Too Young to be a Stripper?
Images and Words by Chase Kelly
Rookie Strippers, hear me out. If I could quantify how grateful I am that waited until I was twenty four to start dancing, I'd have to buy a warehouse to store the benefits. I started bartending at clubs when I was eighteen and I did every job possible in the club before I started dancing, and in the long run I think that really helped me and here is why:
A beautiful sense of immortality often accompanies youth, and though there are many reasons teenagers shouldn’t strip, the pervasive “it couldn't happen to me” attitude is number one. When we are young, we assume that everyone’s intentions are pure, we are blind to red flags. We love with our whole hearts, we rebel with our souls, we dream with imagination that can revolutionize. But we learn how to be adults from falling on our faces. When I was a kid, I painted every red flag pink; I said yes to a lot of things I should have said no to, and luckily, I survived. Not all of my friends have been so lucky. I love this quote, "Better a little caution than a big regret," and I have used that mantra to keep me safe through a lot of scary times. I wish I had heard it earlier. Truth is though, if we are perceptive, we all eventually stop falling on our faces because we learn to see red flags as warnings. We take off our rose colored glasses and see what's really up. Strip club world is warped, though, so it's like you have to learn what is real in the real world before you really want to be wrapping your head around our backwards one. The traps at strip clubs are worse than the traps in the normal world. If you haven’t learned how to keep your eyes open for super sketchy situations, take your time. Once you start red flags pop up around other people and especially around your own behavior, when you want to reel yourself in instead of be the first one to plunge; that’s kind of a decent indicator that you will be able to keep yourself safe.
Starting stripping too young won’t make you grow up faster either, even though that’s what people who know nothing about it will tell you. Being a dancer can actually stunt your growth or stop it all together. I know strippers who are fifty years old who dance because they have no other choice, and I don’t mock them when I say that. There are of course some women who stay working into maturity because they like the work, or that it’s still lucrative and it is supplemental or funds their passions. I'm lucky to know those women, also. You will see once you get in the clubs, women who never learned another way of life and have been kept stripping or escorting for much longer than they wanted to be. In a normal setting, a person moves past that flippant and rebellious ‘whatever’ mentality as they mature. They get accolades and responsibilities that give them pride and purpose. You’ll never have that in a strip club. This industry enables and encourages irresponsibility and immaturity. There is a lot of money to be made off of young women in this world, and the longer you stay in, the better you get at making sales, even if you aren’t fresh and nineteen anymore. If you start working in an environment that encourages (and profits from) your recklessness before you learn your own personal limitations, it restricts you from making that adjustment into the life you want. I've worked at clubs taht encourage their entertainers to become addicted to drugs and alcohol because it keeps them stuck there. Before you say, "That couldn't happen to me," remember point number one. You are not immune to being hustled by people who have been in the game much longer than you. You are predisposed to painting red flags pink. Start slow. Your goals at eighteen are so far in the future, you haven’t tried your hand at them yet. You know how much time you have left to make a decision, nothing is dire, you are free.
I say that to say this, no matter what your age is, if you’re unsure, start by getting a different job at the strip club, like waitress, door girl, or bartender. Start having a little bit of contact with the girls and customers, but don't thrust yourself into anything if you have another option. See how it makes you feel first, and take your time making the adjustment into dancing if you like it. There is a lot of weird shit out there that you probably have never heard of, and strippers get paid to engage some of those bizarro-world fantasies. One of the recurring themes of the program I teach is habit and pattern. The likelihood of building abnormal habits around love and sex are all too real if you spend the years that you are building a concept of normal male/female engagement in a strip club. Sex should be at least somewhat sacred, and when you put a dollar amount on it, that can be really confusing when you haven't had many real life partners yet. Keep yourself free of that weight and take your time, adjust, and then dip further if you wanna. This way you are never trapped, you can stay free.
Even more unnerving than the weird things that can happen to your sex life based on habit is the negativity that can come from trauma in the line of duty. There are most certainly predators in this environment who consciously target young and inexperienced girls and prey on their naivety, and the outcome can be devastating. They aren’t always customers, either. Some of them work with you and are very good at hiding their snakelike intentions. To young people interested in the adult industry, I always say, “We’ll be here in five years.” I know many of you nineteen year olds are reading this and shrugging it off, but I can’t stress it enough. Sometimes I wish I had those extra five years of income, but I would have wasted the money anyway. Nineteen-year-old girls rarely invest in their retirement funds or spend their cash on tuition. If you’re young or unsure if you’re ready, I’ll tell you that I did fine as a waitress and bartender. It is most certainly generous wages and bottle service waitresses crush most strippers in annual income.
If you're taking the plunge anyway, know we are always here for you throughout your journey <3