During my recent trip to Oregon, I visited a small chain club I used to work at throughout my career as a stripper. This brought back all kinds of reminders of the stigmas and consequences of being a stripper in a small town market. These girls/women are not the best of the best, whom I normally write about, but these strippers dictate how all strippers are viewed by most of mainstream American society. The best of the best are allowed to be the best because of all the strippers in small town markets who make up the majority.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that many(not all) strippers were never taught or shown some of life’s basic skills. Most glaring is the lack of problem solving skills that focus on solutions instead of escalating the problem or assigning blame.” ~Keven “Mack” McFadden(GM from Stars in Salem, Oregon)
It is easy to forget all the little things and ways I learned to adapt in order to survive in small town strip clubs and actually come out ahead. Being around people who have nothing to lose is a tricky situation, which can cost quite a price both financially and mentally. Small town strip clubs are more likely to attract strippers who are drug addicts, strip club lifers, homeless, nomadic/traveling strippers, single moms, uneducated, minors still in high school, and the list goes on of barriers these women have to face and overcome. As small towns struggle economically, so do the strip clubs and this is what has allowed the downfall of standards in small market strip clubs.
The cost of working at small town strip clubs is high above the stigmas of small minds. There are also house fees, tip outs, drinks, gas, cabs, outfits, shoes, nails, tanning, makeup, hair and all the other things associated with beauty and being a stripper. The financial costs of working in a strip club are larger than most would assume. Like the saying goes you do not understand what it is like until you walk in someone else’s plastic six or eight inch stilettos with only a tiny thong.
Not everyone enters the strip club industry to become one of the best of the best. Many strippers enter the strip club industry to even the financial playing field for being a woman in American society/Corporate America, but choose not to live in the industry forever. Some treat stripping as a stepping stone, much like an athlete has a career window. The connections, networking opportunities, and the time for personal enrichment and evolution are all valuable benefits of being a stripper. All walks of life enter the strip club both as customers, strippers, and employees. I have yet to find a more diverse way to network and learn about the world than stripping and the adult industry. Stripping in small towns was where I always had my best nights financially shockingly. Yet, it makes dollars and sense, because I found drunk blue-collar workers were always more willing to spend their last dollar than any other demographic. Working in small markets, even with the extra costs, was worth it financially some nights. Other nights it was draining physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When I worked in small town Oregon I would remove most jewelry and anything of value that could be stolen by a customer or peer. For the most part, if I could not live without it, I did not bring it to work. I even had certain clothes I would wear into the strip club while working. Many nights I witnessed other strippers forced to go home in a bikini bottom or a short skirt due to stolen clothing.
“Unfortunately, for many of them(strippers) it is their own life choices that led them down a destructive path. Once they are at the low point and add self medicating into the mix, it is no wonder they tend to lash out at both people and property as a way of gaining a feeling of power.” ~Kevin “Mack” McFadden(GM of Stars in Salem, Oregon)
The struggle is real for some strippers. This may be their last option to turn their life around or make it a complete train wreck. The later is what I saw in small markets more rampantly unfortunately. These strippers are not creating their exit plans from the strip club industry, but merely seeking a means to an end. All strippers have a reason for being where they are and doing what they do. Does this mean we owe society an explanation? … No! Not until society can explain to us as women why our bodies are more valuable than our brains, especially during our youth.
Small towns breed small minds and no one can change this fact. It is overwhelmingly apparent in small market strip clubs. Men visit strip clubs to feel better about themselves and have a good time. Therefore, the entertainment(strippers) cannot be better than the customers in any way. Playing dumb becomes the norm for work. There is only so long one can play dumb and learn from others before there is no more patience to learn more from small minds. Small minds who do not realize they are merely a big fish in a very small pond.
Knowledge is free-flowing in strip clubs if one chooses to realize the opportunity to mingle with all walks of life. However, the patience and tolerance it takes to deal with small towns and small minds from both customers and peers is incredibly draining. Playing small-minded, while being a sponge for information does not mix well, however this is how the strip club industry works at its best. Women go into the strip club industry looking for an upper hand when it comes to finances, education, and/or evolution. It is their own personal coping mechanisms that decides how the strip club industry molds them.