Your little voice speaks the truth…

440px-jack_t_ripper.jpgI’m sorry to have to report that this weekend saw one of the more unpleasant aspects of exotic dancing come to bear on a situation at work: A potential stalker made himself known. His story to us dancers: He’s out on bail after serving 290 days while he awaits a trial for “breaking and entering,” and he is facing 15 years – life.

Alright, on the one hand this is good: He has made his dangerous persona and potential insanity transparent. Often you aren’t served up such a delicious platter of chaos with quite the same blunt finèsse this gentleman employed. On the other hand, it must be patently obvious that this man isn’t telling the whole truth: One doesn’t go to jail for 15 years – life for breaking and entering (unless one has entered said property with the intent of doing someone, not someone’s property, grievous harm). To have that kind of trial ahead of him, he must have done something pretty awful. Why he’s out in the first place is a whole other kettle of fish.

jackripper.jpgAt any rate, I declined to give him private dances, sensing immediately (before his story came out) that something wasn’t right about him. His hygiene was horrible, his eyes desparate. He was far too oversexed and aggressive. He kept licking my boots while I was on the bar (which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mark someone as bad – no offense intended to those with boot/leather fetishes), and he kept trying to put his mouth on my penis. (He tried to put my dick/in his mouth,but I said/”No, no, no…” – props to Amy Winehouse)

The newer dancers I was working with had not yet met anyone like this man and gave him dances, wherein he tried to do everything I’d expected… with the exception that he also began getting aggressive about leaving the club with us. Over the course of the night it became clearer and clearer that he was unbalanced and had the intention of following us, saying “Make sure you come get me when you’re ready to go. I don’t want to have to watch the door and run after you.” Mhm.

One dancer was feeling conflicted about this scenario, wanting the money for doing the dances. But ultimately he decided to avoid this when I told him this person would interpret the dances (even if he pays for them) as a sign of interest. As it turns out, all our gut reactions to this man were spot on.

We finagled a way of getting paid by the bar and then leaving together as a group, watching each other get into our cars and driving away. We also made a point of watching behind each other to make sure we weren’t followed. After getting home we all texted the “AOK” to make sure each person was at home, doors locked, and no followers noted.

Listen to your voice. You have it for a reason. We evolved to have this fight-or-flight response. In all situations in life you ignore it at your own peril. That isn’t to say you should be paranoid, but you must always pay attention and use good judgement (particularly in adult entertainment, which is rife with people who will take advantage of you with a moment’s notice):

jackrippernote.jpgWhen you’re faced with a stressful situation, you’ll probably notice that your heart starts to beat faster, you breathe more rapidly, your skin gets cold and clammy, your mouth feels dry, your pupils dilate and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. There are also some changes you don’t notice, like reduced blood flow to your kidneys and digestive system. If you’re really terrified, you may even lose control of bladder and bowels.

The brainstem is situated at the base of the brain and controls a lot of our automatic responses and life sustaining functions, like breathing, which we do without conscious thought. When you perceive danger, a part of the brainstem called the hypothalamus sends a nerve message to your adrenal glands and hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released into the bloodstream, where they cause the dramatic changes described above.

The overall effect of these changes is to sharpen all your senses and enable you to perform optimally in a life threatening situation. All your blood is diverted to your muscles, while non essential systems are shut down. Surface wounds bleed less, as skin blood vessels constrict. The faster, deeper breathing brings more oxygen into the blood and this helps the muscles to work faster. Opening of the bladder and bowels reduces the need for other internal activity, lessens your weight if you flee and may put off attackers. If you end up in a fight, you’ll hit harder, jump higher and think and dodge faster than usual. In case of flight, you’ll run faster, see better, hear more acutely.

Author: Devon Hunter

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  1. Do you have any self-defense training, Devon? That’s something I’d advocate for everyone, but especially for dancers.

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  2. Stalkers, followers, OCD’s….

    Just one issue here, true stalking is bad, like pedophilia. But a lot of problems come from false accusations or from someone who might have some of the characteristics of stalking, but not all of them (for example, might want to meet dancers in the parking lot, but would never think of breaking into someone’s home). Just remember the first rule: does that person care about/can empathize with other people? If the answer is “no” then that’s a red flag….

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