Dig Baton Rouge

Topless

By Matt Bennett

In a world plagued by political correctness, one young woman has no problem correcting those who carefully identify her as an exotic dancer or an independent contractor.

“I’m a stripper,” she says. “It’s not offensive in the least bit; it’s just what I do.”

Meet, Sasha a 24-year-old, stripper, who performs nightly at an upscale club on a street where promoters advertise barely legal girls and preachers spread God’s word simultaneously. You guessed it, Bourbon Street – the beating heart of the Big Easy’s nightlife.

Talking with Sasha on a Sunday afternoon, her voice sounds noticeably but understandably tired. After all, she ended her long workday around the time most people were pouring their first cup of coffee–six in the morning.

“We pretty much all live like vampires,” says Sasha.

At the club she works at, some girls perform during the day, however the real money belongs to the night. And, after learning about the compensation, one can understand why thousands of women and men call stripping their profession.

“I wish I would’ve started this years ago,” says Sasha. “It took me a couple of months just to build up the arm, and back strength, and leg strength to be able to, like, climb up the pole.”

Still a rookie, Sasha can’t believe the athleticism some of the more experienced women working alongside her possess. She details one move in particular where one girl “is perpendicular with the pole, upside down, holding on with one hand, and another girl stands on top of her like she’s riding a surfboard while it’s spinning.” A spectacle customers night in and night out gladly empty their wallets and purses for.

While it certainly varies depending on where you work, at this particular club – which she declined to name – after dancing on the pole, Sasha pockets all of the cash customers put on the stage during her routine. For each lap dance, which lasts the length of one song, she keeps 25 of the 30 dollars the venue charges patrons. And for private room sessions, Sasha again takes a healthy percentage of the clients’ bill –on average $1,600 an hour. For that kind of money, one’s imagination can’t help but wonder what really goes on behind closed doors in those illustrious private rooms. Private rooms decked out with popcorn machines, bottles of champagne, and big screen TVs for the customers’ porn and blockbuster viewing pleasures.

“You have a lot more fun because there’s no cameras, but you keep it legal.” In other words, “no sex, nothing like that,” explains Sasha.

While she admits, “there are a lot of nasty clubs that are basically brothels,” she adds, “The law here is, if you serve alcohol, you have to keep bottoms on.”

Along with preconceived notions about private room escapades, stripping also carries with it a stigma of heavy drug usage; a claim Sasha adamantly denies.

“That stereotype is the minority of girls,” she said. “I don’t think I can name any girls that do drugs at the club, that I know of.” Sasha details how every night, without fail, customers repeatedly ask her if she can get them cocaine and when she tells them no, they get upset.

By this point, it’s becomes apparent; Sasha couldn’t care less if her decisions upset you.

“People look down on it, but if you ask any of us, it’s so empowering. People are looking at you; they are here to see you.”

Still, while her friends and family, including her mother, love and support her, obviously not all of society shares their sentiment. But, in true form, to all of her negative critiques out there reading this, Sasha says, “fuck off.”

“We have much bigger issues in the world to worry about than if some girl decides she wants to take her top off and have people come pay to see her.”

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