So, you wanna be a strippa…

Sometimes I’m asked what a person needs to do in order to become an exotic dancer. Here are 10 tips to help you along in your process:

1) Research: It is difficult in small or mid-sized cities to even find a venue for male dancers. You may have to drive considerable distances. For example, in Charlotte, NC there are nearly 20 titties bars but only one broken down dump for male dancers. For this reason, not because I’m ashamed to dance in the city where I live, I travel 100-200 miles in all directions along a circuit.

2) Character: What is your stage name? Who is your club persona? It is generally very important to create a separate world for yourself that you keep separated from your everyday life. Your dance life and your day life should not overlap. This helps to preserve the fantasy you have surrounded yourself with, and it protects your personal life from intrusion.

3) Interview: Once you find a place you’ll need to connect with the owner/manager or dance captain/entertainment director. That person will want to know what you look like before you get on stage. It helps to have pictures, so that you can email them. Pictures, while they don’t have to be fancy, should look professional as much as possible. Speak politely and with the best grammar you can. Don’t be pretentious, but don’t be ignorant, rude, or ghetto either.

4) Audition: This can go so many ways. Whether the manager wants you to dance in front of a regular crowd, model for him/her in his/her office, audition during day hours when the bar is closed, or watch how you interact with patrons, you must act mature and responsible. You do not want to establish from the beginning a reputation for being anything but clean, friendly, and reliable. Tip: Do not wear cheap or everyday underwear to your audition. You need a uniform for this job, just like any other. Avoid the horribly crafted, tackily designed, and cheaply tailored crap you’ll find at adult toy stores. The underwear there is cliché and ugly. I suggest going to Skiviez and investing in 3-5 pairs of underwear that look crisp, stylish, and sexy. Expect to pay $15-$30 per pair. You have to spend money to make money. Wear clean socks without holes (in case you have to take your NICE shoes off while stripping down), and make sure your shoes flatter the shape of your legs. Narrow Nike armbands on your upper arms are a sporty accent, as well as a handy place to keep tips. Leather arm bands, gauntlets, metallic arm bands, and other arm jewelry are nice additions later, once you’ve made some money and want to upgrade your outfits.

5) Practice: If you’re not used to dancing at all or to being the center of attention, you’ll need to practice. Stand in front of a mirror naked and get used to seeing yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask the more experienced dancers who move well for advice. If you’re hugely muscled and lack range of motion (you need to stretch more) it would be best to invent sexy, statuesque poses that show off your body, rather than do typical body building poses. If you can’t dance well, you can at least become a living piece of art. Most patrons do not enjoy simple flexing and arrogant posing.

6) Network: Talk to dancers. Pick their brains. Ask them which clubs are available and worth the trouble. Make as many friends and as few enemies as possible. Don’t put up with bullshit, but avoid creating drama. Treat this like you would any other professional situation and you will last much longer.

7) Adapt: Look at what other dancers do that you like. Learn from their mistakes. Be objective about your outfits. Just because you think you’re cute in something doesn’t mean you are. Be willing to create several looks that are not similar to each other. Reinventing yourself keeps you fresher, longer. Replace clothing that is shabby. Grungy underwear is the best way to develop a bad reputation really quickly.

8 ) Know Thyself: Avoid doing anything that will cause you guilt, grief, pain, sorrow, regret, or embarrassment. Everyone has different limits and different weaknesses/temptations, so this means something specific to every individual. If you cannot do your work sober, or if you cannot do it without feeling obliged to make justifications/excuses or the need to tell lies, you should not do it at all. That applies to anyone – telemarketers, lawyers, politicians, police officers… if you cannot do your job without it causing you duress, or without it making you feel the need to be intoxicated or medicated, you should find a different line of work. I got out of education to be an exotic dancer, because my students, administrators, and colleagues made me so angry so often that I developed a drinking habit to “relax.” It was time to move on to something else… I have ZERO regrets.

9) Take breaks: You will need to take vacations. You can get tired of anything, but this work in particular will wear you out. When it feels like too much effort or frustration to go to the club or to get to the booking/event, you need to take some time away. Adult entertainment can be a long-term career, but you have to respect your need to be left alone from time to time.

10) Responsibility: It is so important to take care of your daytime life and all its demands. You should be working yourself out of poverty, not into it. Avoid wasting or misappropriating your money. Pay your bills. Act like an adult. If your day life is chaotic, this desperation will spill over into your job, and patrons will smell it on you, causing many ill effects: Some will avoid you, fearing drama; others will sniff out your anxiety and use it to their own advantage in some sordid way; and worst of all, you will be in a position to make compromises you wouldn’t normally consider. Handle your business.

Author: Devon Hunter

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