Workplace hazards in the stripping industry

I don’t want to mention again the alcohol-human stupidity combination here, I wrote enough about this one. But there are other hazards there, some you might not think about that can cause an issue. For example the ability of smoking inside the club. Yes, there are clubs in Europe where people can smoke. Smoker dancers are very happy about it. But what about the non-smokers? It happened not only once when the club was busy and the stage is higher than the tables, but I was also in tears during my performance because of the too much smoke inside. I mean the smoke of the cigarette, not complaining about the smoke machine! I remember after the Dorsia in Antwerp I got home, opened my suitcase and it smelled like an ashtray! All my clothes took the smell of cigarettes. There the Fridays-Saturdays were killer. The club worked with a full house on the weekends, once I even lost my voice because of the smoke. Too loud music also has good benefits for health.
I also like the high heels-unsafe stairs/stage combo. In Brussels, it was nothing around the stage that you can grab if you lose your balance. We girls gave a helping hand to each other to go on stage. The girl who finished the performance stayed on the stage until the next girl arrived and she helped her to come down. When her feet touched the floor, she gave her hand to help the other to go up. There were only 3 stairs but could be dangerous wearing the high platform dancer shoes. I don’t know who designs the interior of strip clubs, but he must pay extra attention to girls who walk on those stairs with 8-inch stilettos.
But my top favourite is the air conditioning. We often fight with a member of the management to switch it off when there are no customers. If you only sit in one place all night wearing lingerie or a sexy nightie and you don’t dance, you could feel extremely cold and it goes to the bones. After all the muscles are cold, it can be dangerous just go on stage and jump on the pole without warming up. I understand the necessity of the air conditioner when it’s busy. I don’t want to work in a sauna either. But when we have only 2 customers? And the management doesn’t want to understand that (of course, they wear proper clothes!) Again in Brussels, I had to take a girl to the hospital with some serious kidney infection because we were sitting under the cold air. I don’t feel good about myself. But it was so useless to tell them we were cold. In some clubs, the manager doesn’t even pick up the phone because I don’t have a local sim card. In Norway, I just wanted to ask for a day off but nobody answered my messages. I had to call my agent who called them and finally they give it to me. But what if it is an emergency? I get lost in the morning on my way back home or worst, I have an accident? Who is there to call?? He didn’t pick up or answer my message because I sent him a text from my English number. (They work with international girls, they knew I live in England and I wrote my name in the text so it doesn’t really make sense to me. I was wondering how many Lindsay does work in their club?) And sometimes even the apartment is cold. Like in Luxembourg, I was lucky that one girl left me an electronic heater because the windows were not properly closed at wintertime.
And I also have to mention one thing: why a dancer carries a small towel or a scarf with herself. Like me, I have sensitive skin and I don’t want to sit anywhere. They don’t clean the seats properly and sometimes better not to think about what was on it previously. In other places, like it was in Canada, the club gave us a small scarf to put on the customer’s lap before we start to dance. First I didn’t understand but on my first night when I saw some guys coming from a construction site to a strip club, I immediately started to use. And it’s good protection for infections. Seriously that club was disgusting, sometimes I took a customer to the private and first I had to look around not to sit him on used condoms. (I will tell in another post what was all about.) But there it would be very easy to catch something.
Well, yes, our life is not only full of glitters and shines.

Pushing the limits

When I think I’ve seen everything, life always is quick over proving me that I’m wrong. I thought in Iceland I worked with the worst kind of dancers ever, the most competitive and the less care about others. Here in Oslo they even worst by my opinion. Before you think I work with Romanians, I must say no. Here the majority of the girls come from Baltic countries and they are extremely rough! They just care about the fast money they can make. The older girls are softer but the young generation is very harsh. Intelligent but harsh.
Just an example to understand their mentality: we walked home after work and a random guy tried to talk to one of them that I would have just ignored, but she answered: “Don’t talk, give me money, pizdec!”
As I said earlier this business is a hard sales job. We must sell champagne and private dances. But for me, it’s a big difference HOW. I think in long term. If I make the customer relaxed, he would be happy to spend money on me and will come back later. The big difference is I care about the person who spends money on me, not just see him as a piggybank. I’ve never been the kind of dancer who ready to jump on the guy as soon as he opens the door. I’m not exceptional. I’m not the only one. There are other girls that don’t want to rip off the customers and still make money. But we are rare to find in strip clubs any more.
In these days when people think twice about what they spend their money on, it should be the dancer’s personal charm that convinces them to stay and spend money. Another day I had a customer who was completely frozen when he arrived (closed arms, legs and when I asked he gave me one-word answers) and later this guy left the club with a smile on his face and gave me a big hug saying “You’re great!” (No, I didn’t offer any extra. I just blew some magic powder to his eyes.) But I made money on him, he was happy, I was happy. For me, this is a great night.
Yesterday night was crazy. Girls were pushing and pulling drunk (or half dead) customers on the floor to make them pay.
“Do you want me? Let’s go drink! Be serious! You must pay! Where is your wallet? Give me your card!”
And they paid. (I’m not sure if they were aware of it what for.) One guy paid a bottle of champagne for two girls and when he saw the bottle in the ice bucket, he didn’t want to pay. He didn’t realise he paid already and his transaction went through.
At the other table, there were two guys, one bought a bottle of champagne for the girl, the other bought only wine. So one went downstairs to the VIP area, the other stayed on the main floor. Both were drunk. A little later he came up to check his friend, the girl followed him:
“You can’t sit here because of your friend. We must go downstairs.” And she grabbed his arm and took him back to the “dungeon”. (She made it sure that the other girl doesn’t get anything from her bottle of champagne. Rough, isn’t it?)
Another girl was struggling to have a second bottle from the guy. He was also drunk. She took his card and placed it in the card machine.
“You must pay! Put your PIN number here!” pointing her finger to the machine. (I don’t know what policy it is here that the girls are allowed to touch the customers’ wallet and cards..) And the barmaid:
“Just try, if it’s doesn’t work it’s OK.” holding the card machine that is almost touched his nose. But clearly, he didn’t want to pay more. He didn’t even know anymore if he’s male or female. When the girl realised he doesn’t pay, she tossed his card back to him.
“OK, nobody keeps you here. Get your card, your wallet and go home!” with not even a little kindness in her voice and she called the security. The guy who previously paid her a bottle of Dom Perignon was thrown out like a piece of garbage.

By witnessing these situations I really started to think about my future. I can’t keep up with these girls, and because they make money for the club, I have problems with the management because I don’t know how to work. Well, I don’t know how to rip off people, that’s for sure! But I’m sure all those customers have shock and headache next morning and they will never come back to this club again (not even close to it).  My advice: put a limit on your card and you can’t spend more than you wish or don’t come to a strip club when you’re so drunk and you can’t see what is on the screen of the card machine. 1200 krone or 12000 krone is a big difference!

Unless you want to pay for being stupid…

‘Cause I’m a gipsy

No, not being racist here against gipsies, but if Shakira can sing a song about being a gipsy so I can write about it, right? Someone told me that we, strippers, are the gipsies of the modern world. And I must say I agree with that person. If you hear the word “gipsy” what other words come to your mind straight away? Let me help. Entertaining. Music. Dance. Thief. Magician. Travel. Bags. Free. Wild. Nomad. No agreement, no commitments. No rules.
Dancing and entertaining don’t require further explanation, I guess. As a negative aspect, some might think we also have a dark, criminal side and the dancing business linked to the underworld. I don’t think I tell a big secret that you can’t open a strip club without knowing the local mafia or if not, sooner or later they will appear and introduce themselves to you. Once I worked in a club when the manager asked me to steal my drunk customer’s credit card, and then he can charge him more bottles of champagne – of course, the most expensive one. He was very generous, and he reminded me I also could get more money after this action. Luckily it happened my last days in that club, so I refused to help him do more business in that way, and I left with no trouble. But I can understand where this negative stigma is coming from.
Sometimes we also need to develop some magic skills to disappear after our shift. Just like Houdini! I remember once I had a customer, a lovely man from Belgium. He was a nice guy until he started to get drunk and became aggressive and abusive. By the time when we finished work, he was screaming outside of the club, kicking the rubbish bins and making the possibly biggest noise around 4 am in a residential area. Because he thought I would go home with him. (That time I’ve already learned the lesson not to promise such a thing like “I see you after work if you buy me a bottle of champagne”, but in his mind somehow it was a different case.) He was angry, and nobody could make him calm. My manager tried to talk to him, no success. So one of my friends called a taxi for herself and for my safety she offered me to take me to the bus stop. It was like in an action movie. My friend went ahead, talked to the taxi driver, who drove the car to the entrance as close as he could. Then my friend opened the door and when my manager waved with his hand that the guy doesn’t pay attention – probably he was busy kicking the metal bins – I covered my head with my jacket, jumped into the car and we left. OK, Houdini could do better tricks, but I wished I could disappear and get out of the situation just as he could. So magic, yes, we also use it sometimes.
And my favourite part is the travel. Sometimes I even leave my clothes in the suitcase. I don’t see the point to put them in a wardrobe, and I get dressed straight from my bag. I use to say that I don’t have a home, but I’m home everywhere I go. And it’s true. After the second week, I got used to the new place, the new environment and I start to feel I could stay even longer. But I don’t stay. There is always a new place waiting for me to discover. And once you got the taste of this lifestyle, this kind of freedom, it’s hard to give it up. So yes, I feel like a gipsy travelling from town to town, from country to country to entertain with my dance. Never stay long for one place, never settled down. And I make my own rules.
I remember when my yakuza friend asked me:
“When do you stop this lifestyle? Taking risks?”
“You know I think we are very similar in that. Probably never. Being free and taking risks is in our blood.”
Also, the common belief is that gipsies were mining the gold just like strippers are golddiggers — another common social stigma. And we trust no one. I could tell you stories about having trust issues mainly towards men. But that would be a whole new post here.

Laura’s research into lapdance experienses 1.

I met a girl in Paris who told me she’s studying on university and how she entered the whole glittery pinky stripper world was that she went interviewing a few dancers in a local club to write an essay and she started to like the atmosphere and decided to work in clubs afterwards. See, not every girl’s doing it for money or because they have been forced to do so, but some also realise it’s such a good job to learn about our own sexuality and express ourselves. So after talking to her, I got an email from a lovely girl – let’s call her Laura – who asked my help to write her dissertation. “I am doing research for my dissertation, which is looking into the ways in which lap-dancing is empowering for women, but I also want to learn about the difficult parts of the industry! Basically, I just want to give an honest story. I have never done lap-dancing before so I cannot write from my own experiences, and I came across your blog and it is so interesting! You seem very honest about your work and you seem to have travelled and worked in many countries.” I thought such a brave girl to write about this subject and I’m happy to help if it doesn’t cost money so I said yes to her. And some of her questions are so intelligent and worth to write a whole post as an answer.
 “How did you feel when a customer breaks the rules and touches your intimate area when giving them a naked lap dance? “
When I read this question the stories started to come to my mind. But I’m telling you the best one. I was working in Toronto, Canada where the club had a totally unique system. The customers chose the girls from a photo album with the help of the bookers. Those guys were walking around with a huge album in their hands any anybody wanted to have a lap dance, they suggested the girl who suits the best for them. We girls were not allowed to talk to customers, it was a sitting area for us or we could stay in the changing room (even for a quick nap). So because of that, there was no previous agreement on what I do in private and what I don’t. It was a whole forum on an internet site about which girl is a giver in the club and it was so popular amongst the customers. If I find it, I will link it here because it was so funny and entertaining to read. So basically the guy who booked me for dance was never so sure what he can get from me.
Once I got booked by a young guy for 30 mins. He was around 20. We went down to the private area, I seated him and started to dance. Without asking or saying anything, he started to unbutton his jeans. I didn’t say anything but gave him a bad look. He didn’t get the signal – or didn’t want to understand – and his hand slid down inside his trousers. I don’t let the customers jerk themselves during my dance so I told him to stop. He said OK. And then I changed my position, I danced a bit facing the wall and when I turned back his willy was out and it was a huge grin on his face.
“I told you not to do it!” (Jesus, this half an hour dance will be difficult!)
“OK, OK! I apologise.. but a little bit?”
But some really like testing the waters. I thought finally he got the message, I turned again to the wall. I bend over to take my panties off when I saw him between my legs what he’s doing. Of course, his trousers down on his hips and he was jerking. I really hate when I have to repeat myself again and again, and it seems this bloke was deaf or something not to hear what I was trying to say. I found a more effective way. I grabbed his beer from the small table where he put it, suddenly turned back and put it upside down into his trousers. The cold beer poured down on his erection and on his balls.
“Now I hope you understand what I was saying to you!”
He immediately jumped from the sofa and called me on every name you can imagine. I gave him back his dance tokens and left.
Dear man, if the dancer says not to do it, it means NOT TO DO IT! Once I had to listen to 30 mins lecture from my manager because my customer did the same when I danced showing my butt to him. My manager passed the curtains and she saw what’s going on and interrupted the dance. I told her I’m wearing my eyes on the front and I can’t see what he’s doing behind my back but she thought I let him do. Seriously I almost got fired just because the guy was not listening. Same with touching. In some clubs, they are very strict about it and I can get in trouble if they see it on the security cameras. What? If there are security cameras??? Of course, there are! Who would believe that there is no control over what’s going on in the VIP room? The clubs have to protect themselves if anything happens there.
But answering the question, it happened to me that the customer touched me in an inappropriate way – again I was showing my back to him and I did a sexy bend over. He thought it’s funny if he touches me between my legs. As I felt his finger on my private area I turn back and suddenly gave him a huge slap on his face.
“Never do it again!”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Get out!”
“But I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
“Get the fuck out of here!!!”
I was cold as ice and he understood the fun is over and he left. After the security guy came to me asking why I finished the dance sooner. I told him what happened and he just shrugged his shoulder. “Hm, OK.”Of course, it was OK. It was no argument about paying back the dance or anything. Security can help to kick out an angry guy or step between the dancer and customer if it’s necessary. But behind closed doors (or curtains) I’m in control. And I have to make sure that nothing happening there that can harm me. I remember working as a hostess. Once we had a beautiful girl who never worked in this field before. She got chosen by a “good” customer and the guy paid her champagne bottle after bottle. As it was her first night, she easily lost her limits. And the control. After she was crying in the toilette because the guy tried to finger her through her tights and panties and she felt violated. That was her first and last night.
That’s MY body, I make the rules! I understand there are different clubs and in some clubs, you can get more, I also understand that the temptation is big, but if the dancer says NO, it means NO. It’s always better to ask than walking through the whole club with wet pants and it looks you just peed yourself during the private dance.

Club overview – Remich, Luxembourg

I must say that was my shortest contract with a club ever. I booked my place through an agency and the conditions sounded good. They offered 70€ fix salary per day plus 20% drink commission plus the dances and free accommodation. Not bad at all. I arrived from France on the train quite late at night. A guy was waiting for me outside the train station. He looked OK for first sight (if I smell danger, I just don’t sit in his car), he told me the club is outside Luxembourg city so we need to take a short drive. It was nothing unusual or made me suspicious. They helped me with the luggage in the apartment (it was heavy and stupid me put the locker keys inside so I needed someone strong to cut the metal locker) and then they introduced me to the boss. He took me into the kitchen of the club and explained all the basic rules that I knew from the agency anyway, but it’s always good when they repeat everything in person. He told me he’s expecting 2 more girls from my country so I won’t be alone. I went back to the apartment to relax. The place was nice with a big and clean kitchen, bathroom. The room for the girls was quite big too but a bit crowded. If I remember well there were beds for 7-8 girls in the same room, and even the room was big it’s not as healthy as everyone has a different daily routine. But for the short term, I can deal with it.
Later the other 2 girls arrived and they were super nice! I was happy to meet them. So we got ready for work together (the others were already working) and it was lots of talk about our previous experiences in different clubs. The problems started later. For them, the boss didn’t say anything, just when we started our shift and we were together he came to us asking our passports. He said he will give them back the next day. But one of the girls insisted, she said to him she would only give the copy of her passport. (In my experience it’s not unusual when they take the passport for one day, in Europe, I never been worried about it so much as I always have my ID with me and in any case of trouble I can travel with it within the EU.) But I didn’t like the reaction of the boss, that was the first warning sign. Bosses don’t like the girl who knows her rights and not afraid to open her mouth. He told her if she doesn’t want to give him her passport, she can leave the club in that very moment (it was about 11 pm and we were outside of the city, no public transport in these hours.) So what other chances we had? We gave him our passports but with not a good feeling and we started to work. I explained all the rules to the girls that the boss told me earlier. Especially the “no sex in the champagne room!” It was a quiet night, we were sitting on the sofa talking and watching the other girls – who had regulars or so – work. They were pretty and very young from Estonia and a few Romanians. And our bad feelings are increased when we saw a girl kissing her customer and 15 minutes later kissing with another. We saw two guys kissing before they took two girls into the private. But the most horrific was the girl at the bar who got wasted on drinks (when I say drinks I mean cocktails or glass of champagne, not bottles. It means she made maybe 2€ on each drink) She was sitting on the guy’s lap on a high bar chair, basically giving him a lap dance for free. And they were really into it. We felt like we are in a kind of cinema or peep show. Again I have to say but this is not my work style as it was not the girls’ either. We were actually shocked. The whole place looked so cheap and “dirty”, against all the rules that the boss explained to me earlier. And the show just continued when our favourite couple at the bar was more and more into the moves and the guy stood up to press his crotch harder against the girl’s butt, the chair felt on the floor and it was clearly visible that the girl’s bikini bottom under the skirt was pulled to the side. Probably there was a good reason for this, everyone can imagine by his/her own fantasy.
We already decided to leave and not finish our contract. I can’t compeer with girls who work in this way. And not long after we agreed to move on, the police has appeared to check the place out. The police officer asked for our passport and I think that was our luck. We had to tell him that the boss took our passports, they called to question him. I didn’t understand their conversation but it seemed the boss was in trouble because of that. Soon he appeared with our passports and gave them back to us. He didn’t look happy at all. And after the police left, he told us he doesn’t want us to stay because we only cause problems for him! (We were quite happy because we didn’t need to gather all our courage to tell him we want to leave.) I can’t say bad because he also gave us our one day salary with our passports. At least in that way, he was correct. But we definitely didn’t want to stay because we had the feeling that much goes on there than dancing. Maybe he just needed some professional dancer to cover his real business. Later I told the story to a friend of mine and he said: “Yes, you were lucky because there are some rumours about that club that some girls were locked in a room there to force for prostitution”. Seeing the place and the boss, I can imagine…
I’m telling this story because lately, I got emails that I have a funny and glamorous job. No. It’s not always fun. Apparently, it can be dangerous sometimes.