I've been stripping for three years. The time has flown and so has the money. My relationship with it has grown into one of contrasting feelings. On one hand it's great because of the flexibility and fast cash. On the other hand I have to pretend to be interested in men I wouldn't even consider speaking to in my personal life.
The first time I tried my hand at stripping I was nineteen years old. I was home for summer break, living with my parents in New Jersey. After one night at Club 35 I came home to find my bedroom being packed into cardboard boxes. My parents wouldn't allow me to strip and live under their roof, so I quit.
Three years later I had my own place in Philadelphia and decided to give dancing another go. This time no one could kick me out. I was working at Aldo shoe store averaging about twenty hours a week. When my manager told me I wasn't getting more hours because I wasn't "bubbly enough" I quit on the spot. That same day I went to a strip club in University City and auditioned. I started working at the club the next day and my life changed forever.
One of my first nights I made $400 in five hours. In retail it would've taken me two weeks to earn that much money. On the cab ride home I counted my money again and again. It felt too good to be true. I was hooked. Like a dumbass, I spent the money almost as fast as I made it. I'll make it right back, I thought to myself. It was a dangerous mindset.
Over the following weeks I established who I was as a dancer--not much different from who I am in my personal life. While most girls used their ass and tits to entice men, I used my personality. I learned to approach men with a genuine interest in who they were. Once I broke down their walls emotionally, I then used my physical assets to seal the deal. This has been my steady tactic. It's simultaneously a good and bad thing. It separates me from the other dancers, but the men forget that I'm there to make money. There are always patrons who try to cross the line and pursue me outside the club. As a rookie I sometimes entertained them but I've learned to say no.
There's nothing like strip club culture. I feel a sense of sisterhood each time I walk inside my workplace. The camaraderie amongst the dancers is one of a kind. One of my favorite things about dancing is hanging out in the dressing room and transforming. There's an art to putting yourself together and becoming your alter-ego. People share food and cigarettes and toiletries. There's no body-shaming. We can shake our asses freely without the gawking eyes of customers. Girls pour their hearts out and give each other advice. It's really beautiful.
Over the last three years I've enjoyed the luxuries of making my own schedule, drinking on the job, and the soulfuI meditation of pole-dancing. I've been fortunate. I've met plenty of annoying guys but not as many assholes. The way I view men has changed indefinitely but I look at it in a positive way. The veil has been lifted. I'm not the naive, impressionable, underweight 22 year-old I was in 2013. I now know that pussy is one of the most powerful things on Earth and men will almost always sacrifice everything for it. I'd rather know the raw, honest truth than look at the world through rose-colored glasses.
I can see myself dancing until I'm 30 before I hang it up. It's too convenient to let go. I can work 20 hours a week, pay my bills, live comfortably, and have extra time for creative endeavors. It's obviously not a job for everyone but I've always seen myself as a sort of outcast. For where I am right now, it's the perfect fit.