“You’re still dancing?” a friend asked me over a holiday get together last year. Still dancing? Why the still part? And why not dance?”
Why does dancing have to just be something one does while getting her shit together and not a long term thing? I mean, there so many different jobs out there one could choose from. If one can choose to be a ballerina, a car salesperson, a mall cop, a manager of a department store, and so on, why can’t I just choose to be a stripper?
Being a trash collector isn’t exactly the ideal job, but I doubt Joe the trash man gets asked at parties, “You’re still collecting trash?” He wakes up each day and earns a living. That’s an honorable thing.
The other questions I’m constantly being asked are, “so when are you gonna quit stripping?” and “When are you gonna get a real job?” I’ve been asked this by countless boyfriends, friends, and well-meaning strangers. I used to tell people that I was just putting myself through college. But my new response to these questions is: “I plan on stripping until I’m so old, my bones crack and I fall off the pole.” You should see the looks people give me when I say that. I should say, “Well I’m working toward achieving ‘cougar status’, then we’ll see what the next step is.
I’ve been taking college courses on and off for years. I’m no college graduate but I am pretty close to having a degree with which I could get a so-called “real job”. But what if I don’t want to? What if I just want to be a stripper?
My college credits can be my backup plan in case I lose a limb in a terrible pole accident or one of my fake tits spontaneously combusts or melts in a wildfire.
Of course, there is the unfortunate truth that none of us can escape the natural process of aging that occurs gradually over time. One day my rosy cheeks will wrinkle and sag, shadows will form against the deepening laugh lines around my mouth, and although my silicone boobs will likely remain round and perky, the rest of me probably will not. I am aware of this. But why can’t I be a stripper until then, and it just be a normal acceptable thing?
I don’t think I’d be able to adopt a baby or even get a credit card if I put “Stripper” as my job title on the application. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that comes with the job. Some people can accept it but many cannot. Most people just don’t understand it.
A friend told me someone he worked with told him that going to strip clubs to see strippers is “gross”. She said, “The whole stripper thing is gross. Get a real job.” And what was this person’s job title? A doctor, teacher, scholar? Nope! A waitress.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a waitress. Or a trash collector. Or a janitor. Or a sandwich maker. If everyone in the world was a doctor or lawyer there would be no balance in society. The world needs waitresses, janitors, trash collectors, cashiers, fast food restaurant employees, and bowling alley attendants. A job is a job and pretty much everyone needs one and whatever the job, somebody’s got to do it.
We need teachers to fill up our schools and educate our future leaders, nurses and doctors to keep us well, lawyers to keep us out of trouble, mechanics to fix our cars and electricians to make our air conditioners work. We need bartenders to fill up our glasses after a long day’s work, and heaven knows, the world needs strippers.
Some people dig graves for a living. Some deliver mail. Some people work with children, or care for the elderly. Some pour drinks. Some people put on white coats and examine patients for a living. Some fight for our country. Some spend their day shirtless in the heat of summer, patching up roofs and white washing houses. Some put on a mascot costume and stand outside waving a sign. And some sit on the laps of strangers, whispering dirty talk into their ears.
I commend anyone who can earn a living in this world without having to take their clothes off at their work place. Congratulations. But no one is going to reward them for all those hours they sat in a cubicle answering phones, bored to death for some hourly wage.
I don’t understand why jaws drop when I nonchalantly tell people what I do for a living. I used to be so proud of it, or maybe I just liked the shock factor, that whenever someone asked, I’d proudly admit to it. A curious cashier or gas station attendant would count out the stack of ones I’d paid with and ask if I was a waitress. I’d boldly say, “Nope. I’m a stripper.”
But that got old. I realized that having that kind of attitude about it was as guilty as those asking the questions. No one gives a haughty smile and announces, “I’m a cook” or “I’m a mail carrier.”
While I am not ashamed of what I do for a living, I understand that people will still judge me because of my job and they may make assumptions about me based on very little knowledge about the job and about me.
So I lie on the patient information sheet at the dentist’s office. I tell my kids’ teachers I’m a bartender. Some of my family members think I’m a stay-at-home mom. These lies aren’t told out of shame. They just make things go a little more smoothly.
However, when it comes to finding a reliable babysitter for my kids, I believe that honesty is the best policy. I want the person to be 100% honest with me, therefore I feel I should be 100% honest with them. But how do you break that news? I can’t exactly put an ad in the paper reading, “EXOTIC DANCER SEEKS NIGHT TIME BABYSITTER FOR 2 CHILDREN. LATE HOURS. CASH PAYMENT.”
I kind of just have to feel the person out and figure out the best way to say it during the interview. One of the potential babysitters that I had been corresponding with over email wrote, “Can I ask why you need night care?”
I explained that I am a dancer and I need night care for my children so that I can go to work and earn money. She never answered another text or email from me thereafter. I didn’t understand why. I said I was a stripper, not a serial killer.
But not everyone is like that. Some people are open minded and many are curious about what I do for a living. It’s just society as a whole that generally does not accept it.
Who defines what a real job is anyway? Having a job that offers health insurance would be nice but lots of jobs don’t come with benefits. Does that mean they aren’t “real jobs?” I don’t think so. Is a waitress job a real job? A hot dog stand operator? Did you earn a salary, hourly wage, or commission for your time and services rendered? If so, then yes! It’s a real job!
I suggest that anyone who doesn’t think being a stripper is a “real job” take a couple nights and try it out for themselves. I guarantee that things will get pretty fucking real!
It’s not just a job where you get paid to be beautiful, scantily clad, and seductive. It’s not “easy money” like some people think. Just like in any other job, it takes a brain, focus, and a positive attitude to be successful at it.
I’ll be the first to admit that the hours suck. Most of the world gets up early and starts their day. I’m going against the grain with my mid-day naps and late night hours. It’s difficult having to wake up at 8 in the morning when you went to bed at 4 am the night before. But I’ve grown accustom to my schedule and I take advantage of the couple days a week where I’m able to catch up on sleep. Although I have had to tell a telemarketer or two, “I’M A STRIPPER! PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME BEFORE 2 PM! BETTER YET, DON’T CALL ME AT ALL BECAUSE STRIPPERS DON’T DO THE CREDIT CARD THING!”
Aside from the hours, I really enjoy my job. I have a very healthy outlook on it and I truly believe that it has given me a gift. I understand things about people and the world that I never did before. It’s taught me life lessons and brought people into my life that I never would have known otherwise. It also allows me the freedom to spend most of my time with my children and take college courses on the side.
I do have a wide variety of other interests. I am more than just a stripper. But I am, no matter what anyone else thinks of it, a stripper. I have done many different jobs in the past and I’ve studied many different subjects. I will not be a stripper forever because youth is fleeting. I will do something else someday. But for now, this is what works for me and this is what I like to do.
So, yes. I’m still dancing. And I plan to do so for a while, because heaven knows, the world needs strippers.