Things You Should Know Before Judging a Stripper

I don’t tell everyone I’m a stripper. I’m not ashamed, but the stereotypical “you must be a slut” judgment is not a lot of fun.

When I do tell people, I’m very open about what I do and my experiences as a dancer. I try very hard to humanize it and help people understand why someone with a master’s degree might choose to dance instead of work in an office. When I’m not at work, I’m a normal-looking girl who likes makeup, shoes, and going on trips. I just earn my money a different way than most.

Romantic relationships can be difficult when you’re a dancer too. It’s hard for some guys to get past the fact that other people see you naked on a regular basis. One boyfriend was super proud, and we had a great relationship. Another assumed I was going home with other people, and was constantly checking my phone and making accusations. I had to ditch him, because I don’t deal with other people trying to control my life like that.

If someone in your life is dancing, slow your roll with the judging. Chances are good that you don’t have the full story. I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my choice, my morals, my sexual habits, and details of the job. Here are just a few, along with my responses.

Why are you dancing?
Honestly, it’s fun. The money is good, and I’m free during the day to do things like take a class or go to the gym. I only work three or four days a week, and I get paid to be cute and flirt with people — I just happen to be naked while doing it. So really, why not?

Aren’t you ashamed?
Some people think I should feel ashamed and hate myself for doing this job, but I don’t. People know, and I don’t care about their judgments. I just get naked for money — I’m not a bad person. There is no “right” way to do life.

You’re better than this.
This is the way I’ve chosen to make money and provide for myself until I decide to do something else. This might not be what someone else wants for me, but it isn’t forever and I’m still the person you know. I’m not suddenly doing drugs and prostituting myself.

People will judge you and your family.
Well, OK. People are going to judge no matter what I do. I may as well enjoy myself.

What if someone you know sees you at the club?
It’s usually more uncomfortable for them than it is for me. They tend to act like they’ve been busted. I usually just walk right up and say hi.

What happens in the VIP rooms?
The VIP room is essentially just a bit more private. If you’re OK with letting someone touch you (depending on club rules), you can snuggle or do very up-close dances. In most cases, there are bouncers and cameras so nothing illegal or abusive happens.

How much money do you really make?
It depends. Some nights are amazing and you feel like a rock star. Other nightsare more quiet.

Is it fun?
Most of the time. There’s a bit of a power trip and a boost in self-confidence when people are throwing money and asking to spend time with you. I’m very flirtatious by nature, and I enjoy getting compensated for it. It’s not fun when people are demeaning, rude, callous, or handsy.

Aren’t most guys total jerks in a strip club?
Some guys are just going to be a dick at a club, but most aren’t. Most just want to have a drink, see some girls shake their asses, and move on to the next place. If I can add a little fun or a smile to their night, that’s great — I like thinking I’ve made a difference in someone’s day.

Try not to get too judgmental if there are dancers in your life. The bottom line is this: I’m confident in myself, my choices, and my ability to support myself. Those things are more important to me than someone else’s judgment about my life.