Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.—Yoda
Thanks for the helpful suggestions in “An Open Letter to the Extras Girl.” You know, for telling me how to do my job. Don’t take it personally if I ignore them. This is business, girl, and if you can’t wrap your head around what we—you and I—actually do for a living, it’s no problem of mine.
I know times are tough. This recession settled in on the whole country and it’s not going away anytime soon. I’ve been at this job long enough to know that the legendary monsoons of cash in the aughts—when girls could flash a titty and a smile and walk out with one large in their pockets—aren’t coming back. If you want to ply your craft and still turn a profit, sucking and fucking is going to be part of the deal, eventually.
I can hear you now: “Where’s the fantasy in that?” The fantasy is that the customer is deluding himself that he is special because a stripper fucked him in the VIP room. He has a mental hang-up about paying for sex directly, but if the sex is free and he pays for lap dances he can hack his psyche and let the good times roll. You and I, Stripper Sister, have a symbiotic relationship. Don’t believe me? You allow the customer to tell himself that strippers aren’t hookers, that he wasn’t paying for sex, he was paying for dances. The sex was free. He sees himself as a giant stud who seduced the dancer in the the VIP. He sees himself as a giant stud and suspends his disbelief that I don’t do this for anyone with a $100 bill despite the fact I have condoms at the ready.
You are selling the fantasy of sex on a planet populated by seven billion humans, all a result of actual sex. Sex is not a rare commodity. Even the most pathetic schlubs manage to get their dicks wet on occasion. Oh wait, I forgot…you’re a special snowflake who schlubs feel obligated to pay for the privilege of gazing at your otherworldly beauty. You have a magical stripper pussy that men can’t help throwing money at for a glimpse of the fantasy of sex with you. If just us extras girls would stop giving it away in VIP, the world would be perfect and your bank account full.
Keep telling yourself that. Not that it’ll help once you cross the river into Extras Girls Land.
There are some career strippers who don’t ever sell sex. They may have a boyfriend or husband who supports them financially. They may have other means of financial support, like their parents, or maybe they daylight as a kindergarten teacher or screenplay writer or…you get the idea, some other form of income. In my experience, if your livelihood is dependent upon your ability to earn money as a stripper, sooner or later, you will trick. I know. I was the clean dancer at one time, too. I had the holier-than-thou attitude towards the extras girls in the club. I thought just like you do now; that I’d make more money if all the extras girls just ceased to exist.
I was a gullible idiot. After six months of dancing full time as a house girl in a nice, clean club, I decided to take my newfound career to the next level. Somehow I managed to get myself booked into a thinly-veiled brothel thousands of miles from home. Come to Alaska, they said. Money grows on trees here, they said. Yes, the house fees were high at $200 a shift. The ladies’ drinks were $20 for soft drinks and we were required to sell 10 each shift. But the management promised that a good hustler could still walk out with a thousand a night because there was just that much money and no girls available to take it.
The place must have been full of Nigerian lottery winners, because the longer I stayed, the more in debt to the club I got. We—the other dancers and I—were in the middle of nowhere, living in overcrowded apartments, under bouncer supervision 24/7. The fee to live in the crappy dancer dorms was $25 a day (a bargain compared to the sleaziest hotels in the area, going for $109 a night, cockroaches and meth heads included, no extra charge). I’m not stupid: I knew what the place was within the first hour of my first shift. But I was that special snowflake and thought I could somehow bring in a grand a day with my booty shake and my smile. By the end of my second shift, the Asian-tiger-lady cocktail waitress was “helping” me by telling me “You make no money ’cause you not dirty enough. Customer want blow job? Sell blow job!”
I didn’t sell a blow job that day, but I did sell a hand job to Sweatpants Boner Man. He was a seasoned connoisseur who enjoyed partaking of the nervous “virgins” in the club. He was a self-styled Mr. Miyagi of the stripper world, training up young things into sexual powerhouses in the VIP. He spent twelve hundred bucks on me that night. I was just the right girl to help him indulge his fantasy: to mold young strippers into full fledged sex workers under his kind yet firm tutelage.
He wasn’t paying for the sex; he was paying for the ego trip. I sold him several more ego trips before I left town for good. Trust me, he got his money’s worth. I paid off my club debt and then I paid off the bouncer to look the other way while I caught a cab to the airport. I had a pocketful of cash but it wasn’t enough to cover the moral bankruptcy I was experiencing.
I went home to my “clean” club and realized it wasn’t as clean as I had thought. The extras girls were there, working in the shadows with ninja-like skills to get guys off discreetly. I was now aware of why I didn’t have any high-dollar regulars while other girls seemed to be making money from the same dozen guys, week after week. They may have even thought they were selling hand jobs or blow jobs or straight up fucking, but what they were really selling was the fantasy of power, a much rarer commodity.
The clean dancers have a social bond among themselves. They are united in hatred against us extras girls. They view our presence as a threat to their earning power. They think we’re stealing their regulars, but we aren’t even selling the same product. Clean girls are the organic farmer’s market and I’m the fast food drive-through. Both have their place in the market, but who is more profitable (and hated)? In the case of both the farmer’s markets and the clean dancers, you hold the moral high ground. The extras girls and the fast food joints? We hold the key to instant gratification and profits. Health and safety be damned.
Don’t get me wrong, if I could go back to being a clean dancer again I would. You can’t unring a bell and you can’t unsell your soul. I knew what my job description was, and I behaved accordingly. Most of the customers were nice or maybe just weird but harmless. But some were soul-eaters. These customers treated me like a two dimensional thing that existed just for their pleasure. These types were cold and transactional. Poking and prodding my body, with fingers and dicks and tongues, in any way they pleased. One even had a strange idea of what erotic asphyxiation was all about and nearly choked me unconscious in a VIP room in Vegas. The VIP host then blackmailed me into giving him half of the fee I earned from the strangler for “saving” me. First I get fucked, then I get choked, then I get fucked again. Good times, I tell you.
The soul-eaters get their power trips from their wallets. Power eliminates their compassion and their humanity. On those nights when you see that extras girl shitfaced drunk, it is likely she had a soul-eater filling her garter that day. You think she’s brilliance walking? The extras girl is a lightening rod for sexual depravity. The cash is her cold comfort that she uses to buy alcohol-fueled amnesia.
This was my experience and not every extras girl is going to feel the same way. The money was heady and addicting. I thought I could handle it
I’ve lost my capacity to enjoy sex as a recreational activity. Sex holds no pleasure for me. It is a transaction that I engage in to keep me housed and fed and the internet on. I quit dancing after nine years. I got to a place where it was impossible for me to do my job. I got a job as a stripper booking agent and finally had that additional source of income that no longer required me to put on my O-face for money. I’ve sold this most intimate of human bonding experiences for a few dollars. No amount of money can buy that back. They say time heals all wounds. I suppose we shall see.
I just ask you, Clean Dancer, to think on this: if it is so easy to make money by sucking and fucking, why haven’t you done it?
Remember what I have said here when you look at the extras girl’s bulging garter with envy. You say I’m making your job hard. You act as if we are taking a shortcut by sucking and fucking our way to some magical pot of stripper gold at the end of the VIP rainbow. I hate to break it to you, Sister, but you ARE the fluffer girl and I’m taking it up the ass on camera so that this porno sells.
You call it the easy or lazy way to riches. I call it walking through hell in seven inch platforms.