By Annie Temple
Lights, Heels, Illusion!
I don't know how many times I was told I don't look like a stripper. At first I didn't know whether to be flattered or offended.
But I suppose if you don't spend a lot of time in strip clubs, you may not know that exotic dancers come in all different shapes, sizes, and shades. You may suspect that all exotic dancers look like Barbie.
In which case you are wrong.
While it is true that exotic dancers often have a lot of pressure to dye their hair blonde and straighten it, buy boobs and otherwise maintain difficult proportions, tan religiously and appear as young as possible at all times - the reality is exotic dancers are real women.
This is not airbrushing and Photoshop. You cannot make cellulite and pimples disappear on a stripper performing live in front of you. You can minimize the noticeability of the above-mentioned, but you cannot completely erase.
Some dancers are tall, and some are short. Some are voluptuous and some are very lean. Some have very small breasts and some have very large breasts - inherited and purchased. We come in blondes, brunettes, redheads, and punks. All the races and ethnicities are represented.
The men love us all.
What's really cool about the exotic dance industry, is that it proves that all women are beautiful. It proves that all women have sexual power, and that confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
You may not believe me. You may say, "I have seen a lot of strippers and they are way hotter than me." And what I would respond with is this: "The only thing those strippers have on you is confidence (and that can be faked) and a few beauty tips you may not know about."
How to Fake Confidence
- Don't act jealous, even when you feel jealous. Insecurity is very unattractive. As an exotic dancer, I may get just as jealous as the next woman, but I will never let anyone see it. That would be humiliating!
-Stand long and tall like your head is reaching for the sky, with your shoulders relaxed. This is how you should sit, walk, and dance. Sometimes just faking it can make you feel more confident. Exotic dancers know that if they appear insecure, their shows will bomb and the energy in the room will be horrible. You never let your audience know you're feeling insecure about your bloated stomach or that ass zit.
-Look people in the eyes when you speak to them. And smile. Exotic dancers use this easy method to let the men in the clubs know that they are not intimidated by them and that they are in control of themselves at all times. It is part safety method - to let the men know not to fuck with you - but also to let them know that you are nice and willing to entertain them as long they don't fuck with you. Appearing strong and confident can help keep you safe by deterring aggressive men.
-Don't take abuse from people and don't feel the need to defend yourself. When you're wrong, say sorry. When "sorry" is not appropriate, walk away. It's not worth fighting over. Showing you don't care about other peoples' petty issues is a sign of confidence. Not everyone must like you or be proved to be assholes. Exotic dancers will always defend themselves when a customer is vulgar or gropy. But when a drunk idiot degenerates into insult-slinging (at what a fucking whore the dancer is for not letting him cop a feel), she walks away. (Secretly, we hope that the other customers will kick his ass in the parking lot.)
-Be nice to other women. When you are nice to other women, it shows that you are not competing with them. It shows that you respect and appreciate other women without feeling threatened by them. Exotic dancers will let each other know if there are assholes in the club or where the tipping customers are sitting. The friendly, supportive relationships between dancers is one of the best perks of the job.
A few other beauty tips:
-High heels force your hips to come forward causing you to appear thinner and taller.
-Bend at the waist when picking something off the ground.
-Tanning reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
-Getting tattoos over cellulite reduces the appearance of cellulite.
-Using mineral salts (natural deodorant) on a fresh shave reduces razor burn.
-Putting natural sunscreen on your tattoos helps the colour not to fade.
-Never let your bare ass touch a dirty surface (zits).
-Fake eyelashes rock!
-Lighting does make a difference.
-Toenails painted, eyebrows plucked - for a classy, polished look.
We've covered behaviour and beauty tips designed to enhance the way you appear to others. But we all know that true beauty comes from within. I'm not messing with you. Read on and see if you agree.
This Little Light of Mine
It's true that beauty is not all about appearance. A beautiful personality shines through. Jealousy is not beautiful. Insecurity is not beautiful. You will not shine if you allow yourself to engage in petty comparisons with others.
Who are you? Deep down. Who are you? Are you someone who is more or less because of what others are like around you? No. You are someone who is equal to all others. You have a right to feel valued and cherished. You deserve dignity and respect. At your core, you are love energy. Let it shine through so others feel valued and cherished in your presence.
In order to let your true self shine through, you must love yourself. Easier said than done, sometimes. But very necessary.
If you struggle with loving yourself, certainly you can fake it till you make it. You might be surprised how confidence comes merely from the motions of it. However, you may want to consider doing some self work.
Dump the Dead Weight (I'm not talking pounds.)
The most important step in loving yourself may be a huge challenge depending on your circumstances. Without a doubt, the most important thing you must do is remove people from your life who say or do hurtful things to you. If you do not take this important step, you will find it very difficult to feel beautiful and love yourself.
Alternatively, you can teach others how to treat you by letting them know what you will and won't tolerate. However, if the behaviour doesn't improve (and it often doesn't), your only recourse is to prove you won't tolerate toxic people in your life and remove them from it.
In some cases, depression and insecurity can be completely eradicated simply by taking this step.
Recommended Reading for People Who Want to Feel Beautiful
For a boost in your self-concept and concrete ways to develop positive new habits, I recommend the following books.
There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem – Wayne Dyer
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation – Sally Hogshead
These books help you to reprogram your thinking, learn about yourself, identify your strengths, and follow your passions. These books will help you become happy.
Happiness is the Trump Card
Happy people do not need beauty tips for their appearance. Whether they dress themselves up or not, they shine. Happiness is their trump card. Happiness is always beautiful.
Studies have proven that happy people have magnetic personalities. Others are drawn to them. Their love energy is irresistible. Think about the people you most enjoy being around. I would wager they are happy. Not only because happy people effortlessly draw us in but also because the opposite personality spits us out.
Ever notice that depressed or angry people can leave you feeling drained? Spend an afternoon with a negative, unhappy person, and you might become depressed yourself.
I am not suggesting you dump your depressed friends. Certainly not. But if you love yourself, you also need to set boundaries for your own mental health. You wouldn't want your children or parents spending too much time with people who bring them down. Give yourself the same respect.
Make being happy a priority. Let your choices and activities be driven by what is good for you. Step outside your body and mind, look at yourself compassionately, then make decisions for yourself that you would make for someone else you love.
Peelers and Layers
I began this article talking about confidence and trade secrets. Dancers learn the art of appearing beautiful even on bad days. Never underestimate the power of good posture and impeccably painted toe-nails.
However, letting beauty shine out of you from within makes an even bigger impact. Others will climb willingly into your web of love energy when you are your authentic self; a sparkling person who neither puts herself above or below others.
It may not happen overnight, but the process of peeling back your layers and letting your light shine is simple.
Remove toxic people. Do some self-work. Be happy.
In the meantime, fake confidence like you mean it. Stand tall, attend to the details, and make eye contact. Never apologize for existing. You are enough. In fact, you're fucking awesome.
Annie Temple is the stage and writing name of Trina Ricketts. Trina has 17 years experience as a striptease artist and 15 years as a sex worker rights activist, but she's been a rebel all her life. In 2000, she founded NakedTruth.ca to support other entertainers by reducing isolation, educating about health and safety, sharing information about gigs, challenging stereotypes, teaching etiquette to customers, and organizing in-person events for charity and to promote ethical businesses in the industry. Some of the groups and functions that Trina is associated with are Exotic Dancers for Cancer (now BoobaPalooza), The Naked Truth Adult Entertainment Awards,Trade Secrets Guide, BC Coalition of Experiential Communities, Canadian Union of Naked Trades, as well as several community sex worker supportive organizations. Trina is a mom of three, a lover of writing and dancing. Currently she continues to run NakedTruth.ca and recently she founded Digital Activist Media - a project to investigate digital activism strategies and share them with other change-makers. Trina's activism efforts have expanded to include many issues, but her main activities involve sex worker and health freedom rights.