AN INTERVIEW WITH AN UNAPOLOGETIC SUCCUBUS, OR STRIPPER.
This is an interview with Bambi, instagram @_cervix, who took the time to share her experience with sex work and stripping. I am absolutely honoured to feature her on Sex and roses. In reading this interview, please remember that sex work IS WORK, and in my opinion, sex workers are some of the sexual healers of our time. To take a quote from Women's Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston, "Rituals that involve sexuality, erotic energy and ecstatic states can seem shocking and blasphemous when viewed through western civilization's lens of profanity and shame..." Whereas in many ancient and/or sex positive cultures sex was sacred and often used in ritual and ceremony. She writes, "Erotic rituals were practiced to express reverence, heal sickness and ensure fertility. Sexual magic was used to create abundance and fruitfulness at the individual, tribal, and earthly levels..."
"It’s me Bambi talking to u from the comfort of ur cellular device ;) To preface this I would like to mention that I am a regular person who just so happens to dance, and before I started dancing I was a server and college student. Being classified as an "exotic dancer" is actually very ironic to me given how un-erotic the job actually is, there’s a lot of razor burn and bruises; The fabric our thongs are required to be made from would make any gynecologist squirm. Sexuality is a pretty wide spectrum but I consistently found myself leaning more towards the hypersexual side of things over time, and eventually my fixation became a means of income. I’m heavily inspired by lolita fantasias such as Valerie and her Week of Wonders, alienesque fashion dolls like those made by the Popovy sisters, and the big tiddy anime which has poisoned my mind! I like to think of things from an evolutionary standpoint sometimes in the sense that nothing is accidental; Some people are naturally able to sing or fix cars, and I like to imagine my ancestors as waif-like milkmaids who were good at getting what they wanted. It’s a strange thing that we do as strippers, I feel a genuine connection to so many historically powerful yet forgotten women such as Jezebel, Anne Boleyn, Mata Hari, etc. who all gained power through sexual manipulation since women didn’t have legitimate rights in that period of time. Every sex worker is different, but these are my experiences within the industry."
A still from Valerie and her Week of Wonders.
What was your first stripping experience and who was it for? (Yourself in your room, a partner, a best friend, or an audience…) How did it feel?
My first time stripping was at the strip club the night I got hired…...there weren’t any girls in yet since it was a bit early in the evening and the manager asked if I could help him out, so I put on this random pair of broken ass shoes he had given me and flopped my way through 15 minutes in the VIP. I remember pulling up in the parking lot and it’s me and my girl…..and we park…...and the only other car in the parking lot had this dude in it who waited for us to get out to walk up at the same time and he had…...not a single tooth. For a second there I really had my whole life flash before my eyes like maybe I should just apply at Cracker Barrel again…….but here we are.
How was your first night ever as a stripper? Nerve-racking? Exciting? Scary?
Terrifying! I thought I was fine since I could walk in my heels, but it turns out dancing in them without looking completely comical is a whole other story. Thankfully my best friend and I got into dancing together so I had her to hold onto and stumble around drunk with, but it is really a paradox when you’re trying to be sexy without looking too hard like you’re trying to be sexy but also have no clue whatsoever what you’re supposed to be doing. They don’t teach you anything and I didn’t have a pole at home or access to any pole classes since I was living in the mountains at the time, so I really just looked horrifying for about 6 months.
When did you realize you could make a living out of stripping?
After I put both my cats through college! Lmao I guess after a few months in, at first I was like cool money for school, but then I would be in class just covering my notes with martini glasses and men trapped inside huge platform heels and I was like who am I kidding! I am a toxic cocktail of daddy issues and whining I should follow my heart!
Walk me through your routine getting ready for work. What puts you in the perfect headspace to have a good shift?
I like to take a bath and take my sweet time shaving. I gotta have music on…..I’m more than likely smoking weed….I need a big glass of water while I do my makeup. I like to be very pink blushy….virginal. I have very teen queen oily skin so I like a balm type highlighter so it's not chalky. It’s the easiest to make money when I feel my best so making time to stretch and take my time makes a huge difference. Most of the time me and Scarlett alternate on who is excited to work and who wants to drive the car off a cliff, so I make sure to pick her up early if I’m the suicidal one that day. And if you don’t have time for all that, then tequila!
Has your safety been compromised because of the work you do?
100%. In the club you are always walking this tightrope of enticing a stranger sexually but not so much that they assault you. You are the centerpiece, you have to keep this person entertained sometimes for an hour at a time and that can go wrong. Drugs being slipped into drinks are a thing, being followed home, etc. There’s men and then there’s the small percentage of them that are Crazy Men and sometimes they are not who you’d expect.
What have you learned about men through your work?
That they’re stupid. Self-serving. Gross. The amount of unsolicited and rude advice I have been given is appalling, and assault is a hazard of the job unfortunately. But sometimes when you least expect it, someone will be so kind and sincere and heartwarming. Sometimes what men really need is someone to talk to, but since men are so rigidly upheld to be non-emotive they need some titties in their face while they talk so that they don’t feel gay.
What have you learned about women through your work?
Most of the time female customers are much worse than the men. They yell instead of tipping, they touch way more liberally than the men, they think compliments count as a tip. Every once in a while you get a super fun girl customer, but more often than not it’s girlfriends/ wives sitting on their dudes lap all night to make sure he doesn’t get a boner. I would say as a woman treat sex workers how you would anyone else in the working world; It’s always rude to ask how much money someone makes or what the worst thing that’s happened to them at work. If you’re a female customer don’t try dancing on the pole or on stage….just get hired like the rest of us!
An example of Big Tiddy Anime.
Has your job made you more or less comfortable with your sexuality?
I guess it provided me with an environment where I don’t have to be anything but what I am, at my core……. my truest thot self. It’s not that anything new has been introduced really but moreso that I have a way of channeling my talents into a tangible form. Before when I was in college it was a classroom and research environment and I’m not gonna be like throwing ass in the lab, but since I graduated it’s like I went full unapologetic succubus. Like I was a beanie baby and now I’m still a beanie baby…...but holding a tiny shotgun.
Is there a part of your job that you find particularly arousing or absolutely not?
I honestly turn myself on sometimes! I’ll be looking this ugly ass old man in the face giving him his fantasy and I’m like damn bitch u got me I wish I could fuck me too! More often than not though it’s me going in on a man’s lap and in my mind is just a really overweight hamster running on a wheel (as in he's seeing something sexy and in my head it's a complete blank, my brain is a hamster on a wheel).
I recently heard someone say that "Sex work is the only profession where women can maintain their femininity and find financial success," would you agree with this?
That is……..so dumb lmaoooooo I’m sorry! Sex work is not the only way a woman can be feminine, this seems a little antique to me to assign women a role like that. Women can do anything and retain their womanhood…...it’s not codependent on your income and I don’t think any job is more feminine than another.
Are you open and honest with your friends and family about what you do? If yes, are they supportive?
Oh totally, I tried to hide it for so long and it was so hard but then one day I was like you know what…...the rumors are true….I’m a slut. My mom at first was like No, not a slut :( And then now a few years later she’s like That’s my little slut :) It’s very cute she loves when I tell her all the dressing room drama now and I never thought she would be so accepting. This is definitely not the case for most people, and luckily for me only a few family members of mine have cut me off because of my job.*THIS HAS BEEN UPDATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIECE. I know a lot of sex workers who have had to find support from our community because their family wanted nothing to do with them.
Doll made by the Popovy sisters.
What do you wish people understood about sex work?
It’s not a get rich quick scheme…….it’s not easy money. When you hear sex work you think of Anna Nichole and caviar and like…..trash bags full of money but really it’s like…..having no benefits…...or consistent wages……..or rights. It’s very sparkly and exotic from the outside but the reality can be very cold, isolating, dangerous, sad. It’s not for the faint of heart.
What would you consider the correct protocol for frequenting a strip club and tipping a stripper?
Approach the stage, do not touch, enjoy yourself, tip at least $3. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be an excellent club customer! The other night a dude came in and got only two dances, but then tipped me the same amount as the dances which really made me feel cared for. My biggest pet peeve is a time waster, if you aren’t there to engage with the dancers go to the bar.
To you, what is the biggest perk of your job?
Being slutty to be honest :) I show up, I thot, I leave. I love being able to work with Scarlett, she’s my soulmate, and at any other job we would have to sneak behind our boss’ back to drink champagne and play tag.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Remembering that nothing is personal. Everyone has their own taste and that’s what keeps things interesting, but it can feel very scary when you aren’t having a good night and have to pay so much to the club to use their space. Sometimes girls will leave in debt to the club because we are independent contractors, we don’t get an hourly wage. Strippers pay to walk in the door, pay a cut of each dance to the club, pay a cut of all time sold to the club (around 30% average) and tip out all the hourly workers every night. On top of that, there’s not really a fair relationship between management and dancers so if you have an issue a lot of the time you can’t express it since they can just fire you.
How do you separate your performer self from your everyday self? Or do you not separate them?
At first she was my alter ego, my more adventurous and hyper-sexual side, but slowly over time we’ve blended together like a sort of meta-whore-phasis. I feel like it’s very chobits-esque where there’s the one chii whose shy and dumb as fuck but then her dark side becomes more and more present over time? That’s me...but like also naked.
Are there particular songs that move you to another level when stripping? If so, what are they?
I don’t like to move too fast, I need something kinda sweet but also suggestive. Ride by Lolo Zouai, Cyber Sex by Doja Cat, Perfect Exceeder by Mason n Princess Superstar, Deserve by Kris Wu, Best Friend by Junior is my fave for doubling w Scarlett, Slow it Down by Kim Petras. I still haven’t fulfilled my Erika Jayne xxpensive fantasy but know that’s coming! But please DJ’s…... for the love of god……….stop playing Imagine Dragons.
Has your work given you more or less confidence in everyday life?
I have become…..a monster lmao. If you aren’t paying me I do not care.
How does your work effect your dating life (if it does at all)?
It is…...so chaotic…...no one has a problem with it out the gate but then there’s all these tiny resentments that can build up but honestly it can be really fun because….I’m an aries :) My advice is if you don’t think you could handle it then just don’t! More often than not problems come up when I start seeing someone and they want me to tone it back….but I know deep down I am purebred slut royalty and I have no intention of not being that. My ideal partner is encouraging of me and my work…..not threatened. Because at the end of the day it’s a whole town of men paying for us to go on dates n shit like…..thanks boys!
What do you think brings someone to a strip club? Do you think strippers can act as sexual healers?
Boredom, inner turmoil, attempting to spice up a vanilla relationship (because that’ll totally work!). Strippers are really like……..therapists but also salesmen…..but also professional athletes…..ballerinas…….acrobats…….saints. God’s Chosen Few. It’s the holy trinity! Steaks! Beer! Boobs!
What is your relationship like with your co-workers?
It’s like a church youth group like there’s crying there’s giggling there’s butt plugs. It’s a high stress environment…...you see everyone’s very best and very worst. And it’s a common experience like…...entering this work force is a rite of passage it’s like an extreme hazing where we all can connect because we’ve all had a dude accidentally nut on us. That’s showbiz baby!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start stripping?
What works for others may not work for you, everyone has their own brand and their own appeal. You don’t need a pole class to start dancing, most of the time stage is about 5% of the job. If you’re going to ask for advice, offer to compensate the dancer since you are asking for hard earned information, and switch to baby wipes before your shift! Toilet paper glows ;)
Since the time we did this interview, Bambi has started an onlyfans account and has faced some challenges post-COVID madness. We had an open conversation about how sex workers have been affected and some of the harsher realities of being an erotic dancer. We both felt it important to share this private conversation with the readers of this blog:
Bambi: Since last time we talked I’ve had to cut off my whole family except my mom, because of my sex work. It’s just me and my mom but my mom isn’t really on board, you know? I love what I do really, wouldn’t want it any other way… But it’s very very lonely sometimes.
I admire what you do and how you do it, but I can imagine it’s very lonely... I believe women doing sex work should be honored.
Bambi: It really is a choice you can’t undo. Once it’s out there and you start everything changes. It’s very harsh, there are no safety nets for me right now. I don’t get paid leave, health insurance, etc… It’s very glamorised, yes, but also it is very draining and can make you feel hollow if you don’t take care of yourself. That’s why tons of strippers have to go back and forth to day jobs, because it can be too much and I don’t think people understand that… Everything portrayed is louis bags and rhinestones. And that’s just not it. It’s men peeing themselves drunk and smelling awful, assault, bad treatment all around, people don’t think of you as a person anymore.
No I don’t think that side of it gets talked about. Did you have an onlyfans before this COVID madness or did you make one to make up for lost income?
Bambi: I made one after, to deal.
It's ridiculous you don’t get health insurance or paid leave. It’s the same people making these policies that don’t protect sex workers, who are also benefiting so much from sex workers.
Bambi: Well it’s a trade off. Because you can apply to be an “employee” when you’re hired. But the club will keep most of your money, which isn’t the better of the two options.
Are you serious?
Bambi: Yes. It’s not what it seems being a dancer. And with the influx of so many women wanting to try because pole is popular right now, more and more girls are dancing and less customers are coming into the club… It’s a bit frustrating because the money isn’t what it used to be anymore.
I am so sorry, the system is seriously flawed.
Bambi: It’s okay women have always found ways to survive against the odds, we’re powerful. And the superior sex.
If you would like to support Bambi, or if you are someone who is watching porn to get through this time, consider contributing to Bambi's onlyfans, and supporting sex workers.