Since everyone seemed to absorb so much enjoyment from my 'Pornstar Problems’ I thought I would continue the theme. Shortly prior to taking my clothes off on camera, I took my clothes off on stage… and on the laps of strangers. Stripping was my initial introduction into the sex industry, and I have to admit, I fucking loved it. I still miss it. Every time I walk down Shoreditch High Street in East London, I’m filled with sadness that The White Horse, my favourite strip joint to work in, is now closed due to gentrification meaning they could not afford the rent. I am waiting for it to be turned into some sort of snooty elitist hipster pizza place or coffee bar with one solitary table inside, with some off hand, try to be cool reference to how it once was a strip club.
The first club I ever worked in, whilst I was paying my way through Uni (London College of Fashion. Hi, yes, that’s why I was never in lectures and I was frequently falling asleep and hungover) was called Venus. We used to drive through Farringdon when I was a kid, deep in the city, and I would always wonder what it was like inside this ominous Gentlemen’s lair, with flaming torches and bouncers at the door. Later, I would discover it was just outdated decor, cocaine dealing waiters, Eastern European girls that couldn’t find work elsewhere and DJ’s that literally HATED their lives.
I remember hearing fairytales of girls who made thousands upon thousands as strippers, a grand a night EASY. Why the hell wouldn’t I want to do a job that made that kind of money? Well first of all, you don’t make that kind of money, that kind of money is a mystery, a rare and beautiful fairytale. Something one dreams of but never achieves. Strippers make a couple hundred a night. If their lucky. I’m talking about real strippers, girls that do this behind their family and boyfriends back to pay their rent or tuition, not feature dancing Porn chicks. This was before all of that, back when I didn’t know how to apply my make up or do my hair and I wore fake tan because that’s what I was told to do by the boss.
Here you have it ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, stripper problems.
- When you’re supposed to have perfectly manicured feet but have you ever tried to keep your feet in amazing condition when you pole dance for 8 hours a night, 5 nights a week, in clear plastic stilettos?
- When the girl on stage before you is covered in baby oil and she turns the pole into a greasy slime stick that you will probably break your neck on should you attempt to actually pole dance.
- When you’re the best pole dancer in the club, and everyone knows it and that’s your thing and then some girl turns up out of nowhere and she’s way better than you and all the other girls watch your face seize up while she’s on stage making you look like shit.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and you are trying your hardest not to rub fake tan or glitter on this obviously married mans suit.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the dude keeps trying to talk to you and it’s like ‘MY FUCKING PUSSY IS INCHES FROM YOUR FACE. PLEASE SHUT UP AND ENJOY THE VIEW SO I CAN TAKE MY MONEY AND LEAVE’
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the dude is talking to his friend and not even looking at you and you’re thinking, mate I know you don’t get girls like me IRL so pay attention whilst you can.
- When you go to ask a guy if he wants a dance and he says he’s just there for a drink. Go to a fucking pub then.
- When you put the time and hustle into one customer and you sit and listen to their bullshit life story and then, when you ask them for a dance, they say no because they just respect you too much. Listen dude, you don’t even know my real name, and if you truly respect me, give me some money so I can pay my house fee and my university tuition.
- “What’s your name? No what’s your REAL name?” Lol bye.
- When you get that dreaded Monday night shift.
- When the club is empty as fuck and you have to pay your house fee out of your own pocket, so you essentially just paid the club £100 for the privilege of sitting with some equally miserable half naked girls, with no alcohol, for 8 hours.
- When you’re sat with a customer and you ask them for a dance and they say they’d rather buy you a drink and chat. Mother fucker this ain’t a date! I can’t pay my bills with your shitty ass vodka and lemonade and boring conversation. Give me money or GTFO.
- When customers say ‘you’re only talking to me to get my money’ Nooooo. Shit. I’m THAT transparent? Could it be MAYBE that this is my job?
- When it’s long dresses before 1am. What the fuck is this? A formal event? The oscars? NO ONE. Not one solitary man, has ever walked into a STRIP CLUB (where they go to see naked girls) and gone “Yes! So glad they are all wearing floor length sequinned, nylon, gowns! I love it when grown ass women wear fancy dress Disney costumes!”
- Clubs that say your G String must be an inch thick… but it’s coming off and my vagina is fine to be on show?
- When strip club DJs go on a power trip and start choosing their own songs for your show and giving you their opinion of music. You are a strip club DJ. Your musical opinion died a long time ago.
- When another girl steals your favourite stage track, and then goes on stage right before you and uses it.
- Tying a hair band around your ankle and then fixing all your notes to it with an elastic band, how ratchet is that?
- When you see girls with their ankle hair band bulging full of 20’s and you got one measly note and not even paid your house fee yet.
- Those nights where not one single guy seems to want to talk to you and no one wants a dance, and you can’t understand how last night you were the toast of the town, making all the money and getting all the champagne room hours and now you’re an ugly beast that apparently has some sort of contagious disease that all men must stay away from.
- When you don’t get any champagne room bookings because you don’t ‘give extras’ (That means I don’t blow customers, for those of you not down with the strip club lingo)
- When you’re working a strip pub and you carry your jug around before your stage show for collection and guys say things like ‘ugh. Again? I just paid for one of you 10 minutes ago’ yes well this is a strip joint, the premise is that you pay to see tits and fanny. Sorry that parting with your pennies came as such a shock to you.
- When you get asked to do a ‘double dance’ with a girl you hate and it consists of 5 very awkward minutes of you both trying not to touch each other but still impress the guy enough that he wants another dance with you on your own.
- When customers won’t buy a dance and they say ‘you don’t need my money, you’re beautiful you must make LOADS’ not really mate, because most guys are tight fucks like you, that say irritating shit like that.
- When girls come into the club and think that having a vagina means they are exempt from paying.
- When girls come into the club and think that having a vagina means they are allowed to touch and grope you.
- When girls come into the club with no intention of spending money but just want to be cool and edgy and make sure all the attention is on them because they are ‘that girl that goes to strip club’ Why bring sand to the fucking beach?
- When a group of guys come into the club on an obvious work night out and theres that one uncomfortable looking chick who’s used to being the only girl in the office and is now not getting any attention because she is in a room full of naked girls and goes out of her way to be rude, spiteful and get incredibly drunk/try to give all the guys in there lapdances.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the dude gets a boner.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the dude smells bad.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the guy starts to sweat.
- When you’re giving a lap dance and the dude sits completely still but tries to stroke you with the tip of his little finger, just so he’s touching you one tiny bit and just little enough that the bouncers don’t see. Gross AND creepy, dude. Gross and creepy.
- Stag do's.
- Stag do's again. Just because they are every strippers nightmare.
- When the stag decides he’s in love with you and insists on telling you and saying things like ‘I think we have a real connection, I don’t know if I should get married tomorrow’ Probably not mate, I feel sorry for your girl.
- When dudes sit at the front of the stage with a stack of money and only throw a dollar per dance.
- Young guys that are naive and want to save you
- Old guys that think they know everything and want to save you.
- Late fees. I used to get one every shift on top of my house fee.
- When you have to shave your legs so often they become a similar texture to cardboard.
- When people clap but don't tip, I can't pay my bills in claps. Unfortunately.
- Pretending to be a sex goddess when you’d much rather be at home with your boyfriend and your pyjamas, drinking tea and watching Hell’s kitchen reruns.
- No sick pay, because you know, this isn’t a REAL job.
- Very quickly becoming an alcoholic because it’s the only way you can bare to talk to customers.
- Plasters, Pro plus, Ibuprofen, baby wipes and men’s deodorant.
Much like my Pornstar Problems, funnily enough, writing about everything that annoys and upsets me about stripping just make’s me feel more fond of it. I met some of my best friends through the London strip club circuit, and had some of the best times of my life learning to pole dance and working till 4am then counting my cash in the cab home. I sometimes fantasise about going back to it, but then I read back over this list and I think…. maybe not.