The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter One: Our Workspaces.
Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.
The stage can be a dangerous place to be when you’re wearing stilettos. Especially if it is the first time you’ve gotten up on this particular stage. You need to watch for holes in the floor, speakers that are hanging low enough to bang your head on them, hanging wires from the lighting, and slippery or sticky spots where you step.
Stages with floor lighting are quite slippery in spots. An otherwise safe stage can become hazardous after a performance with candles or oils. Don’t feel bad if you need to walk off a stage and explain to the DJ that it is too slippery to perform on.
Stages that are covered in carpet can be difficult to dance on in heels. It takes a bit of getting used to. Your heels may snag on torn parts of the carpet, so be careful.
Don’t allow customers to place their drinks or belongings on the edge of the stage where you might trip over them. If a customer is belligerent and you feel safe enough to do it, simply take the item away and put it at the back of the stage until the end of your show.
In Alberta and some other places, it is customary for patrons to engage in the "loonie/twonie" toss. Sometimes this is done to tip the performer for her standard performance. Other times, a performer may play games with the audience so they can win posters and other promotional items if they have good aim. This practice can be dangerous if patrons throw the coins too hard, heat them up causing the performers to be burned by the coins, or hitting the performers in vulnerable places on their bodies.
Hotel Rooms / Accommodations
Dancers are often provided with accommodations in the adjoining hotel of the club where they are working. In other situations, you may have a dancer suite or house with your own bedrooms but shared kitchen and bathrooms.
Depending on the club, you will either pay for your accommodations or they’ll be free. Some clubs will have a housekeeping fee or other ways to reduce your paycheque. It’s good to ask ahead of time if the club has any extra fees.
You may be expected to share a room. This can be problematic if one of you smokes and the other doesn’t, or if you have a private health problem that is hard to hide in a shared room. If it’s not a good fit, you could be in for a really bad week.
To avoid such risks, ask your agent or the club before booking a gig if you will get your own room. If not, you could ask about paying extra for your own room.
Your agent might tell you who else is working so you can avoid sharing a room with someone you don’t get along with. You could also ask a friend to work that gig with you and share the room together. Or you could turn down the booking altogether.
Do not answer the door unless you who is on the other side and trust them implicitly. This includes bar-staff.
Some clubs have not changed the locks to the accommodations for their dancers in years, if ever. There’s been many occasions when dancers have had complete strangers walk into their rooms, or had their belongings stolen from their hotel rooms or the change rooms while they are performing.
Let the clubs know if anything like that happens to you and advise them to change their locks. If you do not feel safe, consider leaving. You could rent your own room in the same hotel, or at another nearby hotel. Or you could risk getting blacklisted for a while and walk out on the gig. Your safety is more important than your paycheque.
Be aware that some accommodations do not provide telephones. If you have a cell phone, keep it charged at all times. Remember that even a cell phone that does not have service can be used to call 911 as long as it is charged.
Some hotel rooms are very clean, and others should be condemned. Some of the worst hotel rooms will have mouse droppings, cockroach problems, or bedbugs.
It is a good idea to bring your own bedding along so you don’t have to sleep with someone else’s hair that is threaded through the hotel sheets tickling your neck all night.
You should also bring all your own toiletries, including toilet paper (in case theirs is like sandpaper) and soap. And if you like your baths, some cleaner and rags might be a godsend. Of course, you can always go shopping for these things in a pinch.
Some dancers have found allergy pills will help them get through weeks where the rooms have mold in them. You can sometimes smell mold – it’s a musty, damp odour. Other times you may not know it is there.
As we all know, strip clubs are often run out of very old buildings that are not maintained. This means deteriorated electrical systems and smoke detectors that don’t work. The fire risk in strip clubs must be high since so many clubs have burned down to the ground.
Be very careful with cigarette butts, candles, or anything else you are burning in your room. Unplug your hair appliances when you’re done with them. Keep your costumes organized so you can grab them and run as it’s unlikely they will be covered under a hotel or club insurance policy. If you can afford house insurance, you can list your costumes for coverage and that coverage will extend to theft from a location outside your home, such as from a car or hotel.
Keep yourself and others safe by washing your hands before every show. This will prevent hand lotion, tanning lotion, and sweaty palms from getting the pole dirty or slippery.
Avoid moves that cause your anus or vulva to touch the pole. This is a common courtesy among entertainers that is expected of you.
If you do a show that involves some kind of substance that makes the stage or pole slippery or messy in any way – clean up thoroughly after your show out of respect for the following performers.
Don’t lick the pole. It is full of bacteria from the hands of numerous other dancers (and who knows who else when the club is closed).
Feel free to go up and clean the pole yourself before the club opens. At least you’ll know it’s been cleaned every day. Some dancers clean the pole before all their shows.
Carry a towel when you’re in the club in costume. Lay it down on chairs before you sit. This will reduce ass pimples and goddess knows what else.
Buy a blanket that has two different sides. Use one side for the stage and one side for your body, so you will always have the dirty side down. Wash your blanket once or twice a week, if possible. A blanket that will slide easily on the stage is a nice choice. Some dancers even make their own blankets with their names on them.
Avoid white or neon fun fur. The fur comes off and sticks to your coochie and glows. White also picks up leftover paint from paint shows and looks grungy in no time.
In the Club
Watch your drink at all times. Even bar-staff have been known to drug the performers.
Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.
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Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.
Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.
Trina Ricketts (Annie)