I’ve been quite nostalgic about stripping of late. It’s been eight or nine years since I stopped but somehow my sister’s convinced me to take a pole dancing class with her once a week. The classes make me feel terribly unfit and uncoordinated, mostly because I’m not half as strong, flexible or graceful as I used to be. Usually I wear gym gear but yesterday I felt inspired to get into costume. I dug out a pair of mesh, frilly panties, a sheer black top and my old pair of 7″ silver glitter stripper heels. Gosh, they must be at least 12 years old now. It’s a wonder they didn’t crumble into dust!
Clothed a bit more appropriately for the task at hand, I almost felt the part as I strutted my way into class. I wasn’t able to get totally back into character (Jay and Mia were my stripping alter egos, depending on which club I was at) but I definitely felt like I belonged on that pole a little bit more than when I was wearing a singlet, gym shorts and bare feet. The stripper shoes make all the difference, I’m telling you.
Then last night, I went down a rabbit hole watching the amazing pole goddess in the video below. There was another video on FB that was EPIC – find her, her name’s Daria Chebotova – but I couldn’t figure out how to get the link and it’s not on YouTube, as far as I can see. It was posted on Tuesday or Wednesday and features two girls in gold and black costumes. Holy fuck. Ah-mazing. Still this one is pretty awesome too and the song is perfect. Makes me miss being on stage and feeling at one with the music and sexy as fuck. Not that I was quite as spectacular as this woman but still… I’m a good dancer, if I’m allowed to say that. 🙂
Then the other week, I saw a photo from the theatre production of Closer and that took me back as well. In the photo, it’s the strip club scene where Alice/Jane is standing over Clive’s character (can’t remember his name). She’s facing away from the camera and all you see are the backs of her legs and him sprawled on the couch below her. The positioning of the actors and placement of the camera make Alice/Jane seem totally in control. You might be more familiar with the movie version with Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. I’ve included a still from the movie, couldn’t find one from the play.
I think many people think of stripping as something male driven. And in many ways it is. If men didn’t want to spend money watching naked women, the industry wouldn’t exist. If they didn’t want to spend it on you specifically, you wouldn’t make any money. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s often the women that are the aggressors. They approach the man while on stage or while on the floor. They talk him into spending money he may not otherwise have spent. Yes, men will often approach you for a dance but a lot of the time it’s because of the connection you made him feel while you were dancing on stage.
Once you get in the private room, yes he’s paid for your time but it’s only the very rude men who try to tell you what to do. Most just watch in silence or chat with you but rarely will they make a specific request and, if they do, it’s usually done very politely. If he misbehaves, you can call security at any minute and have him unceremoniously ejected from the premises, never to return. Men know this. And they also know they’re not getting a refund. This has been my experience anyway.
There are many things I don’t miss about stripping: the late nights and unhealthy lifestyle, the financial instability, the incessant small talk with people I had nothing in common with. But there are other things I do miss: being on stage, essentially dancing and entertaining for a living, the costumes and outfits, the socialness of working (and playing) with all the girls and most of the customers, the money.
You might think I’m contradicting myself by mentioning the money and financial instability but I’m not. I made heaps of money, very easy money, but you were never guaranteed anything (some clubs gave you a retainer on certain nights but it wasn’t much). You had to work for every penny and, if you had an off night or it was quiet, you made nothing. That’s what I mean by money being a pro and a con. I always made enough but I was never sure I was going to – not like when you have a ‘real’ job that pays a set wage every week.
Also, the confidence. You feel like a fucking goddess while you strip and sadly life outside the club isn’t quite like that or, at least, not every day. 😉 I feel like a get a tiny whiff of that feeling during pole class sometimes when they’ll show us a move I already know or we’re doing floor work (I’m still kind of ok at that). But maybe it says more about me that that kind of confidence boost comes from having people watch me and desire me in such an blatantly sexual manner.
Maybe I’m ruined for real life, which is a problem because I’m going to a whole bunch of burlesque shows this month, including seeing Dita Von Teese which I AM SO FUCKING EXCITED ABOUT!!! However, this sexual entertainment overload means my nostalgia will be pretty much constant. Someone asked me if I wanted to topless waitress at their bar for some event they’re having and I actually considered it (am considering it). Maybe I’m just missing excitement in my life and, by ‘excitement’, I mean that feeling of being sexy and desired that stripping runs hand in hand with.
Well now, this isn’t quite where I thought this post would end up. Although, I kind of like it when this happens. It’s like writing/typing through my thoughts.
Image credit: Giphy