|The Byrd Show Lounge, Surrey BC, Canada|
No matter how much we bitch and moan about the outrages of the exotic dance industry, when we leave it...we get the blues.
We can't wait to get away from the bullshit that goes along with being a dancer. But wherever we go, there is bullshit to be had.
Most jobs out there have equal amounts of bullshit in their policies or procedures. Most ignore at least some of the labour laws. The exotic dance industry is no different. So clearly, there's no escape from occupational outrage no matter where you work.
All jobs being equal - there are very good reasons why we experience "the retired stripper blues." I will attempt to list a few here:
We Miss Performing
Oh yes, we miss it very much. All that seductive playfulness we use to titillate our audiences. The stage. The lights. The applause. Dancing to the music. Wielding our pussy power as we crawl around the stage. It's a lot of fun! And we miss it very much.
We Miss the Money
It may not be "easy" money, but it's quick money. And every now and then, it's a good deal of money, all at once - when a very generous gentleman has emerged. ;)
We Miss the Flexibility
Booking a week off whenever we want - oh, those were the days. At most square jobs, we have to beg for a weekend off and we are often told "no."
We Miss the Attention
Being told you're beautiful every day is a wonderful thing. It's too bad most husbands and boyfriends don't seem to know this. It's easy sometimes to forget you're a beautiful woman when you don't have random strangers reminding you of it every day.
We Miss the Exercise
Everyone knows that regular exercise is your best defense against stress or disease. When I was dancing, I was rarely ill. My job was fun and I kept in great shape. Now, I have to force myself to fit exercise into my schedule. (Personally, I dance around the kitchen while I make dinner in the evenings.)
We Miss Dressing Up Every Day
Most women love making ourselves beautiful in gorgeous clothes and meticulous makeup. As exotic dancers, we got to do this every day. Not only were our clothes beautiful, but we had matching bras and panties that we got to show off to every one in the audience too. Not many women get to put on high heels and sequins at work. It's an occupational perk. (Ooh, and we can write off our beautiful costumes and shoes, bras and panties, tanning, makeup, wigs, hair appointments, gas, food, travel expenses and more.)
We Miss Shocking People
One of the best things about being a dancer is telling people what you do for a living. Of course, most dancers are strategic about who they tell, but when they drop that bomb, they're always in for a good laugh and a story to tell in the change room about other people's reactions. It's fun to be viewed as the bad girl. Especially when you know that deep down, you're just like every other woman - neither good nor bad. It's just that no one else seems to realize this. (Our little joke on the rest of the world.)
We Miss Our Regular Customers
Yep. We do. And it's really hard to leave them behind. You see, at least when we were working, it was okay for us to talk to all these men outside of our personal relationships. But when you're a retired dancer, it can be hard to keep these friendships alive. A lot of boyfriends and husbands just don't understand the platonic nature of these friendships (at least from our perspectives), so they don't support the continuation of such relationships. We miss our regulars.
We Miss the Other Dancers
Exotic dancers are pros at laughter and good conversation. And we save the best for each other. Hanging out in the change room between shows and being with other open-minded, intelligent, funny women - well, it's good for the soul. We really miss the other dancers. That's what The Naked Truth Facebook group is good for. It's a retired dancer's good old friend. But it's not the same as the laughter and love that is shared in the change rooms.
Oh, I got the retired stripper blues.