THE GLADIATORS OF THE STRIP CLUB

I’ve written much about strip club customers and the relationships that form between us dancers and them. Today, I want to dedicate my time to the women I work with and respect very much so. Strippers are the women who don’t just talk or dream about it. We are the type of woman who actually has the courage to dive into this male dominated world determined to survive and fight for a better tomorrow for our families and us. Well, you have seen it in some movies that try to shed light on this unexplored life of the exotic dancer/stripper. You have seen the girls sit around their well lid makeup table with the photographs of their kids taped around their own, personal mirror. You’ve seen their giant lockers with their costumes and boas in it. You have felt it through those movies how these women hold together, are best friends, and they fight the mean manager together. You’ve seen their best friend and protector, the bouncer, by their side. A community of genuine camaraderie, deep friendship, and powerful women who hold together through thick and thin. You get a pretty good idea how much fun it can actually be to work with your co-strippers together and form a unique family.
But wait! Who wrote these movies? And how do they know about my co-strippers? I hate to break it to you, but it is nothing like this. It is very different. First of all, you don’t get your own mirror in the spacious dressing room, nor your own locker where you can store your carefully picked, expensive costumes. If anybody gets an assigned place in the dressing room then it’s the club bully. She gets an old, dirty chair she picks to defend her space in front of a plywood board — the makeup table — just to prove her power.  Your dressing room is more like a broom-cupboard where twelve to fifteen girls will cram in. If you are lucky to catch a locker you can only fit your wallet in it and some of your most valuable things you choose not to keep in your purse that you will never leave out of sight. If you bring expensive costumes you might leave without them except the one you’re wearing. If your costumes aren’t expensive you might still want to hide them because some bitch might steal them just because she hates you and hopes you will be sad. I have heard many stories where girls were left without their street clothes and shoes after their shift to punish them for being a good dancer or just because some club bully had to prove her point.
And don’t expect anybody to hug and cheer when you enter the dressing room. If you’re polite and stupid enough to greet the girls when you enter the broom-cupboard changing room you will be ignored and looked down upon — only a weak bitch says “Hello.” Don’t show any weakness, don’t tell any emotional stories, don’t share anything important to you … because it can and it will be used against you to turn off customers, make fun of you, or just because … Keep to yourself, don’t trust anybody, don’t help anybody — helping means you’re not self-sufficient or cannot exist on your own. Instead, try to be a bigger bitch than the biggest bitch. Especially, if you’re good at what you do, your co-strippers will hate you, hope you break your neck on stage, try to make your life miserable in the hope you will never come back. Will they shine a glimpse of compassion towards you once in a while? Oh yes, they will. Don’t trust it. Any compliment, any kindness is usually a guaranteed trick to stab you in the back later. And watch out for the girls who work in teams against you. The more powerful you are the more they will gang up on you. It looks like they are best friends but they are just trying to take you out before they attack each other. And in case you are physically attacked, don’t count on your bouncer. He might be busy flirting with another dancer, asleep, or he might think you deserve the beating especially if you are a top income earner. Your DJ or manager might jump to your help but don’t count on it. Don’t count on anything. Only rely on yourself.
I respect every and each woman who has the courage to dance, but we are some of the toughest, most independent women out there. And in the strip club it’s survival of the fittest — eat or be eaten. The strip club is a safari you go on without any guns or knives. You fight with bare hands or sometimes you use a stiletto to defend yourself.

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Or watch http://vimeo.com/59749732

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