Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Working through Challenges v. Incompatibility

I was talking with a customer at work the other day, and surprise surprise, it comes up that he and his somewhat-of-an-ex and he have tried working with open/poly relationship structures and principles before.

After talking a little about their history (extreme jealousy on her end, preoccupation with school on his, possible cheating and boundary breaking on her end, unwillingness to have rules work both way on her end, etc.; and granted, I heard more about her indiscretions than his), his question for me essentially came down to this:

How do you know whether you and your partner can work through sticking points, or whether perhaps you are simply incompatible and should find a partner with whom you agree more on relationship issues?

When sitting with him, I was just as stumped as him. I really didn't know what to say.

After talking with J and sitting with it a bit more, I think I have some coherent feedback.

How compatible do you feel with your partner in other ways? How worth it does it feel to work through challenges? For instance, J and I are compatible 95% of the time, so working through our sticking points is worth it to both of us. And, we consider each other to be life partners (another indication that we both feel a high compatibility with one another). 

How important is your relationship structure to you? Is it extremely important that you have the option of sleeping with other people or dating other people? Or, are extra-dyadic sex and romantic relationships just the icing on your cake- can you take it or leave it? Knowing this may help you figure out where you can easily compromise and where you can't. If a specific relationship structure is highly important to you, and your partner has a very different idea and different needs, then you may simply be incompatible.

He also mentioned that his somewhat-of-an-ex was more focused on extra-dyadic sex, while he was desirous of other romantic and emotional relationships via the dating experience (sex was not the focus for him, or as important). He wondered aloud to me, are these differences indicative that he and his partner are incompatible or could their desires coexist? I told him then, and I still think, that I certainly know people in long-term relationships in this very situation and I think it is quite possible to have them coexist. The important thing, I think, is for each partner to recognize that they simply have different desires and needs and to respect one another. I also told him that I think unique challenges arise from this situation if both people have a difficult time relating to one another because they don't understand each other's needs. I think it also presents a situation where insecurities and instances of feeling threatened are more likely to come up.

More than anything, it was very clear that he and his somewhat-of-an-ex don't talk. For one, he didn't even know if they were broken up or not, because they have broken up so many times he can never tell when they are together or not. He didn't know when she started sleeping with a past partner, because she wouldn't be clear about it, so he didn't even really know if she had explicitly broken a boundary of their previously monogamous relationship. They had different ideas of disclosure, but they hadn't figured that out together through talking (he wanted her to offer information about encounters and relationships and she thought that he should ask about anything he wanted to know; the result was that he felt like he was prying and she felt like he was suspicious of her). Talking is a positive thing; not talking creates problems and makes them fester. (Obvious, I know.)

Does anyone else have advice for my friend?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Recent Posts I Dig

I ran across both of these blog posts/articles recently, and I wanted to share them! They are both brief, which I think makes them even more effective and helpful.

On Journals of a Polyamorous Triad, Simon posted this article: "Feelings Matter."

Favorite line (make sure to read it for context!):
"In effect, the practice of ethical communication becomes a license to do as they please without fear of accountability or being told no."

And, on DatingAdvice, I was pleasantly surprised to find this very straightforward article: "Why 'You Complete Me' is BS."

Favorite lines:
"So instead of looking for someone to complete, and for someone to complete you, be complete in and of yourself first.
When you bring your complete self to the relationship, instead of having the relationship or your partner define who you are, then you’re able to really recognize if you’re compatible with the person you’re with."

And another one: on Psychology Today, "Don't Wait for Desire: Reverse the Equation."

Favorite lines:
"If you wait until you feel horny to have sex, you may never have sex again! So, don’t wait to feel horny to engage in a sexual encounter. Instead, put it on your schedule and allow the sexual encounter itself to get you horny...
Just as it isn’t comfortable to put on the wrong size shoes, it isn’t going to work to rely on a model of desire that no longer fits your current life stage."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Threesomes & Moresomes

My next article for DA went live today: "The Secrets to Having a Good Threesome"

Here's an excerpt:

"Key factors to consider and questions to answer:

  • Who is OK to invite for group sex (friends, strangers, etc.)?
  • How will group sex impact the relationship among the people involved?
  • Is it OK if it happens again?
  • What are the sexual and emotional boundaries?
  • Can you manage jealousy, competitiveness and possessiveness to the extent that a threesome/moresome will be a fun and positive experience?
  • What are your safer sex practices for a group sex encounter?
  • What is the goal of the group sex encounter (fun, experimentation, closeness, love, etc.)?"
Check it out! :)

My next one for them will be on how to find people for group sex. Hot!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In the Words of Jen Sincero:

"The Joy of Sex with Chicks"
(from The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping With Chicks)

"1. When you're with another chick, the roles can switch back and forth in a much more equal and fluid way...
2. The way women women orgasm is so different from the way guys do. We don't need to stop and recharge before starting up again, so we can go on and on till the break of dawn without a time-out...
3. I found that every time I did something to her, I could imagine I was doing it to myself. So much so that I could practically feel it even if I wasn't touching myself at all. The combo of watching her get off and imagining exactly what it must feel like could bring me to orgasm.
4. Women's bodies are unbelievably soft! They're like the softest pillows in the world. This has made me totally understand why men go apeshit over us. It also made me aware of my own body's softness, and it made me feel incredibly sexy in a way I never had before.
5. Lastly, because we live in a society that has a large stick up its ass, also because my sexual hometown is Straightyville, sleeping with someone I wasn't 'supposed' to made me feel kind of kinky. This turned me on like nobody's business... (pxi-xiii)."

Mmm mmm mmm. All so, so true.

[1. I love being dominant with a woman. Like, really love it. I love being on top and giving a hand job and going down on her. I like grabbing her hair and pushing her back on the bed, and pulling her toward me. But, I also like letting her take over and letting me lay in ecstasy.
2. So true. It's so different with a woman! When do you stop? Sex can just go on and on in waves.
3. I feel like there is some deep level of understanding with a woman. I know what a pussy feels like and the general anatomy. I'm not as experienced with women, and I feel like sex can be a positive challenge, but the knowledge I have of what a pulsating pussy feels like turns me on when I feel hers.
4. God almighty, yes. Soft skin, hair that smells good, a deliciously fragrant pussy, shapely ass and tits, soft hands, soft face... Mmm.
5. The last point is not as true for me, but I do find myself getting turned on when I think about how same-sex isn't the norm for myself or for our society. The non-normative experience does something for me on some level. I feel like I am exploring and relishing a unique interaction, that only some people are able to experience.]

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What a Birthday Girl Gets...

Time and space to exercise, to feel my body move and sweat, my heart pumping and my lungs working, to feel alive
A birthday coffee with my lovely, lovely lady.... and some sweet kisses, too ;)

A beautiful 75 degree, sunny, clear day

Another weekly counseling session (for the ninth month! awesome!). Investing in my mental health is always a gift.

Meditation, laying in the sun, soaking up rays and happiness from the sky

A relaxing pedicure and manicure so that my calloused feet and hands and sore forearms and calves feel pampered

A delicious dinner out (mmm Mexican) with my amazing and wonderful primary partner, followed by a trip to the swingers' club to get tied up and fucked. Yes. Enough said. I am So Excited.

Maybe a lap dance from a guy at our gay male strip club. Yes PLEASE.

Here is my most recent favorite poem that I am using to celebrate my week and my day and my birthday:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any — lifted from the no
of all nothing — human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

— ee cummings

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adopting Poly Values: A Good Thing?

Today is Earth Day, and for some reason that reminded me of this article on Psychology Today by Deborah Anapol: "A Message in a Bottle." Alan at Poly in the News commented briefly about it a couple weeks ago (saying, "I can't agree with Deborah Anapol's argument...that the mainstreaming of poly ideas into conventional relationships only helps to perpetuate a failing, patriarchy-derived world."), and his comments inspired me to read her full article; overall, I agree with Alan.

Anapol finds no comfort in the idea of "mainstream" relationships benefiting from polyamorous or open relationship values. She sees "traditional" "monogamous" relationships coopting these values as a means of perpetuating a broken system of relationships and families. What she really wants is a complete break from the traditional system, and a completely new culutre around love, family, and relationships. She comments:

The ancient Chinese understood that the family is the building block of the culture. Hence it follows – change the family, change the culture. This was my reasoning anyway. But going from monogamous couples to non-monogamous couples preserves the structure of the family. As does polygamy. This is precisely why what was once considered sinful is now being promoted in some very strange places. I am not against families, but my life experience tells me that nothing less than a radical break with the past is what’s called for now, and I don’t believe creating a bigger comfort zone when what we need to do is step outside of our comfort zones, is going to get us out of our current dilemma before ecological disaster does us in.
[I think what must have been the link in my brain between Earth Day and her article is that last line that includes the phrase "ecological disaster." Also, I know I have read elsewhere about the link between ecological consciousness/awareness, sexuality, and relationships. There has been, in fact, a continuing conversation among some sex-positive folks in the area about "ecological sexuality." I think it is pretty fascinating to make a link among sexuality and relationships and the Earth's health. It makes a lot of sense to me that people ascribing to sacred sexuality, including paganism and other earth-based spiritualities, also find meaning in the polyamorous and open relationship philosophies, and vice versa.]

Anyway, I can understand where Anapol is coming from (when you have been at the forefront of the poly movement and have thus witnessed its mainstreaming and acceptance and awareness among a larger population, you probably feel a little tired of always being the "radical" and really just want radical change, and you may feel fearful that the movement you have worked so hard for is being undermined by traditional values of monogamy), but I also think that cultural values and norms change slowly. Maybe one day our culture around love and control and relationships and family will look radically different from today, but as things change, I don't see the harm in having "traditional" relationships benefit from the values inherent in open relationships. In fact, I can't really think of a better thing: my younger sister may want a monogamous relationship right now, but I know at least my conversations with her about my relationship have allowed her to make that choice consciously, and I am sure have allowed her to think more critically about her own needs and desires. What is wrong about more people thinking more consciously about what they want and then communicating with their partners (whether dating, friends with benefits, married, poly, etc)? I think it's better than unconsciously ascribing to societal norms about love, relationships, and family.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Repost: Rules & Expectations

I saw this post recently published on Journals of a Polyamorous Triad: "Poly 101: Rules and Expectations." I found his exercise and discussion pretty interesting and useful, so I wanted to re-post his questionnaire here:
"10 or 9 Absolutely Agree
8 or 7 Strongly Agree
6 or 5 Agree
4 or 3 Strongly Disagree
2 or 1 Absolutely Disagree 

Ready? Okay, answer honestly:

1. My partners should know where I am at all times, and, when to expect me home.

2. I am accountable to all of my partners for all of my sexual and romantic activities. They have a right and vested interest to know who, what, where, when, and why.

3. It is reasonable that all of my partners know my sexual risk factors. I encourage them to inquire about and suggest limits on my sexual activities.

4. Should I ask, it is unacceptable any of my partners to lie - or otherwise conceal any facts or details - about a date or romantic encounter. The same goes for me.

5. My partners can - at any time - request that I do not engage in specific sexual activities, and I will do my best to honor it.

6. My partners can - at any time - request that I do not date specific people or others, and I will do my best to honor it.

7. My partners can - at any time - request that more energy be paid to their dynamic with me, and I will do my best to honor it.

8. I am an adult. I am accountable for every decision I make. I will not allow any excuse (example: being drunk, horny, in a scene, got carried away, in NRE, in romantic love, etc.) to detract from taking responsibility for my actions at all times.

9. To the greatest extent possible, all of my partners deserve a say in my calendaring and scheduling.

10. I have obligations (family, financial, parental, spousal) that may at times take precedence over my romantic entanglements, and I will act upon them accordingly."

I really liked what he had to say later on about your score:

"The lower the score the more you likely value autonomy and freedom; the more likely you view rules as instruments of control and not as reasonable mutual expectation; the more likely you'll refuse outside accountability for your actions (expecting your partners to deal with their own emotional responses rather than considering how you contribute to those responses); the more likely you're to view broad descriptions "Ethical" in the same context as "Acceptable" or "Right", which isn't accurate but helps to justify your actions; the more likely you're to shift blame for relationship problems away from you and onto the back of somebody else; the more likely you're to make unilateral decisions as not to be confronted or told no.
The higher the score the more you likely value setting reasonable expectations; the more likely you view rules as tools for negotiating what you want; the more likely you accept outside accountability for your actions and promises; the more likely you're to consider the feelings of your partners when making independent decisions; the more likely you're to view contextual nuances of broad descriptions like "Ethical" (ie: it may have been ethical to provide advance notice on your intention to engage in a threesome, but, advance notice alone doesn't make it "right" if a partner asked you politely not to participate and you refused citing your "ethical and transparent" conduct as a license to do whatever you please); the more likely you're to make more consensus-based decisions with your partners, understanding and accepting that you may be confronted or told no."

J and I discussed the questionnaire, and J pointed out that the concept is very similar to Kathy Labriola's intimacy-autonomy scale that she discusses in her book Love in Abundance. I think he is right; I doubt someone would score high on one scale and low on another. I do think they are distinct, though, in that Kathy's scale is about intimacy within a relationship, whereas this questionnaire is getting at your willingness to accept external control on your behavior. Both definitely get touch on aspects of intimacy, disclosure, communication, autonomy, freedom, and control, but I think they do so in subtly different ways.

Unsurprisingly, my score on this questionnaire is between 70 and 80, and I put myself between a 7 and a 8 on Kathy's scale. J thinks he is similar, scoring somewhere between a 60 and 70 on this questionnaire and puts himself between a 6 and a 7 on Kathy's scale. Yet another helpful tool for talking about your relationship and figuring out how to negotiate boundaries that feel satisfying and good for you :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

No Expectations

Ever since I posted my Sexuality: Resting post, I have noticed something pretty unexpected: I no longer feel as "resting."

I think it something to do with expectations. I stopped feeling super sexual, so my expectations for sexual things went way down. I just wanted to move through my days and not have any goals for my sexuality or how I express it. Surprisingly, I found myself in situations where all of a sudden things felt easy and comfortable and exciting and fun. I felt like I got what I asked for: to be dropped into situations where I felt safe and comfortable, and things flowed in a positive direction.

We went to our swingers' club and I got tied up. It was really lovely to be half-naked again, in front of a bunch of strangers, relaxing into the rope and feeling the endorphin rush. I felt flirty and sexy. I loved it.

I went on my third date with a girl. And it was super fun and flirty and sexy. And we kissed and it was super hot. It is so nice to be in the presence of flirty, sexy, desirous feminine energy.

And then J and I met up with a couple from another town. I had no expectations, but I was excited to meet another woman who identified as queer; I don't think I have met any in the swinging community (plenty of bi women, but not any that identify as queer). It turned out to be a completely hot and amazing night. The group dynamic was super flow-y, sweet, and hot. Both people were fun and funny, sexy, communicative, thoughtful, and mellow. It was really nice to have such a positive group sex experience. And it took me totally by surprise, because I wasn't even expecting to have an experience like that. It was amazing for me to have the chance to be with a woman sexually- we were both into each other and the situation, and we gave ourselves the space to relish each other's bodies before it became group sex.

I think sometimes just letting things go- expectations, goals, preconceived ideas, feelings and "lessons" from past experiences- can mean allowing yourself to be completely open to the present, and open to having new and positive experiences. I found myself in a space where I didn't feel anxious at all (I haven't had that in a while in a group sex experience), and I was just in my zone. And it was because I let myself completely let go of past uncomfortable experiences and feelings, and focus on how much fun the present moment was.

Strippers- Independent Contractor v. Employee Update

So, I found out that Exotic Magazine will definitely not be publishing my response (go figure). The woman who wrote it talked to me, saying that the editor is not interested in publishing anything that goes against management since "so many" girls have been trying to ask for back-pay and various things. Whatevs. Instead, she encouraged me to post my response in the private Facebook group for strippers in the area. I did, and boy, what a conversation it sparked. It has been quite lively, and really refreshing to hear different and articulate thoughts on the subject. 

Here is the conversation to date, to just give you an idea of what is being said by a select group of women. (And of course, I removed names; I gave each person a number to keep it simple). The conversation about control, taxes, and the strip club market and industry is pretty fascinating to me (and disregard as much you can the drama/insults/overreactions):

  • 1: I disagree about the idea that we get free reign because we're independent contractors. We're still STRIPPER independent contractors- it's our industry, so we have to work within those confines. It'd be ridiculous to be a independent contractor dog walker but complain about having to work with animals, or work during the day or something. I mean, unless you own your own club, the situation has to be mutually beneficial. 
    I'm glad you touched on the tax thing that was brought up in Elle's article. The fact that some dancers think they don't have to pay taxes because they tip out had me furious. Wtf sense does that make? Tip outs are a cost of doing business, you can write them off if you want. Idk just... we're adults....just pay your fucking taxes. I need that theory explained to me.
    Tuesday at 8:56pm via mobile · Like · 2

  • 2:  A lot of the dancers I know, especially in the down months like we are currently experiencing, make so little that literally every dollar they make goes to paying their bills. On an average night at an average club you are tipping out roughly 10-30% of your earnings on house fees and employee tipouts (in my personal experience) this leaves you with 70-90% of the income you earned by getting naked and often times not in the best of circumstances. The government takes roughly 30-35% of that income as well. So now you have given away 40-65% of your nightly earnings. If you only made $100 (just an example) you pay your $35 in fees and an additional $35 to the govt (maybe you set this aside to pay quarterly taxes?) you are now going home with $30. This won't even pay your gym membership or your cell phone, or your gas to get to and from work. Yes everyone's experience isn't this way, and yes this is only an example, but it's how I see that women decide not to pay taxes, because really, after 5-6 hours of getting naked for rude customers (and staff) is it really worth $30?
    Tuesday at 10:53pm via mobile · Like · 6
  • 3: Thank you for very eloquently stating what I have been saying about the industry as of late, it's nice to hear someone else shares my opinions about this subject.
    Tuesday at 11:18pm · Like · 2
  • 4: The idea of workers comp and sick leave seems like a dream to me.. I was out a full month in november and am still struggling a lot even though i was doing well until then.. I myself would find it easier to pay a smaller amount of taxes throughout over a bigger sum eventually (which is a large part of why i havent filed mine, i really cant get enough money in one place)
    Yesterday at 1:21am via mobile · Like · 2
  • 5: It seems as though its not so much about girls not wanting to pay their taxes as much as its about the way dancers in Portland are treated like employees with out the benefits of being an employee. Of course there are rules that everyone has to abide by but charging girls a late fee or some other fee for some other ridiculous stipulation can and has been abusive. And yes, most of the clubs I have worked at in Portland whether it be for a man or a woman, have required me to conduct my self as an employee so much so that they belittle or insult you for knowing the difference between employee and contractor. It's been an issue in Portland since I started in 2003 but it seems as though it has gotten worse. No one likes being treated like a slave. I think we need to not be so defensive Kayla Van Allen when it comes to the whole tax thing. I am glad you pay your taxes. But I think your tone is insensitive to what the point of the original post was about which has more to do with the treatment of dancers in the work place.
    Yesterday at 10:23am via mobile · Unlike · 6
  • 1: But millions of people make just enough, after taxes, to pay their bills. It just sounds like excuses. Maybe I'm just pissy because I just paid my taxes, or maybe it's because I'm a closeted conservative. Who knows, maybe I'd see if I could get away with it if I was at another place in life. As it is, I have a mortgage I need to refinance & I sure as hell wouldn't be able to do that, or have my home in the first place, if I wasn't reporting.
    Yesterday at 11:07am via mobile · Like · 3
  • 6: HEEEEELLL YEAH! this is something that runs through my head on a consistent basis
  • 1: Also, my phone is being bananas & I meant to delete a few things that were me spouting off because I'm all "hormonal" but they are still coming up - so. There's that. I'm not really a crazy tax Nazi. ...I should do this on my laptop.
    Yesterday at 11:28am via mobile · Like · 3
  • 7:
    1, I didn't think you were over the top. I appreciate both sides and was glad to hear your well articulated opinion.
    Yesterday at 11:54am via mobile · Like · 1
  • 5: It may sound like excuses but most people don't get into this industry with the intention of it being a career. I worked many " normal" jobs and danced on the side not paying taxes or claiming that I had additional income. The fact is, most the girls in Portland make a measly wage. I know for a fact most if the girls barely make 300 on a really good shift. After tip out and fees its way less. I know many girls that disnt pay taxes starting out but have gone back and taken care of business once they realized the opportunities that where available to them. IE purchasing a car/home etc. I understand your point and that we should all be responsible for ourselves but I think that this forum needs to be less about judging and more about being proactive. If you believe all of us dancers should pay taxes then please provide something constructive like the contact info for your CPA.
    Yesterday at 12:38pm via mobile · Like
  • 8:  clubs in PDX definitely micro-manage you. I feel a lot better about being an independent contractor in other states where I have no set schedule, and once hired as long as I pay my (admittedly large) stage fee, no one is trying to critique my outfits/music choices/behavior. I could show up at 11PM, wear a mumu, dance to the worst music ever, and sit in the dressing room all night as long as they get that $60. PDX they want to take your money, AND tell you what to do all the time. If the manager can come in the dressing room and whine that I need to get on the floor and work harder, he needs to fucking PAY ME
    Yesterday at 5:11pm · Edited · Unlike · 4
  • 9:  I know i'm frivoling, but I'm so curious about what clubs are exerting control over hair, outfits, pubic hair, &c, because Portland has some of the most outrageously poorly groomed strippers I have ever seen. Or do you just mean strip clubs in general nationwide? Tbh of all the ways management flexes muscles, aesthetic guidelines bother me the least, as they make the most sense to me. That girl who used to wear a diaper at Hawthorne strip? She could have benefited from some sartorial strong-arming. 
    For the rest of it, I mean yeah, although I am strongly against being an employee, and I pay taxes so I may be in the minority here. Shawna, two other girls recommended a CPA earlier this week, I think I'm going to give her a try since my old accountant is sort of baffled and useless about dancer write offs.
    Yesterday at 5:11pm via mobile · Like · 5
  • 9: Also, I think V made this point on C's page weeks ago, but what do we think will happen to all the dancers who are barely squeaking by at all the little clubs that are hard hit right now? I mean do you think those clubs would start to pay 8/hr for however many girls work there? Or would those clubs/girls be out of a job?
    Yesterday at 5:12pm via mobile · Like
  • 8: ^^I think those clubs/girls would go down fast. There are definitely some cracked looking girls, so I dont know how effective the management it, but they are buzzing in your ear all the time. Ive worked at the following: [10 clubs named], and have had management at all of them criticize my weight, makeup, outfits, music selection, and work ethic after being hired. I just have not experienced the same treatment in other cities, they give you a tough audition but then leave you the fuck alone. 

    My favorite was X at Y being anal about making the schedule, having girls use different symbols on this complicated grid sheet for days you can't work, are ok with working, and really want to work. He wouldnt let you just call in the days you want, you had to DRIVE OUT THERE and fill out the sheet. He said it was because he had 100 girls on staff and that was the only way to run a club with that many girls. I had just come back from working in Vegas at a club with 800 girls on staff, and they hire you for certain shifts, then just let you WALK IN when you want, and it seemed to work BETTER than X's up everyones ass method. It just seemed totally ridiculous to me. and sums up what I hate about clubs in portland.
    Yesterday at 5:23pm · Like · 4
  • 7.  I would never want Employee status. I just want to be able to keep all my fucking money as an independent contractor, without the pressure of supplementing everyone's income. Without dancers these clubs are just bars. They need the dancers. Clubs just try to eye gouge because many of them haven't felt the legal pressure of having status enforced one way or the other. They really do try and have their cake and eat it too. And as far as micro managing, I felt Z was one of the offenders, A specifically, as far as my experience went.
    Yesterday at 5:23pm · Like · 5
  • 8: I agree 7 I too just want to keep all my independent contractor money, and be treated like one. Stage fees are as big of a bummer as micro-management.
    Yesterday at 5:25pm · Like · 3
  • 10: I'm glad you posted this here. You make a lot of excellent points, that I as a stripper and magazine contributor, have to avoid. Being neutral and 'professional' often means biting the bullet and keeping mum on tough issues.
    Yesterday at 5:38pm · Like · 4
  • 11: Our independent contractor tax rate is actually lower than 30%! I reported $25,000 for 2012 and my tax liability was about $6,000; the Hope education tax credit lowered it another $4,000. (I also wrote off about $1500 of costumes/waxing/etc) My state and federal tax liability for 2012 is $3,000. That is NOT a lot of money for a dancer, plus doing my taxes gave me some good ideas about what I CAN write off (photoshoots! advertising/promotion! travel!). For instance, you could TOTALLY WRITE OFF a trip to Vegas - the airfare, your hotel, and your licensing fees, as well as any and all advertising or promotional stuff you do, like starting a website or making business cards.
    21 hours ago · Like · 5
  • 11: It will make me sound like a bitch, but I would not be against a bunch of clubs closing. Many of those places are probably solvent only because dancer's fees and tip outs pay for staff and management, and when the dancers aren't making a living wage because of low traffic, that is some kind of cruel joke. Plus, having a high number of clubs lowers the value of all clubs. (The more of something there is, the less it's worth!)
    21 hours ago · Like · 8
  • 9:  I've heard the overhead for some clubs is only like 300 in sales a day. They can do that regardless of if the girls are making anything, and they do. I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion, but imo the best that can be said for dancers somehow getting employee status is that it would force these places to close.
    21 hours ago via mobile · Like · 3
  • 11: Dancers who aren't making money are both part of a market that is artificially depressed (significant proportion of hole-in-the-wall, low traffic clubs are financed by dancer income in form of fees; these clubs lower the value of the entire market) and actually helping to depress that market. One would normally expect strippers that are unable to make money due to lack of skill to exit the industry, but it appears they end up at low traffic clubs where they not only make less money, but also contribute to a sort of 'industry dampening' effect. If you are making less than a living wage (<$400/week), I suggest you do yourself (and the rest of us!) a favor and find a different job. That would be the real benefit of a minimum wage - it would force clubs that can't survive without dancer's tips/fees, much less pay wages or benefits, to close, and it would necessarily force some dancers to find alternative employment, thus increasing the remaining clubs'/dancers' incomes. I cannot imagine that a minimum wage for strippers is going to gain traction any time soon, though, so everybody's safe for now.
    20 hours ago · Like · 5
  • 1: Yes. I bit my tongue, but I feel the exact same way 11 And the truth of the matter is if clubs are going to have to bother with the accounting NIGHTMARE of putting a hundred or so dancers on payroll, dancers who would constantly be quitting or being fired to work at other clubs or leave or whatever, then you can bet they wouldn't bother hiring girls in the first place who don't make any money - girls who are relying on that minimum wage paycheck. So...be careful what you wish for.
    12 hours ago · Like · 2
  • 1: And they wouldn't offer health insurance or paid time off or any of that. Dancers don't work 40 hours a week.
    12 hours ago · Like
  • 2: Just because you aren't making a ton of money per shift doesn't mean you aren't working your hardest. We aren't all master hustlers, nor should every girl be, or there wouldn't be high-earning girls in the first place. Being a dancer is not just about making money ( though that aspect is nice!) it's also about being an entertainer, a therapist, a friend, a confidant, a comfort- being many things to many people. Just because you aren't earning top dollar doesn't mean you should be forced to leave the industry. I do my part by working hard and working few shifts so other ladies have a chance at earning money. Yes, I make very little, and yes it would be nice to make $400 a week. But I work 1 shift a week and I don't see anything wrong with that!
    12 hours ago via mobile · Like · 3
  • 1: I hear you. It does make a great part time job. I just tink employment would change the dynamic so drastically, clubs wouldn't hire a girl to work one day - Kwim?- just too much of a hassle & liability. And I'm saying that's a bad thing. Oh. And dancing is 100% about money for me lol. I'm not an artist or anything. But I know there are women who are in it for different reasons.
    12 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • 9: I'm so confused,2! Of course being a dancer is also about being a therapist, confidante, and whatever the fuck, but why would you think that shouldn't result in getting paid? Your time and energy have value! Those are all part of the job, emotional labour, and they deserve compensation. That's like trying to not pay a daycare worker because her job involves "playing with kids." It's still work.
    10 hours ago via mobile · Like · 3
  • 2: I wasn't saying you don't deserve money, I was saying its not ONLY about money. Thanks a lot, ladies. Now I officially feel like I suck even more at this job. From now on I guess I will keep my opinions to myself so I don't get attacked!
    9 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • 4:  Ive read through this and see no need to feel attacked, your points are just being questioned and debated which is what happens when people dissagree. I am all of those things you listed, they are very important to me AND i demand to make a fare wage, and i think you should too. No one said you suck at your job from what i can see.
    9 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • 4:  <400 a week makes sense if youre only working one shift, i know girls who work 5+ and dont make a full 400 and i think THAT is a problem.. Fuu i wish i could edit posts from my phone so im not multi posting.
    9 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2

  • 10: 2, You don't suck at your job, I've worked with you before. You aren't able to work the right shifts, because of your unforgiving conventional work schedule.
    5 hours ago · Like · 1
  • 10:
    The 'right shifts' meaning: more than one a week, at a desirable club.