Looking for a new job is a full-time position that doesn’t pay. In the already soul-sucking process that is finding employment, I’ve been taxed with making up excuses for a glaring three-year gap on my resume. I wasn’t spending that time living off my parents’ money; I wasn’t Eat, Pray, Loving my way around the world. I’ve been working (ahem, twerking) my ass off in the strip club.
During interviews, I have to explain that I was Freelance Whatever-ing, when I’ve really been working a job that I pay taxes for. It’s disconcerting that sex work isn’t considered “real work” when it’s the most challenging work I’ve ever done — and I’ve been a server at pizza joints in areas where “gluten” is practically an expletive.
If I could write a resume that details the valuable skills stripping has bestowed upon me, it would be far more impressive than the lexicon of degrading “traditional” business systems I’ve mastered.
My stripping resume would include aptitudes that slay in any field of work.
Strippers are independent contractors in many clubs, which means we are our own bosses. Legally speaking, I’m a Boss Bitch. The closest I get to someone telling me to hustle customers is my landlord reminding me that “the rent is due no later than the first, Kasey.” Because dancers get as much money out of the job as the effort we put in, we acquire the sales skills of an Advertising Sales Representative. People commonly mistake stripping for customer service when it’s actually a sales job.
I sell myself at the club similarly to how I sell myself as a stand-up comic. In comedy, if you can get the audience to like you, then you can make them laugh at the deepest and most disturbing topics. The same approach goes for stripping: I not only sell my appearance, but more significantly, I sell my personality. We also pitch ourselves through a good stage performance — I get asked for most lap dances right after putting on a killer stage show.
People frequently ask if I feel like an unlicensed therapist as a stripper, and the answer is yes (especially if that therapy includes fake-laughing at bad jokes).
After a few years in the club, my people skills are through the roof. I never sit with guys longer than a couple songs, so my hustle is of the speed dating variety. One work shift feels like a dozen first dates. Before stripping, I always got nervous when talking to men, but now I feel comfortable conversing with anyone from the weirdo-next-door to the hesitant-but-curious aging hipster. I have the keen ability to get on anyone’s level, whatever that happens to be on a given day. These people skills extend to my interactions with the DJ and with the bouncers, who both play major roles in how much cash you earn and how protected you feel. Not to mention, those skills have improved my relationships with the other dancers, who are my greatest allies in the War Against Boredom at the club.
A contemporary skill I’ve learned from stripping that doesn’t appear on the traditional resume? The ability to create boundaries.
Every baby stripper (aka every girl in her first year of dancing) knows the feeling of giving too much of herself by letting customers do things beyond her comfort level. Eventually, you get sick of it and learn how to say no and stand your ground in a firm but charming way. Nowadays, if someone won’t adhere to my “no touching” instruction, I simply dismount and demand payment. I know my worth — monetary and otherwise. Any company would benefit from an empowered and confident employee with the leadership abilities that grown-men-babysitting teaches you.
The coup de grâce of my stripper resume is the physical stamina that dancing requires, all while maintaining poise. The lap dance isn’t just a dry-hump-a-thon. Good lap dancing is improvisational choreography that combines gliding, grinding, stretching, scratching, and heavy neck-breathing without revealing a hint of exhaustion. We make the most cumbersome multitasking look easy. Putting a business call on hold to answer another is one thing — but being able to bounce between two strip club regulars that arrived at the same time is on a whole new level. Whenever guys ask if I’m tired and need a lap dance break, my mind says, “Umm duh,” while my mouth responds, “Hell no!”
I’m a hard worker. I’m proud to call myself a stripper and a hustler.
Just because a job involves elements considered “obscene” doesn’t mean those workers should be shunned from future employment and the public life. Corporations outsource slave labor, but I doubt those CEOs are afraid to include those companies on their resumes. My stripping doesn’t hurt anybody. Work is work is work is work and sex work provides experiences as valid as any other, while keeping things a bit more interesting.