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. 11:00 pm A group of young-looking Finns and I have been having small talk for a while. I do most of the talking as they are super shy. Me: So can I get a drink? Finnish dude: But you are at work, you should not drink. Me: and you expect me to deal with people like you while I’m sober? Finnish dude: Fair point. He laughs, gets me a drink and asks for a private dance. 11:45 pm it is my turn to go on the main stage and I’ve chosen to dance to one of my favourite tunes - a remix of “free at last” with my signature move: licking my own pleasers upside down, to the speech by Martin Luther King Jr. 12:05 My night gets quiet. There are too many dancers and not enough space to sit which is making it hard to hustle. So I head to the bar for a shot of Tequila with another 3 girls. We discuss how the night is going and witness the owner trying to manipulate the baby stripper to suck his dick in one of the private rooms. Him and his friends love young looking naive dancers, so they are packing like a group of vultures around this new gullible girl. 12:30 am The baby stripper is in the changing room, so we give her “the talk”: be careful, don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with, charge in advance, come to us with any questions; but at the end of the day there is only so much we can do. 2:45 am Finally two Italians enter the club and me and my friend spot the potentially big spenders. One of the Italian dudes buys 3 bottles of champagne costing 330 Euros each and then asks, “How much to fuck you?“. I do need to entertain him as I get some commission for the bottles we sell, so I say: “Make me an offer I can’t refuse”. He replies, “300 Euros”. So I say “are you willing to spend more on a bottle of champagne than on an actual human?”. He answers, “well we are drinking each bottle in around 40min and I know I’m going to last just 5 with you...”. Oh dear! And they say this job is “easy money!” 5:15 am I am so tipsy and feeling sassy. I am kind of done with hustling at this point. I overhear Bambi tell a customer “Yes, I am a very innocent girl” whilst fluttering her big brown eyes. It was the dude’s third trip to the cash machine with her. I must admit I love this girl’s hustle because she does indeed look very innocent with her petite frame but she is certainly anything but!
My Mexican friend tends to arrive late, and he buys tequilas for me and my friend Max. We are professional drinkers so we can take it! Never try to outdrink a stripper, we do this for a living and will be doing acrobatics while you find yourself putting your house key in the cash machine! We sit with them a while and after my 2nd tequila I get up to go to the toilet but fall on my ass! So Max who’s an excellent friend starts to dry hump my face and as I’m on the floor with her crotch on my face! I ask her, “What are you doing?”. She replies, “Chiqui! You are wasted so I am humping your face so it looks like it is part of the show!!”. This is what friends are for - always ready to dry hump your face in an emergency! 6 am It is closing time!! FINALLY!! We queue with our fake eye lashes hanging on for dear life, smelling of cigarette, sweat and cheap perfume. Bambi is still upstairs in the VIP, the dad of the bachelors party finally decided to go for a private dance with the baby stripper and after a cheeky line we are ordering a cab to go to Kit Kat club.
In Berlin, the night is still young!