High Heels but no Handjobs: Behind the scenes in a York strip club

dita-von-teesettI believe that most people would agree that university is a time for following dreams and trying new things, like writing for a newspaper or playing for a winning sports team. Things take a slightly more controversial turn however, when the dream in question is dancing in a strip club.

I think I must have been 14 or 15 when I came to the conclusion that I would like stripping; I probably have a diary entry somewhere pinpointing the time of realisation that it would be something that I would be well suited for. It could have been one passing thought, the kind quickly dismissed by most, but I have always had a tendency to act on my ideas when I have an opportunity, no matter how long it takes for that opportunity to come along.

I looked up the contact details for the local club almost as soon as I arrived in York, but it took until February of my first year to actually get in touch. When I finally got a job as a dancer, it didn’t feel real. I’d seen the films but in the real world, girls don’t become strippers, strippers just are. I can’t help but feel that way. A strip club is like fantasy fiction and the girls in them are just characters. I can put on my false eyelashes, lacy lingerie and make it so that the girl who steps into the club is not shy and rather unremarkable me, but everyone’s dream girl; whatever it is they need.

It isn’t always easy to keep the real world out of the illusion of giggles and debauchery, especially when it’s half two in the morning and I’ve been balancing on six inch heels that are just a little too tight, pretending not to find the punters’ comments offensive and patronising. That’s the point at which I make use of my free drink, or, if I’ve already had that and haven’t yet earned enough to justify buying a drink at strip club prices, I get on the pole.

I love dancing on the stage. I get to dance exactly how I want to and not get bossed around by the men who are paying me to do things their way. My favourite part about dancing on the stage is getting introduced to the audience. It’s like being famous and, for me, that is the part where everything returns to fantasy and I become a fictional character again. Someone who is not too tired to flirt and dance and take my clothes off for strangers.

The situation is a little worse when it’s the punters bringing the real world in. Most lewd remarks are easy to brush aside and flirt away, some can even be taken as misguided compliments. However, others are more than just socially unacceptable and sometimes, they are accompanied by unwanted physical contact and requests for sexual favours. I am a very open-minded person and if someone wants to be paid for sex then that’s fine for them. But I find being touched by most strangers, and even some people I know and like, very uncomfortable. It isn’t my job to give sneaky handjobs or let them touch me and it is very irritating when they act like I have done them a great injustice when I refuse.

So stripping isn’t always an easy job to do, but it’s a much harder job to leave. And when someone like me who comes away with £180-£200 a night and is considered a low earner, it’s not hard to see why I can’t walk away. This, coupled with the easy going nature of the job and the fun you can have whilst dancing. Stripping becomes something that you can really miss if you take too long of a break from it. I know girls who have ‘retired’ three or four times. It’s a very easy job to come back to. In fact, dancers can come and go as they please.

When in the real world however, sometimes the fact that I am a stripper hits me and it’s terrifying. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t go back, like I should just put it all behind me. But then I find myself with less money than I would like, so I go back and it’s amazing. It makes me feel different from what anything else makes me feel and I love it. I don’t think I want to dance forever, but I do dream of dancing in Paris. So you never know. Maybe I’ll be wearing Dior by day and taking off fancy lingerie by night for years. Maybe you’ll hear about me.

3 Comments

  1. Erm...
    29 October 2013 - 12:30 BST

    ..I would pay for you to not become a stripper

  2. Danceypants
    29 October 2013 - 15:51 BST

    Nice article, describes how I feel about dancing too. There’s just something about it that makes you hold on to it, even when you have those phases where it’s terrible and not worth the hassle. It’s all an act but it’s a part of me too.

    THe comment above is just silly… but hey if someone wanted to pay me to stay home and catch up on my favourite tv instead I’m all ears. They probably never offer enough to justify skipping work though, huh!

  3. anon
    06 November 2013 - 10:46 BST

    Helena?

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