Friday, April 29, 2011

Stripping for Shit Money in a Shit Club or "This is NOT what the Strippers On Jenny Jones Described."

So sorry for the lack of writing, but I have been having troubles with ADSENSE at Google. So I stopped writing until I could be assured that I would get my big $14 a month in ad sales on my BLOG OF PAIN! SO, I am back with the wounds of my life on display for you all to enjoy. Thanks for the great emails. I dig hearing from you. So without further wait lagging

I would like to start this entry by saying clearly - first and foremost - this is MY experience as a Topless Dancer in Reno, Nevada in the mid to late 90's. Many young ladies make great livings and may never have dealt with anything like I did. That is YOUR STORY. More power to you for ripping much cash from men where ever you worked. PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ME HATE E MAIL because I am telling my truth. You can easily create your own blog with your damaged life experience. Thanks for your consideration. Now own with my dirt.....

Have you had that hopeless moment in your life when you couldn't scrape enough change together for a gallon of gas? Had someone move out of your house and burn you for rent, leaving you fumbling to pay the whole amount yourself? Perhaps you just got fed up with your week in week out paycheck and wanted more, QUICK and easy like? I believe every female reading this has had that moment of thinking " Hey, maybe I could strip for a while, just to make a few thousand to pay for _______." Unless you live by a Book of God I believe this thought has passed through your moral compass, most likely receiving a big VETO. Well I am the one who said "Fuck it, I gotta do something."

In 1997 I made the jump from "wanna" be to being the chick teasing dicks for cash. Sex for money without penetration. Doesn't sound so easy, fun and glamorous when I boil it down to what it ends up being, huh?


1997 was a year of tough endings. First off my marriage to husband number one, Edward Atkins, was coming to an ugly and expected end. We had met 11 years previously when we were both working at a ski area. Together we had shoved each other through a drunken ringer of drama and immaturity. Dating on and off for 7 years,  at the ripe old age of 24 I decided I was getting over the hill in the pursuit of a lifetime partner (AHAHAHAHAHAHAH), so Ed and I had the white wedding with family, set up house together with me issuing a check mark next to "MARRIED" on my life's list of things to do.

After 4 years of me complaining and Edward ignoring me I cheated with an ex boyfriend, took off to Mexico for a month and left Ed holding down our business, a record store. He was sick of me, I was sick of me so we parted ways. Me keeping the house with large mortgage, the nearly bankrupt record store and my dogs. Him with a dog, 5k one time lump sum payment, a promise of alimony and everything else we had owned together. Oh yeah, and his dignity. Me, not so much in the self respect and dignity department.

Not one to waste time reflecting on what the hell I had just done to fail in my last relationship, I latched on to the ex-boyfriend I had cheated on Edward with (he was way too needy and not so desirable when I was actually free to date him.) Up next, in no particular order were a general contractor, a bartender, another bartender and a guy who just chuckled with a wiry twisted grin when I inquired as to what he did for a living. 

As a way to help some youngster musicians who I knew from my record store, my empty garage was turned into a practice space for local bands I booked to perform at downtown bars. Of course one of the many benefits of having younger bands around is they graciously brought booze and more boys. Most nights the guys paraded in front of me were too young and dumb. Then I met Rich B. Deceivingly young looking for his 35 years, he could pass for at least a decade younger. Nice build, had some brains still rolling around his THC soaked skull, and he made me laugh. No baby momma, no psycho ex wives and no job. Me being super smart with fantastic decision making skills I moved Rich right in to my house after 2 weeks of "dating." Those few rendezvous included drinking at bars with extensive micro brews on tap, purchasing booze to suck down all night at home in the hot tub and watching badly overdubbed Bruce Lee movies.

As my new relationship blossomed my record store was tanking. A slow slide had been going on for 2 years. Some of it being me blowing my very low profit margin on video poker, Bud Light and my ex husbands race car hobby. In addition to my "issues" the local mountain community was buying their music in Reno to save a dollar or two. The purchase price of a compact disc at Target was less than I could buy it for wholesale. A great loss leader for these big stores, it brought people in. For us little mom and pop music stores it helped kill us all. I held on as long as possible. Even tried a different location, performing piercings and selling smoking accessories. Still it just wasn't enough to warrant keeping the doors open. With a complete feeling of failure and shame I closed the doors in May of 1997.

Money wasn't a problem for the next 3 months. I was flush from liquidating the fixtures and inventory. Then a temp job piercing in Sacramento fell in my lap that would last all summer for the guy who had taught me to pierce. Mind you, the commute was a bitch each day, but the money was very good. An extra bonus was not having to face any of the locals asking me "what happened to your record store?" Each time some well meaning townie asked me this I wanted to open their throat with my teeth! What the fuck do you think happened! It was a blessing to get the hell off the mountain each day for 12 hours.

By Autumn my temp job had ended, the bucks from my failed business had been spent and "surprise" Rich wasn't trying to make any money except using his so called green thumb "mad skills" growing pot. Smoking most of his yield meant no money for bills, and let me tell you, he never saw a nice bud that he couldn't dry out and smoke. This he did constantly, providing zero currency towards household bills, but ah shucks, he sure was happy and hungry all the time.

Behind on my mortgage by a month desperation started to take hold. Outright fear evolved  when I had no money to fill my propane tank.  No fuel equates to no hot water or heat as the days got cool. Bad breeding by my birth parents means I am cursed with straight and fine white girl hair. One day without shampooing makes me look like a crack whore during a busy night on her back. Just does not sound appealing, does it? Spending my evenings drinking, hanging out with the band boys was not an option any longer. Back to work I must go......

Record store clerk was not going to pay the note on the house, let alone gas, insurance, groceries and life's necessities, therefore I wouldn't bother with those applications. Bar tending locally was okay money. Facing all the questions about my store closing was not a situation I could put myself in to. Swallow my pride while taking dollar tips for cans of Coors? No can do.

As the days passed my monetary situation wasn't improving. The Gods had yet to shower me with money out of nowhere. Prayers were somehow going unanswered. For some damn reason my whole mess wasn't going to fix itself. Getting more and more anxiety ridden, stripping started to enter my mind. Taking baby steps around my thought track. Contemplating the idea of "it" for a moment or two, then stopping quickly - seemingly out of breath at the shock of it. My gut dismissing it as not for me. With reasons like: no dance training, too chubby at the moment, what would people say, whatever. Off to other ideas for a few hours, then once again stripping would come back around for another trip flying through my mind. 

Ethics and morals acted as a little church choir in my head. Chanting a soft hymn of "good girls do not lower themselves to these types of perversion for income." Clearly hearing this I would say "There is no way I can do something like stripping." Talking myself out of making the first inquiry was easy with the church choir singing sweetly in my mind. However, as my desperation became panic, morals became something I could no longer afford to have. 

Trying to recall what little knowledge I had regarding the business of stripping, brainstorming a list was in order. Formed on binder paper, willing my beer violated mind to summon forth what I had heard on various daytime t.v. programs.  Information was freely given by the many balloon busted, teased haired broads I had wasted countless hours watching weekly. Bad t.v. talk shows in the late 80's and early 90's were in their own class of ridiculous not matched in this millennium. Ricki Lake, Susan Powter, Geraldo, Phil Donahue, every one of the dozen talk shows on during that period always had stripper centered show on every month or so. Just like devil worship and satanic sacrifice was hot topic television in the early to mid 80's, topless dancers and strippers were the next sure fire attention grabber for these daytime shows. Before I had to get up and head off to work each day, many of my free hours were wasted on this adult pablum. Completely fascinated by these woman and how much money they claimed to make. Like taking candy from a baby they claimed. Thousands a night, just for dancing! Shit, sign me up!

Rich didn't seem to care what I did, so long as he wasn't going to have to look for a job. With his vote of confidence and half a tank of gas I rambled in my 20 year old Subaru down the mountain towards Reno. A phone book open to the yellow page listings of Gentleman's Clubs, I had decided to aim high and hit the best one first, Fantasy Girls.

Arriving in late afternoon, the parking lot was almost empty, having a few beat up Honda type economy cars and half a dozen work trucks parked near the small entrance. Sitting in my car, I was naturally having second thoughts. Stomach churning and full of anxiety, I swung the car door open - getting out before I turned around and left. Silently giving myself a pep talk of "You can do it girlie" I walked through the door.

Inside was as dark as a cave, the usual set up of neon, tables, stage, bar and such. Bad pop rock music blaring overhead. Walking to the bar the taste of bile started to rise in my throat. Fuck am I nervous! Standing next to the bar, shaking slightly, a skinny dancer approached and asked if I was a new girl. Telling her no, but I was looking to become one, she lead me through the back of the club to a plain office door. Knocking hard, then pushing the door slightly open, skinny dancer gently nudged me inside, then closed the door behind me.

The manager was a good looking younger cat with dark brown hair, dressed in casual business attire. His energy was good, so I relaxed just a bit. I sat in the chair he offered and let out a tiny sigh that I know he heard. Embarrassed that he heard my exhale, my eyes fell to my feet for a moment. Then I was asked quite a massive list of questions about my qualifications: 1. "Have I ever danced in a club before?"  "No sir, not yet." and number 2. "Do you have any tattoos?" " Yes sir, tons of them."

Mr Manager then rushed through a speech he must have given many times before. There was no way he could hire me if I had a lot of tattoos. Explaining that he ran a more upscale club, and the patrons expected good looking, classy types as topless entertainers. Tattoos, no matter how well done, were considered trashy. Thank you very much, have a nice day. shall I have one of the girls show you out?

Geez, this isn't a good sign. Seems that there was very few requirements for this profession, but golly gee, tattoos were going to knock me out of the running before I got the chance to embarrass my damn self and fall down on the shitty stage! Could I try and cover up all my ink with make up? How the hell could I put liquid foundation over my entire back? This was the one time my mother was right! Tattoos were ruining my chance to get a job I wanted. Hate it when she is right!

Across the seedy street from Fantasy Girls was a less desirable club named "The Spice House." Many times I had been inside this place when it had been a punk rock club. Thinking about the interior layout of the joint, I couldn't imagine how the new owner had managed to turn the space into a strip club. Upon entering I realized the new owner hadn't done much, just added a terrible looking plywood runway 4 feet tall - jutting out from the center of the old stage. Painted a glossy black, already chipped to hell from cheap stiletto heels - the stage, hell the whole damn place, looked crappy enough to hire a tattooed dancer with no experience! Boy was I wrong.

A 5 months pregnant dancer (yes it was obvious) came from behind the tattered velvet curtain, took me to the dancers dressing room, and gave me the lowdown. Management needed dancers badly (that is why this dancer was still moving and grooving all knocked up) yet  management wanted only "clean" girls. The future baby momma dancer was not talking about hygiene, it was her special way to tell me " no dope and no ink." Once again my dreams had been crumbled. After letting this future welfare mother know I had a great deal of tattoos I could see she was as disappointed as I was ( maybe she was hoping she wouldn't have to dance as much if I started to work there?) , she gave me a tip as I started to walk out. "Try the Pink Pussycat over on Wells Avenue. They take anyone."

Shall I mention that the way this cum dumpster chose to form her parting advice made me feel like the ugliest chick that ever walked the earth? I yearned to slap her fat face! But broke bitches like myself cannot be picky on how they "receive" what they so greatly need. Much as I didn't care for delivery, I needed the lead. So I smiled and said thanks through clenched teeth, making my way outside.

Inside my junk car I considered the tip. Many times I had passed this so called "club" while driving here or there. It looked like any old bar. Made of cinder blocks with a dull tan paint job and half burned out neon signs - I had always given it a "what a shit hole" casual thought then disregarded the place. Now it seemed I had to reconsider what I was willing to deal with to make the money I so desperately needed.

Pulling in to the small rear parking lot of the Pink Pussycat I thought about hanging up this idea of stripping. Talking myself out of it would be easy enough. Having already faced rejection twice, my tattoos keeping me from my goal, heading home would be so easy. Money, needing it so very much, kept me from my easy out. Having my house facing foreclosure kept me walking into that dump on that afternoon. No way was I going to hand my home to the fucking bank. So in the scratched, black painted glass door I went.

Dark as a teenage goths bedroom I had to give my eyes a good 5 seconds to adjust. The entryway went one direction, left to a small wooden bar lined with 6 old vinyl bar stools. I half ran up to the  50-ish  blond behind the bar and quickly asked "You hiring dancers?" She grinned and said "Always." Well this is good news!

As "Grandma Blondie" explained how things worked I pretended to listen, yet my eyes roamed around this bar and I couldn't believe what I was taking in. This place looked like the "Titty Bar Time Forgot." Painted an old school crushed velvet red, with black lights thoughtfully placed in no particular fashion. A few small wood laminate tables you should find in an Oklahoma diner.  A small "L" shaped stage in the far corner with a jukebox next to the stairs to get on it. A few beat up chairs along the tip rail. WOW, heaven on earth! Oh well, I guess it will do..

So Grandma Blondie explained she wanted me "to go to the Wal Mart and buy yourself some t-bar panties (WTF?!), a short satin like robe and show up tomorrow at 4pm." Then I replied "Okay, I can do that, but can I stay and watch the girls work for a few minutes and see how things work?" Grandma Blondie rolled her eyes to the heavens and thought to herself for a moment and then replied "Okay honey, but for just the time it takes to finish a draft beer. It makes it harder for the girls to make money on stage if a pretty girl is standing by her lonesome at the bar." Seems logical.....I guess.

A few moments later my eyes were filled with purple, head to toe cheap lingerie in a hue that hurt to look at. Inside all that Target finery was a plump young lady, straight mud brown hair to her shoulder blades, looking at the carpet as she gripped her purple Le Sport Sac purse and made her way to the stage. I was on the edge of my bar stool with wonder and curiosity!

Music suddenly filed the small space, some shitty KISS song called "Lets Put The X in Sex", and "Purple People Eater" stepped onto the tip rail. PPE gripped two dancer poles - keeping herself between them and slowly rocked to and fro looking at the floor with her hair covering her face. All I could think was "Whoa!" The next 3 minutes dragged painfully slow as PPE just kept up the same move, but to her credit she kept the beat. When the song stopped she stayed in place waiting for her next tune. I downed my beer, said my goodbye to Grandma Blondie and made my way out.

On my way back up the mountain towards home I reflected on what the hell I had just bear witness to. Maybe this girl was drunk? Perhaps she was mentally challenged? Had some type of dancer sprain and needed to take it easy? Most likely she just didn't care or have to do any more than her sorry little sidestep to make her dollars. Shit, I was going to look like Ginger Rogers of the topless world if all I had to work with is this level of dancer! Big money will be coming my way tomorrow night if this PPE is making a living doing nothing on stage!

I gathered my so called "T-bars", packed all the sexy type of clothing I owned (which didn't amount to much) and filled my flask with some $6.99 a quart of Rom Rico rum. Feeling ready to take on my new career in entertainment I got into bed with my bum of a boyfriend and tossed and turned all night with worry and "what ifs ?" Rich was of no help, no comforting words, seeming to be just pleased that money was going to be coming in again, no matter the way. What a guy!

The next morning and early afternoon went by at a pace that mirrored a Catholic wedding. Looking at the oven clock constantly I seemed to be crawling out of my smoothly shaved skin! By 3 pm I grabbed my bag and hit the road, Rich waving goodbye from the deck with bloodshot eyes and a shit eating grin across his face. An evening of pot smoking, snacking and martial art movies ahead of him. 

Because this story is wayyyy long, part 2 will be coming at you in 1 weeks time! Hang in there, it gets worse....hahahahahahahah   Kathleen