My Life as an Exotic Dancer
By Emily, age 20, Newfoundland
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Editor's Note: The views expressed by the authors in this magazine are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sweet Designs Magazine. We are committed to providing a venue for teenage girls and young adult women to express a diverse range of responsible points of view.
The following article contains subject material which may not be suitable for younger readers. After some consideration, I have chosen to publish this account, trusting in our readers' ability to gain from having read it and make their own positive lifestyle choices. Sweet Designs Magazine supports Emily and all our writers for their courage and honesty in taking on personal or controversial topics.
I recently landed my first job as a professional exotic dancer. For the past three years, off and on, I have worked in retail selling clothes. I was paid minimum wage and I hated my job. I also happen to be a nudist. So one night at a trip to the local nude bar, I was asking around about the dancing job and it sounded really appealing. I put in my resume the following week, and I got a call back. It's the best job I've ever had, but it comes with a lot of consequences.
On the first night I went down to practice, one of the girls who was teaching me kept referring to herself as a "dancer" and not a "stripper". Then she told me a crucial piece of advice. "If you're gonna work in a strip club, be a dancer, not a stripper. If you become a stripper, it's gonna take you places you're not going to like." That very same night, I was offered weed on three separate occasions.
I started dancing the following night. It was nerve racking being the new girl. There were a few nice girls there to talk to, but the majority of them said nothing to me, but gave me dirty looks from across the club. Later I was told that the dancers there were extremely competitive and looked at me as competition to get money. I went on stage twice and took home about $75. I bought two drinks, but I was given so much alcohol that night that I went home drunk.
Later on my first night, I met many of the other dancers face to face. I finally realized what the girl had meant when she said not to become a stripper. There were 15 of us at the club that night; five were strung out on cocaine. I saw two of them doing lines in the dressing room. I later learned that all of the managers and even the owner did cocaine in the offices downstairs.
But dancing isn't all that it's cracked up to be. It's extremely dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. The owner told me that one girl was trying to do a pole move, messed up at the top, fell, and broke her leg, and that she was lucky it wasn't her neck. On my first night, I fell off a rail on the back on the stage and onto the carpeted stairs. Even though I didn't sustain any major injuries, I still have a large carpet burn on my back, accompanied by bruises all over my body.
The customers themselves are also extremely dangerous. In Canada, as elsewhere, there have been hundreds of cases where dancers were drugged, raped, and found dead days later. I was told by the girls who work at the club that they themselves have been drugged, and it was because of the bouncers that they weren't taken away by the men who drugged them. Even when going home, you need to watch who's behind you when you're driving. I take taxis home from the club, and I get the driver to watch who's behind us.
So while I enjoy dancing at a nude bar very much, it's not for everyone. You have to be able to perform in front of large crowds naked, and you should have at least some idea of what you're doing on stage. I'm currently on hiatus because of schoolwork, but I will update you in a future issue on my experience as an exotic dancer.