Read part 2 here.
I parted the fabric curtain that separated the main club with the lap dance rooms, leading Phil behind me. He decided not to pay extra for a private room, opting instead for a dance in the large space lined by plush seating. There wasn’t much point in a private room since we were the only ones there. It was early on a Wednesday night, after all. I looked around the room nervously as he strode over to one of the corners and sat down. I had no clue what to do next, and there were no other girls in the room for me to glean any idea from. I approached him and put my sparkly silver clutch down on the small table next to him, trying to subtly check my watch as I did so. The ten minutes began.
I learned most of my lap dance moves from Tina*. She was a short, tan blonde with big eyes and a shy smile. She always wore a yellow bikini and liked dancing to With Arms Wide Open by Creed. She moved slowly on stage, revolving around the poles with a quiet sexiness. We started doing dances together, approaching groups of men and convincing one or more of them to go for a dance with the both of us. Neither of us were high earning hustlers, but we made a decent amount of money. We seemed to earn more when we worked together – I think we buoyed each other up. I soon learned that the “no touching” rule was all for show. The men weren’t allowed to touch us, yes (although some girls broke that rule for extra cash), but we touched the men. As in, we sat on them, cuddled them, lay across them, held their hands. We gave the illusion of intimacy whilst firmly keeping up a wall made of fake platitudes. Honey, darling, babe. In the beginning I found this exhilarating. I relished playing a character and doing something that felt a bit dangerous and racy. And, I’ll admit, it was fun twisting men around my little finger. I made the most money in those first few months, when everything was new and exciting. Slowly though, the work began to wear on me. The constant objectification sent me into a spiral of body hate and shame deeper than I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never hated my body more than when I worked at the club. I became obsessed with going to they gym and would examine my body from all angles in the large mirrors on the stage. For the first time in my life I seriously contemplated getting a breast enlargement. Mine seemed so small next to the other features. I hated having to tan but was told I had to if I wanted to keep doing feature shows, so night after night I would slather myself in dark tan from head to toe, clip in my hair extensions, paint my false nails, and put my make up on. I stopped eating properly as my body was all out of whack from working nights half of the week and days the other half. I started to feel separate from myself. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise myself anymore. I stopped earning anything as I became withdrawn and grouchy out on the floor, spending as much time out the back or on the stage as I could just to get away from the inane small talk, ass slapping, and the relentless effort of throwing myself at men. I looked around at the veteran dancers who went out every night and seemed to love what they were doing. I wished I could be them but I knew I couldn’t. I ended up quitting just over a year after I started. It wasn’t for me.
As I stood in front of Phil my stomach did flip flops. I started to move to the music on the overhead speakers staying a good metre or so away from him. I didn’t take off my dress straight away because I was used to burlesque performances, where you dragged out all of the striptease. “Are you going to take that off?” he asked me.
“Oh, sure”, I giggled whilst fumbling with the halter straps. I peeled the dress off and stood in just my g-string.
“Are you going to come over here? It’s, you know, supposed to be a lap dance”.
I tentatively wiggled my way toward him and sort of leant over him, hanging my breasts in my face. After what felt like an eternity of this he said, impatiently, “so, are you going to take your g-string off anytime soon?” I slipped it off and let it fall to the ground, trying not to trip over it as I stepped out of it. Eventually, the 10 minutes was up and Phil left, probably a little unsatisfied. Although, in truth that’s how most lap dances end. I glanced at myself in the mirror across the room and grinned. I had done it! Although I didn’t know what was in store for me, in that moment I felt excited, rebellious, and worldly. I picked up my g-string and hastily pulled my dress back on, and went to collect my $45.
*Not her real name. Although, her stripper name was not her real name either.