Whenever the weekend came around, it didn’t have to be said that I was going out. Just about every Friday or Saturday I was in some nightclub. In my mind, weekends were for partying. I felt like I needed to go out. No matter what I was going through, I
forgot about my problems when I partied. Instead of addressing my problems, I danced, partied, and drank them away. At least, that’s what I thought I was doing.
Weekdays weren’t off limits as I often partied during the week as well, even though I had to get up the next morning for work. The only time I didn’t go out was when I couldn’t find a babysitter. Partying became more important than spending time with my daughter. There were times when she was with a babysitter for three or four days at a time. At the time I didn’t realize how much time I was spending away from her.
Whenever I went out, I wanted to be one of the sexiest girls in the club. Most of the dresses I wore looked like they could have been shirts because of how short they were. I wore shorts that looked like underwear and crop tops to show off my stomach tattoo and my belly button piercing. I was obsessed with showing off my body. I’d once heard someone say, “If you’ve got it; flaunt it!” And, that was what I did, and because I posted pictures on social media every time I went out, I felt I had to buy a new outfit every weekend. Sometimes, I ignored household bills just to shop for a new dress or outfit I often wore only one time. Even during the winter, I wore short dresses. Although it was cold outside, it was hot inside the club, and it got even hotter once I started drinking. Sometimes my friends and I drank in the car on the way to the club so we’d already be warm in case the lines were long.
Inside the clubs, it was dark, and the music was blasting, the perfect atmosphere to lose myself and just have fun. My friends and I had a rule: We would never talk to any of the guys we met at the club. “What happens in the club, stays at the club,” we told each other. No matter how fine a man was, dancing with him was as far as we would go—no exchanging numbers and definitely no leaving with him. We knew our outfits were the only reason they wanted to talk to us. Ironically, we didn’t want to be bothered
with any man who would talk to a woman dressed the way we were. I broke that rule once. One night, we stood in line outside of the club for over an hour. While standing in line, I started conversing with a guy who was standing behind us. Our conversation continued once the guards let us into the club. The entire night, I only danced with him. My friends teased me calling him my prom date when he and I took pictures together. At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers, and I justified it by pointing out that we met in line, not inside the club. He turned out to be a very nice guy. I slept with him and continued a sexual relationship with him for a month or so before getting bored. He was too serious, wanting to settle down, and I wasn’t ready for that. I just wanted to have fun. I always reminded him where he met me, and that I was not ready to give that lifestyle up.
There were many nights I got so drunk that I didn’t remember driving home. I only remembered getting in my car and ending up at home. I got sick a few times, and each time I said I would never drink again, only to find myself drinking the following weekend. My friends and I got a wake-up call when one of our friends left the club alone one night and wrecked her car because she had been driving drunk. She hit a median and ended up on the opposite side of the road. Thankfully, there were no other cars around. She could have killed someone or gotten killed herself. She wrecked her car but only suffered minor injuries. After that happened, we all were more cautious. I still
drank but not as much when I knew I had to drive, especially when I had to drop people off.
I kept an overnight bag in my car because I had “friends” I could call on any given night to go visit after leaving the club.
“Whose son is going to get it tonight?” I’d say as I scrolled through the contacts in my phone. If one didn’t respond, another one would. Sometimes, I’d have them meet me at my house, but on most occasions, I went to them.
If it was a Saturday, I always made sure I left in time to run home and shower so I could make it to church on Sunday morning. As much as I needed to be in the club, I needed to be in church. Most times, the preacher seemed to be talking directly to me. I’d sit in church feeling sorry about the things I was doing and tell myself I was going to stop. But once I went out of those doors, the conviction was gone. Deep down, I wanted to live for God. I knew the things I was doing were wrong, but I couldn’t stop. I remember being in church once listening to the preacher and wondering if I was supposed to be ministering to people. I saw myself standing up in a church and speaking to the congregation. I laughed it off. That could never be me, I told myself.
Clubs weren’t the only place I went for a party. I went into people’s homes, and held what were known as passion parties. At these parties, I presented the adult novelty products I sold. The parties were for women, but I sometimes did couple’s parties so the
could come too. I hosted parties for many different types of women from stay-at-home moms to lawyers, reporters, doctors, and business owners. I was surprised at how many grown women didn’t know simple things about their bodies, things that girls typically learn in middle school, and I found myself doing a lot of teaching. Some people were single and looking for products to satisfy themselves, while others were in relationships or married and looking to spice things up with their mates. I had a website so people could buy online, but doing parties was how I made the most money.
At one point, business was so good I planned to open a physical store. I got as far as looking into buildings, wholesalers, and looking for business grants, but I kept asking myself if the store was something I truly wanted to invest in. I knew I could make a lot of money, but I also knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do forever. While I enjoyed it, I never actually felt proud of it. I knew it was a business I would never be able to talk about openly in certain settings, like church. When I told one of my friends this, she laughed and said church people would probably be my best customers. I knew what she meant, but I didn’t want a business I had to keep secret, or where people had to buy from me in secret. I continued doing parties and selling from my website, but I dropped my plans of opening a store.
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One day, I decided to become a stripper. I knew men loved strippers, and from what I heard, strippers made a lot of money. I used the excuse that I was only doing it for the money. Although I did need the money, it wasn’t the only reason. I had never told anyone, not even my best friend, but I had always wondered what it would be like to be a stripper. I thought they were sexy, and they were lucky to have a bunch of men after them. I wanted to be desired the same way. So, I told my friends I had no choice, and this was something I needed to do. They supported me and told me to just be careful. I visited a few strip clubs to see which one would be a good fit for me. The first one I went to was downtown, but it was too close to home. What if my father walked in? Not that he went to strip clubs, but this club was too close to where he lived. I visited another club right outside of D.C., but there were only two or three girls working at a time, and I didn’t want that type of attention. I visited a few different clubs before reaching out to one of my childhood friends who had been a stripper. She told me about a strip club right outside of D.C. I could check out. She said they would probably allow me to start right away, so I needed to be prepared.
I packed a washcloth and soap, some skimpy lingerie, and a bottle of alcohol. I knew I would need plenty to drink, because I was nervous. When I got to the club, I liked how they were set up. This is it, I thought. The club manager gave me an application to fill out and asked me to show her my outfits.
“I’ll allow you to wear this tonight, but you need to buy some
outfits like that,” she said pointing to one of the strippers.
“Okay, I didn’t know,” I told her handing her my application.
She walked me to the dressing room and told me to get dressed and come back out to audition. Audition?! I don’t even know how to dance. How am I going to audition? I was terrified, but I knew I would be fine once I had a drink.
The dressing room was filled with girls. Some looked very young, barely eighteen years old; some looked to be around my age, while others looked to be over thirty years old. There were many different shapes and sizes, and none of the girls seemed to have a problem being naked in front of the others. Of course, I got stares being the new girl, but a few of them were very friendly and showed me a spot in the corner I could claim. As soon as I sat down, I took out my alcohol and took a couple of shots.
“You gotta hide your drink. It’s no drinking or drugs allowed
in here,” a girl sitting across from me said while pointing to a sign
on the wall.
“Thanks.” I quickly put my bottle away.
“We all have some, but we keep it in our bags so the guard
won’t see it.”
“What’s your name?”
“No, your stripper name. What do you want people to call
“You gotta think of a name for when they introduce you,” another girl interjected.
I hadn’t really thought about it. “Just call me Chocolate.”
“Okay, Chocolate,” the first girl said, smiling.
I got dressed, took a couple more shots of my drink and felt the alcohol began to take its affect. I was ready to audition. I had to pick two songs to dance to, one slow and one fast. I gave them my song choices and went up on the stage. A few of the girls watched as I auditioned. The club had just opened, so a few guys had walked in and were also watching. I have never been a good dancer, but obviously, dancing skills were not what they were interested in. As long as you had a nice body and could shake your behind that was all that mattered.
“Go ahead and get to work,” the owner told me. I thanked him and ran back to the dressing room to take another shot of alcohol.
The alcohol had me so relaxed I wasn’t even nervous for my first dance. I was just relieved to find out we didn’t have to dance on stage. I knew there was no way I could dance on a pole. I had never even touched a pole, and those girls were upside down and
twirling all over it. I told myself I was just fine working the floor giving lap dances. Back in the dressing room, I noticed a lot of the girls were using wipes to freshen up. I went to the bathroom several times throughout the night with my washcloth and soap to freshen up.
By the end of the night, I was tired; my legs and feet hurt, and I had only made about $80 after paying my tip-out. The tipout was the money each stripper had to pay to the club at the end of the night. It was typically a set fee of $20, but if you got caught sitting down for too long or if you arrived late, you had to pay more. I was disappointed, but I told myself I just needed to work harder next time and not sit down as much. On that second night, I made a lot more money. I only sat down when I felt like I absolutely needed to.
After dancing at the club a few times, I started enjoying myself. At first, I only went some weekends when I felt like making some extra money, but the owner eventually became stricter with the rules. We could no longer just come and go whenever we felt like it. We had to make a schedule and stick to it or find another club. I tried working only two days a week, but we were required to work at least four. Weekends were mandatory for everyone because that was when it was the busiest. I knew the schedule would be too much for me, but I had gotten used to the extra money and didn’t want to give it up.
I was now working a full-time job during the day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I worked at the club two nights during the week from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Whenever I asked to leave early, I had to pay a higher tip-out. Some nights I just paid it because I was so exhausted. I wondered how some of those girls danced the entire night without getting tired, and then I realized stripping was their full-time job, so they slept all day. I came in from working on my
feet all day in a doctor’s office. In addition to the schedule, the owner had also become strict about wanting every girl to go on stage. Some of the girls had complained that they were the only ones going on stage, so the owner made it mandatory that every girl went on stage for at least two songs every night. Besides my audition, I had never been on
stage. So when I had to go up, I drank extra. I never did learn how to do tricks on the pole. There were classes on Wednesdays before the club opened, but I never went because I did not want to see that place any earlier than my scheduled shift. Going on stage meant making more money, but I was okay working the floor extra hard, just as long as I had my drink. I was carefree, and I felt more sexual when I was drunk. A lot of the girls got high, but I preferred to drink. The drinks relaxed me so I could dance. I often closed my eyes and pretended I was dancing for someone I was in love with. It was so much easier to do this with guys I was attracted to.
I was often asked if I ever did more than just dance for money, and by more, they meant sex. I was offended the first time a guy asked, but then I learned that some of the girls did do more than just dance, so they must have figured we all did. One night, this guy I danced for pulled out $500 and told me it was mine if I left with him. I said no thanks and kept dancing. There was no way I was going to risk being raped or killed by this guy. I’m sure he eventually found a girl to leave with him, but I didn’t stick around to find out.
I did meet a man who owned a website where men paid to watch women shower. He asked if I was interested, and after thinking about it for a few days, I decided I wanted to do it. Why not? I thought. I found his card and gave him a call. We scheduled a day for him to come to my place and film me. I knew he was legit as I had seen his website and knew he was who he said he was, but I had a male friend come over just in case. I felt better with him there. After about thirty minutes of filming, we were done. He gave me my money, and my video was posted on his site that night. It was a paid website, and only subscribers could see the videos, so I didn’t worry too much about people I knew finding out about it.
After a while, I began to wonder if the alcohol was causing me to get tired and hot so quickly. I had to stop and rest often. One night, I decided I wasn’t going to drink. I noticed I had much more energy, and I didn’t get hot as quickly either. The next night I drank as I usually did, and sure enough I got tired and hot very quickly. So, I cut back on the alcohol, sometimes only drinking at the beginning of the night, but there was something very different about working as a stripper while I was sober. I started to notice things I hadn’t noticed before. Some of the guys were calling us names, and I felt disrespected. When I was drinking, I was able to ignore being called the “B” word or a garden tool. But when I was sober, I didn’t like it at all. I even felt a hint of shame at one point. When I was drunk, I could be on stage completely naked, but when I was sober, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Then I started running into people I knew. For months, I hadn’t run into anyone and then all of a sudden, I was seeing someone I knew just about every week. I began worrying one of my patients would walk in. I feared running into one of them more than I feared running into anyone else. One night, one of my exes walked in, and my stomach felt like it had dropped to my feet. I panicked and ran back to the dressing room. I contemplated staying in there until he left, but then I thought, what if he stays all night! Besides, I would get in trouble for staying in the back too long, so I decided to act cool and approach him before he saw me first.
I walked out and sat in the chair next to him.
“Hey,” I said, “what are you doing here?”
As I expected, his eyes got big when he saw me.
Before he could ask, I told him I was only doing it for the money. He said he understood. We chatted for a few minutes, and then I went back to work. It was awkward when I got called on stage, and I had to dance with him watching. I’m sure if I’d had a drink, his being there wouldn’t have bothered me. But, I was trying this sober thing, so I didn’t have any alcohol in my bag. Shortly after that, I ran into a guy from my neighborhood
I had known since we were little kids. He actually became my best customer. Sometimes he paid me just to sit and talk with him. I begged him not to tell anyone, and he gave me his word he wouldn’t. But of course, he did. More and more people were finding out about my secret.
Working at the club was no longer exciting like it had been at first. I didn’t like being disrespected by some of the men. I seldom saw my daughter anymore. I was always tired, so I barely did anything outside of going to work and dancing at the club. The money was no longer worth what came with it. I realized it was time to quit. So one night, I just didn’t show up, and I never went back.
This was an excerpt from my book, “Pain, Promiscuity, Purpose: From Mess To Ministry”
Chapter 4, ‘From Partying in the Club to Working in the Club’. Full version available on Amazon:
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Love, Mizz K ♥