You're Not Human
A notion that's sometimes difficult to contend with, when you're a stripper, is the notion that you're not human. It's this idea that you're a barbie doll. Cruel words, physical pain, and bad days should not affect you. But of course, you're a living, breathing person with stress, anxiety, and fear like everyone else.
I used to work at a club in Manhattan that did "promo". We'd get an amount of money toward house fees to go out to expensive restaurants and events to recruit high-end clients.
In my entire life I've never drank alcohol. I have a few different reasons why. People are usually pretty shocked to find out I am a stripper who doesn't drink. People are even more shocked to find out I didn't have a previous drinking problem. I've been actively, consciously choosing not to drink, by my own accord, my entire life.
Sometimes customers ask about it. I usually tell them a half truth, which is that I have narcolepsy. I do have narcolepsy, and I assume that drinking with narcolepsy probably wouldn't end well. Usually that reason is pretty universally accepted, and most people move on and leave me alone.
During one particular promo dinner, though, a client was refusing to let the topic go. I was there with three other strippers and a female manager. The client kept pressing, and I asked, "how sad do you want to be right now?" That usually lets clients know the story is going to bring down their mood. 99 times out of 100 they say, "I don't want to be sad" and they drop the topic and move on. In this particular case, though, the client pressed on, reiterating that he wanted the answer. So I matter-of-factly stated, "I watched my dad commit suicide when I was 11."
An awkward silence fell over the table. No one wanted to hear that, as much as I didn't want to have to say that.
An error some naive strippers make is that they mistakenly think clients care about them. I've been cautious in my 6 years as a stripper to never make that mistake.
When dinner was over and we were back at the strip club I was reprimanded by the manager for making that statement. I thought it was stupid that she reprimanded me, because she was right there, and heard me give alternate explanations to the client and try to divert attention off the topic.
It's extremely rare, in the industry of stripping, to ever find a manager or club owner who legitimately cares about the strippers and treats them like human beings. It's one of the darknesses of this industry.
The picture I included is a picture of me as a baby, before anything bad had ever happened.