Overheard in the Changing Room

Yesterday night was an interesting one despite being rather quiet to begin with. Mostly due to overhearing some bizarre conversations, some of which I would prefer to unhear.

One was a chat between two girls in the dressing room, one of which had forgotten to bring any sexy knickers. It went something like this:

Tall Girl: Hey, do you have a spare thong I can wear?

Blondie: Yeah, sure.  It hasn’t been washed though, I’ve worn it a few times.

Tall Girl: Hmm….

Blondie: I don’t have any STDs right now.

Tall Girl: Ok, cool (puts on said grubby thong)

I could not imagine wearing anyone’s previously worn, unwashed thong.Still, it probably beats granny pants or nothing at all. I’ll make a note to always have a couple of spare outfits in my locker.

 

Another charming discussion I overheard went along the lines of:

Chrystal ” Mah fanny always smells funny after I have sex with my guy and he cums inside ah me.” Said as she sniffs her pants.

Dallas “Lemme smell.” As she grabs the undies from stripper I.

Dallas ” Yeah you’re right, it does smell funny.”

Me thinking: What the frick? Ok then, I’m guessing this is a regular thing.

Perhaps it has something to to with getting naked for a living. You become much less shy after a while and TMI becomes practically non existent.

 

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Pole Misadventures with Jessie Pinkman

For those of you who have read my previous pole-related post, you’ll know that my first attempt on a club pole was not the most graceful. In fact I still cringe when I remember how Vanessa stormed away from me to sulk on a far away sofa, believing I wasn’t taking her teaching efforts seriously. Sadly, I really was trying. I was just doing an appalling job.

I first had the chance to do a public pole dance about two weeks later. By public, I mean in front of a group of customers. It was an unusually slow night. If it hadn’t been, I’m sure a more experienced girl would have nabbed the stage and therefore their attention before I had the chance. There were only four other girls working that night , two of which were away eating/smoking. Eventually, a group of five young Swiss lads came in giggling like Spongebob and Patrick in a toy shop. I was quite thrilled to find that one of them looked like a slightly shorter version of Breaking Bad’s Jessie, only a fair bit more educated. This night was turning out to be not so bad after all!

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Basically, like this guy

I warmly introduced myself and began chatting happily to them. They all seemed rather sweet and innocent, a group of uni lads on getaway together. Quite a contrast to the meth cook Jessie Pinkman. Remembering an early scene from the series where Jessie and his two buddies nick the thousands of dollars Walt gave him to buy an RV with to spend on a crazy night with champagne and strippers, I can’t help but think “If only!”

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This episode

After a good long chat, they ask about prices for dances. Understandably, they’re a bit hesitant to spend a full £10 on a quick 3 minute private dance without knowing anything about how I dance (they’re hard up students after all, believe me I get that). And so, they ask how much it would be to have me on the pole first. We’re usually expected to do stage dances for free as part of rotation, but no one enforces that on quiet nights like this.  I was quite happy at the idea of being paid to go on the pole. At the same time, I was unhappy that my private dance potential was going to be judged by my pole dancing. I’m not ashamed to say that my private dances are top notch. My stage dancing, on the other hand, was still pretty shit.Still, it was definitely worth a try right? Especially one where I got paid.

I turned to them,”Tell you what, I’ll go on stage for you lot if one of you gives a £5 tip.”

Jessie’s eyes widened “You mean I give you £5 and you dance for all of us?” he asked incredulously, gesturing towards his mates.

I nodded “Yes, a £5 tip and I’ll dance for all of you on the stage” I emphasized. They had better not be thinking they were all getting a private dance while only paying a fiver!

The boys seemed overjoyed by the idea and could barely contain their excitement. After tossing me a fiver they huddled over to the stage next to the bar, fidgeting in anticipation. I shook my head and headed over to Neil, the barman/DJ. And people say I’m too innocent for this place! I thought, looking over towards the lads.

Neil and Sophie, the only other girl on the floor, had been deep in conversation when I approached and explained the situation.

“Nice! How much are they paying?” Sophie asked me.

“Just a fiver, but I’m not complaining.”

“A fiver! Naw, ah wouldnae complain either. Ah usually have tae go on the stage fer free!”

Neil nodded in agreement. “Good thing on a night like this too. So what’s your pole song?”

“Uh…I don’t have one yet.” I replied meekly. “What’s easy to dance to?”

“Use mine if you like. It’s nice and slow and real easy. Don’t nick it though! This is only for tonight, then you need to pick your own alright? I’m sick of bitches nicking my songs!” Sophie then began a short rant on how Vanessa always likes to nick all her pole songs, which was true.

“Thank you! I promise I won’t. What song is it?”

Apparently it was Skin by Rihanna. I can see why Vanessa pinched it. It began slow with sensual lyrics which gradually sped up. I hopped on stage ready to go. Should I wear my shoes or not? I knew I would dance much better without them, but it’s hard to look like a stripper barefoot. I decided to keep my fabulous 7 inchers on.

The lads all looked dizzily delighted now that the show had finally begun. I tried to hide how terrified I was and find the rhythm to the music. I kept the moves simple, mostly dancing sexily around the pole without any impressive tricks or spins. It was going well. I was well into the beat and the lads looked as happy as ever. Bless them. By near the end of the song, I was well into it and fully enjoying myself. I thought I would end with a spin. After all, why not? It couldn’t be going better and I knew how to do several spins really well from fitness classes. It would be pure cowardliness not to try one. And so I decided to finish off with simple backwards spin. I swung back with full force. This was sure to impress them! Then I heard a loud clang, a yelp and a smash. My right foot suddenly felt far lighter than it had a mere second ago. I had forgotten that the zips on the back of my shoes were both broken from when I over zealously pulled on them off to do them up after a dance the other night. My right shoe had been sent flying from my foot and skidded across the length of the bar past Neil and Sophie and knocked over a beer bottle on its way through. Neil looked around himself in a state of shock. “Don’t tell me I have to start wearing a helmet to work here now!  I have enough of that in the day (he does construction work doing daylight hours).

“Sorry!” I shouted over to him meekly. It hadn’t quite been the grand finale I’d had in mind. I began to slink off stage to retrieve my shoe. What a way to end! Once my shoe was back in place, Jessie came up to me. Apparently he had still enjoyed my performance despite my major fuck up. “You are amazing! We all want a private dance.” He looked more than ever like an over-excited schoolboy.

I looked at him slightly bewildered for a second. “Sure! Wait all five of you?”

“Yeah,” he nodded enthusiastically. “How much?”

“It’s £10 per person, per song. Five is a lot in one go though. How about we all do a double dance with Sophie? It costs you the same and  you get to see two girls.”

He looked over towards Sophie. “Okay, if she’s as good as you.” Well yes, I thought. When she dances, her shoes don’t become an airborne hazard.

I went over to Sophie excitedly and told her that we’d both scored danced on this dreary night. “Nice. Wait are they doin’ VIP or just normal dances?” She slouched back down again after hearing that they weren’t up for VIP. “Nah, ah think am alright hen. If they’re no doin’ VIP I cannae be bothered. Ahm just gonna sit here with Neil and ma wine. Thanks though, really.” I was disappointed. It felt like a good way to give back after she had let me borrow her song for my own profit.

Feeling slightly  despondent, I went back over to Jessie and his lads and told them we were on our own. “That’s fine. So all of us together is £10 each, yes? So £50.”

“Indeed it is. So how would you like to do it? Two guys together and one on their own?”

They gave one another a quick glance. “Can’t we all go in? We want to be together.” I explained to them that there’s only so much one girl can do in only three minutes when there are five guys at once. They seemed unfazed and insisted in going together as a group.”Well, okay.” I shrugged. “It’s your party. Let me see which booth has the most room.”

And so I then had the challenge of pleasing five customers at once in a three minute time frame. What had been an incredibly slow night had quickly become a rather eventful one. I did the best I could to evenly split the time to each of the boys, seating two on one side and three on the other where all could see me. Thankfully, they were all really pleased. Not that they seemed a particularly hard lot to please. “Une autre!” called out one and then three of them decided to go for another song. Fine by me. When I had finished with their second song, I went out to chat with them again. It didn’t matter to me if I did any more dances that night. I had already earned by far the most in the club that night. Jessie reached into his backpack and pulled out another £20. “Can you dance for just me now?” he beamed. “Sure!” was what I told him. Internally, I was jumping for joy that I was going to get to do a private dance with a Swiss version of Jessie Pinkman. This was a fantastic night! After the £20 had run out, he then bought another two dances. In less than an hour, I had made £125 on a lonely Monday night.

When Jessie and I finally returned to the club floor, April and Summer, the two girls who had been eating/smoking that entire time came up to me. “Did you just dance for all five of those guys at once?”

“Yeah,” I shrugged. They didn’t want to go in separately. I asked Sophie to do a double with me, but she wasn’t feeling it.”

“Right”, said Summer. “Well don’t do that again. It’s against club rules. No more than two customers at once per girl unless it’s a stag party in the VIP room. Otherwise it’s not fair on the rest of us if you’re the only one making money.” And with that they went off back to hang out in the dressing room.

Sophie came up to me shaking her head. “Did they seriously just bitch at you because they’re not getting the work when you’re the one on the floor and they’re sitting on their far arses? Don’t you worry pal, you did great. If they want paid, they have to learn that they have to work for it like the rest of us!”

I wasn’t at all bothered. I was incredibly merry for the rest of the week after that. The only thing that bothered me was not getting a picture with my Jessie Pinkman lookalike to show all my pals at uni to.

 

 

From Ballerina to Rocking the Pole

Something that provokes curiosity in both the other girls and customers alike is how does someone go from being a good Muslim girl to a stripper in the first place? While I can’t speak for the few other Muslim dancers I have heard about, I can attempt to explain my own story and a bit of Anushka’s since she was the one who lead me into it. Truth be told, it was a slow process. I’ll start with our first transition from classical dancer/non-dancer to a rather modern type.

When I was little, I used to do ballet. I was fairly good at it and moved up grades with relative speed. I often got a lead role in the end of term show and even won some competitions back in the day. This was put to an end when hit puberty at around twelve and I began to develop hips, a bum and a hint of bosom. Several of my aunts began hinting to my parents that perhaps I was a bit old to be doing this type of dancing as I had to wear such form fitting gear. My parents eventually agreed and forbid me to carry on dancing. I loved ballet and was deeply saddened by this.  I now know that it is in fact possible to pursue ballet while wearing more appropriate clothing. A quick Google on “Muslim dancer” or “Muslim ballerina” can show you.

 

 

Once I was in my first year at university, I had a quick look through all the different sports and activities offered at the Sports Union. Seeing that they did ballet classes, I immediately knew which I wanted to do. No one could stop me from dancing now!

I told Anushka, one of my flatmates, that I had decided to take up ballet again and how excited I was by it. Her eyes lit up and she suggested we do some type of dancing together. Since she had never done ballet before, we decided to choose something we were both beginners at so we could be in the same class.

The Sports Union at uni didn’t have a suitable ballet class for me since they were all aimed at beginners. Anushka and I then started to search for a local dance center where I could find a good ballet class and where we could find a class that the two of us liked. We found one and began to search through all the differnt kinds of lessons they offered. Salsa? Nah. Ballroom? Nope. Tap and jazz? Meh. Then Anushka caught sight of something that made her almost squeal. “Oh look Henna, they do pole dancing! How cool it that!” I eyed her suspiciously, nope sure if she was being sarcastic or was genuinely intrigued by the pole dancing classes. “Seriously, pole dancing? No offence, but I think you’s make a really funny pole dancer. In fact. so would I.”

This made her grin more. “Exactly! Let’s do it for a laugh! Look, it’s an all girls’ class, so no harm in doing it. And besides, I hear it’s really good exercise. Pole is probably much better at toning all your muscles than ballet.”

She had a point. Plus, it would be funny to see the look on people’s faces whenever we told them we did pole dancing. It was decided. Plus, it turns out you can also do pole dancing while modestly dressed. It’s just much harder to grip onto the pole.

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Pole dancing is great fun and really is fantastic for the body. I also know a few blokes who take pole dancing just to tone up and increase their overall strength. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your average Muslimah taking pole lessons. Most of the girls we took the classes with had never seen the inside of a strip club, let alone worked in one. It is essentially a form of vertical gymnastics that takes years of training to perfect. There were other factors that played a part in Anushka and I turning from vertical gymnasts to fully fledged strippers.

“You know you’re a stripper when…”

Salaam all.

So, I was having a discussion with some of the other girls while we were getting changed back into our regular clothes. As you may have guessed, we were trying to think up circumstances “when you know you’re a stripper”. Most of the other girls have been in this business a fair bit longer than I have, so they had some fairly interesting ones. While I’m not usually into “listy” posts I feel that this would be a good way to summarise it all.

 

“You know you’re a stripper when…”

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  1. You absent mindedly shove pound notes/dollar bills/ euros into your bra for safe keeping (of course, I also know many non-strippers who do this).
  2. Someone random calls out your stage name and you immediately turn around to it. Even though you’re not working and it isn’t your real name.
  3. You have to think for a moment before introducing yourself to someone or signing your name paperwork.
  4. You know all the local restaurants that are still open past 3am.
  5. You have a full wardrobe for your “normal” self and a separate one for your stripper self.
  6. Your stripper wardrobe could probably complete with a drag queen’s.
  7. You always have new bruises popping up as a result from pole work.
  8. When you can glace at someone’s boobs and can tell whether they’ve had a boob job.
  9. You hear a good song on the radio and immediately think about how you could make it work on stage.
  10. Particular songs remind you of specific clubs you have worked at.
  11. You’re out dancing with friends at a normal club and you have difficulty in not going into “stripper” mode.
  12. You find yourself trying out pole tricks on public signs.
  13. you consider coming home with £200 cash a bad night.
  14. Other people being naked around you seems fairly normal.
  15. Having a stop on your bum is worse than having one on your face.
  16. Jumping  and swinging around in 6-8 inch heels is no longer much of a challenge.

 

Only the last one was my own input. It’ll be interesting to hear if the others come up with any funny ones.

From Halaal to Haraam

 

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It’s weird, I never thought I would ever be associated with the word “stripper”. If you had come up to me, let’s say four months ago, and told me I was going to be an exotic dancer now I would probably have laughed in your face. Mind you, many of the other girls around here say the same thing. No one imagines themselves being a stripper growing up. Imagine the outrage if there were children’s toys available to show them it was a career option! Still, it’s definitely not a permanent career option for me. This is my way of having some wild times in uni before returning to the real world once I graduate. I study structural engineering so hopefully I’ll get paid to build stuff afterwards. My parents keep suggesting that I find work in Dubai (Somali parents all seem to be obsessed with Dubai. If you want to get something from them, just tell them it will help you move to Dubai), but I’m keen to help rebuild Mogadishu or Laascaanood in Somalia once I finish.

Anyway, you may be wondering how a good little Muslim girl found her way into this type of business. To be honest, my story is similar to many others. I’m sure you have all heard those stories about good Catholic girls and Mormon girls who grew up in a strictly religious environment and want to find their rebellious side? And those who were a bit nerdy in high school who are looking to prove that they have a dark side? I’m really just another cliché only no one ever seems to think that Muslim girls can be sexy too. We’re just like everyone else.

My friend Anushka was the one who talked me into it. She is Saudi, but spent her a fair chunk of her childhood in the UK as her dad spent years earning various degrees courtesy of the Saudi government. She had a hard time fitting back into life in Saudi Arabia when they eventually moved back. The lifestyle is entirely different as is the weather. I’m not surprised she decided to pursue her studies here to experience the life some more now that she’s older. And without parental supervision. I thought that by keeping close to other Muslim girls at uni, I would stay away from haraam things that typical Scottish students like to do (i.e. excessive drinking), but it seems to have lead me in the opposite direction. Well, the other girls I know are all fairly well behaved. It’s just Anushka who’s going to be the end of me. In fact I would hate to think what any of the others might say if they found out! That is partially why I thought I should start this blog. There are so few people I can tell about the things I’ve been up to recently without getting myself into trouble. It doesn’t particularly matter to me if no one reads it. The fact that I have somewhere to publicly vent helps ease my mind.

I am very keen to keep Anushka’s identity under wraps (Anushka is her stage name), so I’ll be very selective in what information about her I give. She goes back to Saudi Arabia once her studies are done and it would be unsafe for her to return if her current activities got out. Honour killings are no are occurrence there and while I doubt either of her parents would do such a thing, there is always the risk of extended family. Not to mention girls have been killed for much less than being a stripper. One woman was killed by her father for chatting to a guy on Facebook* for crying out loud! There is no doubt that being an exotic dancer has it’s own risks when you are a part of a highly religious family. However, I would like to make it clear that I do not believe that these so called “honour” killings have any part in Islam. It is a disturbing cultural issue much like FGM is in the Somali community. Girls have been murdered by their families for all sorts in all parts of the world to families of various religions.

Nevertheless, I would love to share with you as much as I possibly can. Anushka and I have our fair share of stories to tell and it has only been a few months since we first started. I hope you will enjoy reading some of them as I sure as hell won’t be able to share them with anyone else.

*Saudi Woman murdered for chatting on Facebook: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1583420/Saudi-woman-killed-for-chatting-on-Facebook.html