Stripper secrets: Inside the life of an exotic dancer

 

As an exotic dancer - or, without splitting hairs, a stripper - I travel frequently. Most of us do. From city to city, country to continent, we chase the cash, leaving when it becomes spasmodic or when we hit our boredom threshold.

The money can go up and down depending on the time of the year and which part of the hemisphere we're in. And once we've spent too much time in one club, it shows. An unenthusiastic stripper is about as likely to make money as Taylor Swift is to remain secretive about a relationship.

I've started this year in Darwin, a city perched at the top end of Australia with metal-melting temperatures and a dedication to excessive drinking on New Year's Eve.

One of the things a stripper can do, with admirable gusto, is party as though a zombie apocalypse will wipe us all out tomorrow.

I know that many people wonder why I take my clothes off for a living. They have lots of other questions too. Is a stripper a type of sex worker? Do we have boyfriends, normal ones? And why the hell am I in a place like Darwin?

Lap dancer Samantha C. Ross has written Sunshine: Diary Of A Lap Dancer about her life as a stripper. Picture: Allen & Unwin
Lap dancer Samantha C. Ross has written Sunshine: Diary Of A Lap Dancer about her life as a stripper. Picture: Allen & Unwin

Darwin, though not exactly Melbourne, London or LA, does have a certain backward charm, and presents a more pliant and gullible style of customer than jaded big-city patrons.

Example? After a relatively slow start at the club tonight, with only a few hundred-dollar dances to show for it, I luckily wound up talking to a weathered old electrician. Who would have guessed at the wad of hundreds in his wallet? Me - that's who, because I saw them.

A good rule to bear in mind when patronising a strip club is never to show a stripper how much money you have while ordering a drink at the bar.

The below information is how a stripper operates at work. Or how I do, at least.

Samantha C. Ross reveals some of her stripper secrets in her new book. Picture: Allen & Unwin
Samantha C. Ross reveals some of her stripper secrets in her new book. Picture: Allen & Unwin

Once I'd spotted at least a grand in his wallet, my talent for manipulation kicked into overdrive. I began as I usually do: I set upon making him feel like the most intelligent man in the world, with the most interesting career - despite the fact that he screws in light bulbs for a living.

"Really? An electrician?! What's the most fascinating thing that ever happened to you on the job? Have you ever been electrocuted?!"

I allowed him to tell me a longwinded tale while I calculated how much money I was likely to entice out of him. Another rule to remember is people love talking about themselves; let a customer tell you his life story, and he becomes putty in your hands.

After that, I began phase two: I switched to making him feel like a king.

"Do you have your own business? I bet you do! A man like you doesn't look like he'd work for just anybody." (A fair assumption, based on the cash he was carrying.)

"Oh, wait!" I laid it on thick. "Let me guess, you probably have a government contract. You seem smart enough to land the big jobs."

Exotic dancer ‘Sunshine’ reveals what goes on in the backrooms of strip clubs in her new book. Picture: Allen & Unwin
Exotic dancer ‘Sunshine’ reveals what goes on in the backrooms of strip clubs in her new book. Picture: Allen & Unwin

Once I'd inflated his ego, I went in for the kill.

"Why don't you and I spend some time together in the back room?"

This, you see, hinted at a private, darkened space. Little did he know, another ten customers would be in there spending "alone time" with the stripper of their choice in one large room. But by then it would be too late for him to back out, and nor would he want to, with all that naked flesh on display.

"I'd really like to do a naked dance - just for you," I added, to imply how special he was.

This worked a treat. Now that the electrician thought I was attracted to him, he handed over a hundred dollars for a lap dance. I then hustled him out of a further two hundred bucks.

How did I accomplish this feat? Simple: I asked if he'd like to extend the dance. But it's all in the way you ask.

It might not work every time, but my method has a track record of success. Always end a lap dance while sitting naked on the floor while staring up at your customer with big, beseeching eyes; that way, you appear less calculating and more vulnerable while suggesting he part with extra money. And unless he's gay, what man can say no to a naked woman sitting on the floor at dick-level?

These days, both the spiel with which I enticed the electrician into the lap-dance room and my carefully orchestrated routine are second nature to me.

Back when the big bucks first started rolling in, I sometimes felt a little ashamed over bleeding a customer dry, especially those susceptible to a lap dance or 10. Some patrons leave without a cent - not even a cab-fare home.

But my guilt faded as I realised that nobody forces them to pay to see my vagina. They aren't coming to a strip club for guitar lessons.

Sunshine: Diary Of A Lap Dancer about her life as a stripper is on sale from December 1. Picture: Allen & Unwin
Sunshine: Diary Of A Lap Dancer about her life as a stripper is on sale from December 1. Picture: Allen & Unwin

Plenty of strippers, namely those new to the industry, have professed feeling the same remorse for draining a man's wallet.

"I feel so bad, Sunshine! He was so nice, but I took every dollar he had."

"Yes, and if it hadn't been you, he'd have been just as nice to the next stripper."

How would I have reacted had this man not been a local tradie, throwing a spanner in my working-class-hero hustle?

Easy: I would have switched to sounding like a sexy tour guide, and even hinted at showing him the sights. A date to which I would never have shown up.

A stripper must think on her feet - or her seven-inch platform heels. And that, my new friend, is how a hustle is done.

There are certain things you can trust in life, way more than a stripper who says you're special:

• Bangladesh tap water

• Mixed drinks from Bill Cosby

• Petrol station sushi

Signing off now, am exhausted after eight lap dances, seven stage shows and a serious case of alcohol poisoning.

HIGHLIGHT: A thousand more bucks to put towards savings.

DOWNSIDE: I now know a depressing amount about electromagnetics and alternating currents.

Edited extract from Sunshine: The Diary Of A Lap Dancer by Samantha C. Cross, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, on sale from December 1

Originally published as Stripper secrets: Inside the life of an exotic dancer


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