The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

'Who agrees to this? Just an immigrant ': how I worked in strip clubs in New York



Journalist Alisa Ksenevich lives in the United States, where she sometimes meets compatriots from Belarus. About one of these meetings - in this article.

Фото: Depositphotos

I met Katya when she flew to New York from Minsk and was looking for where to stay for the first time. The girl is pleasant: modest, well-mannered, did not create problems, Alice writes for I remember that she found work as an administrator in a hairdressing salon and a rented room for a week. I was surprised and glad how easy it was for her: I was looking for my first job in the USA for two months and lived with my sister in a corner enclosed by a screen. And here is such luck!

After that, we did not support communication. More than two years have passed. A friend showed a photograph of a girl from Belarus whom he met the day before. In her, I recognized Katya. We arranged to meet.

Katya looked different: long hair, makeup, a calm and confident look. And in her appeared languor, which was not before.

Word for word, it came to work. When Katya admitted that she works as a dancer in a strip club, I was shocked. And she shrugged:

- In fact, many in America go through the stage of dancing. You may not know, but among your acquaintances there are those who earn the same thing: they simply are silent, because they are afraid of condemnation and do not want to hurt loved ones. Relatives and friends are told that they work as nannies, waitresses, and they put on shoes with 18 centimeter heels - and more.

Katie's parents only know that their daughter works in a nightclub. The financial situation of the family has never been good. Father is a handyman, mother is a seller with higher education. There is also a teenage sister. Katya sends money to her parents every month, and they count on this help.

“I came to New York on a tourist visa,” Katya admits. - Officially, I have no right to work here. For my first job in the States - reception in a hairdressing salon - I got a job through an ad on a social network. They hire people like me to save on costs. The working day lasts from nine in the morning until seven in the evening, one day off per week, salary - 475 dollars per week. Who agrees to such conditions? Only an immigrant without documents.

Friends asked me: "Well, how do you like New York?" But I didn’t see him! Returned home without strength. I got enough sleep at the weekend. And then a friend advised me to go dancing in a strip club, and gave the agency a contact. She said that during the night I can earn as much as I earn in the salon in a week. I made up my mind.

Not like in the movies

- For me, striptease was a picture from the film, I even felt a bit of intrigue before the first trip to work. But still, the main emotion was fear. I’ve never done dancing. It's one thing to have fun in a club with girlfriends, and another to dance an erotic dance in the immediate vicinity of the man you see for the first time.

These worries were in vain. In each club (I worked in three) there are girls who perform elements on a pole and move very harmoniously, perhaps behind them is a gymnastics base or a dance school. But there are those who dance as they can. And not the fact that the former earn better than the latter. In the matter of seducing a man, dance preparation is not so important as knowledge of male psychology, the ability to "count" the mood of the client.

Work in a strip club saved me from complexes about my own appearance. How is it usually with us girls? You look at yourself in the mirror, you think: here I am ugly, here is fat, here is cellulite, here are stretch marks ... But you come to the club and see such a variety of figures that you understand: everything is fine with you.

Among the dancers are many Hispanics. These, it seems to me, take everything from work: they have fun, drink, find out the relationship, sometimes they fight, they can pour something into a glass ... It's scary to be with such a woman in a skirmish. Therefore, I am neutral.

Girls constantly steal something from each other - money, phones ... There are many single mothers, students who need to pay a loan for training, tourists who are “delayed” in the United States and need money for the services of an immigration lawyer. There are those who have no particular goals. They know nothing but this work and do not want to know.

On the subject: Why I do not want to work for Russians in America

Men come to the club very different - of all races and nationalities ... And although strip clubs are often called "gentlemen's", there are few gentlemen here. Who is a gentleman in my understanding? A man who respects you and your boundaries. We just drank wine and talked with several of these clients. They just liked the communication, and they generously paid for my time - 200, 300, 400 dollars tips for two hours ...

Frankly, now I believe that inside every man there is a lustful animal. It doesn’t matter if he is a doctor or a librarian. In the strip club, this essence is fully manifested: men whisper vulgarities in your ear, talk about their fantasies ... Some come to recoup on the female field. Calling with a gesture, they say, come here, wait a bit, let's undress, I'll give you a couple of dollars. He talks to you like with dirt, humiliates him, grabs his ass, puts his dollars ... You leave, it happens that you cry, the sediment remains. Feeling dirty, morally raped. In personal life, problems begin: even from the touch of the man you like, you shy away.

“They strive to kiss. Disgusting "

Katie’s working day begins at eight o’clock in the evening, when she is taken from the house in a minibus and taken to the club together with other dancers. Each girl pays 50 dollars for delivery to the club and back.

House-fiers pay for the right to dance at the club: depending on the level of the institution, this amount can range from 40 dollars to several hundred. Katya also pays a tip to the bartender, DJ and “house-mom” - a woman who keeps order, helps girls in the dressing room, knows the preferences of regular customers, can point the dancer to a generous client and warn about fitter.

The girls alternately dance near the pole on the stage, the club does not pay them for this, but they have the right to take everything that men throw on the stage. The dancers earn money by circumventing customers and offering them lapdance. You can’t touch the girls, but men who paw dancers are rarely put out the door.

“You won’t even have time to look back, and his hand is already stroking your chest.” Many strive to kiss. Disgusting. On the other hand, if you completely distance yourself from the man, avoid any tactile contact, then you will not earn anything. You need to approach the client, hug him, talk, massage your shoulders and arms, give the illusion that you enjoy his company. In this area, you have to be cunning, quirky, pachyderm ... With one of the clients you need to be light and playful - "hehe hee ... ha ha ...", with someone - aggressive, put pressure on him, they say, "my time worth the money, come on pay or goodbye. ”

Hard Easy Money

Katie's average earnings per night is 400 dollars. Mostly this money is earned by the lapdance. Sometimes by communication. There are also the so-called “champaign room” - private rooms without surveillance cameras. The price for pleasure varies. In the club where Katya works, the client pays from 150 dollars for 15 minutes spent in the room with her. Half of this amount will go to the institution, the rest of the girl will take it for herself. Anything can happen inside the room. De jure sex is prohibited in a strip club, but de facto they are engaged in it, although no one talks about it openly.

“What stories have I heard about what is happening in this room!” - says Katya. - And, it seems to me, one of the reasons for this tin is that the girls spoiled the men themselves, they began to allow them too much. Some agree to give the client a blowjob, others - have sex with him, while others let them do something with themselves, which is disgusting to say.

I clearly outline the boundaries of what is permitted. The most that a client can count on is to see my chest without a bra. But it will cost a lot of money. Worst of all, when a man pours into your ears, what a gorgeous woman you are and what a man he is all of. You listen to this for 40 minutes, and he only pops you a couple of dollars. After this, my mood drops, I want to leave this whole circus and return home.

On the subject: How I quit Inaz in Belarus and went to New York to work out in the gym

In principle, if you manage to earn a large amount, I can not appear in the club for a week. Over the past three days, for example, I have earned more than one and a half thousand.

“It is impossible to do this on a sober head”

Many striptease dancers become addicted to alcohol and drugs. Drink before work to relax, drink while working with clients. Drugs - mainly cocaine - are consumed as a stimulant. Drinking, dancing, having fun from night to night, from 8 evening to 4 morning ... Even for a young and healthy body, this is difficult.

- Alcohol lubricates the feeling of shame and disgust from what is happening. Your task is to breed a man for money. To do this on a sober head is impossible. You drink and convince yourself that this is just work.

Once I went to the toilet - the girls were sniffing cocaine, not embarrassed by anyone, just a shot from the movie. They offered me, I tried. First out of curiosity. Then she used it several times to stay on her feet. Do you know how sometimes athletes take doping to run their marathons, to withstand loads? Here is the same marathon. Only in beautiful underwear and high heels.

Despite the fact that communicating with customers needs a trick, Katya does not hide from them her attitude to work:

- We communicate on absolutely everyday topics: who are you, where, what are you doing. What am I doing here - and so it is clear. And when asked how I like it (a typical American question following the question about the type of activity), I always answer honestly and emotionally: “I hate it!”

It happens that they offer sex for money. They ask how much it costs to go with me to the champagne room. I answer - from 150 dollars in 15 minutes. "And for everything?". Here you can pat your eyes, they say, I do not understand what you mean, but you can sharply answer that you do not have sex with clients.

Relations also offered. In fact, this is not the rarest story: the dancer begins to meet with a client and pops up to marry him ... They see from a conversation with me that I am a smart, educated girl. A couple of times I agreed on dates, but it never led to anything serious.

Striptease dancers do not hide the fact that the industry sucks in and few people manage to get out of it at the first attempt. As one of the dancers admitted at the forum dedicated to the “immodest” earnings of our girls abroad:

“The most amazing thing about this job is that for all its abomination, it is really difficult to quit. It seems: today was a bad day, tomorrow I will work it out, save up money for a comfortable existence and dump it - and “tomorrow” is delayed indefinitely. I no longer want to go to work for $ 8 an hour and listen to the supervisor's lectures, if there is an opportunity to make $ 500 per night. Only the magic "tomorrow" still does not come. Instead, problems with health, psyche, men come. "

When we touch on this topic with Katya, she shares:

- It sounds absurd, but sometimes I enjoy working. In such institutions, very strong energy. Seeing that men want you, you open up like a woman, your self-esteem creeps up.

But at some point some kind of devastation sets in. Limit. I reached this limit when I sat on the top level of the club, sober, and watched what was happening in the hall. I felt disgusted: I came to America and in the end where did I end up? In the strip club. I realized that I can’t take it anymore.

She left New York, worked in different places - as a waitress, a nurse, and cleaned houses. But two years later, she returned back, because in my situation so far it is impossible otherwise. I need to get legal status in the country, pay for a lawyer. I have to help my family, pay bills, develop, study ... There are two options: either work on low-paying jobs, denying myself everything, and slowly save up for these needs. Or go dancing in a club, speeding up the process at times.

I am not afraid of hard work, but it does not bring money. There were situations when I lived in a room with a folding chair and a sleeping bag, without the Internet, with five dollars in my pocket, which had to be extended for two weeks ... In such desperate situations, I always relied only on myself, not used to then ask.

I realized that I want to live, and not exist, which means that I need to be strong and bite the bullet. For a long time it was my only job and there was no other circle of friends. When a couple of months ago I found a second job - at the reception in the medical office - I had an outlet. I finally found a balance and belief that I can have a future.

The official annual income of a striptease dancer in the USA is 47 thousand dollars.

In the US, the strip industry is valued at 5 billion dollars (according to Forbes magazine). There are about 3600 strip clubs in the country.

If we ignore the moral aspect, the dancers are, in fact, independent freelance contractors - just like musicians, nannies, comedians. They rent part of the club’s space and pay the tenant for the right to work. The employer does not pay the girls for dancing on the stage, but can decide which one to work with and who to remove (for poor behavior, for example, or providing intimate services to the client within the club).

A significant part of the income comes from the bar: customers drink themselves and treat the girls. The profit of a mid-size strip club is 15 − 20 thousand dollars per night. 25 − 30% of this revenue goes to the state treasury as taxes. Girls are also required to pay taxes on their revenue, but since it is impossible to control the number of dollar bills in their purses, the declared income is much lower than real.

The average - official - income of a striptease dancer in the US is 47 thousand dollars a year. Properly filling out the declaration, you can write off many of the costs associated with work: shoes, outfits, transportation services, food. For example, the American strip dancer Chesty Love (translated from English “busty love”) deducted the cost of breast augmentation surgery from taxes.

It is clear that youth and beauty are short-term assets. The average retirement age for striptease dancers is 28 years. As in professional sports, the time when you can make big money in the erotic dance industry is limited. Professional injuries make themselves felt: high-heeled shoes and platforms give a big load on the feet and joints. Girls can not count on unemployment benefits, health insurance, many have problems in relations with parents and boyfriends.

On the subject: Depression in Emigration: What Beliefs on the American Dream

What do dancers do after retirement? As an option, by individual coaching - this activity in America is well paid (the price of a session can be 300 − 400 dollars). Someone becomes a blogger, covering the non-trivial aspects of working in a strip club - from ways to maximize profits to fight acne on the buttocks (the scourge of strip dancers, who are forced to rub their delicate skin on dirty seats, the stage, and client’s laundered jeans).

Industry veterans urge girls to “forge iron while it's hot”: pay debts for training, take care of their emotional health, visiting a psychologist, fight against drug, alcohol and nicotine addiction and save a quarter of what they earned on a rainy day.

Follow success stories, tips, and more by subscribing to Woman.ForumDaily on Facebook, and don't miss the main thing in our mailing list