The first day dancing is a blur in my mind. I barely remember what I wore- all I know is that I wore all black and had clear Pleasers with a strap. I charged them to my credit card- $110. That was the minimum I had to make today. The club opened at 12 so that morning I got myself all shaved up (which, come to find out was not shaved enough… *if you know what I mean) and got a large iced coffee. I really don’t remember how I did my hair. Knowing myself, it was probably straightened. I didn’t have a money bag, so I had to use a crown apple bag which I still have to this day. Pro tip for all you babies, go get yourself a cute little clutch. You’ll look experienced. I took an hour to get ready, makeup and all in the dressing room.
***Some tips for your first day stripping- you need to have your nails and toes done. Wear fake eyelashes, invest in your hair and some fake tanner. You want to look like a barbie. Men want to pay for the fantasy of a “perfect” girl.
My club had a main stage and a u-shaped bar. There was a little satellite stage with a pole so you could dance on the table, and men could sit around looking up at you. I went and sat at the satellite bar, not knowing what to do with myself. A girl was also sitting there, smoking a cigarette. She had long black hair and big eyes, with a large red lipstick-covered mouth. She looked so glamorous. Her and I are still friends, although she has since retired from dancing.
A short guy with a buzz cut and half grin comes up. “What’s your name, sweetheart?” Shit, I don’t know. It cannot be my real name. “Any suggestions?” I ask. He looks me over and says, “Princess. Shit, we have a princess already. Choose something that relates to you, or use your real name.” I rack my brains. I love my name. I was never one of those people who wished to have another name, or went by their middle name. My mind races through songs, books and movies. One of my favorite movies is Hairspray, and my favorite character is Penny. My favorite band is the Beatles- Penny Lane. Lucky penny, shiny penny. “Penny” I say. He has that half grin on his face “I like Penny”. Honest to god I cannot remember this man’s name. He was not a good guy- he ended up assaulting one of the dancers about a year later. He was the DJ and day manager about half the week. The other half was the Indian guy who hired me.
“What music do you like? You’re on stage first. Three song sets, about twelve minutes up there.” “I like, um…whatever you think I can dance to.” “Okay, you’re young so I’ll give you the pop and hip-hop.” “What do I do up there?” He laughs. “Dance. You’re sexy. Move your hips and walk around the pole. Don’t forget to clean it- there’s alcohol and rags onstage. Half an hour, you’re up.”
Just don’t think. You can do anything for twelve minutes.
A black girl walks out of the dressing room and sits in the back of the club. A guy walks in and goes directly to her and sits down, and they start talking. All too soon the DJ is calling my name. I go up, and clean the pole. I think he played Rhianna for me. I walk around the pole. The black girl comes up to the stage with a couple dollar bills from the guy she’s sitting with. “You’re so cute! It’s your first day? Let me show you how to dance. Keep your feet close to the pole and hook your arm around it. Touch yourself- rotate your hips. Switch directions.” I did everything she said and that twelve minutes was finished before I knew it. I get down and go back to the satellite bar. The girl sitting there looks at me, asks my name. “How do I make money?” “All in the lap dances” she answers. “Say hi to every guy that walks in. Say thank you when guys tip you onstage. You never know who will make your day”. Ain’t that the truth. I’ve made $1000 on a Monday, off the guy who looks nothing special. Talk to EVERYONE.
A guy walks in and sits at the bar. I look at him- fat, spanish. He gets a modelo. I get up and walk over. He speaks with a heavy accent and rubs my legs. I don’t remember what we talked about, just that he kept rubbing my legs. “You have nice legs mami” he says. A $20 bill comes out and he slips it in my thong. I smile. Another $20 comes out. And another. And another. He really liked my legs. I made $100 and didn’t have to do anything. As more men walk in, I go up to each and every one. I am constantly on my feet, walking around. Three songs onstage, down and to the men. More girls walk in and get ready, and it gets pretty busy. I do lap dances. Those aren’t very difficult. It’s a slow grind and mostly the guys just want to be close to you. Most try to finger you, try to stick their hand down your panties. You need to firmly push it away and don’t let them lick you. Remember that you have the power and you are in control. Unless you charge more for extras, you have the right to lay down the rules during a dance. I don’t do extras, I am more than happy with the money I make just giving a good old regular dance. I saw the same girl from the day I applied with the huge fake boobs. She would get on her knees and rub a guys cock between her boobs, through his shorts. She would be with one guy for an hour at a time.
At the end of the shift I am exhausted and count my money as I drive home- $500. Now I can get another pair of Pleasers. I can get real stripper clothes. I can get a bag for my money, a tank of gas and groceries. All in ONE DAY.
I get home quick and have to shower. I was seeing my boyfriend that night, we were going to a party at his friend’s house. What do I tell him? I could just not tell him…shit no I have to tell him. He cares about me, he should support me. The party is a blur, and all too soon we’re back at his house getting ready for bed. “What did you do today?” he asks. My mouth goes dry. “I worked.” “You didn’t tell me you found a job! Where?” “A club…” I answer. He blinks. “So, you’re bartending?” “well, not exactly. I worked at the strip club. I made a lot of money.” He stares at me. I was sitting in his lap, and he pushes me off. “What the fuck?” he says. “How many guys have you fucked today? I know what happens in clubs.” “I danced! I’m not a hooker.” “I though you were a nice, normal girl. A good girl.”
What the hell.
“I am nice, and I’m normal.” “You need to leave. You need to get your shit and get out. I don’t want to touch you, I don’t even want to look at you.”
I start crying. “Can’t we just talk? Can’t I explain?” “There’s nothing to explain” he says. So I leave. I go home. By that time it was late, probably midnight. My body was sore, and my heart was hurting. I get into bed and try to turn off my brain. I don’t know how I managed to fall asleep, but I slept 13 hours. My roommate wakes me up around 1pm, worried. “I just had a long night” I said.
I make my absolute favorite meal, pancakes, pull out my calculus textbook and get started on practice problems. Like a nice, normal, good college girl.