Archives For unity

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

Soon after becoming a stripper, you will realize that we spend a lot of time judging each other, personal boundaries become a standard by which a girl’s character is determined.  Self esteem issues and shame are abound in the club, and often girls use the “I’m better than you because at least I’m not a ho,” logic to bolster their own egos.  How many people have looked down on you unfairly because of your job?  More than a few, I bet, but that ivy league girl you went to high school with who has no daddy issues and a rich family is no better than you because she has never taken her clothes off for money.  You are no better than a girl who allows people to touch her or escorts on the side based on her boundaries.  Different things work for different people.  If you have ever met a “pro-ho” you know what I’m talking about.  These are the girls who are very professional, handle their business, are comfortable with what they’re doing, they don’t hurt the business of the club (if they work in one), and they are discreet in their business should they choose to conduct it somewhere that discretion is necessary.  They know what their boundaries are and respect them, they don’t need to take a xanax or a shot to do their business, and it’s because they are totally OK with it–the same way good strippers are totally OK with taking off their tops and/or panties.  Many girls have paid their way through school, travelled the world, or retired early on escort money, and really, if you do the same with your stripper money, how are you guys any different?  You CAN determine a person’s value based on their actions, but not based on their boundaries.

The ONLY time it is OK to judge someone based on their boundaries is if you can tell they are in over their head, and it should be less of a judgement and more of an observation.  It isn’t uncommon to see girls who are addicts, or playing a supporting role in a codependent relationship, or working under a pimp in this industry, but those girls are different.  Those girls need help, not judgement, and you are compounding their problems by shit talking them.  If you have something to say, let it be encouraging words of kindness, don’t sit in the back and laugh at these poor babies.  They are going through it, probably worse than you can imagine.  Your kindness might be the difference between life and death for someone.  Realize the impact of your words.

The truth is, in one way or another we are all extras girls.  If you aren’t charging extra money for things like fetishes, role playing, dirty talk, an hour of “chillin”,  or whatever else your market wants, you are missing out.  I am not suggesting that you should give extra mileage to customers.  I don’t think it’s necessarily the best idea to turn tricks within the club, in fact it can be a really terrible idea since strip clubs are hot spots for vice raids, and I am not saying you should turn tricks in general, but what I am saying is that there is more money in the club than just lap dance money, it’s up to you hustle it, and stop being negative towards others.  It’s not helping you or the club AT ALL.  If you are one of the girls who sit in the dressing room complaining that there is “no money because so-and-so is a ho,” you are losing money because you’re being lazy, you have a negative attitude, and you don’t have the right focus, not because so-and-so sells extras.  If the club you are in is an extras club and you don’t sell them, quit.  You will eventually get taken down in a raid for someone else’s indiscretion.  If you work at a club with a few extras girls, consider yourself a regular old stripper.  Every club has at least one, and if it doesn’t affect my money, it shouldn’t affect yours!

Stop the hate, show support, believe in UNITY.  We can help each other, and that is a beautiful gift.

xx

Chase