I have been excited to talk about strip clubs, because I have a lot of firsthand knowledge on the subject. I have also been struggling to record this episode, because the more I thought about doing it the more vulnerable I felt. It’s really hard for me to open up after so many years of being in survival mode, but I want to emphasize that everyone who works in a strip club has a story. Some of them are single mothers, some are college students, and some are hustlers who want to make a lot of money in a short period of time. Maybe they want to do other things with their lives, like build businesses. I wanted to share my experience working in a strip club, and also give my opinion on how strip clubs can factor into possible date nights as well.
This episode, I talk about:
[5:14] How I came to work in a strip club
Back in 1997, I got married to my high school boyfriend. I was 21, and way too young to be married – I didn’t think so at the time, but we think we know everything when we’re young. I feel like I would have been grateful if my parents had told me I was too young to get married, but my mother said I wouldn’t have listened. I hadn’t even started college at the time, and I was really naive to the world. In high school I went to some parties, and got into a few nightclubs with a fake ID, but that was the extent of my experience. I was quite sheltered and grew up religious. I did, however, know about strip clubs because all my guy friends in high school went to strip clubs. I grew up in Florida, and you only had to be 18 to get into the strip clubs.
My first experience in a strip club was with my sister, who is four years younger than me. In 1996, my family moved to Las Vegas. My sister was only 17, and she started working in Caesar’s Palace in the Forum Shops, a high-end shopping mall. Caesar’s Palace used to be the casino that had big boxing matches, concerts, and nightclubs in it. When she was working there, a guy would come in regularly and chat with her. She started going out with him to gamble, and then he took her to a strip club. Now she was 17, and they were platonic, but it was just so out of character for my sister.
So I moved to Las Vegas in 1998, and I was newly married and naive to these things happening in Las Vegas. One night, my sister asked me to go to a strip club with her. My husband and I agreed and we all went to a strip club called Olympic Gardens. This was a club that also had a male review show on the top floor, and downstairs the ladies worked. It was definitely a little uncomfortable at first, because I didn’t know where to look. We ended up having so much fun that evening.
Little did I know that I was really not happy in my marriage. Things started to unravel, but we would go back to the strip club maybe twice a month because it was so much fun. I was 21 and my husband was 23, and we would get some drinks and have some women dance for us. It was a good time, but this was also the first time in my life that I experienced any attraction to another woman. I thought it was just a phase, but eventually I discovered that I am truly bisexual.
Obviously, you can go to a strip club and not be bisexual. It can be a really fun experience. You can actually go on a date with your partner and just have a good time. As time went on, our marriage unraveled and I wanted a divorce. I had started college and I remember going to one of my classes and wanting to leave my wedding ring at home. It was a clear sign that I wasn’t interested in being a wife.
I knew, though, that nothing was going to take me away from my education. I had befriended a girl at the strip club, and I called her and told her I was getting divorced and needed to make a lot of money in the next week to cover my bills. She gave me the name of the manager of the strip club, and long story short I ended up working at Olympic Gardens in 1999. It was solely to pay my bills and continue to go to college. I had big goals and nothing was going to stop me. Honestly, working at a strip club is just a job. There is so much stigma around it, but there shouldn’t be.
[14:52] The slippery slope with drugs, alcohol, and solicitation
There is certainly an ugly side to dancing. There is a slippery slope with drugs, alcohol, and solicitation. I lived it, and I experimented with many things that I normally would never have done. When I started working there, I was very naive. I had smoked pot a little bit as a teenager, but I was never interested in other drugs. I was slipped an ecstasy in my drink, and that began a whole other level of experimentation in my twenties.
I don’t regret anything, as I got to experiment with who I am and go through many ups and downs. I had a lot of fun, and I also knew when it was time to stop. I think a lot of people assume that if you work in a strip club then you are a drug addict or you have no values. People can dehumanize you, and that’s bullshit. There is a reason why people work at strip clubs.
[16:13] Having a good time at strip clubs
On the other side of things, you can go to strip clubs and have a really good time. It’s fun to go and get a striptease. It can spice up your sex life, or you can get some attention that you might feel is lacking from your partner. It’s really an innocent way to have some fun.
[16:50] Working at a strip club does not define who people are
I really want to emphasize how working in strip clubs does not define people. Please don’t judge the women working there, because you don’t know the full story until you’re in their shoes. They could be refugees. They could be fleeing from an abusive relationship and need to provide for their children. It doesn’t even have to be a sad story. They could be smart women who know they can make fast cash and do something great with it – maybe they want to build a business like I did. I want them to know that they are not alone, and we should all support each other.
Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode! Come and hang out with me on Instagram @celestemooreimage and let me know your thoughts on today’s episode, because I always love hearing from you all!