Last night, I went to the soft opening of a new strip club called Vivid Cabaret. I went with my friend Randi (who has written for us plenty of times) as well as some other wonderful folks, and I had a really lovely time. While I used to go to strip clubs a few times per week when I lived in Portland, I hadn’t been to one in nearly a year and I thought of a question I had always wanted answered: How to strippers deal with their periods? I asked Randi–who is a bonafide expert on the topic–and she informed me that they shove a tampon in and cut the string. Sometimes two of them.
Somebody on Reddit apparently wanted to know the same thing, so he or she simply asked. One answer sounded familiar:
Tampon , cut the string and tuck it up with the tampon. A lot of the girls also rely on the Depo shot to eliminate periods completely.
A few other women claimed the Depo shot didn’t “eliminate” their periods and instead led them to bleed for several months straight, so this is by no means universal advice. Another chimed in and said that it was a matter of keeping up appearances, in a sense:
There are many panty changes, baby wipe baths, and Summer’s Eve spray deodorant to keep the lady parts fresh.
Another Redditor simply embraced having her period and wound up in a semi-opportune position:
I was [working] for a while in a club that wasn’t full nude. … I wasn’t naked so I didn’t have to worry too much about where the string was and I got lazy. A customer noticed and asked me if I was on my period, I denied it so he proceeded to tell me I was a liar and that he could see that the string. … After he noticed the string hanging out he started bugging me about it. He said he loved the smell and taste, and eventually asked me if he could buy it from me. … This was all during a low point of mine (obviously) so I…decided that $100 for something I was just going to throw away was pretty good. … I went to the bathroom, changed it out, wrapped it up and took it out to him, exchanged cash and went on with my night. Low and behold later on in the night I was up on stage and he was sitting at my table, not a problem right, no big deal, I can get through this. Then he pulls the tampon out and puts it in his mouth then sucks the blood out of the tampon.
TLDR: I was a stripper who sold a used tampon to a customer.
I just…what? What the what?
But the best/worst response? A terrifying story about a coworker:
Most girls just cut the string off a regular tampon prior to insertion.
About a six or so months ago, a new girl started at my club. She had never danced before, so she worked day shift. It was a Friday, and I was early for my nighttime shift, but whatever, it’s better to be early than late, right?
So I was in the dressing room getting ready, and I heard her ask another girl what to do, as she’d just started her period during her shift. The other girl said something like, “Just cut the string off with scissors.” The new girl didn’t have any, so the other chick loaned her a pair, and she heads into the stall.
All the sudden we hear this sort of yelping noise, accompanied by this poor girl saying, “oh my god oh my god.” She’s grabbing her crotch as she sort of limps out of the stall to get a paper towel.
At this point, I looked over and asked what happened. She says, “I think I cut myself,” which was a bit of an understatement.
Apparently, she didn’t realize you cut the tampon before you put it in, and consequently removed a chunk of labia.
You read that right: A CHUNK OF HER LABIA. I just…I can’t.
The reason I was so curious about this is because I have debated trying to get a job in a strip club (not as a dancer–I’m hilariously uncoordinated, non-athletic and incapable of wearing sexy lingerie properly–but as a cocktail server or bartender), and I want to know more about its ins and outs. The women who jump onstage with their periods are pretty bold, in my opinion, given the social stigma against periods and the fact that there’s potential for some awkwardness. I am not bold enough for that. So, while I didn’t necessarily need another sign that I’m not cut out for any form of dancing, I still got one.