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The Tasteful Nude The Tasteful Nude

The Stripper Dating Diaries, Part 1

Hair and Makeup by Emma Parkes

Hair and Makeup by Emma Parkes

Welcome to The Tasteful Nude, in which stripper, comedian and writer Kasey Koop gives us an unvarnished and often hilarious look at life onstage and backstage in L.A.’s strip club scene. Check back every Thursday afternoon for more.

Dating as a stripper usually goes one of two ways: men are disinterested or very interested solely because of the position. It’s the Madonna/whore complex. Guys want you for sex or they don’t want you at all.

For a while, I listed “stripper” on my Tinder bio but never matched with the intellectual-looking sophisticates I’d right-swipe, so I removed the job title and quickly gained more matches. But this cornered me into awkwardly divulging my line of work during dates. What’s a single stripper to do? Because make no mistake: There’s no clocking off of being a stripper. You’re a stripper at work, at the mall and taking a dump. For me, the solution was to move much of my mingling to the strip club itself. It’s not the healthiest place to meet guys, but I had spent the last three years dating comics who were emotionally unavailable, critical and, worst of all, subs. Not having to “come out” as a stripper to dates seemed easier anyway.

So I settled on customers—like the three you’ll meet below—and in the process I learned that the romantic fantasy is best kept to the confines of the club.


TOP CHEF
I started dating my first strip club guy before I even entered that world. In fact, he helped me get the job! He was the head chef at a restaurant where I was doing trial shifts, and I was immediately drawn to his commanding yet soft Armenian demeanor. I got turned on when he gave me direction with the hyper-professionalism of someone trying too hard to mask unprofessional desires. We started sexting in no time: He’d describe the ropes and paddles he wanted to use on me, and I’d explain what Armenian food he’d have to cook in order to make that happen. (I’ll have sex for a good meal any day; the better the food, the freakier I’ll get.) When I told him I was considering dancing as a means to make more money, he replied that his best friend managed the club where I was looking to audition. Top Chef appeared to be just as excited as I was for my transition, noting that he spent ample time at this strip club. I name-dropped Chef to the club’s manager as Chef had name-dropped the manager to me, effectively completing the Los Angeles circle jerk.

As I got into the groove of stripping, my attention to Chef waned and I customer-zoned him. The chillness he had claimed to feel about me dancing turned into chilliness when he realized that spending time with me would cost him more than our usual dinner and drinks. That entanglement ended, but my immersion into stripping was only beginning.

ARMENIAN DADDY
The night I met a man I’ll call Armenian Daddy (apparently, my type is Armenian doms), I was wearing rose-colored glasses or, as other people refer to them, beer goggles. Being at the peak of my alcohol and sex addictions, I knew he was “the one” when he made it rain torrential downfalls of cash. Averse to being called “daddy” (he was three years my senior), he seemed fatherly compared to the 22-year-olds I usually crept on. With him, I felt that click you get semiannually when you meet someone you don’t have to explain yourself to. We eventually went out, bonding over our mutual affinity for whiskey, which was perfect: I was looking for the Blake to my Amy, forgetting that Amy died in the end.

A true strip club guy, Daddy was full of empty promises about taking me out somewhere fancy. To be fair, empty promises are a hallmark of the stripper persona. Our first interaction was discussing getting married during a lap dance, for god’s sake. The relationship was a boozy, seemingly endless transaction peppered with ironic moments like him making fun of my cramped apartment despite the fact that he still lived with his parents. This catastrophe came to a close when he couldn’t commit. I might’ve been a raging alcoholic but I’m an old-fashioned raging alcoholic; I needed commitment out of my self-destructing partner.

KEN
Ken didn’t belong in the strip club. That’s a nickname, by the way, derived from his resemblance to Barbie’s man. I saw him across the room, all blonde hair, blue eyes and smiles. A documentarian who had previously worked teaching special needs children, Ken was brought to the club by old college buddies playing catch-up. He was the kind of charmingly perfect you usually assign to serial killers. So I felt like a nervous middle schooler when he beelined it to me and asked for a lap dance.

At the time, I was newly sober and celibate and told him so, but he was so patient and sweet that I let him take me on cute oyster dates and text me long, thoughtful messages. I allowed him to present me with cookies he picked up on a trip to Canada. I even let him watch me do stand-up and kiss me. Meeting at work couldn’t taint the scenario too much, I thought; people met in worse setups all the time, like in rehab or on OkCupid.

Then his friend hijacked his phone to send me a video of Ken “joking” about wanting to date a stripper. It seemed that he couldn’t see who I was through the façade of my stripper persona. I was a fetish. The joker had become the punch line. I don’t think he meant to hurt or use me but I felt both.

Maybe being alone was better than meeting guys under the illusion of the nightlife, after all.


Find more installments of the Tasteful Nude here.

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