That very first shift is torture. I work out hard and regularly, and it even kicked my ass. Balancing and walking in eight inch heels for six hours is the first part of the pain. Not to mention doing energetic stage routines, dropping it low over and over, flexing and holding yourself over an awkward man in a tiny chair while trying to look effortless. It’s a massive leg and ass work out. I was walking like an idiot for days after my first night.
Your arms get sore too. When I dance, especially for a guy in a chair as opposed to the couch, it’s all about upper body strength. Trying to appear weightless is quite a trick.
Oh but the stages, they hurt your knees so badly you won’t even want to walk for a week after. The floors are normally linoleum. I do a lot of floor work, so about half of my stage routines are crawling around the floor or on my knees. You come out with your knees completely covered with black bruises and burns from sliding around on the tile. After a while your knees get used to the abuse and the bruises fade, callouses form, but inside they always hurt. Five years of dancing and I can feel the fluid rushing around my joints. On bad nights I wear thigh highs so I can wear knee wraps under them.
The stage bruises your whole body. I have a move where I do a backwards somersault to remove my panties and I wake up the next morning to bruises dotting my spine.
That’s not even the worst of it. Stripping is killer on your nipples and skin. You get beard rash from motor boating guys. Your delicate skin gets sore and scratchy. Your nipples get raw from your constant toying with them to keep them hard, more raw from rubbing down men’s rough jeans and beards. It’s awful. I have to wear vasoline on them for a week after dancing to make it better. Again, you get used to it. Your nipples get tougher.
But the very worst is pole tricks. Everyone’s amazed at the strength and agility it takes to do them, but the most impressive part is that they’re extremely painful. You use the top of your foot (and the strap of your shoe) to grip it and climb up. Your feet are bony, and they’re supporting your entire body weight. The bruises this causes are nasty and painful. I always wear boots for a little more protection and grip.
Then, when you’re actually doing tricks you realize that you use your skin to hold the pole. You get bruises and tiny tears. I do a trick where I basically backflip onto the pole and hold it with my shoulder, and my collar bone has a permanent bump on it. Another hold I do twists my arm so it feels like my radius is breaking, and the pain stays with you for weeks.
Hey, no one said stripping was easy. It’s intense.
But you get used to the pain. Your body gets tougher and more resilient.
You can do more pole tricks, dance for more hours.
It’s empowering and amazing to master your body like that, and worth every bruise and hurt.