Strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.
Talk to any OD (Original Dancer) who’s been knee-deep in the game, and she’ll tell you that being an exotic dancer is not for everyone. Strutting gingerly on stage for the first time wearing a skimpy fishnet outfit is an eye-opening experience. Not only for thirsty patrons who are seated around the stage, jokingly referred to as ‘pervert row’. But for the dancer, it’s a self-revealing opening act that’s often met with uncertainty. Many think they’re built for the hustle, but once they’re fully exposed, they crumble right there in the middle of their second song and start imagining life in a messy cubicle.
Unfortunately, the naked truth gets lost in the outer beauty and allure of the jungle. So many are fascinated by the “life” that they can’t see past the greenery and what truly lies beyond the surface. All they see is the dollar signs and this leads to the mythical belief that, in the jungle, money does grow on trees. Combine that short-sighted belief with the power of the almighty dollar, and the influence of social media—along with rappers providing the soundtrack for the stripper lifestyle—exotic dancing has been and currently is the new wave. Simply put, a lot of women want to be strippers. They want the money and the attention, and they’d rather climb a pole instead of climbing a traditional job ladder.
Who wants to deal with a glass ceiling when you can use the ceiling as part of your pole performance?
In the blink of an eye, the profession has moved up the ranks from a “last resort” to a popular side hustle; a quick way to cash in on one’s sex appeal while entertaining a herd of rainmakers. No longer is there a need to tell patrons that you’re stripping to “pay tuition.”
The word is out.
According to some dancers who happen to secure more bags than your local grocery bagger, the tables have turned. They’re now the ones pointing the finger and laughing at civilians who are stuck working their 9-to-5s. They don’t understand why these so-called “independent women” haven’t escaped the corporate world to find a new place of refuge; the jungle. A place where there’s enough rain to go around. And even if money doesn’t grow on trees—money talks, and women who would never think of entering the jungle to dance are now starting to openly listen. The societal attitude towards those who twerk for a living has been rapidly changing its tune. Just take a look at the number of housewives that are taking pole dance classes. They’re not shy about wanting to have a little taste of the strip club life. There is less public stigma and the taboo of sliding down a shiny pole is wearing off.
But it’s still not for everyone.
For aspiring dancers, this is a hard pill to swallow. It’s easier to ignore the pitfalls that are littered throughout the jungle. Regardless of the socio-economic reasons for this influx of Sapphires and Diamonds—whether it’s the worship of strippers turned pseudo-celebrities, the popularity of reality television, or just pure “good old” self-preservation—behind the velvet curtain and underneath the thick skin of strong women who wear a different type of stiletto, is an undeniable struggle to handle the challenges of being an exotic dancer.
The decision to “flash for cash” takes real strength. Forget about the decision made by King James or any other person in the limelight—the decision to take one’s talents to the jungle comes with pain that is seen and unseen. That decision may carry regrets, broken relationships, and personal shame.
You must ask yourself:
Do you have the strength to wear the pain?
That’s the ultimate test.
Do not pray for an easy life in the jungle, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
But nowadays, with the focus only on money—mainly the beauty of it—the selfies with the racks of cash placed up to one’s ear (money phone), the green carpet treatment on a bedroom floor, and the flashy videos of falling Benjamin Franklins, as well as the beautiful perks—courtside seats at the NBA game, backstage passes to the hottest hip-hop show, and a cell phone filled with talented photographers from Miami to LA.—being an exotic dancer seems likes a painless walk-in the park; a peaceful twerk on a Sunday afternoon. Just another stop at the trap house on the way to the grocery store.
A few “stage dancers” will even try to convince you that working in the jungle is easy money. And you’ll be a fool not to rush to the main stage like it’s the California Gold Rush of 1849, not realizing that they’re partly responsible for this oversaturation given the fact that they don’t venture off into the dark and give lap dances. They conveniently leave that part out. But nonetheless, they will brag and tell you, “The money is falling from the sky and girl you better bring a bag. It’s everywhere.”
But behind the beauty of it all—is pain.
There is an old saying that applies to anyone in life looking for that shiny pot at the end of the rainbow—especially for those who want to enter the jungle and make a fortune.
All that glitters is not gold.
In this context, the glitter is the lustful but fleeting attention garnered by a sexy performance, the fickle popularity of having a strip club following, and the glamour of the fast life. The gold is a fool’s gold of false expectations, mercy tips, and unlawful patrons who only want to demean the very person they come to visit: you.
In addition, while you’re twerking and panning for gold, there’s the mental and physical fatigue that comes from the daily grind of wearing the pain of an independent contractor. Without a doubt, you are on your own.
And that’s only half of the story. There’s the brutal competition between dancers; the same ones that smile in your face and ask to borrow your body spray, but behind your back, they can’t wait to snatch up your Regulars.
Why do you think it’s called the jungle?
Rarely does one on the hustle have time to take a seat on their favorite couch and give themselves a self-appointed therapy session and deal with the painful truth of being an exotic dancer.
This is where the 21 laws come in.
Instead of coping with the harsh reality of the strip club life with denial and suppression, and holding signs that cry out “Strippers Have Feelings Too” and “Strippers Lives Matter”, these carefully curated laws will have you piercing through the jungle and cutting through the brush with a new sense of clarity and cunning. Being fluid and able to adapt to every encounter in the jungle—positive or negative—is the mark of a true professional. Staying focused in the midst of distractions and keeping your eyes on the prize (not the glitter) while maintaining your balance on the pole takes extreme discipline and perseverance.
If you’re up to the challenge, you can find the strength to wear the pain and stake your claim in the jungle—not to be a plain Jane, not even to be a Queen—but to be a Jungle Goddess. To have an almost mythical quality to the levels of your seduction and femininity. When your every step can command an ATM withdrawal and a request for a scheduled appointment.
Simply adhere to the laws, use them as a framework and you will make more money, empower your volatile position, and be crowned an ATF (All Time Favorite) by all your Regulars—all the while avoiding the trappings of an environment that only wants to reduce you to just another stage name on the roll call.
Ultimately, you will accomplish your goal of exiting the jungle with your head up, heart intact (not completely frozen) and your bank account healthy enough to never look back.