romantic and some even have wifi now.  I like the train because I appreciate the down time to read, think, meditate, and unplug from society for a little while.  If you want to fly, always book southwest.  The “no change fee” thing is perfect for dancers.  If the club sucks or something falls through with your reservation, change your flight and go elsewhere.  If it’s great, extend your trip.

Choosing a place to dance is relatively fun and easy.  Pick a city you really want to check out, go on stripperweb.com and read the reviews posted by girls.  Also listen to heresay around the clubs but remember that when a girl tells you she banked, that she is probably exaggerating a little bit.  Make sure you check the laws, some cities like Vegas, Phoenix and Dallas require permits or licensing to dance.  This doesn’t mean to rule those places out, it just means to prepare and be ready to pay for the documents.  Also, be aware of the crime rate, especially for those of you who travel or want to travel to New Orleans.  If you get kidnapped, lot’s of people will be super sad, including me.

You definitely want to use the buddy system when traveling.  It will cut your expenses SO MUCH, make you feel more comfortable, and keep you safe.  Try looking for bed & breakfasts or guest houses instead of hotels.  Also historic hotels are often more affordable.  Hotels.com is where I usually book from.  It’s also not a bad idea to check out travel groupons and living social deals, sometimes there are awesome prices.  Packages from cheaptickets.com can also be really great.  Once I got 4 nights in vegas plus my flight for $350!  If you don’t have the funds to travel far, it’s a good idea to find out what the military pay schedule is like, and drive to the nearest base.  Most base cities have one or two clubs and are desperate for girls.

Remember to bring your social security card.  If you don’t have this, you are probably going to be up shit’s creek when it comes time to audition.  Also, bring everything you need.  Everyone hates a new girl in the dressing room asking for bobby pins, baby wipes, super glue, and eyeliner.  Really pack your bag diligently when you’re on the move.  Get a feel for the club, too, before opening your mouth and trying to make friends.  A good night to plan to start is Wednesday.  At some clubs it’s a big no-no to hire new dancers just for the weekend, so go mid-week, get comfortable, and get to know the type of clientele.  If you hate the club, you’ll still have Thursday to go audition elsewhere without being a presumptuous bitch who thinks she should have carte blanche to audition on any night she chooses.  Let’s all go ahead and drop our “better than you” attitudes for the sake of our sanity and our peers.

Clubs that don’t typically have traveling dancers may have low tolerance for new meat.  Keep to yourself, don’t talk about the fact that you’re traveling, and don’t even mention it to the club.  I always say, “I’m considering moving here and I’m checking out clubs.”  Some club managers really watch out for their girls’ money (believe it or not) and won’t hire girls that have no intention of coming back, so think before you speak, or speak very little.

Happy summer, and if you go somewhere, please tell me about your experience and let me know if you encounter any issues, I’d love to write about them!