I say “YOLO” sometimes because people hate it, but mostly because it’s fucking true.
You do only live once that we know of, and that sentiment is no more profoundly felt than at a strip club.
That ultra-cliché of “live like you’re going to die tomorrow” or whatever–it’s almost palpable backstage. Girls getting shitty tattoos and eating fast food daily, because consequences for any and all of this seems so abstract and nebulous.
The very act of wearing 6-8″ stilettos and contorting our bodies onstage and during dances defines this. Eventually, there will be a price to pay. Not in a creepy, religious doomsday way, but physiologically, our bodies won’t come out of this unscathed after years of doing it. All of the torquing of spines, the shortening of achilles tendons–not all the yoga in the world can save us.
I don’t have a savings account, and I have almost nothing to show for years of dancing except lots of stories and some likely permanent damage to parts of my body.
Some strippers are smart and have retirement funds, own real estate, etc., but they are the minority. We share this feeling, that even though we make (usually,) a lot of money quickly, it’s never enough. I’ve posited that stripping, being like gambling, is my replacement addiction for drugs and alcohol.
I try sometimes to explain to customers that this income is very hit or miss. Last night I left with hardly anything, and tonight I made a lot. I love the thrill of the uncertainty.
My back and my feet kill, but I don’t want to stop.
Even though I spend the majority of my shift waiting for things to end (stage sets when no one’s tipping, dances for creeps, long VIP sets for creeps, etc.), I don’t want to leave this work.
I love the women. I love the freedom. This is who I am. Sexual. Open.
I don’t have a significant other, but I find solace in the money I take home. The cash that I earned. Just me. Knowing I don’t need anyone to provide for me. I swear I could go to sleep cuddling my money. I think that’s a matter that deserves some future psychoanalysis, but not at the moment.
I deal with people trying to touch me without my permission. I deal with breath that almost makes me gag. I deal with comments that range from obscenely offensive to wildly inappropriate. I’m proud of all the skills I’ve honed that all work harmoniously to make me better at this.
Today a guy was looking at my ass while I was giving him a table dance. “I love that butt floss you have going on,” he said of my standard-issue black stripper thong, that in all fairness is probably not much thicker than floss. He had on some shitty 80s hair metal shirt, and had just finished telling me about the high rate of suicide at his high school. He graduated in 1986. “This one girl.. she had only been there a few months… she came up from Iowa…” Why he told me all this, I don’t know. Stories like that are easily forgotten, strangely, but those like which follows are what stick.
Last week, I was giddily telling my manager about my new Hello Kitty press-on nails (that came in a pack that said “for ages 6+”) and my Hello Kitty earrings, and I suddenly voiced my self-consciousness at the childishness of it all. He replied with a toothy grin in utmost seriousness: “It’s OK sweetie! Don’t worry! My house is literally COVERED in Legos. Covered.”