So You Want to Be a Stripper…2

Last time, I gave you a list of things you shouldn’t do if you’re a first-time stripper. This time, I’m going to give you a more positive list, of things that will help you do your job with the best of them.  Some of them don’t really apply to male strippers. Sorry.

1. An Accountant  

If you have any plans for saving money, you’ll want to find yourself an accountant you can trust to be discreet.  Although there’s nothing at all illegal about stripping so long as you pay your taxes, you’ll probably want to get creative with the job title you report to the IRS.   Auditors have a certain amount of autonomy in deciding who gets screwed requires evaluation, and as people are more often interested in meeting an exotic dancer than, say, a freelance sociology consultant or a recreational investment coach.  Strip clubs get audited all the time by horny auditors who’s confidentiality clauses conveniently prevent their mention of it to spouses.

2. Stage Props

Your first time onstage will likely be a terrible show. Performing an unchoreographed dance while naked to a crowd you may not be able to see is pretty much THE quintessential human nightmare, that everyone dreams about and no one ever has to do. No one will remember this who looks at you. They will all assume you’re some superhuman impervious to stage fright, and will make demands for tricks that are far out of your league, or more intimidatingly call for you to “surprise” them, “show us something we’ve never seen before,” as though the wiles you’ve mastered over weeks are no big deal at all. Your adrenaline will probably fool you into thinking more time has passed than really has, and you’ll find yourself running out of things to do by the end of your last song.

A creative solution to many of these problems is to bring a prop or two onstage with you. Most clubs don’t restrict your use of creative elements on- or off-stage, so there’s plenty of room to invent. You might take a burlesque edge and bring fans, or glow-sticks, but be wary of bringing too many things that are easy to lose track of when you’re offstage and entertaining. In my experience, the best props are the ones you can easily incorporate into your costume.

Once, I made a costume out of six pinwheels on a string and cheekily demanded that the strangers sitting stage-side “blow me.”  The more you include the viewer in the show, the more enthusiasm you’ll create, and the less they’ll care what your level of expertise is on the pole. I’ve seen scarves and miniature hoops used effectively, but by far the most effective, basic prop in my experience is long hair that you can whip around to the beat of 80’s stripper music.

Whipping hair and other props create the illusion that you’re moving much more than you are, which is handy, because you get out of breath faster than you realize. When the adrenaline of living out a universal human nightmare runs out, you’ll be surprised by how thirsty, sweaty and tired you are if you’ve been moving a lot. Sometimes no one will sit by the stage, and at those moments you can toy with a flashy prop, expending no energy, until someone notices you.

3. Conversation Pieces

A lot of people don’t realize how important talking is in the world of stripping. You may be on stage once in four hours for three songs. The rest of the time you’ll be striking up conversations with strangers of all ages, nationalities and socio-economic statuses, one right after the other. Some of the best props onstage also can serve as great ice-breakers and conversation pieces later. Bubbles, for example, are the best. I and a friend made a few necklaces out of 35-cent cylindrical bubble dispensers that I painted metallic colors with nail polish and hot-glued onto chains. The tube-part of the necklaces were about the size of a pinky or thumb, but the odd shape caught peoples’ attention; guys couldn’t help asking, suspiciously, what I had around my neck.

“It’s a toy,” I’d always tell them. “Want to see me play with it?”

They’d respond, haltingly, “…Yes?” And be baffled when I blew bubbles over their shoulders instead of getting kinky.

My signature conversation piece for a long time was a miniature roll-away chess set that I kept in a black bag tied up by a drawstring. I’d never tell people what was in the long black bag swaying at my side unless the night was very slow, or someone had agreed to an hour in VIP. Then I’d un-swaddle the best and most stimulating of all the toys ever and set it up at the bar or footstool nearest. You’ve never played chess until you’ve played it with a naked, lovely stranger and a bottle of champagne.

4. The Right Kind of Shoes

Stripper shoes have heels that are at least six inches long.  This is an industry standard.  Don’t bother looking for “comfortable” shoes – there aren’t any, and anyway the job doesn’t call for much walking.  Champagne rooms are sitting, and dancing onstage is mainly climbing.  To that end, you’ll want shoes with a strip of leather, plastic or pleather across the top – something that can grip a steel pole.  All-fabric stilettos aren’t for strippers.  New people might want to look for knee-high or higher stripper boots, because the extra padding helps prevent bruises that you will get because you’re new and suck at climbing.

Also, boots can be unexpectedly useful, as I learned at one club where a fight between four dancers broke out on stage.  This started with an argument between a pair of entertainers who had just finished a set of dances and a pair of entertainers who were just entering the stage.  Their feud was long-standing, and the argument quickly turned into a lunging scuffle as security swarmed the platform.  The head of security was just lifting the feistiest dancer off of her victim when across the stage one of the young women involved dropped to the floor and started convulsing, compliments of a Taser her nemesis had deployed against her.

“Bitch, you’re naked!”  Screamed security.  “Where’d that Taser come from??”

Where, indeed.  Turns out, in fact, she was naked except for her thigh-high pleather stripper boots, and had been dancing all night with an electroshock device therein concealed.

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