I have never really been one to feel much kinship with other women. I am and have always been–excepting a short period during my teen years when I tried my damndest to eschew all trappings of tradition, feminine or otherwise–the girliest of girly girls. Throughout my life my circle of friends has been comprised mostly of women, true, but the concept of some kind of universal sisterhood had always been completely alien to me.
Until I started stripping.
Strippers as a group tend to be unusual and individualistic people. We march to the beat of no drum but our own and vocally oppose those who so much as try to convince us to fall in line. Our income is dependent not only on our looks, but on our ability to set ourselves apart from the crowd, to convince our customers that we are different, special, unique and, more than that, uniquely worth the price of a dance or a higher-priced show. One would think in our cramped backstage quarters, such a disparate group of colorful, willful characters would create a breeding ground for fights, gossip, and general discord… but it never was.
At Club Paradox we, the strippers, spent the majority of our eight hour shifts crammed into a dressing room a little more than half the size of a small bedroom. Calling it a closet would be generous; the term ‘cracker box’ is better and more accurate. The four girls working each shift were packed into the tiny space, required to get along out of necessity, if nothing else. Fights did happen (the week before I started work, two of my new co-workers had gotten into such an intense argument that they broke a mirror and left permanent bloodstains on one of the walls) but they were unusual occurrences in a space that was unusually loving and warm in spirit. …If not temperature.