“Well shit. I guess I’m a stripper.”
The evening I applied to my first club, the manager in charge of hiring girls took a great deal of time in the office discussing with the boss’s daughter whether or not I was a good fit.
“When you came in, I mean, you are really cute, super petite. There would have been no question. I would have hired you on the spot.”
“It’s just, you have no experience.”
The boss’s daughter piped in. “Do you have like a pole, even? Like at home that you practice on?”
So, we finally decided I would pick up day shifts and learn slowly. Once I gained enough experience, then I could pick up some shifts at night. I reported back the following Monday at twelve o ‘clock promptly to talk to the day shift manager. I tried asking as many questions as I could think up. The only knowledge I had of working at a strip club was from what I had gathered watching an endless assortment of youtube videos. How do I work the floor? How do private dances work? What do I do on stage? What do I wear?
Let’s call this manager Molly. Molly was very sweet, helping me with outfits and answering all of my questions. Much less intimidating than the night shift manager I had met before. Thank you Jesus, I thought. But also, um, sorry?
Molly told me to leave for Walmart since I needn’t be at work until three. So I picked up a few cheap bikinis and used one of her new g-strings. That was it, really. I returned with a ridiculous pair of thick heels. My feet belong to fairies, so unfortunately I could not find dancer pumps for a size three. Which is understandable, who wants toddlers walking around in stripper heels? I fixed this problem much later by upsizing with a size five when the persecution became too much, but that’s for another day.
So, one of the dancers walked with me to the locker room. I felt like I was in a scene of the movie Burlesque, waiting for Cher to pop out of the bathroom and give me a makeover. While that didn’t happen, I did stare into the mirror for about five minutes with a goofy smile on my face and this hanging paranoia looming over me. You’re a fucking stripper. Surely everyone was going to find out about this. I had never even thought my body looked good in a bikini until that evening.
Mixed with fear of course was this overwhelming sense of confidence, though. I had to own it. Set my limits and turn on the bubbly personality switch. I can do this. I can do this.
This was going to be some next level Gloria Steinem type shit. I could get an undercover look at what happened in the world of sex work. I paid very close attention to the other dancers. How did they talk to the customers? How did they transform on stage? What did they do when they were uncomfortable?
In all honesty, I was guilty of treating these women as something other than human. They were mysteries to me. Like sex goddesses, but not human. I was determined to listen to them. I knew in most ways these ladies were like me. They wanted to work, liked to dance and flirt, and had their own insecurities.
It was strange, talking to them. In only two weeks of working, I had made closer friends with some of these women than I had in a lifetime. They were true to themselves. They watched me just as closely as I did them, and then determined I was genuine. Becoming Kitty had been the greatest boost to my confidence I had experienced since middle school.
It helped that on that first Tuesday, by around five in the evening, I had made my first $600, club record. There were several other dancers that night, and the only time a girl had made close to what I had, half actually, was when she was working day shift alone. So let’s say I didn’t start with many friends.