How Does a Job Interview for a Strip Club Work?

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That first March weekend wasn’t cold. Still, the dancers would walk down King St in track pants with duffle bags, hair in ponytails, heads bowed if they wore full make-up, with false eyelashes fluttering against the breeze. They would slide through the club, sticking to side tables, not making eye-contact with customers, wallets held in one hand. In the downstairs dressing room they would pay house fee to the house mum on shift and put their name onto the table roster. Until we unwrapped ourselves from our cocoons of Nike tights and oversized hoodies, we would avoid pulling from the sway of our hips and thighs the body language that made us money.

‘How did you get into it?’ My friend asked one day at the beach, eight months later. We were chatting about sex work and fake tan, and her new boobs – she wasn’t a dancer though. She was a beauty and lifestyle blogger with a YouTube channel boasting half a million subscribers.

‘You know that’s so funny,’ I said. ‘People ask that all the time. Nobody realizes that you just call or email a club and ask if you can try out.’

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The interview I had for The Club was the only strip club interview I had ever had that wasn’t at an actual club. I had met the house mum for a different club, the first club I ever worked at, in the office they had backstage where they created the table rosters. Two days later I was called to organize an appointment for an interview at the offices for The Club, a few blocks away from the venue. For the interview I wore false lashes, curled my bleached hair and wore a skirt and low-heeled boots. Underneath was black underwear and a blue bralette. I weighed forty-five kilograms and wore a size 4-6 Australian, despite my take-out addiction.

The woman who interviewed me danced into the room – no joke – she twirled in singing, with a contract held high in one hand the way servers brought out plates.

‘Hi sweetie! How are you!’ She said. ‘Christina’s gone home for the day, so you’ll be interviewing with me. I work for the sister club here.’

She led me into a room with no windows and a long walnut table. The walls were paneled with what appeared to be paintings and wooden scenes cut out reflecting horses and knights in battle. It looked like the kind of room in which King Henry would have ordered Anne Boleyn’s head to be cut off, where Cromwell and the Bishop might have conspired to swipe some off the top of the royal bank accounts.

‘So,’ she looked at me. ‘What made you want to start dancing?’

At that point my bank account reflected about ten dollars, every time I went to work at my office job I would come home with a back so sore I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to write, really. I wanted to help people, I wanted my life to reflect an attitude in which I had dared to at least try, rather than taken the same route as everyone else.

‘Oh well, I’ve always been interested in it.’ I said. ‘I did some nude modelling a couple of years ago and that was fun.’

‘So, you’re comfortable being naked?’

‘Yeah,’ I said.

‘Okay,’ she said. ‘So fill out this contract. It explains all the rules for the club, make sure to fill every page and the back of every page. Our club is a no-touching club, that means the customers cannot touch you, your bum, or boobs during a dance. They’ll train you, show you how to give a lap-dance, and everything.’

‘Okay,’ I said. I wrote my name down and listed my older sister as my emergency contact.

‘Right!’ she said taking the contract back. ‘I’ll go file this, now you get undressed, so I can take a couple of pictures to send over to Christina!’

When she left the room, I stripped down to my underwear and waited.

‘Smile!’ she said, snapping a photo on an iPhone. ‘Gorgeous!’

She stood back up.

‘Okay, so if you’re successful you’ll hear from us in a week or two.’

‘Awesome,’ I said, wondering what was next. I felt like I needed to say something to lock in a place at the club. ‘So, did you used to dance?’

‘I did sweetie,’ the woman said, leading me back into the foyer. ‘A long time ago, but never at this club.’

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SHOP THE POST:

Living Online as a Stripper

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Shop pants, shop jumper

Hello, I’m a stripper. I talk about this online a lot. I often receive unbelievably lovely comments from men and women alike online, offering empathy and understanding. On the flip side, I also sometimes receive comments that describe me as a ‘whore’, or ‘goldigger’ – even though in reality, a rich old dude dying and leaving me all of his money would probably negate both my need and desire to continue dancing.

Trolls occur just as often in strip clubs as they do online, working in clubs and documenting my journey online has led me to experience both. Many people view my videos, and I meet many people in the club. They all have one thing in common – they all talk. Language is a funny thing, it often reveals more about a person than they realise. The words we choose are symbiotic of our past experiences.

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Shop jumper, shop pants

 

People take their anger and insecurities, their own confusion and jealousy out on strippers. It happens in and out of the club. Most women in the adult industry, become perceptive as to what someone means, despite what they say. We understand that the old adage denoting jealousy as a reason for cruelty might not be true – but insecurity certainly is.

Insecurity in one’s self, and adaptation to change, all play a role in the reasoning behind a persons spitefulness. This is how and why we dancers bounce back from rejection in the ten seconds it takes to receive a ‘no’, and spy another person open in the club. When men tell us we don’t respect ourselves as dancers, , it is because our line of work (and lack of fucks) represents an ego threat. It changes their view of themselves, it removes their trust in their self-identified alpha presence, so they pretend that we must have been destroyed to ‘end up’ here.

In a sense it is true – we have destroyed the part of ourselves brought up by society to be whorephobic, ashamed, virginal and ‘demure’. Femininity as viewed through the male lens has been destroyed by the dancer, she becomes self-defined, pulling on the strings of femininity to create sales, puppeting those traits into a fantasy for sale – as every ad for every product ever invented has been doing since the dawn of time.

My self-perception has not changed as a dancer, only those things (such as my body shape, or level of social confidence) that would change daily regardless of my choice to work in this industry have. I am still myself, with the same hobbies and interests, I eat the same foods, I read the same books, and I gravitate toward the films, photographs, music and art I did prior to dancing. I vote for the same political parties in elections (those who work with empathy) and I defend the same core philosophies I have for the entirety of my adult life. The fact is, regardless of whether I’m dancing or not, whether I had ever slipped $50 into a set of rubber bands on stage  – someone somewhere will still find something about me offensive and will take out that same Jungian shadow on me.

I understand my worth, though. It comes from a Eudaemonic self-created source, and has always done so. That is the place my confidence to become a dancer came from.

These comments that come my way, this societal perception at large: It’s not about me. It’s not about my job. It’s about the story and beliefs that person tells themselves regarding women, dancers, sex, money and ethics. It’s their choice to not divert and unpack those beliefs, and expose their own demons, their own Madonna/Whore complex. Their own inability to admit that the story is not true. It is the pity of all of us, when we close ourselves in from uncertainty, to accept safe stories and comfort over progress, and rebirth.

When we shroud ourselves, we reject what new opportunities we could rope into our lives, to humble ourselves from the pretense of ‘knowledge’ and accept that there are things, ideas, circumstance, larger than us that we do not know. We have not experienced.

My best example of my doing this is when I work in a club, and there are few customers, or I think I’m unable to make money. I shrink, pretending to ‘know’ this – and I reduce my presence. I don’t try to hustle, to work harder, or to approach more people. I say, ‘fine, this is what I’ve made tonight.’ I pretend that I do not have the links available to further myself, I pretend that I don’t have the confidence or skill. That’s the real story behind a lot of my ‘bad’ nights in the club.

As for online, and the tall tales we tell to make ourselves feel better than someone else: I choose to remain vulnerable, no matter how many people choose to disown me, because it’s important, as humans, to share our stories. Humans are narrative beings, and it is through story and perspective that every law has changed, movement been created, and barrier been either lifted or built. Our stories are our tools through which we can change greater perceptions. For every Instagram story a dancer posts about disrespectful customers, or working out their tax return – the perspective of the public body is – even in the smallest way – changed. Vulnerability is a quiet revolution, gaining momentum as it influences others.

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Crop top & sunglasses from eBay, jumper available here