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Writing on the Wall: Stripping


As soon as I turned 18, I became a stripper. For some unintelligible reason ever since my adolescence I was driven to become an exotic dancer the moment it was legal. I could shake my ass, earn some cash, and have a good time. That really was not the case. Being a stripper is hard, long, and dangerous work. Not to mention excessive on the feet. You have to listen and smile along to the ramblings of foolish men while pretending to give a shit.

I worked at The Dollhouse in Surry Hills. This is how it went.

As a dancer, your body is your business. You are an independent contractor. Some places charge you rent for working in their facilities. Luckily, Dollhouse didn't. You were paid for each private dance you did. $50 for 15 minutes. To attract customers for a private dance every dancer had to hop on the middle main stage and have a go on the pole. As a novice pole dancer I did not really know what I was doing but I gave it my best and had a swing. Once you had your prey you took them to the dance room. The private dance room was a dark rectangle room with a runway stage in the centre. Couches surround the perimeter of the room. A bouncer waited outside watching the security cameras, making sure no one touched the dancers.

A dance required undressing. Bras and panties off. But only for a minute at the end. Suckers.

Not going to lie. Watching men be gobsmacked and open mouthed at the sight of my body was a pretty powerful feeling. I had to hold back from laughing at some of their stupid faces. It was best to work in a pack with other girls and try to convince the mates of friends to pay for each other's lap dances.

Once I was working with another student from UNSW called Rory*. We were called to dance with these two gentlemen. During the dance it was revealed that the man Rory was dancing for was actually a lecturer at UNSW. I wonder how that went down on campus.

There were a lot of striking, bold and beautiful women at the club. Some carried the heavy look of a hard history on their faces. It was also hard to trust the other women there. No one left their valuables in the back alley locker room. I remember when I was having my interview at the club I saw this beautiful young woman working there as a dancer. She looked elegant. When I met her though I was reminded how appearances don't equate to personality.

The lovely lady was called Chloe. I liked to call her coke Chloe. You'll find out why. She kindly offered to drive my home one night. As I hopped into her calf-high-trash-packed car I began to wonder if I should change my decision.

It turned out before dropping me home she just needed to pick up her bikie mate. We trekked an extra half an hour to pick up her 50-year-old bikie mate. He was actually quite warm and friendly. He even offered me a line of coke but I politely declined. He offered two to Chloe, which she took gladly.

The coke really pepped her up and sent her speeding down the M2 as I clung to the car praying for my life. She had also been drinking. I definitely should have just caught the train.

On another night a to-be-married man refused to buy a private dance despite talking to me for over an hour. He then had the audacity to ask me to come back to his hotel for sex. Gross as fuck! No thanks.

I was not a stripper for long. It was hard to get to, hard to endure and made my whole soul feel sore. A few times after a long night I would wake up in my bed and cry feeling gross from the night before.

I think that strippers should have better working conditions and at least a base rate of pay for the hard work they do. It's not easy pretending to listen to the "woes" of cis men all while wear chinky heels and a thong.

I am glad I got to experience that night and who knows, maybe one day I will be a dancer again if urgency calls. If you are reading this, I ask you that next time you go to a strip club, tip the girls, buy private dances, and please don't be a dick.

*Names have been changed.

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