My Life As Angelica

I always enjoy people’s reaction when I tell them I used to be a stripper. “You were?!” Always followed by “I bet you made a lot of money”. Then, you can see their gears running in their brain as they look at me in a whole new light. I think I like this shock factor, since I am so quiet and carry myself in such an unassuming way. It always gets them.

I started topless dancing when I was only 19 yrs. old. My best friend is the one who talked me into it. At the time I was in college and with no parental financial support, I had to work while I was in school. The day my friend Kim told me what she did the night before I thought she was crazy. She had always been a risk taker but this time, I thought, this topped it all. (No pun intended) That was not something I had ever thought of doing or wanted to do. I still don’t know how she talked me into it, except to say that she probably appealed to my need for money while I went to school.

Every dancer has an alias. I don’t why. Maybe it’s a way of at least keeping your name private, even if nothing else is. The name I chose was Angelica. Don’t ask me why, I just liked the name. I had a classmate named Angelica and I always liked the name. And getting a job? That was easy as pie. The interview for every stripper is basically take your clothes off and do a twirl. Yep, you’re hired. In a way, it’s somewhat of an ego boost. I wish every job since would have been that easy to get. Oh, and there is no training. You just have to know how to move and act sexy. Angelica could always do that after a few drinks. The hardest part was walking up to a table and saying “Would you like some company?” There was always that possibility of rejection, something I never could get used to. When I was invited to sit at the table, I would always wait a song or two, then get up and just start stripping to the next song. Usually, the man had no objection. Then, boom $20.

Some strippers were better at this than others. I never could bring myself to go to work on a regular basis or to really work the floor. I felt extremely uncomfortable and awkward most of the time. I never have been one to desire male attention, since I’m a lesbian, and well I guess that could be the problem. But, a lot of women in the club were in lesbian relationships so it wasn’t all that uncommon.

I was Angelica for 6 yrs. Oh, and school? I dropped out. After getting into the night life I guess I just wanted to party all the time. But, in hindsight I was probably so disgusted by what I had chosen to do, I just wanted to forget about it all. Normal life felt so foreign to me. I remember the first time I went to the grocery store after work and seeing a man in the store. I looked at him and saw him as one of the men I had met in the club. It was like my eyes were opened to this whole other side of men. I thought, yes you look like a well dressed married man with kids at home. But, I know what you’re really thinking. I know where you spend your time on the weekends.

I wish now that I had never started stripping. It pretty much ruined my future. I never would go get a “normal” job because stripping was so easy and you could work when you wanted. If you needed money you just went to work. Then you did whatever you wanted until you ran out of money again. Then you’d dress up and go to work again. This lifestyle did not teach me a thing about good work ethic or job stability. Now, well into my 40’s I am suffering the consequences of that. I never did really learn to work my way up the ladder. Whenever a job got too stressful or someone tried to tell me what to do I just quit. Not a good way to build a resume. If someone were to ask my advice now, I would tell them not to do it. In fact, I sometimes wish I could go into the clubs and talk the girls out of it.

But, I try to look on the bright side. Angelica had a lot of fun and slept in when every other twenty something was waking up at the crack of dawn to get to work. And how many people can say I used to get paid for my looks. And besides, it makes a good story.

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