You’ve seen many a hot go-go boy dance, spin and entertain at your favorite night club or bar. But, have you ever wondered what it takes to be one? Have you ever thought – maybe after one too many cocktails – that you have the stuff to shake your booty and do it well? I was an exotic dancer in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years. Here’s what I learned in the course of being a gay stripper.
Keep It Clean
This is most important. Keep your adult parts looking clean and healthy. Smelling nice is also key. If you take your job seriously, you’ll be working out often. Don’t try to save time and skip your after-workout shower before performing. Good hygiene also includes keeping your g-strings, T-bars, jockstraps, thongs and socks clean. There are a few leather bars, where they might not mind the grime. But know your audience and don’t assume they want anything dirty – until you start dancing.
Dress to Express
There are tons of outfits to choose from, but a great stripper knows how to take their clothes off with style. In most cases, tear-away clothes or go-go shorts will suffice. Just make sure they’re tight and that they show your form. If you can, try to make sure the outfits match the style of music and the dance you’re doing. Remember, stripping is an art form (even though nowadays boys often come out in just a pair of short-shorts or sexy undies). And practice! Don’t assume it’s easy as taking your clothes off before bed. If you can’t do it with grace, seek out a burlesque class.
Wear the Right Shoes
Now, maybe I was a perfectionist, but I made sure my footwear matched my performance. I found a good, strong pair of black boots – like Doc Martens or combat boots – work really well with a variety of looks and costumes. Boots can carry you from a bathing suit or sexy underwear to a leather outfit. I also have a special place in my heart for the black boots. When I was dancing, I was gifted a pair of black stage boots by my fellow dancers after becoming part of the team. Above all else: don’t wear ratty sneakers. However, if you do wear sneakers or tennis shoes or running shoes – be careful. The skid resistant soles may trip you up when trying to slide across that stage.
Dance It Out
Dance – including as a stripper or go-go boy – is a performance. Though you are there for the crowd, they are there for you. Some dancers forget to perform for them and end up just dancing for themselves. Gyrate your hips in that banana hammock. Make that sweaty body flow like water. Remember that there are at least three cadences you can dance to: the singer, the bass and the rhythm. Find yours, and hit that damn beat, boy! Also, practice just the way you get to CArnegie Hall. It’s how you do any job well. If you don’t have one, invest in a full-length mirror. Then spend some time – like the song says – dancing with yourself. It allows you to practice your moves and reminds you not to make stupid faces while you’re doing it.
Your ability to connect with the audience while on stage is key. Look people in the eye. Smile. Remember to give their hungry (and dirty) minds something to remember. Become their fantasy. That’s what they’re there for – the mystery and the illusion. Seduce them with your eyes – they know it’s part of the fantasy. Become their “private dancer” – just like Miss Tina Turner taught us.
Grow Your Fan Base
Before you get on that stage and start pumping your package, go into the other gay clubs if you can. Make an appearance. Greet everybody. Introduce yourself, make conversation and socialize. People love to see their performers out and about. This is an ideal time to promote yourself. You might ask if regulars and newcomers are going to the club you’ll be dancing at later. I found getting involved in local organizations is a great way to give back to the community while still self-promoting. For me, it was the Imperial Sovereign Court System. As the one of the oldest LGBTQ organizations in the world, they do great work.
When you walk into your club, walk through the center of it. You own it, and – if you have any competition – you must outshine your rivals. The stage belongs to you. Own it! However, there is a fine line between ego and confidence. Be totally aware of yourself. Take pride in your abilities. But remember to be humble and be nice. That allows you to shine.
Mix It Up
Just because you strip doesn’t mean you have to walk around nearly naked all the time. Leave something to the imagination. Make them come see what you look without your clothes. I tended to go with classic menswear: button downs, slacks and added flair like suspenders. If your style is more jeans and tee shirts, consider dressing it up a bit with a blazer or jacket. Basically, save your working gear for the stage. However, you can break it out for events like Gay Pride and pageants – then it’s advertising.
Above All – Have Fun
If you’re just out there to make money and nothing else, people are going to catch on. Strippers and go-go boys like this tend not to last too long. Have fun on stage. Have fun with the crowds. and love the people who come to watch you dance. To paraphrase Memoirs of A Geisha: All the lights shine for you tonight.
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Last modified: October 25, 2019