Old Journal Entry-2010
It is five o’clock on any average Friday evening and most people are wrapping up their work week. I, on the other hand, am just beginning to think about work and the preparation that awaits me. Along with the circus of people who I will encounter throughout the night. A dull moment on weekend night shifts is a rarity so entertainment is almost guaranteed.
I am an exotic dancer in a small university town filled with strip clubs and customers from various socioeconomic groups. Doctors, lawyers, business owners, blue-collar workers, pimps and drug dealers all make up the customer base. All their money spends the same at the end of the night, when the cash is counted and added up. Money is what it all comes down to, cold hard cash, this is not a business to be in to make friends. Just make money and get out. This world/industry can and will eat you alive if you allow it to. Being an entertainer has its ups and downs, literally at times. It’s a crazy life, but someone has to live it!
The sun is barely setting and I enter the bar passing through the double set of dingy doors into a musty cement building. I feel my soul quickly harden. There is no room for true genuine feelings or emotions beyond this point. For now, it is about survival of the fittest and emotions are the pawns in this mental game of chess we all signed up to play.The night begins greeting me with blaring repetitive music and a familiar naked silhouette on stage. I walk into the darkness. Blindly, I make my way to the dressing room to drop my dance bag in my locker. The girls are from such diverse backgrounds and come and go as they please, even the cameras are not enough reassurance to leave anything of value out in the open. Too many nights, I have seen a dancer forced to go home in her work costume because another dancer took her street clothes.
The glamorous life as some would call it loses its glitter and gold amazingly quick! One night in a pair of six-inch stiletto heels, and having to smile at drunk men, while they slur lude remarks will change anyone’s viewpoint/life. Two years ago, I felt proud to even be able to do my job, but now it is almost depressing to see what it has fallen so quickly to become.
Currently, my nightly routine begins with vodka on the rocks in one hand and a sugar-free energy drink in the other. I survey the bar gazing around making my first assessment of the night, as I make my way to the DJ booth. My thoughts start out with high hopes and visualizing hundred-dollar bills in my wallet at the end of the night. Always thinking of the best nights in the back of my mind, the gambler within forever wonders when those nights will be topped. Which means so much in this world, for money is the reason most are here, especially those who last for more than a year. My current focus is work and doing my best to like my job! Valuing it merely as a means to an end. A personal end to being involved in the madness that our society has created, that I profit from. My job revolves around maladaptive coping mechanisms (ex. fried food, hard alcohol, beer, wine, cigarettes, caffeine, drugs).
Every woman here has a story, I have yet to meet a boring dancer. They range from the new young naive girl who is not aware/evolved enough to even notice half of what is truly going on(we all start out as this girl to varying degrees), the seasoned heroin addict that has been around for a couple of years, who stands bothering the bartender for a spoon so she can carry on with her habit and get on with her night at work, the girls with kids and “real” lives, the girls that travel and work their way around the country from going from club to club, to me the college educated one who chooses to dance in the darkness and black lights. We all gamble with our income. Our self developed hustles are the only things that will help us guarantee the income that we each desire. Each one of us works on our own for the most part. The other girls simply make up the competition for the night. But sometimes friendly competition can make me work a little harder and so it works out for the best in the end.
There are three things you learn very quickly in this industry or fall by the wayside:
Who you are.
Who you want to be.
Who you do not want to become.
Everyone who enters a club is a walking example of what not to do or what to do. All walks of life crave attention/affection in our society. What better of a place to get it legally and experience instant gratification at the same time then a strip club. Still taboo at times, but it is a means to an end for customers to get their basic human needs met. Everyone wants to feel loved appreciated and needed. A customer may think, “Well these poor girls take off their clothes for money, they must need the help,” and we offer a service that is not a bad payoff in some customers minds. Wanting to feel needed, appreciated, loved, and cared for is human and customers are human. It amazes me still how many people have forgotten that love and attention are the building blocks to personal evolution. A newborn baby in an incubator doesn’t have the same likelihood to live as a newborn that is cared for, loved, and held by its Mother.
The things people say around naked women after a couple of drinks would be enough to unnerve Ghandi at times!!