The not-so-secret diary of a stripper

By: Chiqui Love

Illustration: Lidia Garyca Sapinska

It’s 9 pm at the stripper flat on a typical Saturday night - 8 girls and just 1 bathroom - rush hour for mirror space and shower time; the veterans bring a compact and shower early, but most are new recruits from countries like Poland, Bulgaria or Czech Republic who have just arrived to work over the weekend. Others were sleeping most of the afternoon because of the late night the night before. The scent of the flat is a fusion of fried chicken, hairspray, candy body spray and self-tanning lotion. 9:30 pm We rush out; the new girls following behind, and little by little we head to the club as fast as we can in order to avoid the dreaded 10 Euros fine for those who arrive even a minute later than 9.45pm. 9:40 pm We arrive and put our names on the list only to find there are already 10 girls on the list! WTF!!! It’s a small club but what choice do I have but to try and stay positive and remind myself that it only takes one or two guys who really want to spend their cash on you to make my time here worthwhile.

9:45 pm Changing room madness. There are always new faces on the weekends as well as your usual suspects - the overly excited and positive baby strippers, the veterans, the princesses, the curious girls who claim they are there for “research” purposes, the single mums, the big money makers, the showgirls, the arty ones and the ones who are spies for the owner and snitch about everyone (maybe her implants have hidden cameras and a sound recording device too, who knows! Nobody likes a snitch).

This is perhaps my favourite part of the night. The excitement of seeing my friends, getting into my look for the evening, overhearing a kaleidoscope of stripper conversations, spotting tampon strings, seeing someone put glitter on their butthole, seeing the punk artsy dancers transform into real life barbie dolls. This is where the magic happens, where short hair lengthens using wigs and extensions, short nails become acrylic nails in neon green and sharp like penknives, pale skin is tanned and glitters, tracksuit bottoms become high legged neon string extravaganzas. The coven is now ready!

As I’m about to head to the floor, Tania asks if I‘ll do her hair. She wants soft curls and she‘s an angel so I agree. She tells me all about her son and the long journey to Berlin from Hungary by car which she takes most weekends. I have so much admiration for her, and I might add, I did an excellent job with those soft curls - she looks stunning. We are killing it tonight! 10:00 pm No customers have arrived yet. I went for the thigh-high red pleaser boots and my electric blue undies as it makes me feel like a slutty Wonder Woman. Missy is practicing pole tricks, Susie is stretching, Monica is taking selfies, Laura is FaceTiming her Pomeranian puppy somewhere in the UK and most of the other girls are on their phone. We get a free drink, so I head to the bar to claim my dinner - a Vodka Tonic with lime and lemon; 2 of my 5-a-day fruits in just one drink! There are a total of 29 of us here tonight! Far too many for such a small club but the show must go on and the night is just getting started. 10:10 pm Jessy and I are having the following small talk: Me: I had to go to the hospital the other day because I had tonsillitis and had to pay 200 Euros! Jessy: Oh I hate going to the hospital! The only time I went willingly was when I went to get my boob job. Me: OMG, same here! The owner, who is always eavesdropping, was nearby and says: Oooh!! I also had something done.

We are like wtf? Why was he even listening and why does he think we care? But he continues anyway. Owner: Guess what it was? I am thinking penis enlargement or Brazilian butt lift? Both: No idea. Plus we really couldn’t give a shit. Owner: “I had liposuction because I used to be fat and I like the good life way too much to give up eating and drinking”. Me and Jessy are both laughing at him in our heads but he’s known for having a rather fragile ego so we compose ourselves and pretend it’s not funny and make no comment whilst I try really hard not to spit my vodka tonic in his face! I make my excuses and leave because I need to share this bit of information with the other girls (aside from the snitch with surveillance cameras for nipples of-course - I’m sure she already has all his medical history). 10:20 pm The first group of guys arrive and they are a bachelor party from Glasgow. The usual suspects are: - The one who thinks he is too hot and therefore doesn’t want to spend any money - The old dude who respects you too much to get a lap dance from you - The one who has never been to a strip club before (Yay! we love these ones) - The married one who will probably fall in love with a stripper because she is not like his wife and she listens to him (for money) - The stag who is in between scared and excited (and he should be because Roxy is in da house) We wait till they get their drinks and then attack like a pack of lioness’s. The groom: I’m getting married Me: send her my condolences His mate whilst waving a fake note worth 50cents to us: “Would you look at me when you are dancing on the stage and make it really special?” Me: (Fake laughing) well if you give me something more than fake currency worth 50 cents, then perhaps (errrrrm nope!) Susie is on the stage dancing to tainted love by Marilyn Mason AGAIN!! (WHYYYYYYYY!!!) Roxy is about to go in for the kill with the groom. The group agrees on a stage show for the stag with Roxy. 10:50 Satisfaction by Benny Benassi plays in the background and the guy is on his knees with his pants down and Roxy is slapping the shit out of his bare butt in front of everyone while the group cheers. Roxy is about to fill his own shoe with Tequila and give it to him to drink. They are loving it and while everyone is watching I spot new customers coming in so the real hustle starts. 11:0