Sunday, 29 August 2010

So now I'm a social worker?

I was at a party talking to a guy who had nothing to do with the sex industry. (Yes, I do have a separate social life).
I told him what I did for a living and he sort of paused. That's normal.
Then he said, "It's really good what you do because some men need to let out their sexual frustrations. Like old men who have lost their wives, or handicapped people in wheelchairs, or priests. Especially priests. Maybe if they hired women like you, they wouldn't have all that vent up sexual lust and go molesting boys."

Readers -- it takes a lot to shock me. But my mouth was hanging open. Maybe he was just trying to be nice.... but really?
First, it was insulting to me and what I do. I am not just a toy for desperate men. In fact, the majority of guys at strip joints are young, healthy, red-blooded specimens.
Secondly, this guy was even MORE insulting to the elderly and disabled. I mean, there are plenty of older men and men in wheelchair who are PERFECTLY attractive and capable of having wives, girlfriends and normal sex lives. Who is this guy to look down on them?
Isn't it a little too pitying to imply that these people are somehow inferior sexually to everyone else? Come on!

As for the Catholic priests -- boy, I didn't know what to say. Strippers prevent child sex abuse? Priests go to strip joints? What?!!!

The situation with the Catholic child abuse is seriously fucked up. I can't believe Catholic leaders preach against people like me, and then do such horrible things themselves. I feel so bad for the kids, I can't even tell you.

Anyway, I got as FAR away from this dude as I could at this party. He didn't seem drunk. He seemed sober and crazy, which is worse. So I fled. Now I am home. Venting. Phew. That makes me feel better. I hate running into people like that.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Sugar Daddy of all Sugar Daddies

A humorous post!
Speaking of sugar daddies (see below post) here is the Sugar daddy of all Sugar daddies!

Anna Nicole Smith started as a flat-chested, struggling stripper.
Then she met this elderly patron who paid for her breast implants. With her rockin' new boobs, she rocketed off to become a Guess! girl and to marry the 'ol fella. So, for everyone's amusement, here's a little reminder snapshot of what that looked like.

I hope nobody thinks I'm being mean to Anna Nicole Smith. I used to really like her. She was so beautiful when she was young -- something we forget when we look at later, bloated photos of her.

I'm very sad that she died. I know that many moralists look down on her marriage to the guy. But life is complicated and everyone makes different decisions.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Hello again! Do strippers have sex lives?

Of all the people who might get me back into blogging, the last person I imagined was a self-described "sleazy male, college student, bum asshole."
In fact, I usually avoid "sleazy, male college bum assholes", unless there's some good cash on the table.
But I have to give it to the kid. He asked a good question in the comment section below.
"How does being a sex worker affect your sex life? Would it just be certain, silly males treating you differently? Or is it really rare to find a partner who can take your profession realistically? (I know I couldn't, without effort and time. But therefore keep writing plz. :-) )"
It's a hard question, Mr. College Bum Asshole. Let me try to divide it into categories

1. Desperate Young Boy Caught up in a "Stripper Girlfriend" Fantasy.
Google "stripper tips" and half the sites have nothing to do with how to become a stripper.
Many are from men's mags giving advice on how to DATE a stripper.
The desperate guys who try to follow these columns often have ridiculously high expectations. They think that if they can kiss up to a stripper -- be nice to her, listen to her, make her his "girlfriend," buy her a few drinks -- they will win an "ideal girlfriend."
Their "ideal" is basically just a free stripper. These silly boys think that if you start "dating", the guy will get unlimited lap dances and other perks from a totally hot woman -- for free! They can also brag to their friends that they are dating a sexy stripper.
Of course, this is not going to happen.
1. Experienced strippers can spot these guys from a mile away.
2. It's our job to charge for our services. Nobody is doing anything for free with you.
3. These guys are not looking for a real relationship with a real woman. They're just looking for some sort of fantasy.

When I was much younger, I "dated" a few boys I met at work. Never again.
These guys wanted me to perform all the time, even before and after work. What did they think? That I am a stripper 24-hours a day? No! After my shift, I put on big loose PJs and reading glasses and flop on the couch.

2. The Sugardaddy
In some clubs, getting a sugardaddy quickly turns into prostitution. I have nothing against hookers myself, but I have never gone down that line.
I have never taken money for sex.
But, when I was much younger, rich guys would approach me for seeing me outside of work.
I knew the deal. They would pay for me at nice bars or restaurants and buy me drinks. In return, I would hang off their arm in a skimpy skirt, flirt around their friends, and provide a little sexy entertainment at their parties.
I did sleep with a few of these guys, but it was because I wanted to. Maybe we were all a little tispy at a party together and, you know... But they never tried to pay me cash and I never asked for it. It just wasn't like that.
Would you call this "dating"? Maybe. I walk around and see alot of young, pretty girls with obviously older, uglier, richer looking guys. I don't know if what I was doing was much different than what they are doing.

3. The Industry Boyfriend
If I'm going to date someone, he needs to understand that I am a relatively normal person, too. On my days off, I wear loose jeans, do my laundry, pick up groceries and maybe hit the gym. On the blessed evenings when I am not on work, I even like to cook dinner.
Of course, neither the Desperate Young Boy or the Sugardaddy are interested in this. They are only interested in the stripper part of me, not the Me part of me.
Ironically, guys who have worked in the sex industry are much more understanding of this. They totally get that you are one (fictional) person on stage, and another person off stage. I think they understand it alot more than "normal" guys.
There are a surprising number of men in the industry: Club owners, club managers, bouncers, barmen, cameramen in the porn film or online industry, etc, etc.
Now, beware that you should never sleep with your boss. It just leads to ALLLL sorts of trouble.
I have to say that since I started stripping more than a decade ago, my best and longest relationship was with a bouncer at another strip joint.

4. The Totally Normal Man
Strippers are just normal women. We all seek the same thing: a caring, responsible, loving, loyal partner. Now that I'm turning the big 3-0, I am increasingly looking for a totally average dude -- good, steady salary, house in the 'burbs with a golden retriever...
The problem is, it's hard to convince a stand-up, decent guy to date a stripper.
Because -- let's be painfully honest here -- Good Citizens look down on us as being sleazy.
How many accountants want to bring their wife or girlfriend to a company dinner and introduce her as a stripper?
How many young professionals want to bring a stripper home to mom?
How many men can prevent the (totally natural) instinct to be jealous when his wife or girlfriend is taking off her clothes and rubbing against strange men? You can explain all you want that it is WORK, and that you are actually aren't attracted to any of the guests -- but that won't make your bf feel better.
Again, if he works in the sex industry, he'll be more open-minded. But a mainstream, respectable professional? I dunno.

Well, Mr. Asshole College Guy, that was a long answer. I hope you like it!

P.S. I don't believe in lying to people when I start to date them about what I do. I think it's dishonest and makes it worse. I'm just honest, even if it turns some guys off.

P.P.S. I think this is a MUCH harder issue for prostitutes.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Goodbye (but only for a little bit)

Coco is exhausted.
Maybe my initial plan of blogging EVERY SINGLE day was a little ambitious. After the first month, I was feeling bogged down, or maybe blogged down.
So, I'm thinking of slowing down to a few posts a week, instead of writing every day. Maybe every other day.

By the way, I am actually working overseas right now -- am have been since I started this thing. The wonders of the laptop and the Internet!
For about two weeks, I might take the opportunity to do a little travelling in the area.
But please don't go away --oh, all four or five readers I have. I will be back!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Do I have fake breasts? Sure. I wasn't born Marilyn Monroe

Well, I don't like to call them fake. I'd say augmented.
When I started dancing in my 20s, I was a natural 34B-36C. This isn't very big by stripper standards, but it's reasonably busty considering that I am very small, about 5'1".
The problem was... one of my breasts was noticably smaller than the other. Most women are not perfectly symmetrical, but this was obvious. One was full and attractive. The other was a little odd shaped and droopy. I was so worried I even went to have them scanned -- but there was nothing wrong, just a natural oddity.
I didn't have them done till I was about 23, when I had the money for a good surgeon, and when I was totally sure this was my career for the next few years.
I'm glad I didn't go get cheap surgery at 18, like alot of girls do.

At this time, I had gotten into much better, more professional shape and had lost some weight. So my boobs were closer to the 34B range.
For my surgery, I had them evened out, so to speak, and extended to a 36D.
That's the exact same size as Marilyn Monroe, one of my icons.
Isn't it ironic that she was considered incredibly busty in her day? But today, a 36D on a average-sized American woman is pretty standard. Maybe because everyone is so much fatter these days.

I had the doctor put the implants UNDER the top layer of muscle, which creates a more natural look.
Because I didn't choose implants so big that my boobs would have their own centre of gravity, they look reasonably natural. Also, because they more of less fit my build, I don't have obvious signs like stretch marks. I have enough natural fat and skin to cover them.
I've had them almost 7 years now and will keep them even after I leave the profession.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

New York, New York!

I got a job in one of the boroughs. I also lived in one of the boroughs, but not the one I worked in, and there was alot of schleeping back and forth between shifts.

Coming from Canada, I was shocked by the violence and poverty. I don't mean this to be insulting about America, where I lived for years and loved. I'm just saying that life is different. (We have violence and poverty in Canada, too, but not like this). Plus, I probably wasn't seeing the greatest part of American life at that time.

The club wasn't in the world's best neighborhood, but it was really great inside. It was huge, with about 100 girls on staff and tons of support staff. I looked quite nice, with a marble lobby and a large dining area, set up with small round individual platforms with poles.

Another change for me was working with a much more mixed raced group of girls. Many were African American or Latina, whereas, back home, it was mostly White, Asian or maybe some Carribbean. Another difference was that the New York girls tended to be bigger, especially the blacks and Latinas. Big breasts, big butts. Back home, the girls were thinner.

It was about this time that I got my boobs done. It was my first surgery!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Coco's history -- part 7 -- Dita Von Tesse and my big change

Several things happened in 2002 and 2003, when I was 22.
The first thing was that I finally reconciled myself as a stripper, not a student stripping part-time, not a girl going through a naughty phase, but a full-on, full-time member of the sex trade.

The second thing is that I saw a photo of Dita Von Tesse in Playboy. She was on the cover and she was so gorgeous, so classy and old-fashioned. At this point, she wasn't very famous yet -- maybe in the burlesque world -- but not as a popular figure like she is now.
Also -- and I'm dating myself -- this is before everything on earth was online. This is before Youtube.
I looked everywhere for her videos. And I finally found copies of "Bound in Stockings" and "Naked and Helpless."
I decided I had to see her live. I just had to.

So I used some of my hard-earned money and flew to New York City.
I had never been to New York. I wasn't exactly a small-town girl anymore, but I was still wowed.
And I was so wowed by her. Wowed by the whole place. I really wanted to stay.

Back in Canada, I had long moved from my original strip joint -- the place with the lunch bar my friends and I once went to as a joke as students.
I was working at better places, more like gentlemen's clubs. But I was still a stripper, someone who just took off her clothes for money. And what Dita Von Tesse was doing was an art.

My friend in New York had a little art photo / erotic magazine and hired me as a photographer and writer, and sponsored me to work. Back then, it wasn't hard for a Canadian to get a work visa, even though it was after 9/11.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Coco's history -- part 6 -- Leaving school for good

As you probably guessed, I never made it through school. The more I stripped, the more I was addicted to the feeling of having money, being independent, and not having to turn in a 30-page paper made up of quotes of other people's work.

I increasingly found classes and professors boring and pointless.

Plus, the fewer classes I took per semester, the further away my goal would be. Would I be an undergrad for five years? Six? I was already almost 21. Would I become one of those losers who are 24 and still trying to pass Psych 201 surrounded by 19-year-olds? Then what?

I was in an arts program with no direct job prospects, not like someone coming out of business, law, medicine or accounting. Even someone coming out of nursing or education would have a clear-cut path in front of her.

If I wanted to continue working in the field of my double major, sociology and psychology... Well, sociologists are essentially academics. I'd have to continue into a graduate degree. Same with being registered as being a professional psychologist -- you can't do it with a BA. Some provinces require a masters, and others a PhD.

I looked at some of my friends, living off of instant noodles, sleeping on horrible mattresses on the floor of shared flats, studying all night, worried about student loans -- and I decided that I liked my cushy life more.

So I finally left with about 2/3 of a degree.
It wasn't an easy decision. I didn't leave home to go to college to become a stripper. I know how bad that sounds.

But I also wasn't forced. Some people think that every woman in the sex trade is trafficked or a "sex slave" and that's just not true.

That same year, a good friend of mine also dropped out of school, pre-med. She grew up with horses and love them. All she wanted to do was train them. So she went out West and started apprenticing at a ranch. Later she would open her own horse farm.
I'm sure her parents were shocked at her decision. Why would someone muck out a barn instead of being a doctor? But I think she was happy.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Coco's history -- part 5 -- the real thing

I've always wanted to be the best at what I do, and I didn't like being the second-class citizen who just serves the drinks. Cocktail waitresses are almost at the bottom of the totem pole. We were below the mamasan, the strippers, the barman and the bouncers, in that order.
The "real" girls on stage didn't talk much to us, unless it was bossing us around to fetch them a drink, which was usually iced tea or something in whisky glass.
News alert for clients: Strippers pretend they're socializing and drinking with you, but alot of them are cold-stone sober businesswomen. They accept your drink because the club gets cash out of it, not because they want it. (Others are total drunkards, too, though).

You might think that being the cocktail waitress would at least be safer and easier. It's not true.
Despite what they might say about club security, men are still going to grab your ass, boss you around, leer at you and ask for sexual favors. They don't know the difference between the various scantily dressed girls around. So Coco brings your drink and Candy strips for you -- or is it Candy bringing the drink and Coco stripping for you?

After a while I thought -- If I'm already scantily dressed and having to work the room, I might as well strip. After all, the only difference between my bikini / lingerie and what a stripper wore was very small -- let's say 5 square inches of fabric. So people could see my nipples. Whoop dee doo.

So I asked for a promotion and my manager gave it to me. I could start stripping in the mid-day shift. (You have to work your way up to the late shifts, which earn more.) Suddenly, I was basically double what I was earning before.

Now I was working noon-4pm Monday to Friday for lunch ($500). Plus I still did my cage dancing gig on weekends ($100).

The $600 a week -- plus tips -- was a record high for me then. I know it sounds like peanuts now. But remember, this was 10 years ago and I was just a kid.

I only remember such details because I used to keep a diary. Otherwise, this whole portion of the blog would be impossible to write.

I was 20 years old by this time. I was a full-fledged stripper. I was living in my own cute flat (not a dorm). I could afford to eat out and buy clothes. Basically I was earning what college grads might get as their first professional office job after school, though I was still in school and only working 25-30 hours a week.

But my studies were falling by the wayside.
Freshman year, I took a full load -- 5 courses a semester.
Sophomore year -- 4 courses a semester.
By junior year -- 3 courses a semester, and the dean's office downgraded me to "part time."
At this rate, I would need an extra year to graduate -- I'd be in college for 5 years. I figure I'd hang on for the ride and enjoy it.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Banning stripper job ads?

From the BBC, in Britain. You can click on the link for the whole story:
  1. A ban on using jobcentres to advertise for strippers and lapdancers is expected to be announced this week.
  2. The new ban is expected to apply only to so-called performance jobs, and not to adult industry shop or bar staff.
  3. Figures show that jobcentres advertised more than 350 jobs in the sex industry in 2008.
I don't know anything about Britain, how the sex industry works there, or even really what jobcentres are. But it doesn't found so fair to me. Why can't strippers look for jobs like everyone else?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Coco's history -- part 4 -- youthful greed

When I was a librarian's assistant, the money for cage dancing seemed enormous. I still remember -- $100 for a weekend of dancing, versus $7 an hour in the library. Plus, I never saw that library money. Since it was part of a financial aid package, it went straight to my tuition or dorm.

I can't tell you how satisfying it was to hold hard, cold cash in my hot little hands after my dancing weekends.

Then came my cocktail waitress job for $10 an hour. That might not like alot more than the library, but I got paid in cash and made tons of tips. By then, I was pulling in about $400 a week -- about four times my library gig.

I could pay my bills without worrying. I moved out of the crappy dorm room into a cute little apartment. So I should have been happy, right?

No, the human mind is greedy.
The library seemed fine till the exotic dancing came along.
Then the dancing seemed fine till I found out how much cocktail waitresses made.
Then, spending half my days in strip joints, I realized how much more the other girls were making than me. (Waitresses are treated like second-class citizens at these places).
So I got greedy for even more.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Coco's history -- part 3 -- student cocktail waitress

The manager told me to pick a fake name then. And since I'm kind "exotic," to use that un-PC term, I picked Coco. I spent all night thinking of that one. Plus, there was a bar in town with a similar name -- Cocobutter or something. I know it's cheezy but, hey, it's a stripper name.

I went to buy some lingerie and shoes and ended up in minor debt.

With the blind optimism of youth, I thought I'd be able to do both jobs -- the cocktail waitress thing and the cage dancing -- AND be a good student.
My college was a good one, but lax. It wasn't Harvard. Basically, if you wrote the papers and passed the exams, nobody cared if you were in class, unless you were in a senior seminar. (At that time, I was SURE my stripping life would be over by then. Ha!)

It was hard. For the second semester, I had to twist and turn to get classes that fell nowhere near 11 am - 4pm, meaning I didn't get my first choices. Here was my basic schedule

Monday - Thursday
9am. Pack stripper stuff in advance.
9:30-11. Eat breakfast in class (professor hated me for it).
11-11:30. Run down to the bar. (Isn't it funny that it was within walking distance of school?)
11:30-noon. Get dressed, do makeup and hair.
Noon-3pm. Work the lunch shift as a cocktail waitress
3-3:3opm. Undress, take off makeup and try to brush out the stupid amount of hairspray in my hair. Take a shower if time
4 pm-5:30pm. Back in class
6pm. Starving. Eat dinner.
Technically, I should have been doing homework at night, but I was often too beat, or too wired.

Friday -- my worse day
Same as above, only with an extra hour of rest from 6-7 pm
8-9 pm. Dress, make-up, hair and go to work
9pm-1am. Work as cage dancer

Free! Free all day! Mostly slept in late and did errands around the house or went grocery shopping.
8-9 pm. Dress, make-up, hair and go to work
9pm-1am. Work as cage dancer

Free! Free all day! Free all night!
This was the only day I was "wound-down" enough to sit down and concentrate on homework.

And that's what I was stripping for, right? To pay for this schooling?