If you’re a broke, college student who happens to have a vagina, then chances are that you’ve probably thought about becoming an exotic dancer at least SOME point in your life. By exotic dancer, I mean stripper- take your top off and give lap dances to gross middle-aged men with boners, type stripper.
It’s a thought that frequently crossed my mind as I struggled to pay bills when retail job after retail job just wasn’t cutting it anymore. But being the shy, introverted person that I am, the thought of dancing naked in front of a crowd full of strangers judging and inspecting every inch of my unclothed body gave me shudders. I could barely give a presentation without shaking in Public Speaking 101- how TF could I ever become a stripper?
But alas, it all began when a fellow classmate sashayed into that very same Public Speaking class, with her nails done to the T and covered in glistening rhinestones and crystals. I had questions. Where did she get her nails done, how much did they cost, and how the hell could she afford that? It finally dawned on me that the “industry” she told me she worked in was none other than the sex industry. It was tough, but she made a G a night.
And so of course, being the young and impressionable person that I was, I immediately texted my close friend and asked her if she would be down to strip for a night. We’ll call this friend Sammy, for privacy purposes. We had discussed it before, but it just never happened. We assured ourselves that we wouldn’t get sucked into the lifestyle- we’d audition, work for a night, and go home with our rents due and hopefully a few extra hundred dollars in spending money. It couldn’t be that hard.
We were wrong.
After spending an hour at a local sex shop deciding which heels we would wear to our audition, we finally settled on matching pairs of 6-inch black stiletto boots. They looked TERRIFYING to walk in- I had vivid premonitions of tumbling over the stage during my audition and breaking my neck. Surprisingly, they turned out to be the most comfortable pair of heels we had ever worn in our lives. The massive platform made them feel more like 2 inch heels as opposed to 6.
We bought our shoes, slinky see-through bodysuits, and a pair of thigh-highs stockings and garters. If we were going to do this, we were going to go IN. We called our Uber ride and within 20 minutes our driver dropped us off in front off the strip club, which we’ll call Club X.
Immediately perched in front of club X was a massive bouncer who looked straight out of a Mafia film. He glared at us with furrowing eyebrows, inspecting us from head to toe.
“How can I help you ladies?”
I glanced at Sammy before looking back at him. “We’re here to audition.”
“2 auditions for House Mom.” He muttered into his walkie before opening the door. “Wait here, she’ll be down in a few.”
Within minutes, a young 20- something girl came walking down the stair- definitely NOT what I envisioned a typical “house mom” to look like. She greeted us with a sly smile and quickly ushered us upstairs into the locker room.
“So the audition will be in front of me and the manager.” She told us. “You get on stage, dance for one minute, and take off your top. Then, I’ll let you know what the manager says. He won’t say why, he’ll just give me a yes or a no. Got it?”
We both nodded our heads in unison.
“Ok.” She said, smiling. “Change into your outfits and then come meet me when you’re ready.”
We took what felt like an eternity changing into our lingerie. A million thoughts raced through my head as I looked around, observing the other dancers in the locker room who were all either on their phones, touching up their makeup, or changing into a new outfit.
Ok, everyone seems chill. This isn’t as intimidating as I imagined it to be but I still feel like I’m going to projectile vomit over somebody’s G-string.
After we changed, the house mom walked us upstairs to the highest level of Club X. One tiny pole was perched in the corner of the balcony, overlooking the main stage on the first level.
“Decide which one of you wants to go first and get on stage when this song ends.” The house mom said before scurrying off into the darkness.
I looked at Sammy with fear and she returned the sentiment.
“You want to go first?” I asked her.
“I don’t know!!” She blurted out.
“Ok well we need to decide!!”
We must’ve been deciding for a long ass time because before we knew it, the house mom came running back to us.
“Um, hello, are you going to go?” She said, with a glaring undertone of annoyance.
“Fine, I’ll just go.”
I walked onto the stage and immediately began sensually gyrating my body in what I thought was the common straight man’s definition of sexy. I could barely see anything under the blaring neon red lights, which kind of made it easier because that also meant I couldn’t see the facial expressions of the customers and dancers watching me.
I could feel their eyes on me, but I kept moving. I slid my bodysuit down until my breasts were exposed and continued to dance, my hands glued to the pole and my ass in the air.
How tf did I get here…?
Within seconds I felt a tap on my shoulder, and the House Mom told me to come down. I sat back down, slid my bodysuit back up, and watched as Sammy began to twerk her life away on stage for 30 seconds.
After her audition was over, the house mom rushed us back into her office where she shut the door.
“So the manager said yes.”
I turned to look at Sammy, who immediately returned the same “Bitch wtf are we really about to become strippers” look that I had on my face.
“So before you work, we need you to fill out some paperwork.” The House Mom said. “You guys both have your social security cards and IDs, right?
I had all of my documents, but Sammy was from out of state and didn’t have her social with her. And you bet your ass that I was NOT about to dance my first night alone, so we both agreed to have Sammys parents mail her social and just come back within a week. If we didn’t, we would technically be fired and would have to audition all over again.
And so we filled out what little paperwork we could without our socials, chose our stripper names, and watched an orientation video of what to do and what not to do at Club X. I was so detached from the orientation and spent the entire duration of it mentally re-living the audition process. I could not believe what I had just gotten myself into. I was slightly excited but even more terrified about the unknown world of the sex industry. The thought of giving a lap dance still made me want to puke, and I wondered if I could somehow finesse earning all of my tips by just dancing on stage.
Rule #1 about dancing: It’s all about being personable and establishing a connection with a customer. You can be the hottest girl in the world but you won’t make jack shit if you can’t hold a conversation with a client. My dreams about customers making it rain on me on stage as I busted out into pole trick after pole trick was quickly squashed- it was going to be a lot harder than that.
Our First Night
The audition process wasn’t quite the nightmare that I anticipated it to be. Granted, I felt like I was going to projectile vomit the entire time I was dancing on stage, but after watching dancer after dancer hop on stage with the same mundane, routine candor, I realized it was literally just work. And I could do it, or I could not do it.
If I were to squeeze in me and Sammy’s experience during our first and last night at work, this article would be 10 pages long, so I’ll save that for part 2. That being said, if you are thinking about becoming a stripper, just know that it might not be as smooth as me and Sammy’s audition. You might encounter a few no’s before you get a yes, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. Rejection is something you WILL go through a lot as a stripper, and if you can’t handle a rejection during the audition process, then dancing probably isn’t for you.