Like most exotic dancers, she makes a lot of money and gets to meet new people on a nightly basis, but more than anything else, the 22-yearold wife and mother sees herself as an unofficial, unlicensed sex therapist for couples young and old.
Honey requested only her stage name be used in this story to protect her identity.
But when shes dancing and performing acrobatic routines on the golden pole at The Trophy Room in south Oklahoma City, shes anything but private. Honey twists and turns her body in ways similar to a professional contortionist. She flashes big smiles to the crowd as her slender body complete with muscular biceps and thighs makes its way up and down the pole.
Dancing was natural as
soon as I got on stage, she said. I like to show off what I have for
entertainment purposes. Guys love it, and couples love it. It spices up
their sex life, and thats good. Im a big people-pleaser.
Honeys entry into the world of stripping took some time and practice, as well as a little prodding by her best friend.
one point, I thought about quitting, but he (her husband) encouraged me
to stay, she recalled. Now, Im here almost every night. I love it.
Dancing is something Ill always do no matter how old I get.
Valentines Day around the corner, Honey is prepping for some special
steamy performances sure to arouse regular customers and new ones.
remember last year, there were more couples than single guys, she
recalled during a recent interview at The Trophy Room. Its not unusual
to do a table dance for a couple. The woman will tell me to dance for
him, tease him and give him that fantasy experience. Then the guy will
turn around and tell me to do the same for his wife or girlfriend. It
can be a real sexy, intimate experience. Then, they go home and have
One memorable experience Honey recalled from last years Valentines Day involved an older couple in their 60s.
said they had tried everything on Valentines Day except a strip club.
During the entire time I was danc- ing, they were playful and happy to
try new things, she said with a grin. They were all over each other.
Lust, not love
For Jada and Dream, two dancers at Red Dog Saloon and Cafe, stripping is more about money than thing else.
But on the most romantic of all holidays, the two young women put on
special performances that leave couples excited and ready to go home,
Jada, who said shes bisexual, tries to please the women as much as the men.
me personally, I dont believe in love. I believe in lust, she said
and laughed. But I would like to have someone special to spend it
(Valentines Day) with.
For Dream, dancing is about the money, attention and exercise.
attention we get from the guys is good, and its a great workout when
we dance. The money is better than anywhere else we could work, she
Two of Dreams
reasons for dancing money and attention have been the subject of
numerous studies and reports, including the 2006 Motivations of Professional Strippers by Lisa Monchalin.
Onstage the stripper becomes the center of a small galaxy, a star surrounded by gazers, Monchalin wrote.
1996, author David Scotts research showed strippers use ego
gratification and power as alternate reasons for their line of work.
a dancer interviewed by Scott, said, When Im up onstage, its a
power trip. Its an ego trip and I play it for all its worth. I am
smart enough to recognize where the power is. When Im on the stage,
Im living the fantasy that I can control all these people in the room,
that theyre paying attention to everything that Im doing.
But monetary incentives still rank as the primary motivation for strip- ping.
a slow day, Jada and Dream said they will take home on average about
$120; and on a good night, they might clear as much as $500.
only difference between us and women who dont strip is the money. We
just have more to blow. I might spend $500 in one day, but I know Ill
get that back in the next day or two, Dream said.
Money is not an object.
At The Trophy Room, the financial compensation gets better with dancers averaging $300 to $400 a night during weekdays and $600 to $700 on weekends, Honey said.
National salary data from payscale.
com shows strippers earn an average of $47,536 a year with total pay ranging from $20,059 to a high end of $141,715.
Their customers, the dancers said, always are willing to pay for their dancing and time.
A lot of them want more than to watch you dance. They want your company, Honey said.
However, theres a line she wont cross. Im not going home with any of them, Honey said.
most of my regular customers know that, and they dont ask. I cant
count how many return customers I have who come in to see me.
Honeys comments are in line with a 2003 report in The Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture that suggests most exotic dancers work at clubs that cater to men and the male sexual fantasy.
The fantasy of casual sex with no plot lines fires the erotic imagination, the reports authors wrote.
For Honey, her personal love life has blossomed since she began entertaining a year ago.
I started dancing, I was insecure about my body. Now, I have people
telling me Im gorgeous. At home, I dance for him (her husband). Theres
more passion, romance, intimacy and were more patient, she said.
Now, a candle-lit dinner at home followed by dancing isnt out of the ordinary for Honey and her man.
I would never have done that if I hadnt been in this environment, she said.
During her interview with Oklahoma Gazette, Honey
showed off her bicep and thigh muscles. Prior to her new career, Honey
spent time as a stay-at-home mom and later worked in restaurants and
Nancy, now a waitress at Red Dog and a former stripper for 27 years, knows this industry can be a grind on personal love lives.
have to work harder at romance and intimacy because they (husbands and
boyfriends) dont trust you. They see you having to dance in front of
500 guys every night, she said.
Nancys former life as a stripper was, in part, a reason for two divorces.
got tired of the accusations. Its my job, and then I go home to my
family. It seems the older the guy is, the more stable things will be at
Although she quit dancing two months ago, Nancy, 42, has no regrets about her career choice.
started at 15 out in Arizona, so Ive been doing this a long time, she
said. Its totally different now. The girls dont respect the
customers. The guys actually miss the entertainment. Its not just
shaking your ass and spreading your legs. Sometimes theres not a whole
lot of dancing going on.
a 29-year-old bartender at The Trophy Room, has been in the industry
the last 11 years. Although she doesnt strip, she readily admits she
would like to. The beautiful, blonde bartender said life at a
gentlemens club is never boring.
to get bored? Theres plenty of excitement, drinks and you get to watch
naked girls all day. Its exotic and a thrill to be on that stage. Its
so wrong but so right, she said.
As a longtime employee at The Trophy Room, Ciji said dancers find work outside the industry and leave but usually return.
Its addicting, she said. Its almost like a drug.
At times, Ciji finds herself serving as counselor, friend, protector and mom to the young dancers.
I know more about those girls than I know about myself, she said.