Life has been interesting I must say. When I went away to college I experienced so many things, some good, some bad, but in all I learned.
Working As A Stripper In College Is Not All Glitz and Glam
I got up this morning thinking to myself that I have a paper due in three days and after class, I have to hurry and get to the library because I have a limited amount of time to complete my paper before having to be at Fantasy City tonight. It's almost the weekend and the club is going to be a little crowded. After class, I head over to the LU Library and begin working on my paper. I only have a few more pages to go and I will be headed home to shower and jet off to work tonight. As I am finishing up my paper, the time is getting late and I have to be at the club by 9:00pm if I don't want to pay a higher bar fee.
You see, the bar fee is the fee that all dancers have to pay at the door in order to work. Sometimes, you don't always have your bar fee upfront, especially when you are a new girl, so management understands this and will give you more time to get a few dances from customers, or on stage to make your bar fee. There are other dancers who are pretty cool with management and security, like me and if I don't have my bar fee upfront they will work with me. Although I'm no longer a new girl, they still give me the luxury of paying them later in the night, because management knows that there has never been a time when I have asked if I could pay after making money and tried to leave at the end of the night to dodge having to pay.
Usually, when you make your money on the floor, it is then that you go to the night manager who is working that night and pay your fee. I am a pretty honest person and if I say that I am going to do something, I do it. The night shift manager Trina knows that I am good for it. I don't usually not have my bar fee, but yesterday, I paid money towards my tuition balance which wiped me out.
I made the decision to become a stripper to pay for my last semester in college after being informed that after my financial aid posted to my student account, I still had a significant balance. A friend of mine in school told me that she was dancing at a nearby strip club to stay in school and to make ends meet for her and her daughter and eventually, I decided to look into it.
I never thought that I would resort to working as a stripper in a strip club, but circumstances happened and when my scholarship money had been exhausted and I didn't have time to apply for additional scholarships that would cover my last two semesters, I felt like my back was against the wall. I attend a private college and tuition is really high, so it is not uncommon for you to exhaust your additional scholarship money by the time your approaching your senior year in college. I was told at the last minute that in order for me to graduate from college next semester and participate in the graduation ceremony, I would have to have a zero balance on my student account. My half-time job working at the bank is just not enough to allow me to pay my rent, bills, along with my tuition balance. After going back and forth with myself about becoming a dancer, I made the decision to seek a job at the strip club.
I had never been to a strip club, let alone working at one and taking off my clothes. I knew my parents did not have the money to pay the remaining balance on my tuition and those in my family who did, I have a hard time asking them for anything because I fear that it would be held "over my head," when it is convenient for them to do so. I am actually speaking from experience. Sometimes, family can be great, and sometimes they can be the worst critical. Now that I am finally done typing this paper I am headed home to shower, do my makeup and head to Fantasy City.
At the club Fantasy City, we have house moms, Ms. Eloise and Jane who supply all of us girls with purchasing custom made costumes, which they are fabulous at designing for us girls. The house moms also provide our feminine products and all things us girls will need to help us get through the night. Although most of the girls already have these items in their stripper bag, you never know when you might forget something, so this is where our house moms come in to help. We have a makeup artist Kevon, who use to work for MAC Makeup and he is awesome at creating a masterpiece, on our face that is. There is a massage therapist who comes in on the weekends to give us massages, as well as foot massages on very difficult nights.
There is another world downstairs in the girls dressing room when compared to being on the actual floor and/or on the stage, for your stage show. All the girls get at least two stage shows per night, maybe more, depending on how many girls are working that night. All of these things are at a cost, of course. We tip our house moms for providing our girly products, gum and all sorts of other things. Usually, our house mom would like for us to pay one dollar per items that we need. The custom made costumes which Mr. Eloise and Ms. Jane design for us girls look fab on the floor and on stage. The costumes for purchase usually start at three hundred dollars and up. Management requires that each girl has at least two to three custom made costumes designed by our house moms.
Our house moms Ms. Eloise and Ms. Jane charge just a tad bit extra for a blinged out costume with rhinestones, which has us looking like super stars on the floor. We also have a hairstylist, but he is usually there Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You come with your hair already shampooed and blow dried and he does the rest for a fifty dollar or more fee, depending on what style you want. Our makeup artist Kevon charges twenty dollars to do makeup on a full face and only ten dollars for eyelashes. Let's not forget that the club DJ gets a tip too because as he gets to know each individual girl, he knows what songs to play for your stage show, and what girls to place on stage with you to help get the money to the stage.
I work at one of the most glamorous and prestigious clubs in all of town, so the fact that we make no less than six or seven hundred dollars per night on a slow night and more on a good night, we don't mind the fees we pay to look and feel glam. Some of us like myself don't always get our makeup done every night that we work because we know how to apply the makeup ourselves. Sometimes during special events or usually the weekend, birthday parties, NFL and NBA games, all-stars and a host of other events, you really want to have your makeup professionally done by Kevon. Although we have a shower and dress room in our girls dressing room, it helps to come to work showered, makeup on and ready to go because the longer it takes you to get dressed and come on the floor, the higher your bar fee.
I am now at work and, I slip on my outfit fluff out my hair and I am ready to go on set. There is always this gut wrenching feeling in my stomach as I initially walk up the stairs onto the floor. There is so much competition in the club, it's not even funny. Our club has some of the most beautiful girls in the world and as you are walking around the club for guys to see you and decide if they would like a dance, it is so many other girls for men or women to choose from.
If you are not strong-minded, you can get caught up in the glitz and glamour. There are guys who like an innocent little college girl and there are others who have their choice of girls to pick from and they stick with them. Despite the stereotypes that all strippers are hoes and have sex all day everyday unless they are at work is a myth. In fact, there are many girls who are not sleeping around with customers for money. I happen to be one of those girls who is only there for a short time until I am able to get the balance of my tuition paid in full and graduate from college.
The club can feel like a lonely place and it can play games with your self-esteem. There are days when a certain type of girl is making money, and you may not be one of those girls making as much as some of the other girls. Even the professional athletes and celebrities have their specific choices of what they like on a given night. Often times, it can have you feeling like, "What is wrong with me," maybe they don't like my costume tonight, or maybe it is my makeup or my hair and you will eventually become drawn into wanting to look a certain way, because you think that it may help you make the money to be at the level of all the daily money making girls. Truth is, when you see girls who tend to have the same clients, some celebrities, ballers or just men with money and they maintain those clients faithfully, they may be doing other things in addition to dancing. Meaning, sex for money, blow jobs and other sexual pleasures. I make great money, but I also cannot work every night due to my other job and school commitments, but we are required to work at least four days per week and work a slow night.
Every strip club has specific girls that always make over a certain amount per night, even on the slow days. The fact that as women, we tend to always be in competition with one another to win, so hype that up ten times when you work in a strip club. Sure, there are girls who have a click that they communicate with regularly whether outside the club, inside or both. I must say, when you have girls that you talk to, it makes things easier and less lonely, which helps you get through the night. I never got use to dancing naked, nor did I ever get completely comfortable working as a stripper.
I have begun to get accustomed to going to work and making my rent money, car note, tuition payment and utilities, sometimes all in one night. The longer I work at this club, the harder it is going to be for me to make my exit, but I know that I have to. There are guys who come into the club and for the most part, the majority of them are respectful, and then you have the guys who come in and don't know how to act with a naked woman standing in front of them. They get the touchy feely hands. When you tell them that there is no touching policy, they get angry and tell you, "But there are other girls who will let me touch them." Well, I am not other girls, and you won't touch me! Sometimes, they just say this thinking that you are dumb and naïve and will give in.
The difference in Fantasy City and other clubs alike is that the majority of the girls are either in college, real-estate school, law school, medical school, entrepreneurs seeking to get their business off the ground and a host of other professions. Yes, we are dancing naked in a strip club, but that does not make us hoes and sluts, despite what some people and social media may think.
Many of the girls become so self-conscious about wanting to look a certain way, they decide on plastic surgeries to enhance their looks. It becomes repetitive to come in four or more days per week and do the same thing. You never know whether or not your type is going to be popular the night that you work or not. Many guys proposition us for sex, or there are guys who have the hook up on cocaine and other drugs. This is where it becomes so important to maintain a level head and a strong mind, because so many girls have gotten caught up in the lifestyle that they almost forget that inside of Fantasy City, we provide the fantasy, but outside the club, this is the real world. It is often difficult for some of the girls to detach from fantasy back into real life.
When working at a strip club, it is indeed the fast life, I would say. It is the celebrity lifestyle in a sense because we are amongst so many celebrities on a regular basis. The club does not close until 4:00am and there is still always something to do even after leaving the club. Many of us are invited to hang out, or club hop at night clubs near the area that stay open until whenever. There are also celebrities and athletes that invite you out after the club closes. The point that I am trying to make is that there are girls who remain focused on the reasons why they became a dancer in the first place and some who lose sight of this. In a nutshell, we all wanted to better our life or our circumstances one way or another and the circumstances are different for every girl.
You can become connected to the wrong people and the wrong crowd and it could cost you. The hardest part for me is to get up for class each day to make it in time for my 8:00am class, when I may have just gotten home at five O'clock in the morning. There would be times when I would fall asleep in class because I had a tough one the night before. For a while, I kept my teller job at the bank but eventually it become an issue of, "Why would I deal with the managers and the people on this job, when I can go to the club and make every dime that I need in one night." This is a perfect example of it being difficult for many of us to separate the club life, or Fantasy City from the real world; "The outside world."
In the real world, the average person does not make a thousand dollars or more everyday and when you become accustomed to something and a certain lifestyle, it becomes harder to disconnect. I don't do drugs or alcohol, nor did I hang out much after leaving the club because I have class in the morning. I faithfully attend my 8:00am class with Dr. Brad and I don't miss. When I do hang out, it is normally on a Friday or Saturday and it is with my girls. It does help to get out sometimes with peers not connected to the strip club too.
It is difficult to maintain a relationship while working as a stripper because there comes a time when your mate starts to become jealous, or doubtful of you and whether or not your being faithful. Eventually, it tends to break up your relationships to a point to where, when you meet a nice guy, you don't want to tell him that your a stripper. On one hand; you don't want to run the risk of him judging you and automatically feeling like your a hoe sleeping with everyone, or he appears to be semi-content with it in the meantime; that is until you two become serious, and then it becomes a problem.
God forbid, one of your classmates, or even worse, your professor, family member or close friend come to your club and see you working there. This is always on your mind, how people will view you if they find out that your a stripper. The life of a stripper comes with many ups and downs, but life as a college stripper is tough too because you live your life in secrecy in hopes that no one you know from your school will find out what you do for a living. Each and every time you are on that stage, the threat of being seen by someone you know and it getting back to your peers at school is a dreadful feeling.
I don't feel bad about my choices of becoming a stripper, despite how others may feel. After graduating college, leaving the club and essentially going on to graduate school and receiving my Masters Degree, I can honestly say that I never did anything in the club that I would consider immoral. It takes a very strong willed individual to become a stripper and still get up everyday and make it to school on time. Despite what others may think, I didn't even become an alcoholic or drug addict. Newsflash, "You can do this job sober."
Some girls feel that they have to present this party girl image while in the club and feel that in order to be that girl and to have that edge about them they need a drink or even drugs. This is never a good idea because you become accustomed to drinking or doing drugs every night that you work and it is almost as if you don't feel like your typical party girl self without the extra edge.
On television and on social media outlets, they make the strip club appear to be all play, but in reality for some it is a means of survival. Although there are so many times when we have fun, make money and everything is all good, this is not always the case each and everyday. Truth is, the strip club overtime makes it very difficult for some to separate the fantasy from reality and they began to live a life of fantasy and have a difficult time adjusting to the reality world when time permits. It is not always glitz and glam and the longer your there, the easier it is for you to get caught up in the life.
Erica Raquel (author) from Chino on June 21, 2018:
It is easy to judge others for the choices they make in life, but truth be told no two people are going to walk through this journey together experiencing the same things. We all have a story that is unique to what made us who we are.