"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pushing the limits

When I think I've seen everything, life always be quick over proving me that I'm wrong. I thought in Iceland I worked with the worst kind of dancers ever, the most competative and the less care about others. Here in Oslo they even worst by my opinion. Before you think I work with Romanians, I must say no. Here the majority of the girls come from Baltic countries and they are extremely rough! They just care about the fast money they can make. The older girls are softer but the young generation is very harsh. Intelligent but harsh.
Just an example to understand their mentality: we walked home after work and a random guy tried to talk to one of them that I would have just ignored, but she answered: “Don't talk, give me money, pizdec!”
As I said earlier this business is a hard sales job. We must sell champagne and private dances. But for me it's a big difference HOW. I think in long term. If I make the customer relaxed, he would be happy to spend money on me and will come back later. The big difference is I care about the person who spend money on me, not just see him as a piggybank. I've never been the kind of dancer who ready to jump on the guy as soon as he opens the door. I'm not exceptional. I'm not the only one. There are other girls that don't want to rip off the customers and still make money. But we are rare to find in strip clubs any more.
In these days when people think twice what they spend their money on, it should be the dancer's personal charm that convince them to stay and spend money. Another day I had a customer who was completely frozen when he arrived (closed arms, legs and when I asked he gave me one word answers) and later this guy left the club with a smile on his face and gave me a big hug saying “You're great!” (No, I didn't offer any extra. I just blew some magic powder to his eyes..) But I made money on him, he was happy, I was happy. For me this is a great night.
Yesterday night was crazy. Girls were pushing and pulling drunk (or half dead) customers on the floor to make them pay.
“Do you want me? Let's go drink! Be serious! You must pay! Where is your wallet? Give me your card!”
And they paid. (I'm not sure if they were aware of it what for.) One guy paid a bottle of champagne for two girls and when he saw the bottle in the icebucket, he didn't want to pay. He didn't realise he paid already and his transaction went through.
At the other table there were two guys, one bought a bottle of champagne to the girl, the other bought only wine. So one went downstairs to the VIP area, the other stayed on the main floor. Both were drunk. A little later he came up to check his friend, the girl followed him:
“You can't sit here because of your friend. We must go downstairs.” And she grabbed his arm and took him back to the “dungeon”. (She made it sure that the other girl doesn't get anything from her bottle of champagne. Rough, isn't it?)
Another girl was struggling to have a second bottle from the guy. He was also drunk. She took his card and placed it in the card machine.
“You must pay! Put your PIN number here!” pointing her finger to the machine. (I don't know what policy it is here that the girls are allowed to touch the customers wallet and cards..) And the barmaid:
“Just try, if it's doesn't work it's OK.” holding the card machine that is almost touched his noise. But clearly he didn't want to pay more. He didn't even know anymore if he's male or female. When the girl realised he doesn't pay, she tossed his card back to him.
“OK, nobody keeps you here. Get your card, your wallet and go home!” with not even a little kindness in her voice and she called the security. The guy who previously paid her a bottle of Dom Perignon was thrown out like a piece of garbage.
By witnessing these situations I really started to think about my future. I can't keep up with these girls, and because they make money for the club, I have problems with the management because I don't know how to work. Well, I don't know how to rip off people, that's for sure! But I'm sure all those customers have shock and headache next morning and they will never come back to this club again (not even close to it).  My advice: put a limit on your card and you can't spend more than you wish or don't come to a strip club when you're so drunk and you can't see what is on the screen of the card machine. 1200 krone or 12000 krone is a big difference! 
Unless you want to pay for being stupid..

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

No way, Norway!

As it always happens to me, if I'm desperate to go to a place, it turns out something unpleasant. Same happened here. I was keen on coming here but now I can't wait for my contract to finish. I heard a lots of good things about working in Norway, especially about the clubs in Bergen and Trontheim. But when I sent my application there, the manager replied that he's very selective with a girls, and that moment he wanted younger and very acrobatic pole dancers because he had enough “older and talker” (actually I like the idea because he makes sure each customer can find the type of girl he likes) But after I found agencies working with clubs in Oslo, and I applied even I heard some bad stories about it. But if you never try, you never know..
Now I know. And I'm pretty sure I won't come back here. The No way, Norway! expression I heard from other dancers who worked here previously, now I understand why. I don't know if it's just this club, but my customer told me yesterday they passed another club on the same street and he didn't even want to enter that one because the doormen were too rough looking. Our club is pretty OK though, but for me it has a strange and arrogant atmosphere that I don't like. Let's put it in this way, not the friendliest place I have worked.

I have problems with the apartment. 12 women together in a not so big flat. 12 women for 1 bathroom. It means you have no privacy even on the toilet. 12 women for 1 kitchen. I can not have my coffee there in relax. 12 women and 1 house key. That's really sucks. I'm staying in a room with a balcony, and every smoker walk through the room if they need a fag. Almost every time they wake me up, because they try to be as quiet as possible but outside they are talking or listening their music loudly. I have very disturbed sleeping since I'm here, no wonder why I'm getting more and more irritated at work. And some girls have no respect for others. One girl was on the top of my bed because she needed something from the top of the wardrobe and she was upset when I asked her not to step on my pillow when she's walking around barefoot in the flat. The other one was searching something for half an hour in plastic bags while I tried to sleep. Seriously I started to feel I'm the antisocial and deviant here because I don't talk loudly and I can close the door without making noise.

My only luck is that I'm sharing the room with a very nice Polish girl. Basically she's the only person I like here. We haven't met before but we worked in the same places. I remember on my last day in Macau I popped into my Polish manager and she told me there are 2 girls arrived from Poland and we just figured out she was one of them. I didn't work that night because I had an early flight next day and they didn't work because they just arrived from the airport. Same in Iceland, she just arrived a few days later after I left. And how lucky I am that we met here! I really feel if she's not with me, I would just give up and go home. Even the club has potentials to make money, my own mental health is worth more and I don't want to struggle on a place I don't feel good. I gave a few more days to myself to decide if I leave earlier, but for sure I don't come back here to work again. No way!

Monday, 16 March 2015

How I met my yakuza friend

Someone asked me what was the most unexpected thing for me during my staying in Japan. Well, I never thought I became a friend of a yakuza. We all hear the stories about them but get close to them is a different story. Even Japan is more and more open, their world is still closed from Westerners.
But let's start at the beginning. I was in Japan a year ago, in Yokohama. (There are other post about the work there, here I don't want to repeat myself.) He arrived to the club as a normal looking customer with a friend of his. He requested me and I didn't suspected anything beside he was a tough looking guy. We were chatting, joking and I was impressed because he spoke quite good English and we could hold an interesting conversation about Japanese culture, not the usual “Kiss me!” or “What colour is your panties?” We were talking about samurais and the old days of Japan.
On his shirt it was the top button open and I spotted the tattoo on his chest. That moment I knew he's a yakuza. Of course, little curious me, I asked him to show it! He showed me the photos of his fully tattooed back and sleeves on his phone, actually he didn't even try to hide his identity. Doesn't it exciting to hear all those stories and now I'm sitting with someone who hold the key to that secret world? As he told me, he doesn't give a s*** about foreigners's opinion, but of course he's not that open amongst Japanese people. I didn't want to interview him but I had lots of questions in my head. But after that night we didn't see each other soon.
I almost forget about him as the sakura arrived to Yokohama and I was keen on arrange a photoshooting with the cherryblossoms. It's a very exciting time in Japan, everyone goes to the parks watching the flowers. I was lucky to find a talented young photographer and we went to a park one afternoon to take the photos. We finished quite late and I asked him to escort me back to the club because I was still not familiar with the place and I didn't want to get lost and be late from work. It was everything fine, I arrived on time and I was still buzzing because I was sure the photos we took are excellent. But as it was expected, later my friend who was also my promoter in the club asked me:
“Mama san asks if you have a boyfriend!”
“Because one of your customer saw you with a guy afternoon..He called the manager (who was on her holiday in Thailand), she called Mama san and Mama san asked me and now I'm asking you who was that guy?”
Yeah, a guy with a suitcase, a camera and a huge tripod! I told her he's a photographer and we had a photoshoot. Of course I got a lesson that I shouldn't meet with young handsome Latino guys because my old Japanese customers don't want to request me after. But I had no idea who could have been the customer who saw me, or to be totally honest, I didn't care that much. (I think they knew but didn't want to tell.) Later on that night my yakuza friend came to the club and requested me. I immediately knew it was him. Such a coincidence, I haven't seen him maybe 2 weeks and all of the sudden he shows interest in me! Ah, some men are so simple! I told him the story about the photographer and a crazy customer who disturbed my manager on her holiday with such a stupid questions and I pretended to be upset about it. Until today he's saying it was not him but his friend :) Whatsoever, I was laughing on it.
After work he and his friend invited us for a breakfast. We went to a traditional Japanese place where you must sit on the floor. I was wearing a dress so I didn't really feel good about it. He noticed and took off his jacket, and covered my legs with it.
“Now you can sit comfortable!”
During breakfast I was secretly watching him. He's a yakuza but he behaves like a perfect gentleman! I was impressed.. Another day after work he took me to a park. We were sitting under hundreds of cherry trees (the whole scenery felt like we're sitting in a huge cloud of pink flowers) and he talked about what the cherry blossoms mean to the samurai spirit. It was so dreamy and I felt safe with him. I started to see him after on a regular base and I spent my days at his place. Obviously at work they didn't like it, long story short, they asked me to choose between him and my job. At work I was already stressed so without hesitating I told them:
“Ok, no problem, I book my ticket to home.”
Not because I was in love or I planned my future life with a yakuza (Well, I must think twice if I want to be with a guy who keeps a gun in his wardrobe..) but more about the principal they pushed me to the wall to decide. But I didn't regret my choice. After he offered me that I can stay in his place, so I stayed 2 more weeks in Japan and we visited several places around Yokohama. I think I've seen all the shrines of Kamakura, and trust me, there are a few there! (We were together 24/7 and two strong but different characters under the same roof, of course it led us to some fight. I told him it's like I got a ticket to an emotional roller coaster with him and it never stops. But about that I will write later.)
But most importantly we understood each other perfectly. I felt we're both on the periphery of the community, he's a yakuza, I'm a stripper, we're wearing the same kind of social stigmas. Until today we talk a lot on the phone.. And every time I complain about my current job or the girls I work with, he always offers his gun sent by DLR to me! :)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

'Cause I'm a gypsy

No, not being racist here against gypsies, but if Shakira can sing a song about being a gypsy so I can write about it, right? Someone told me that we, strippers are the gypsies of the modern world. And I must say I agree with that person. If you hear the word “gypsy” what other words come to your mind straight away? Let me help. Entertaining. Music. Dance. Thief. Magician. Travel. Bags. Free. Wild. Nomad. No agreement, no commitments. No rules.

Dancing and entertaining don't require further explanation I guess. As a negative aspect, some might think we also have a dark, criminal side and the dancing business linked to the underworld. I don't think I tell a big secret that you can't really open a strip club without knowing the local maffia or if not, sooner or later they will appear and introduce themselves to you. Once I worked in a club when the manager asked me to steal my drunk customer's credit card and then he can charge him more bottles of champagne – of course the most expensive one. He was very generous, he reminded me I also can get more money after this action. Luckily it happened my last days in that club, so I refused to help him make more business in that way, and I left with no trouble. But I can understand where this negative stigma is coming from. Sometimes we also need to develop some magic skills to disappear after our shift. Just like Houdini! I remember once I had a customer, a very nice man from Belgium. He was really a nice guy, until he started to get drunk and became aggressive and abusive. By the time when we finished work, he was screaming outside of the club, kicking the rubbish bins and making the possibly biggest noise around 4am in a residential area. Because he thought I will go home with him. (That time I've already learned the lesson not to promise such a thing like “I see you after work if you buy me a bottle of champagne”, but in his mind somehow it was a different case.) He was absolutely angry and nobody could make him calm. My manager tried to talk to him, no success. So one of my friend called a taxi for herself and for my safety she offered me to take me to my bus stop. It was like in an action movie.. She went forward, talked to the taxi driver who drove the car to the entrance as close as he could, she opened the door and when my manager waved with his hand that the guy doesn't pay attention – probably he was busy kicking the metal bins – I covered my head with my jacket, jumped into the car and we left. OK, Houdini could do better tricks, but I wished I could disappear and get out of the situation just as he could. So magic, yes, we also use it sometimes.. :)

And my favourite part is the travel. Sometimes I even leave my clothes in the suitcase, I don't see the point to put them in a wardrobe. I literally get dressed from my bag. I use to say that I don't have a home but I'm home everywhere I go. And it's true. After the second week I got use to the new place, the new environment and I start to feel I could stay even longer. But I don't stay. There is always a new place waiting for me to discover. And once you got the taste of this lifestyle, this kind of freedom, it's hard to give it up. So yes, I feel like a gypsy travelling from town to town, from country to country to entertain with my dance. Never stay long for one place, never settled down. And I make my own rules.

I remember when my yakuza friend asked me:

When do you stop this lifestyle? Taking risks?”

You know I think we are very similar in that. Probably never. Being free and taking risks is in our blood.”

Also common belief that gypsies were mining the gold just like strippers are golddiggers. Another common social stigma. Just as we trust no one. I could tell you stories about having trust issues mainly towards men. But that would be a whole new post here..

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Photoblog - Photos from Guadeloupe

I was happy to work with this talented photograper in Guadeloupe. If I have a chance, I would just go back and create some more amazing pictures with him!

More of his work here: www.gwadart.fr