By Amanda Geiling
In the beginning of my dancing career, I might have neglected to tell the men that I dated what I did for a living. I had told the majority of guys I was into that I was a bartender (which I used to do, so it wasn’t a complete fib, right?) I was ashamed of my job, lacking the confidence to talk about it to anybody. Eventually I told this guy, Ben* I was dating that I was a stripper, and he was completely cool about it... for a few months at least. That’s the thing, you never know what he really thinks about it and how insecure he really is until you’re six months in and he’s literally crying and begging you to quit your job. And you’re thinking, have I just wasted the last 6 months of my life? In hindsight, giving Ben that lap-dance that night might have been a bad idea. Once he saw for himself how I dance at work, and I felt his bulge grow as my thigh pressed against his thigh, it was game-over. Guess his imagination wasn’t that good.
TRUST ISSUES (from both sides)
The men who have paid for my companionship know that all the walls are automatically down. There’s no pressure. You both go into it knowing what you both want out of the situation, so they aren’t scared to show you sides of them most people never get to see. They don’t ease you into anything the way people in relationships do. You’re immediately their in-bed therapist. It’s a time where they get to just be free, which is cool, until it’s not. So I’ve seen some ugly, dark, gross, and twisted sides of men that their wives don’t get to see. I’ve been in sex work for almost 6 years and fuck, it has warped my perspective of a man’s intentions. I cannot speak for everyone in this industry, only from experience, which I have a lot of.
So now when I meet a man, I have this echo in the back of my mind saying “they are all the same.” I know it’s completely unfair, but when every guy who pays you for intimacy and companionship is married, or every guy at the club goes from showing you their beautiful wife and kids, to drinking one too many and begging you to go back to their hotel with them, marriage doesn’t exactly look like the fairytale happy ending anymore. In my mind it will only end up happening to me. So why date, get married, and all that? Hence the trust issues! I haven’t always been this fucked up. This industry that I love has sadly affected my faith in men.
MEN STOP TAKING YOU SERIOUSLY
It goes the same way every time I get a new match on a dating app; the guy is sweet, and the conversation is going well. Eventually, they ask, “What are you doing tonight?” and I get this pit in the bottom of my stomach because once I answer, “Going to work,” I know that means they are about to ask what I do for work, and I no longer want to lie about a huge part of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of who I am and what I do (it’s just a job, people!) but there is just something that still makes me hesitate before I answer. There is a chance he could be okay with it, maybe even supportive of it, but also knowing deep in your gut that there’s a way greater chance that now this guy thinks you’re a “slut”. And yes, I know many guys are on those apps for one thing, but I’m sure that some are actually looking for something more, like myself. The genuine, “I want to get to know you” questions from their side of the conversation have come to a halt immediately and now it’s time to once again become defensive and attempt to try to explain myself to this random dude online. Maybe it’s just a personal issue, but now I feel like I have to, simply for a chance to be taken seriously. It’s a sad feeling. Even when they respond positively to my profession, they still go on to message me at 4am with the dreaded (unless you’re into that sort of thing) “wyd?” text. Gross.
I have dated a couple guys recently who, I later realized, were “fake woke” about my profession. Dating the first guy was fun until he dumped me for the girl with the “real job” who he could take home to his mommy (in all fairness, he didn’t have to travel far, he still lived at home). That one didn’t hurt too bad because as much as I hated it, I understood it. It’s the last guy I dated that really stung. Brad* and I had a lot of fun together, even spent Valentine’s Day together this year regardless of if it was too soon or not, I still felt sort of special for a moment. He would call out of work to spend more time with me, and leaving his apartment was always so hard, because I never wanted to. Brad exhibited the type of behavior that makes you feel like you’re the only one, and maybe if I wasn’t a stripper, I might have been. But it was finding the condom wrapper under his bed that wasn’t from me, and then Brad lying about it that really fucked me up. I had told him prior he was the only man I was sleeping with, but he had assumed despite my disclosure, that we were “open.” I hate to do the same and “make an ass out of him and me,” but based on past experience, I can only assume that had something to do with my job.
I’m positive there are secure and supportive men out there. I have to be or I’ll go insane. I have friends in great relationships, and lots of strippers and sex workers have committed to loving partners, some even married with kids, so it’s definitely not impossible to find somebody while still in this profession. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, or I’m on the wrong apps, or my Captain Save-A-Hoe hasn’t come along yet (kidding), or maybe it’s simply not meant for me at this point in my life and I’m not ready to be fully committed just yet. Maybe these supportive men are a rare breed not easily spotted in the wild. Whatever the case, I know I must persevere in the modern dating world, and continue to say “Yes, a stripper,” without hesitation. Will the real men secure in dating woman securing their own damn bag, please stand up?
*names changed for the sake of their egos