It’s not easy being a girl. For me, this sentence becomes most evident the morning after. Rolling over in bed to remember that there’s a certain someone beside you. Untangling your entwined legs and gazing at your pull’s handsome face whilst he sleeps. Marvelling at the stroke of genius that inspired nature to carve something so beautiful, so perfect, so awe-inspiringly fresh faced. Until he begins to flutter open his long lashes, that is.
In one practised, deft movement, you grab your lace thong (if it’s in sight; any old garment if it isn’t), and with a burst of energy sadly denied to you at the gym, leap into the comforting arms of your bathroom. Under the track lighting and the mirror’s sobering reflection, you assess the situation. One good eye squints back at you whilst the other remains stubbornly shut, puffy and red in protest of the make-up you slept in. Your hair is a labyrinth of frizz, your face is home to a brand new smattering of spots, and the tough love you thought so sexy last night has left you with cheeks pinker than a baboon’s bottom. You give yourself 15 minutes to brutally repair the damage, whilst he slumbers in the room next door, still looking every inch the guy who seduced you last night.
It’s not fair, is it.
Now, I’m not the most organised of girls. I’m not even particularly hygienic, but once you enter into the wonderful world of stripping, you do have an obligation to take care of your appearance. Here’s my guide to savvy grooming, from the top down.
Here’s a fun experiment for you to try; ‘How many days can you skip washing your hair before it gets greasy?’ If you’re working 4 or more nights a week, then washing your mop before every shift can become counterproductive; it’ll absorb dirt more quickly, and the ends will spilt under the pressure of constant blow-drying. I’d say that at work, the best request that you can ask of your hair is that it remains low-maintenance – hanging upside down on the pole and grinding in small, clammy rooms both take their toll, and if you’re sporting an elaborate up-do then you’ll soon find that it sticks to your face. Long hair is generally a good shout; it’s classically sexy and can add an extra dimension to your stage routine when being flicked back and forth. Don’t flick it too liberally though – customers might say that they want to feel whipped, but they probably don’t mean it in the traditional sense.
Whatever your philosophy is concerning eyes and lips, I’m a big believer in natural-looking skin; that is, no visible bronzer streaks, no iridescent cheeks, and no slag lines dissecting your neck from your jaw. I’m no make-up guru, but I can promise that you’ll be subjecting your face to longer hours and sweatier circumstances than it’s usually accustomed to, so you might want to invest in something a little more heavy-duty than your go-to BB cream – powder helps, and I’ve even heard of girls using stage make-up. Also, protect it. We live in an increasingly age-ist society where the younger you are, the more successful you’re perceived to be. Now there’s nothing wrong with botox, but there ain’t no point paying for what you could have had for free. Shield your skin from the sun. It causes 95% of wrinkles, so fake it before you bake it.
These beautiful, beautiful things are gorgeously low-maintenance. You may need to pluck out the odd hair, and you really should moisturise, but apart from that they’re the one body part that are nearly always morning-ready. Wear a bra, apply bio-oil to any stretch marks, and make sure that you tease the nipples before you hop on stage, as they’re so much sexier erect.
What did this bland-ass body part get a spot on my list for, I hear you ask. Well, the age-old adage is true – beauty really does come from within. By this I don’t mean replace your cleansing routine with the attributes of a good listener (although personality does count for a lot), but simply think more about what you put in your digestive tract. 80% healthy, 20% naughty is a good rule to live by; it means that we live fuller, more energised lives, but don’t deny ourselves anything in the process. Relish your greens, disown those preservatives, and the rest should come easy. Sugar is the one to watch out for. It makes you fat, greasy and ultimately WRINKLY, and why chocolate doesn’t come with the same health warnings as cigarette packets I’ll never know. It tastes damn good though, so feel free to indulge now and again.
So often neglected, so often abused. Us girls have an unhealthy relationship with our vagina. Generations of inherent patriarchy have taught us to hide it, mutilate it, pleasure it in secret and only recently have we been undoing the damage. Now I’m not getting all hippy on you – no-one dislikes a bush more than I, but I do think we should learn to worship at the altar a bit more, you know? First of all, if you do become a stripper, banish any resolutions you might have made about waxing. Any method of hair removal that requires you “growing” between treatments is bad for business, and the chemicals are surprisingly bad for your skin. Secondly, do the gooch, and always shave IN THE DIRECTION of the hair growth. It’s a sensitive enough area as it is, without inflicting upon it the backwards lawn-mower. Speaking of which, SUDOCREM. It’s for nappy rash, which is essentially the doctor’s name for an irritation of the genital area, i.e. shaving rash. Apply liberally morning and night (unless you’re dancing; you don’t wanna remind the customers of wiping babies’ bums), and you shall be blessed with smoother than smooth flaps. And for the love of God, go get an STD check. I’m all for the liberation of sexual politics, but nothing says ‘don’t get another dance’ like the cheeky unveiling of genital warts as you spread your legs…
Men can be very economical with their words. In as much the same way as we might be into ‘looks’ or ‘personality’, a man’s preferred female figure often boils down to whether he’s a ‘tits-man’ or an ‘arse-man’. Working in an environment where 70% of the women are frequently starkers, I can tell you honestly that with the exception of the boob-jobbed, most girls are either blessed with good tits OR a good arse. So squat. If you’re a small waisted-girl, then embrace your inevitably big booty, and make it your mission to tone, rather than slim it. Fake tan. It may be a leg-lengthener, but that doesn’t mean that you can stop at the crease. Tilt forward slightly whilst applying, and make sure that that tricky bit of skin under the bum cheeks gets enough attention, as you can bet it’s on display when you bend over on stage. Lastly, bring a sheer scarf to work with you. Those high-backed chairs in stripclubs are ridden with bacteria, and being an area that isn’t often exposed to the outside world, our bums are particularly sensitive to picking that up. Sitting on a scarf adds a layer of protection, and can double up as a fun addition to any dance. Above all though, make sure that you thoroughly cleanse the area after every shift, using anti-bacterial spray and a wet facecloth. Spots are dutty, and as you essentially wipe clean your derriere every time you give a lapdance, there’s really no use concealing them once they’re there.
Just like with the vagina, avoid waxing unless you want to seriously commit to stockings. Moisturise. There’s really no easy way to say this, as slathering lotion all over your body has got to be one of life’s most famed banalities, but sadly it is the only way to ensure that you don’t start cracking in later years. If you’re working that night however, then obviously refrain from greasing up, as you’ll need the friction on stage, and only selfish girls lube the pole for their successor.
Hands and feet alike are a black hole of time-consumption; your efforts are seldom rewarded with longevity, and if it wasn’t laborious enough applying polish, you have to sit there whilst it dries, too. I’m not personally a fan of nail art; I think it’s too artificial to be considered sexy, and dare I say it, kind of tacky, too. If you’re going to do it though, do it properly. If you’ve got false nails on and one falls off, either re-attach the missing link, or be done with the whole thing. Natural nails should be square, clean and simple, and polish should be applied evenly from root to tip, with frequent re-coating to compensate for chips. We inflict a lot of stress on our soles from dancing, so file the underside twice a week; moisturise every time you get out the shower. And whilst we’re on the subject of feet, use them. Run. Jump. Swim. Cycle. Dance. The human race didn’t evolve from us lying around playing Candy Crush Saga, and it’s good for the soul and six-pack alike to get out there once in a while and work up a sweat.