Stripping makes you so hard. It has to. It's like that pair of ten-inch Alexander McQueen shoes. Until your soles get calloused solid, it's going to hurt like hell to walk in them.
I like it to hurt. I like to be human. I don't want to get hard.
A job like this has multiple liabilities: the first is that you lose the understanding of what a dollar means. You can't help it. Four minutes of your time are twenty bucks, and then thirty bucks is discounted at two hundred and sixty. So, yeah, four half-hour VIPs and you're already making more than people who make $20 per hour are making per week! It's some serious cash folks. So before you go and trot out your pitchforks and rake ME over the coals for defiling the body God gave me and shit, think about it....GOD his very self did just that. He GAVE me this body. To use how I want. Sigh.
Anyway, you start looking at everything around you in terms of VIP gigs—a pair of Christian Louboutin high heels with red soles? That's a little more than a one-hour VIP. And rent is just three one-hour VIP dances. Hell, you KNOW how fast you can line up those VIP dances. No biggie.
This is when you realize you have been indoctrinated into The Stripping Life.
The second liability is what it does to your perception of men. In short, it really, really fucks it up. Let's face it, if you're a good looking woman, you know what it means to have so many possibilities you spend your entire life shopping for someone better. It's just like that. You have men all over you all day and night long. But this eventually conspires to suffocate you. And your sense of tenderness and intimacy. And well, your friendships are guarded too.
But this is why I had made friends with my friend who is now dead. He was someone I would never sleep with, whom I knew wouldn't try shit with me and who was respectful. Sure, sure...I met him in a strip club too. I didn't say he wasn't human. But he was one of the men I trusted is all I'm saying. Him and Jimmy (hi Jimmy!).
Anyway, the second stage, on the other hand, hits you like a damn wall and it's called doubt. Do they really like you or do they just want to fuck you like everyone else? Do they really know you or are you playing the role of someone else like you do for a dance? How do you know they mean the shit they say when you hear the same shit a hundred times every night from drunk men you end up never seeing again? The answer is, of course, that you don't. And probably never will so it's much easier to stick with doubt and perhaps even Certainty. Certainty that people in your life are completely insincere and fucked up.
Mix in a hearty dose of Resentment, Bitterness, and Rage and you get heartbreak; which is where I'm at.
The worst part is a combination of the above two things. When I was younger, an older woman stripper friend advised me to accept every date with cute, rich guys. “Why not?” she reasoned. “It's a free dinner.” I always thought this was a terrible deal—put up with someone talking with you for a few hours for food? WTF??? When you're younger and have nothing to do, it doesn't matter so much. But as reality seeps in and time becomes a luxury, the idea of trading in your time for dinner becomes less and less appealing, even if it is the newest restaurant in town.
When you dance, weekends are out of the question, to start. Right off the bat, this dude is costing you at least six hundred big ones. Is he worth it? This is why so many girls go into escorting. Until you try, you have no idea how many men will hand you money after you tell them, “I can't. I work every night. One date night is $800 less for me and I need that $800.” It's a small step to negotiating the price of sex after that. One time, I totaled my car in a drunk driving accident and I didn't have a car to get around and my driver wasn't here either. So one of my clients gave me $5,000 that night to “fix” the problem.
I took it.
But yeah, when you're off work, then with some of the guy I go out with, it's like suddenly you're not dating, you're working. These men aren't boyfriends, they're tricks.
This is Loneliness.
I don't want to get hardened. I don't want to forget the value of money or lose sight of what genuine connection feels like. So yeah, now I'm raw from a friend's death. I'm thinking about my place in the world as a Universal Life Church minister. I'm thinking about my place in the world as a stripper. I'm thinking about my place in the world as a person...who needs the basics.