DISCLAIMER: This post contains mild language and a sensitive subject.
You probably know by now that I find most things fascinating. Which is why I got excited when Anna contacted me. What she said to me was: I lead a triple life. Of course, if that wasn’t enough to catch my attention (which it did), she went on to say that she worked as a stripper, and had a family, AND was a writer. But what really got me thinking was her automatic assumption that in my mind, I must be judging her, just like everybody else. She was only partly right: I'm not immune to prejudice, unfortunately.
But I wanted to pursue this, so I asked her how she felt about this prejudice she faced every day.
No one notices me. No one sees past the long black hair caressing the small celtic knot tattoo on my lower back. No one can see who I truly am under the darkness surrounding my eyes. No one can hear the words that are escaping the blood red pout of my lips. They see only the voluptuous girl in the stiletto heels owning the stage under the skin-perfecting black lights.
I am more than the stripper they believe me to be. I'm not part of the stereotype that strippers are classified in. Of course there are those that contribute to the rationale that all strippers are drug-addicted whores without a clue. But that isn't the case; only a select few make that exception to the majority of the rule. The rest of the ladies in question are, like myself, simply dancing for the money and the love of the profession.
How could anyone love being a stripper? It must be degrading to subject your naked flesh to the lustful eyes of strange men that would jump at the chance of taking you home with them. To me working at McDonald's or cleaning toilets is degrading. I wouldn't ever work in a fast food industry nor would I work in a bug-infested motel cleaning bodily fluids from the bathroom or off the walls. I'm proud of my body. There is no shame in being nude or expressing the beauty of movement to music. Shame hinders our natural desire to be free of clothes and material things. There is a great sense of freedom in striptease.
I have been a dancer for sixteen years. I have reinvented myself over and over again if only to entertain myself. I wear elaborate costumes, make up my face to emulate others such as Marilyn Monroe, or Bettie Page. I dance to incredible music one wouldn't normally hear in a gentleman's club. One night I may be a belly dancer, or the next a geisha, and on occasion you'll see me do anything you can imagine. I enjoy dressing up and performing in front of a crowd and becoming anyone I want to be.
Not only am I an entertainer, I'm also a wife, mother of five, and a writer. How does or can my husband let me do what I do? I danced for years before I met him and he respects that. Trust is always key in any relationship and he trusts that when I leave my job I come home to him. The respectable gentleman's clubs have absolutely no sex in the private rooms. Dancers only want what's in the guys’ wallets, and not what's in their pants. I know I could not say that a hundred percent of all strippers don't go out with customers from work for money or for companionship. I personally married my customer, but that's another story for another time.
Strippers aren't the enemy. We can be somewhat of a help for those married men who come in the club in search of what you’re not giving at home. I will lend some much-needed advice that may offend most of you. Take the time for yourself. Shower, shave, do your hair, put on some makeup – even if it’s just a little – and put on something besides sweatpants. Buy yourself at least one push-up bra and a low cut shirt then wear it to the grocery store. I'm telling you that you will feel like the sexiest woman in the store.
Stop letting yourselves go, ladies. Just because you have a husband, children, and/or are an older female doesn't mean you can't look or feel like the inner sex kitten you are. Sex is all in the mind. It is not in our bodies; it's how we feel about ourselves inside. As women we are told to always be a lady in public, but at home be the whore in bed your husband wants you to be. Happy husbands stay at home.
The stereotypes surrounding strippers are not what you think. Yes we take off our clothes. No we don't do it because we're loose women of ill repute. We do it because most of us are mothers, some single moms, trying to stay off welfare and food-stamps. There are a lot of dancers paying their way through college so they don't have to rely on the state to pay for it or pay off student loans. Strippers are human with real feelings, real lives, and they put their panties on the same way as every other woman on the planet. Don't judge us by our stilettos or our platform heels. We bleed like the rest of you.
I wanted in this article to shed light on the stage in which we work. To eliminate some of the judgment placed on the occupation and to set the record strait about strippers. The next time you see or hear that someone is a dancer don't be so quick to judge them. Think about why they do what they do before you turn your nose up at them. And the next time your husband or boyfriend wants to go to the strip club, go with him and see for yourself what it's all about. Maybe then you can understand what being a stripper is all about.
About the author: Anna M. C. Aydelott is a wife, mother, writer, and dancer who doesn't fit it any stereotypical category. She keeps her life in order, and as a practicing Pagan, she is able to have balance within herself. Dancing is her profession, but writing has always been her first love. She writes whenever she can, dreaming that one day she'll be the diamond in the slush pile.