"If I can do it naked, I can do it in a pantsuit" - Interview with a Stripper (Part Two)
This is a continuation of an interview with dancer Christianna. Read part one here before you move on to part two.
There is a negative connotation with dancing. Many people think of strippers as broke, uneducated, having daddy problems, single mothers, etc. What are your thoughts on this social stigma?
When you demonize a profession you dehumanize it's workers which is truly toxic. I've met all kinds of dancers from all kinds of backgrounds and the one thing that is rare is a broke stripper. Most of us make very stable incomes and have enough to save. There are lots of mothers who dance, but lots of them aren't single. I think a big misunderstanding with dancers is that people assume we’re all single because it's too hard to sustain a relationship, but the truth is lots of us have stable partners. I've met educated strippers, lots of gay strippers, nonbinary strippers, old strippers, fat strippers, and strippers of all races. There isn't just one kind of stripper. It's infuriating people want to lump us all together into this ignorant box, but really I think a lot of the negativity comes from people who feel threatened by our presence. Men don't know how to handle sexually liberated women with no hang ups purely out to scam them for money. They want to imagine it's more emotional for us, but it really kinda can switch up the predatory roles to where men are taken advantage of. We prey upon their insecurities and conceits and take their money. They think they can save us, but we don't want to be saved. They think when we message them we have relationship interests, but we’re just cultivating a clientele. Men get caught in their feelings and meanwhile we’re thinking about what we get to eat after our shift ends.
Women who hate sex workers are also insecure most of the time, and their hate comes from their fears that we are “tempting and taking their men” lol. Of course the last thing we want is to date clients. We just want the bag, but we really receive a lot of the projections of people’s insecurities. Stripping requires a complex skill set which includes communication, salesmanship, accounting, counseling and many other things. People don't realize how much we do and want to write off our work experience as unimportant, but dancing has given me the confidence to talk to anyone. If I can do it naked, I can do it in a pantsuit.
Have you ever experienced a negative backlash from men for “leading them on?" My mind goes straight to those men with layers of aggression and vindictive behavior hidden beneath fragile shells of “masculinity.” (You know, the dudes who call you a “bitch” and a “tease” when you tell them you just want to be friends, or treat you like shit the moment they find out you have a partner.) Do you take certain steps to avoid these types of men? How do you end a [strictly] client “relationship” if it goes too far?
Haha men are always this fragile so you approach all of them with kid gloves, essentially. I treat clients candy sweet and avoid saying anything too controversial. Sometimes my patience is short and I won't play along with their feelings. I had one guy who was so into me and that day I didn't have patience, so when he asked me if I liked it or if I was interested in him, I was like “nah.” He got so butthurt and at the end of the dance didn't tip me because it “wasn't the best lap dance ever” and I wasn't “interested in going out with him.” Honestly, you really have to just lead these men on because when they realize they're just dollar signs, they stop giving you their money. If a guy asks to see me later while I'm in a dance or while I'm trying to take him for one, I usually just say, “Let me think about it” or, “One thing at a time,” with a wink and a smile or I’ll make up some story about a bad recent breakup and how “I need some time alone to heal.” Men love the “broken woman that needs to be saved” bullshit. If a guy gets too persistent I just walk away or block him on social media if I gave him my Insta or something.
Due to such stereotypes, do you feel you get pushback when you tell people about your occupation and/or share about it on social media?
I get more pushback from clients [in real life] than people [online]. Clients like to imagine we’re all naive to go into the profession, but you really have to have clear eyes to go in because society is so happy to voice its disapproval of the occupation. Honestly social media has supported me in a way I didn't expect at all. People are genuinely interested and lots of women want to dance but don't know who to ask. It's really good stable money and you can work with enough time to pursue lots of other interests. People want that and I give them a resource to get informed.
In the past you have spoken about being a woman of color and a stripper and how you fare compared to other dancers with darker/lighter complexions. Can you comment on this?
I make more money than darker girls, no doubt. I have to work doubly as hard as white girls to be seen. White girls can just kinda waddle about stage with no rhythm and have a whole row of tippers around them. Black and mixed girls like me have to be able to do every trick imaginable. I [do] crazy pole stuff and I can dance which gives me an advantage, but I've worked very hard for it. Darker girls have to work against heavy racism. Clubs are totally racist from the hiring to clients. Black girls are so slept on, especially those with natural hair and who are thicker. Black girls have to be the best dancers able to twerk each buttcheek upside down. It's not fair, but the industry does pay even if they get less than their white counterparts. Black girls make bags too.
What is the most unbelievable thing that has happened while you were working?
Probably making over $2000 in one night but also tipping out $200 is fucking wild. Idk, I’ve danced on celebrities. I've met many very rich and powerful people. Nothing is unbelievable to me.
The theme of the blog this month is empowerment. What empowers you? This could be related to your job, hobbies, life in general, etc.
I guess all the adversity I've overcome empowers me. When you have a childhood like mine, anything after is cake.
Can you elaborate?
I don't usually like to because it just sounds like another sad stripper story with an absent father, abuse, and a broken family. I hate to sing the same song even though it is accurate.
Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
You have to power to create more dancer friendly strip clubs. Vote against legislation that bans alcohol in strip clubs or makes bizarre dress codes for us. Alcohol doesn't lead to a rowdier club experience, people who are sober make huge messes too, and it just creates a weird prohibition style market with people selling vodka in water bottles. It's dumb só please call your reps and keep alcohol in full nude clubs.
Also TIP BLACK DANCERS. If you care at all about social justice and want a more fair and equitable world, tip black dancers. Lots of people just have blinders and have a gut reaction like “omg a white girl must tip,” and then totally forget black dancers who are killing it, so make a conscious decision to tip fairly. Don't be racist.