Of course, the night I show up with greasy hair, stubbly legs, razor burn, bruised like all hell on my knees, exhausted, weak and dizzy, with yesterday’s makeup on and sweating from the club being so hot…
…that’s when I have a queue of people waiting to do dances with me and am the only one to get heavily cheered on onstage. That’s when I can’t stop making money.
What the fuck?
On another note, I’m off to continue banking and not going to ponder my own question too heavily.
When I call in for an interview at a club, do I use my real name or my club name? Also, when is it appropriate to use my real name? (with co-workers, managers, etc)
After you’re hired, your real name is pretty much irrelevant at most clubs. I call my coworkers things like “Dreamy” and “Lexus,” because keeping two sets of names straight for each of the 150+ regular dancers at my club would be impossible.
When you call, use your legal first name if it’s needed. If not, they’ll scan your ID, ask your stage name, and you’ll forever be “[Stage Name].”
I don’t recommend telling customers your legal name (or that your stage name is your legal name) because you start losing anonymity. Being anonymous helps to keep you safe.
At work. Not feeling that great, but I just keep moving. Everyone else goes to work feeling shitty once in awhile, and I work so much less than most people. At least, I think I should keep working and not be a wimp about it.
My belly has been hurting—all of it, from ribs to hips. I haven’t been making much urine for a week (despite drinking enough), I’m exhausted, I’m not at all hungry, and I’ve lost a fast 15lbs. I’m on antibiotics for a UTI (which I don’t think I have—had ‘em before, and I don’t have the symptoms I always have), and I’m just hoping I feel better.
I need to pay my Internet (I’m posting from my damn phone again…), rent and insurance are due soon, and I need to replace my savings.
I just found out one of my coworkers has bedbugs. I had some choice words for her about preventing bringing them to work (“or else”).
Lame in here so far, but the sun hasn’t gone down yet. Cross your fingers and toes I can make a fast $500 and leave early.
I don't drink and I've been looking into stripping. I've looked at a lot of blogs (thank goodness we have so many bloggers who strip and can share their experiences) and they sometimes talk of drinking with clients and such. Do I have to drink and how can I say to people "I don't drink" without seeming like I think I'm better than them, and keep them happy?
It’s a tricky one. I don’t often drink at work, and when I do, I’ll have one beer. You don’t have to drink to be good at the job, and you don’t have to tell them why you don’t.
Unless I think the truth is the ticket to starting a conversation (it makes it much harder for me to get up the next day and run), I tell them:
"I’m slowing down for the night right now…Already had PLENTY. Don’t want to get wasted this early in the night." (If it’s late, it sounds like a joke.)
Or some variation that makes it seem like I’ve already had enough. You can avoid drinking and avoid looking “uncool.” And, by the time you get up from the table or dances, no one will remember and you can use the same line all over again at a new table.
Re: the anonymous asker concerned with self-harm scars, I've worked for eight years with self-harm scars on my arm and chest. The ones on my arm are barely noticeable in club lights, whereas the ones on my chest are absolutely noticeable and prompt at least three inquiries a shift. I used to lie (very much in the "fought a bear" tone), but now I usually tell the truth. Most people don't seem to mind--at least, evidence supports the theory that they judge me based on dances, not scar origins.
I’m glad you stepped in with your own experience! Thanks for throwing this out there to someone who will probably really appreciate it.
Hey, Piper. I've spent the past 2 evenings reading about 40 pages of your blog, and I absolutely love it. I have a question for you, though. I'm considering becoming a stripper, but I have some self-injury scars (on my right thigh and right forearm, if location is of any consequence) of the raised-but-not-discolored-and-mostly-only-noticeable-in-daylight variety. Do you think these will hurt my chances of being hired? Thank you for answering (should you decide to) and thank you for a great read!
Holy cow. That’s a lot of reading! I hope it was a little helpful, or at least a general picture of my reality.
If they’re not very noticeable, you shouldn’t have a problem. If they’re a little noticeable, the club’s lighting should hide it (black lights and other colored light, or a dim room, really hide a ton of stuff—bruises, scars, a few stretch marks, etc.).
If you’re self-conscious about it, throw on a pair of stockings (thigh-highs) and use a little concealer or foundation.
Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it at all, if they’re old and faded.
And if someone comments, ever, just throw out the old, “I fought a bear once,” and change the topic. People are especially invasive with questions in the club, and changing the topic often helps.
Round two, seems like begging for punishment. My knees are bruised and swollen from being on the hardwood stage.
I don’t feel very well tonight, oddly. Not like sick, but just generally really, really off. I haven’t been able to pee much for a few days (despite drinking decent amounts of water and only one beer).
I don’t feel like eating much, and felt badly that the boyfriend took me out tonight and all I could get down was a few bites of a tamale and a handful of corn chips.
What is going on with my damn body? Not nowwww.
Last night, the bouncers made the dancers collectively do three cartwheels before we could leave. I did two beautifully. Only in a strip club.
I fucking smiled, genuinely, at work. I danced my little heart out and tricked out on the pole when I felt like it and didn’t miss a step or fall out of my well-worn stilettos.
I made okayish money, but didn’t have any regulars and was mostly just trying to get back into the swing of things without falling on my face.
An old customer of mine gave me a copy of his first album that he made. He’s been playing a lot of coffeehouses/open mic nights, and he worked hard on it for the better part of a year or two — we keep in touch a few times a month. Anyway, I finally got around to listening to it, after his repeated requests for my feedback. I kept meaning to give it a brief listen, just to give enough feedback, and I finally had a 30 minute drive on my hands to do so today.
I actually liked it. I was shocked. He’s got a mature voice and uses it well, and the music is decent.
After realizing how happy I was to work today, I think I’m going to try to take a month off out of each year, during our slowest season. Customer-free, no dinner dates, no work, no expensive vacation time, just a month of expenses-paid time off. It really cured my burnout and gave me a new perspective on how much time I need off to really detox from the stress of work.
I really need to just start throwing money at my student loan debt. Starts now, I guess, if I’m ever going to get around to really knocking down the debt, so I’ll be making an extra payment to my highest-interest loans and medical debt. Boo. Less fun money. But I suppose life would be significantly less fun in 10 years if I don’t start doing this now, the way my job allows me to help myself.
Ugh. The Future. I dislike all of this forward-thinking, but it’s really an ultimate necessity.
Tuesday will mark the end of my 3rd year of dancing.
This all has only just begun, really. It seems to me like I’ve been dancing so long; an eighth of my life. But each year, I’ve learned an enormous amount, about myself, about my job, about others, about people, about touch, about everything.
The first year was really just the foundation of learning what the fuck a private dance was and how to wear stilettos and shave my asshole without a mirror and not to stare too long at the other girls’ pussies in fascination. It was learning to deal with stage fright and drinking it off, and my own boundaries and what it meant to set them, about how I felt about my own job (yeah, look back through the earliest posts of this blog — my thoughts have changed dramatically!). It was dealing with the regular hassles of trying to get anything done (housing, taxes) as a stripper, trying different clubs to see which I liked, watching a close friend balance her work and her addiction demons and seeing the darker side of the industry in full light. It was coming to terms with the difficulty of dating. It was learning an entirely new social code, new rules, hearing about parts of girls’ lives I’d never wish on anyone. It was learning to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open and keep my back to the wall. It was jumping into the whole goddamn thing headfirst without looking back, really. I invented “Piper,” the persona I dance by, the sister-like id I’ve come to love for certain things and be irritated by sometimes, the piece of me that has grown exponentially over the past three years.
My second year, I (naively) befriended a coworker, but upon hours and hours and hours and hours of discussing the job, came to a much better understanding of it — emotionally, physically, financially. I dealt with violent sexual assault at work (not that unwanted touch doesn’t happen frequently, but some of it feels extremely violating, and some of it feels only mildly irritating), and had to consider my own shitty past in making the decision to go back. I learned to manage physical and emotional pain. I dealt with some highs and lows and money and both rolling in it and starving (literally) for it. I started believing that the money, the job, the sequins…they were all for real. They weren’t going away, they weren’t just going to get taken away from me one day without warning. I could budget for them, I could finally have a place I like to live. Upon that realization, I started caring more about my job; I started running and vowing to quit smoking (the quitting didn’t happen for another six months); I started really trying to plan a future and make the most of what I had, by the end of my second year, accepted to be a career.
My third year has been about getting serious about my job. The first year was fun and I made more money than I knew what to do with; the third year, I started treating it like a means to an end. I started budgeting for future expenses, paying down debt, accruing a savings, considering a down payment on a house, dreaming about how I could use dancing to seriously advance myself. I stopped living work-night-to-work-night (the dancing equivalent of paycheck-to-paycheck). I started brushing off some of the bad nights; I started allowing myself to be money-high for a few hours on the good ones without the fear that it would all disappear. I sold (my horse) a huge piece of my “previous life,” and in doing so, realized the freedom of not holding on to the things that reminded me of much more difficult times. The coworker I befriended ultimately became a headache, and it was a big lesson: mixing competitive and high-stress business and pleasure is an absolute recipe for disaster. A lesson in keeping people distant, in trusting fewer with both the details of the underworld and the details of personal life. I learned, in my third year, about taking time off for myself, about having more to my life and conversations than my work and entertaining myself with new hobbies. I learned that bodies adapt to the work and the exercise and that structured workouts become and ultimate necessity. I learned that drinking and smoking at work are avoidable, that quitting those things is possible, that giving up doing those things gave me the ability to keep my head on straight and my emotions tucked away. I learned just how much I love and hate this job; I learned that admitting that there are parts I dislike is okay — that defending my job and leading the Stripper Crusade isn’t really my responsibility or my job. I learned to have a realistic perspective about what I do, and I learned again how to be a whole person and not just a stripper (finally).
What will the fourth year of dancing bring on? Into the unknown I continue, yep.
I mean, I’m always nervous before I head to work. A twenty minute drive, and I used to chainsmoke through it. Now I chew multiple pieces of nicotine gum at once. I fidget with pens or my phone or a small scar on my right shoulder. The anxiety of walking into an unknown night: a huge crowd to perform for? A slow night, trying to please each one and make a little cash? A bunch of girls I don’t know and don’t trust? A manager in a great mood? A dressing room explosion of tragedy or dramatic catfighting? I walk into the unknown every night, but it’s all tamed by the time my hair and makeup and done.
This is different.
I haven’t been to my club in five weeks — the longest I’ve ever been away. I spent the last week working in a rural topless club/bar/restaurant, and although it was kind of like a stripper haven, I miss my home club. I miss the money, the raised stage and lights, the dressing room with large mirrors, the girls I’ve grown to know in the past years.
The Club That Serves Food (the rural club I mentioned) was a haven: the girls are all educated. They’re all very friendly; I really connected with a few I wish I could work with always. The clientele is extremely…nice. All of them nice, most of them area locals. No one tried to do anything they clearly knew they couldn’t, minus the single individual who put his thumb through the side of my g-string near my hip in pleasure (touching below the waist prohibited in this club) and looked very, very apologetic as I told him that wasn’t allowed. One person asked me, shyly, to go to his hotel room: an out-of-towner. One. One person. That’s it. I usually have so many quick irritated refusals to give in a night that I feel like it’s half my job at my Home Club.
The manager is an upbeat, sober, hardworking, empathetic bartender who lays out the rules and generously dishes out respect to those that follow them. Clean tennis shoes are appropriate after-10pm stage/floor attire. The poles were clean, grippy; one spinning and two static. The food turned out to be absolutely delicious.
It was like everyone went out of their way to make sure I was happy there. Fed, treated well, made some money, and made some friends. I know I’ll go back for respite from my Home Club — from the girls at times, the staff and management and the crazy ever-changing rules, difficult customers, night-after-night of feeling uncompensated for the hassle and headache.
Unfortunately, it’s two hours away and I didn’t make enough to ditch my Home Club permanently.
I did miss, though, the great layout of my Home Club. I missed the raised stage in the center of the large room, calling attention to dancer after dancer with the full bells-and-whistles of various lighting to use. I oddly missed the shitty poles I’ve spun around and around and around and learned to cope so well with. So well, in fact, that I stick far too much to appropriately grippy poles and awkwardly climb my way down, inverted. I miss the rowdy girls, the loudmouths, the troublemakers. I’ve been missing the money.
Yeah, the money.
The reason I go to work. I can’t go to work just for the food, or the sweet girls with equally large vocabularies, or the jovial manager, or the grippy-awesome poles. Because, bills.
Monday, I start back at my home club.
I know I’ll have a million questions to answer about where I was. I don’t really want anyone to know, or care, or whatever. I just want to go on, like I wasn’t gone, like I had a few days off. It seems like it would be so exhausting to tell the same story, over and over.
Hi :) I was wondering if you could tell me about your first lap dance (I searched your blog for this answer but never found it, so if its been asked im sorry). Was it awkward? Did he like it? Did he know it was your first? How was your first dance different than how you do lap dances now as an experienced dancer? thank you so much!
I don’t really provide detailed spank-bank material or lengthy accounts of how I give a private dance, because it’s what I sell for a living (just like an accountant won’t give you detailed financial advice online for free).
My first dance was awkward, yes. My dances were awkward for about two weeks, if I remember right. I don’t remember my first dance, other than the booth it was in and that the guy knew it was my first.
My dances are much, much different. It’s a skill that’s honed over time. My dances change, depending on the person I’m dancing for — I can’t straddle someone who is obese, for example.
Apologies if I misread your question; you’re more than welcome to clarify. If you come off of anon and specify that you don’t want the question posted, I’d be happy to keep it anonymous or answer you privately.
I like your style. You are who you are and don't take handouts. I find your stories interesting and compelling. I will not give you the same old "you are too smart crap". But I am interested in your take on dancing. In the club you must work hard, but is a good night pure luck. And that's why a dancer my go 7 days a week cause each night could be the night. I have some thoughts but to keep this short I would like to hear your take.
I’m…just going to keep this one short.
I work hard, but good nights are a combination of luck and skill. A dancer can have the best skills in the world, but if no one shows up, she won’t make a penny. Some of it is luck — we can’t necessarily control how many people show up, how many are willing to spend the money they have, or how many just “like” us that night. Some nights, it’s the skinniest girls that make all of the money. Some nights, it’s the youngest or the oldest or whatever trait. That’s the “luck” part. Having the skill to take advantage of the opportunity when it knocks is the part that doesn’t happen by chance. A good dancer will seek out those that are interested and sell the private dances or VIPs. The “selling” part isn’t luck.
I have only known a very few dancers who work more than 4-5 days each week — and those dancers were in abusive relationships or having serious financial difficulty. I don’t know where you heard that dancers need to work 7 days per week, but most don’t. Frankly, because stripping is hard physical work and bodies need time to rest, too.
Swarms of yellow jackets in the attic. Ground-dwelling and organ-pipe hornets. Mice coming in through vents (I’ve caught seven in the past two weeks). Foxes with a den next to the house, 30lb+ raccoons, moles, ground hogs, coyotes, a badger. A vain cardinal that sits on my car all day pecking at my mirrors. Fucking deer. Possibly bats in the attic. A bazillion spiders in the extra-super-creepy basement filled with webs.
My dogs are bred for looking pretty and being shown, but originally, the Miniature Pinscher breed was for hunting mice. They both suck royally at it.
I’m about ready to get a farm cat. I dislike cats, and I think it’s irresponsible to have pets running loose (to the animal and to the neighborhood/neighbors), but this is getting ridiculous.
I don’t mind having animals on the property — that’s part of why I moved to a rural acreage — but swarms of animals are invading all at once.
i think you are too good to be given the title "stripper". you are more educated and clearly have a better head on your shoulders than the classic stereotypical stripper... how long do you plan on staying in this industry?
Look…I know you’re trying to give me a compliment, but your “compliment” is more like a slap in the face.
Secondly: I am a stripper. I take my clothes off for money — I strip. Thus, stripper. I refer to myself also as a dancer, and the cause of that is obvious enough. I am not “exotic.” I, personally, am not inclined to call myself by euphemisms. “Stripper” isn’t a bad word, or a title given to the Bad People. It’s a job title, a job description, and that’s it. I’m not “too good” for it: it’s actually, for really for real for realz yo, my job title, and the one I prefer.
I plan on continuing to strip until it isn’t a feasible career choice for me anymore — whether that be because I gain weight, gain years on my face, fall off the pole and bust my face, choose to have children, or because my job becomes obsolete, I’ll have to quit eventually. Until then, I see it as a respectable job choice that keeps me happy, more than pays the bills, and offers me perks I can’t find in any other workplace. I likely have about 10 more years (I’m 24) before I quit.
Am I more educated than my coworkers? I wasn’t aware. I don’t actually have a degree (though I have about 95% of an Associate’s Degree). Many of my coworkers are actually far more formally educated than I am, including a hefty percentage with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. I read the news, I speak and write reasonably well, I enjoy learning new things, I tend to read nonfiction, and I spend far too much time online — but I’m not necessarily more educated. There are lots of things that make a person educated, and I work with some very smart ladies.
As far as the stereotypical stripper: quit watching television. It’s rotting your brain. I also encourage you to visit a real strip club, speak to the women there without being a condescending asshole, and see for yourself the diversity of experiences and wealth of knowledge in front of you.
this may sound disgusting and i've scrolled back 20 pages to make sure this hasn't been answered recently- but strippers on their periods? I'm having serious trouble figuring out what to do on this one. Mine last a week and this is just too long not to work for. Driving me crazy.
I usually work in a full-nude club, but I’ll probably hang around the topless club for awhile longer before going back. The solution is the same, either way. I, in fact, worked during the heaviest part of my period tonight.
I cut the strings off.
Seriously. Cut ‘em off. I’m sure you’ve learned to love your own anatomy pretty well by now…but you should know that you’ll have to reach into your vagina to pull them out later.
I’ve never had a problem with one showing, or leaking through (even though I’m always paranoid about it). I work at any point during my period.
They won’t know. I promise. Working at a nude club, I’d put my vagina inches from their faces, and they never had any idea.
Also: ask the other girls at your club what they do. I don’t know any girls that take a week of vacation every month for their periods (but I do know plenty that use Depo Provera [“the birth control shot”] to prevent having a period altogether). Surely someone around you will either tell you what I told you, or give you their own solution.
If you do not have the permission of a sex worker (stripper, prostitute, cam girl, escort, porn performer, and others working in the sex industry) — DO NOT POST THE PHOTO.
You could be endangering the person’s safety. Sex workers often have problems with stalkers, and putting an image of them on the internet that may show details about which club they’re working in, where they are in their off hours, or other private details can cause him/her serious issues.
You might be “outing” the sex worker to friends, family, colleagues (some have multiple jobs), and future employers.
We don’t take or post pictures of you getting a lapdance or enjoying yourself in a hotel on your wife’s Facebook. Please don’t put our images online.
It is against the rules of most clubs to photograph the dancers, and you can be thrown out (sometimes with much force, or after breaking your phone!) for doing so in many places. It’s also illegal, in many states, to record an encounter without all parties knowing. Bottom line: this isn’t in your best interest, either.
If you’d like to take a photo of the person, ask if you can and if you can post that photo to an online blog, just like you’d do in any other situation. It’s that simple.
Feel free to add to this as you see fit. I’ve been seeing far too many photos under the “stripper” tag that appear to be photos taken in clubs without the dancers’ consent.
I just called a club in a city about two hours away. Topless, and they, uh, oddly, serve food. The serving food thing kinda weirds me out, but I’m guessing I won’t be eating any bar food. Strip clubs shouldn’t serve food. Drinks, yes, food, no.
I thought about going up there and speaking to someone in person, as is sort of custom around here, but figured I’d call and see if I could speak to the hiring manager. He had me send a few photos, and I’m waiting to hear back about whether I’m able to work there or not.
It’s not that I don’t want to go back to my home club, but the anxiety of going back after a month long hiatus is kind of keeping me from just going back. Wondering whether I can dance, wondering whether girls have been talking all kinds of shit about me while I’ve been gone, wondering whether customers or my boss will drill me about why I’ve been gone, wondering what kind of tornado I’d be walking into at my home club…I feel like maybe a fresh start at a club where no one knows me might be in order for a few nights to gain some confidence back, and I’ve been meaning to check out this club for awhile.
If I fuck it up, or don’t make money, no harm done and no one will probably even realize I was there. Bonus excuse of saying that I’d just been working at another club, when I return to my home club, which is much less hassle than explaining the burnout/crisis I’ve been experiencing. And, new girl money would be nice. It’s close enough that I don’t have to book a hotel, and the hours are shorter than my home club.
Well, as I write, I got the message that I can work there if I want and the specs on when to show up.
So, uh, yeah. I’m nervous. About all of it. About not remembering how to dance, or being completely anti-social, or girls hating me, or not making money, or whatever. New clubs are always an adventure.
Given your line of work, how much time at the gym and how disciplined in your diet do you have to be? Or do you just go as you are and have good genetics to boot? I have been curious.
Because of great weather (by which I mean, it’s sort of like the surface of the sun right now, but my world isn’t coated in three feet of snow), I spend exactly zero hours a week at the gym.
I’m training for a marathon in early fall, and I’ve run five half-marathons. My cardio is pretty much covered. To break that down further: I run 4-5 days/week, (2) short runs of 4-10 miles each, (1-2) 3 mile runs for speed work/hill work or recovery run, (1) long run of 8-22 miles each week.
I’m a little more picky about strength training: I just don’t like the gym. I don’t like lifting weights. I had been seeing a personal trainer for a few months, but decided that with the leaner and warmer summer months and an impending marathon with high weekly mileage to run, I’d drop the training. I swim, kayak, rock climb, do yardwork, and am just a generally active person. It makes up for some of the lack of formal strength training.
Pole dancing isn’t easy, so when I work, I get a whole body workout. I do plenty of tricks on the pole. My back is like a solid mass of muscle.
I have shitty genetics. Both sides of my family are almost entirely overweight or obese.
I’ve always been a pretty active person, and I don’t have the same crappy habits regarding food and a sedentary lifestyle that they do.
My diet varies, but in total, my body functions well on a high-carb, high-fiber, low-calorie diet. I eat a lot of beans, fruits, vegetables, and rice/pasta/granola/bran/etc. I don’t drink much milk or eat much meat, lately, but mostly because I seem to do better without it than with eating a higher-protein diet. I eat about 1400-1600 calories in an average day*, which seems to be the sweet spot for me to both keep the extra pounds off and have enough calories in my body to run, play, and work hard.
I indulge in sweets occasionally and a few 12oz cans of diet soda every day, I take days off from exercise, and I get plenty of sleep.
Mostly, I eat intuitively — if I’m craving pizza, what I probably need is some healthy fats from nuts or beans instead. If I’m craving sugar or caffeine, I usually need sleep. If I’m craving tamales or burritos, I probably need protein. And so on. I listen to what my body is asking for.
*This is not enough in food for some people, and too much for others. Before you fill my inbox with concern about the amount I eat, I’m 5’6” and 125lbs, well within a normal weight range which is easily maintained without “dieting.”
Nearly three years of dancing, and I’ve never taken this much time off of work. I’ve taken several vacations and weekend getaways, but never for more than a week, ten days max. It’s been almost four weeks.
I had a great night…and was going to head back to work to keep that trend going that week, and I just never really made it in. I had done well. Bills, paid. The rest of the week came and went.
My detox from work went something like:
Week one: Bliss. Enjoying extra time off. Patting myself on the back for doing well, while cautiously making plans to return and not bankrupt myself. It was much like any other week-long vacation I’d had, really.
Week two: I was stronger. Very much stronger, physically, and I noticed. My running picked up. Some lost energy returned. My pubic hair started growing in thicker, the lack of razor burn reminding me of my impending need to work. I fell into a sort of depression about work. I wanted to work, but I didn’t feel like going. I wanted to post, but didn’t have anything to talk about. I spend a good deal of time in bed, being bored, being depressed.
I wondered what my life would be like if I only had one identity, again.
But then something magical happened: my life stopped revolving around a pole. I suddenly was able to make conversation again, about a multitude of things. I listened to others more closely…I cared more. It was like some of the shininess of needing to be Everyone’s Princess had worn off a little and all of the sudden, I felt like myself again. Me. [Real name]. Not “Piper.” Me, again. I heard and spoke my real name more often. I straightened my hair and put makeup on just to feel good about myself, instead of avoiding all self-care in the absence of work. I laughed and smiled more. I chose to be a little more intimate with my partner, emotionally and physically. I ate better. I let the little things go. I wasn’t in physical pain, despite harder workouts in brutal heat. I daydreamed and took naps and took very short showers and nothing — nothing — has revolved around what I needed to do or be for work.
Week three has been a rollercoaster, both very much wanting to go back to work and feeling like actually dancing on a stage, and wanting to experience more of the neat things I was feeling while thinking about a new job, maybe a new phase in life.
I started thinking about how crazy dancing drives me sometimes. Shitty nights have brought me self-worth lows I never expected. I get “money high” on great nights, manic, thrilled. The constant battles of coworkers. The constant battles with customers who can’t behave. The great paying customers who are often a lot of work, a lot of headache, a memory that can’t always keep straight the details of what they said last. Bright lights. Long, long nights. Bass beats I recognize elsewhere, because they’ve been vibrating through my body for so long. Isolation from the rest of the world. A tough schedule of working nights and sleeping days. Constant razor burn. Compliments that put me on cloud nine about my body. Hormonal cycles, diet, exercise, makeup, clothing and shoes, body care, hair dyeing, tweezing, and everything else.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming. It really is living in a different world. There are parts I love, and parts I put up with — and I’ve spent some time thinking about whether a change would be good.
I can explain away three years of work history by calling in favors from old barn contacts, saying I’ve been training horses and cleaning stalls. I can maybe salvage a resume.
Do I want to, though? I’ve been thinking about that, pretty intently, and away from the influence of the money, the people I’ve come to care about, the customers. Away from distractions, for three weeks now, going on four.
If I could dance once or twice a month and make the bulk of my income at a day job/cube job, would I want to? Not “could I” — but do I have just the actual desire to do so?
I think what I miss about the daydwelling world is the human, ancient daily ritual of a day of light. I miss eating breakfast with the sunrise, and I miss seeing a full day happen. I miss being able to do things during the day, with friends and with taking care of errands. I want to run at sunrise. I miss routine. I so very much miss routine.
But I don’t miss sacrificing forty hours a week for minimal pay, the panic of not being able to pay bills or afford emergencies. I don’t miss alarm clocks. I don’t miss never taking time off. I don’t miss being so fucking exhausted from sitting still. I don’t miss the fear of losing my job for being late, or making a small mistake. I don’t miss being stuck in traffic ten times a week, or sucking down obscene amounts of caffeine to make it through the day, or working while sick, or driving on ice to get to work no matter what, or staring out a window and wishing I could just take off and go for a picnic.
It’s a trade off. I’ve given up a few things I enjoy to avoid a bunch of things I really hate about the rest of the working world. I knew that already, but I can see it so much more clearly now. I could see it when I started, but I just didn’t have the experience to see the entire picture.
I’m going back to work soon — early next week. I hope I remember how to dance. I hope I don’t wobble in stilettos. I hope I remember how to talk to customers. I hope I’m still on the right path for myself.
I think I am. But a month of detoxing from a very draining job has really given me a great perspective on what I want for myself, on what makes me happy, on what I need to succeed personally in my own life.
I realized today that I’ve been running very “happily.” I’m running without injury, pain, difficulty, or just general unhappiness/lack of desire. And I’m running so much more.
I tackled 10mi of long, steep hills the other night in 90F-degree humid heat. Yesterday, an easy 3.5mi hike through some “gently rolling” trails. Today, a leisurely 3.5mi on trails—and I was so very tempted to jump off the deep end and run 5mi more, despite the 90+ degree heat.
I’m using an 18-week plan from a local running group to prepare for my first marathon, because it’s my first and I’d be furious if I couldn’t finish the race. The plan is sound and sane (appropriate rest, reasonable build rate, step-back weeks occasionally, midweek as well as long run distance increases), but right now, it feels easy. I’m considering bumping my mileage a little. Not enough to overdo it, but enough to make it feel something like training and less easy.
I’m running up and down steep hills for fun. I’m running trails with not-so-easy terrain and finding a nice pace. I’m running in triple-digit heat indices with heat advisories from the weather service. And I feel not only fine, but like it’s too easy. I should probably go back to work just for the cross-training and to wear myself out. At least stripping wears me out.
Assuming I make it through the marathon just fine, I think I’ll start putting myself on a sane path to try some “shorter” ultramarathons.
I wonder whether there are any stripper/marathoners? Any stripper/ultramarathoners?