Strip-tease : "It is my fucking choice to do this job"

I became a stripper when I was 19, my first year of college. The year before, I was working as a sexphone operator, and even if it was a very interesting experience, I wasn't feeling like doing that anymore. I discovered a stripclub in my city, and decided to try.


Drawing by Ophelia L.

It was a little stripclub, with nightclub lights inside. I came for my interview, a friday night around midnight. The boss showed me the dancer on the stage, upside down on the pole, and told me that I would be able to do the same thing after two months. I was seriously doubting it.

Erotism was fascinating for me, but I spent my teenage years in a hippie/punk mood and I didn't have much knowledge about how to fit in the society standard of feminine beauty. My colleagues taught me how to put correctly on my face eyeshadow and foundation.

I know now that I worked abroad that this stripclub was quite special, because it was specialized in begginner's training, about dancing and even commercial strategy. I began at the same time than a lot of other newbies, and we created kind of a little family, quite different of the competitition spirit that you can find in a lot of clubs. As I was writing in my diary : « In this club, we are all about work. Always thinking of the next pole dance's figure to learn, the next outfit to buy or if this customer will come back to take this private dance with champagne ».


Drawing by Ophelia L.

I met in this field some very good friends, and my best friend Ophelia L. After a while, I left the cocoon of my first club and worked in other countries : Guadeloupe, Belgium, Switzerland, United States and Australia.



Self-confidence


Since the beginning the exotic dancing world fascinated me, and enriched me a lot. Through it, I acquired new social skills, by talking to strangers all the time. I also won some confidence about my power of seduction. I wrote when I was a newbie : « I understand now how great is the power of women ». Even if it was in a specific setting, the striptease has been a way to develop the expression of my sensuality, and to test its possible effects on others. Also, having to deal with different types of customers, some of them drunk, weird or just rude, gave me some surprising life skills.

And the dance. This magical dance to learn, on the ground, around the pole, on the pole...



Relations between colleagues


The relations between dancers are very interesting in a stripclub. The system is based on competitiveness. The money that is earning your colleague who met this customer first could have been your money. But it is not only about money, it is also about being « chosen » or not. On one hand, this job is good for our ego, customers are telling a lot of compliments and during a private dance, some are looking at you like if you were the messiah. On the other hand, doing this job is exposing yourself to be rejected, repeatedly, by men. And society is teaching to the ones raised as women that their value is also related to their capacity to attract men. There is in this commercial dance a lot of questions about self-esteem and gender.

We learn at the same time that we are pretty and desirable, and that not everybody will like us, that everyone has different tastes. The boss of the club I began in was smart (for his business but it was useful for us too), explaining that it was useless to insist endelessly to sell a dance to a customer who prefers another dancer, because everybody would waste time and money.

Some dancers can be hard on their colleagues, and arguments between strippers are not rare. For this reason, there is a code of conduct, for example not invite ourselves to a table when there is already one dancer for each customer.

But there are also wonderful friendships there, loyalty to the close friends, trying to make them earn some money too, and admiration for one another as dancers. I love to watch my colleagues dance on the pole : even if most of us have similar moves, that we learned, each one of us is expressing on the stage her own personnality, her own flavor.



A revenge spirit


« It is my fucking choice to do this work. I'm the girl getting naked. I have power, I have control. Maybe it is for this reason that men put down strippers and escorts. In front of them, they are the weaker sex. »

My diary, 2011


Doing this work, I was taking revenge over two things : society and men. The society because of the taboo on sexuality and erotism, telling that these lines of works are dirty, that a good girl is not supposed to do that. And the revenge over men is running in the sex industry, from my experience. Why ? Because our experience of men could have been to be put down, oppressed, insulted, called sluts, not respected, objectified for their desires, sexualized without our consent, touched or worst without our consent... Like the majority of women on this planet.

Being a stripper is deciding, with our free will this time, to become a fantasy, to be sexualized. Nobody is doing that without our consent, because we decided it. And we make them pay for it. Interesting expression, isn't it ? We make them pay litterally and metaphorically. Inside a stripclub, dancers have control, and men can be seen as weakened by their desire. I wasn't always thinking this way, fortunately. However, there was often this taste of victory, especially when the customer wasn't very nice, but I was convincing him to spend a lot of money anyway.


Drawing by Ophelia L.

I'm a little less positive about my stripper experience than about my escort experience. But I'm infinitely grateful for everything I learned in a stripclub. And sometimes, I miss the excitement, the one of being in the lights of a stripclub, surrounded by other dancers in lingerie, asking ourselves which group of customers we will go for next, or ready to go on stage, to express a perfect blend between what others want to see and who we really are...


« Even if some day I quit being a stripper, I will be proud all my life to have been one ».

Diary, 2012.


Emy Phoenix


In my articles, I make a lot of statements. It is hard for my philosopher side which would love me to explain in greater detail and give stronger arguments, but it is not fitting the short form I'm using here. I just want to specify that I'm not telling a general truth, just my truth at this precise moment of my life, which will change and evolve.

And specially for this topic, even if I use “we” sometimes, i'm talking about my own experience only.

Thank to O. for the english corrections!

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