Three Hard Truths of Dating as a Stripper
If you ask me what’s the most difficult thing of being a stripper, I’ll say one word: dating.
It isn’t our sleeping schedule, nor the tedious dead hours at the club, nor our judgmental Christian aunts, not even stalkers for crying out loud. Dating is our stone in the shoe — or should I say 7-inch heel?
Call it bad luck, but everyone I’ve dated since I started taking my clothes off has judged me one way or another. Suddenly, men are experts on the matter, crossing out the possibility that I, a stripper, can develop actual feelings for someone.
Here are three hard truths of dating as a stripper.
#1. Revealing you are a stripper
All dates converge in one thing: the what-do-you-do-for-a-living question. When it’s my turn, I try to spit it out as nonchalantly as possible, because, after all, stripping is just another job, right?
Of course, I’ve had a few dates where I’ve already told the other person via chat. But, for the most part, it’s something I like revealing in a café, with a cup of the strongest Americano, just in case the other person finds my reality hard to swallow.
Reactions to my answer come in all shapes and sizes. Several boys have been nice about it, making me feel comfortable because, at the end of the day, we all have bills to pay.
But there have been others:
“Oh, so you’re a prostitute,” said a guy once, his eyes smirking at me.
I gulped down what was left of my Americano and left.
#2. Jealousy is hard to dress up
One year into stripping, I met a boy who claimed to have no problem with my job, and for a while, I believed so.
Three months into dating, he started getting paranoid. If I didn’t text him right away when I got home, he’d make a whole K-drama out of it, demanding some kind of proof.
When pictures of my room weren’t enough, he started showing up at the club unannounced, afraid I might cheat on him with any client at the club. He’d make a scene, making me feel guilty for doing too many lap dances, or for taking my dress off onstage too early into the song.
I reached the point where going to work felt like I was betraying him in some way. And that’s when I realized no one, let alone a man you’ve known for a couple of months, should have such power over you to make you feel guilty for who you are and what you do for a living.
Now, one year later, when a guy shows any hint of jealousy, I put on my seven-inch boots, and, like Dorothy of Oz, I click my heels three times and wish them a good life.
#3. I don’t want to be saved
If you ever worked on the adult industry, you’ve dated what I call the “life-savers.” I’m talking about these men who, no matter what you say, still think you need to be rescued from that filthy place called the strip club.
Of all the men I’ve dated while stripping, life-savers never take the time to listen to me. They’re the typical fortyish-year-old men that take out their wallet, and hand you a twenty, blurting a “Get yourself something nice,” while you watch how drops of their saliva stain your precious cheeseburger.
Live-savers will never care to get to know you because, in their ready-made minds, you live like a pauper, even though your bank account surpassed the four figures a long time ago.
If you’ve read this far, you already know dating as a stripper is all about dispelling stereotypes. These four hard truths are but a brief skylight into my “love life” — if I may call it like so.
Three Hard Truths of Dating as a Stripper
If I had to sum them up, I’d say they all come to the same thing: being oneself is difficult, especially when big and bulky social constructs hang over us.
If anything, my job has given me the possibility to be in constant contact with people, especially with more women who dance with me every other night. And I love that; I love knowing we are flesh and bone, and not the sex-doll our dates often deemed us to be.
Dating, and I think we all can agree with this, is to go against the tide. But dating as a stripper is to go against Hokusai’s big wave. I’m trying to surf it as best as I can, undoing ideas men have of me as I go. I’m trying.
When the right man comes along, I would like him to understand stripping is empowering and challenging. Yes, it pays my bills, but it also makes me fearless. And I would like him to be proud of me because the adult industry is just that: another industry.
How funny to look back when I started stripping, those naive days when I thought my love life was going to remain the same — more ups than downs. But oh boy, I was wrong