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WHY DID I BUY THIS BOOK
Reading one of my regular weekly magazines last week, there was a story from a girl who used to be a stripper. The story described how everybody has preconceived ideas about strippers and pole-dancers, which most of the time are not true, and also that they have their own little 'world' going on after dark, again, which people who aren't within this world don't know anything about. The article was to promote the girl's recently released biography all about this world, and the little teasers from the book, some to do with experiences she had and others to do with the punters she had sounded so interesting, I was just curious to know what this world was all about and instantly went online and bought the book. The promoting in the article definitely worked on me!
The author's name is Samantha Bailey. Now in her 30's and retired from stripping, she had decided to write a reveal all books about the world of stripping. Sam states that she wrote this book mainly because when people find out she used to be a stripper, they always ask the same three questions:
How did you get started?
What was it like?
So, she answers all three questions in depth throughout the book.
BASIC OUTLINE OF THE BOOK
The book instantly begins a few weeks before she actually became a stripper. I liked this as, when reading biographies, I sometimes get really bored at the beginning of books when people describe how their parents met, where they went to school and what their home life was like when it has nothing to do with the actual story they are telling. Sam describes her childhood in a few sentences to make clear that just because she was a stripper, she wasn't neglected or abused as a child, as some small minded people automatically think she would have been to make her step into this 'seedy' underworld. She was a normal girl, with a normal upbringing in a normal 9-5, minimum wage job in Next working beside her best friend. She described how she used to admire her Auntie, who she thought was the most beautiful woman in the world. She always had money and would spoil Sam and her siblings on a regular basis. She was glamorous and gorgeous and Sam had always wanted to be just like her. When Sam was 17, her older sister told Sam how her Auntie always had a lot of money, the most fashionable clothes and top of the range make-up and weaves...It was because she was a stripper. Sam became so curious that she spoke with her Auntie about it, and upon finding out how much fun it sounded, she asked if she could help her become a stripper. Her Auntie didn't encourage her in any way, Sam was curious and wanted to try it out, and as she was old enough at this point, her Auntie let her in on the world, and off Sam went, leaving her underpaid, boring job in Essex to the glamorous world of strip clubs.
I was gripped from the moment I opened the book as I really wanted to know more about this underworld. I, like most other people, had some pre-conceived ideas of what strip clubs are like. Don't get me wrong, of course there are girls who sleep with men for money, go against the rules and let men touch them and also get caught up in drugs, but from what Sam describes, it isn't because they are strippers, but a lot of the time, they aren't strong enough to cope within that environment, or it's their boyfriends from before they even became a dancer that makes them dance to fund his drug habits. I know people reading this will say obviously this girl will stick up for the 'profession' that she grew up in, but that's not what Sam does. She describes in detail all the dangerous aspects of this world and how much the legitimate strip clubs actually protect their dancers. Sam simply states that you need to be a strong character and a strong person to handle the strip club world; otherwise you will end up falling off the rails.
Sam describes different punters in detail, a lot being gangsters who go to strip clubs as these are one of only a few places where they can meet discreetly in the dark of night without being bugged, annoyed or having their conversation listened in on. Some of the people Sam describes, a lot of them being gangsters are really interesting. We don't think of classic old fashion East End gangsters existing anymore, all we see is wannabee teenagers stabbing people in the light of day THINKING they are gangsters when really they are cowards. The people who go to strip clubs at night are what you would call 'proper' gangsters, who keep themselves to themselves and do not bother you if you do not bother them. It is scary to think that they exist and are in there every night, but it is so fascinating reading what they are really like and what they get up to. There are the typical stag groups, businessmen and birthday parties you all expect in a strip club but it's the regulars and their stories that are a fascinating read.
Sam changes a lot of people's names, nicknames and the club names, as she says, she likes having kneecaps, therefore will not make it obvious who she is writing about. One place she doesn't change the name of is Stringfellows, which is one place we have all heard of. Reading about how the goings on in such a 5 star strip club compared to the small clubs she's worked in previously were again really interesting. She describes Peter Stringfellow and the kindest, most gentle person you will ever meet, yet at the time he was in the papers being portrayed as a sleazy old man. The regulars in his clubs are mainly celebrities who are Peter Stringfellows close friends. This chapter makes you realize just how unsleazy the man and his clubs truly are. Reading this book, it is clear that none of us know the truth about anything unless we actually get involved ourselves.
It's fascinating to read how much strip clubs protect their dancers and how many rules they have to follow. I really didn't think there was that much protection for the girls. They have so much security, that if a guy touches a girl anywhere they are immediately thrown out and not allowed back in the place. They have the bar staff looking out for them and surveying punters for who are the good guys and the bad guys. They also have what they call a House Mother who is just like a mother to the girls. This person has usually been a stripper and knows when something is up with a girl and is there to support her when she doesn't even think she needs it. Without a House Mother, the clubs and the girls fall apart, as Sam also describes the difference in a club with one and one without one. Usually, legitimate and the safest clubs to work in have a House Mother and if they don't then you couldn't trust working there, you don't feel safe.
Sam has been through some funny, crazy and scary things in there years as a stripper. She has come across some funny, crazy and scary guys also. Every page I finished made me want to read more and I more I really couldn't put the book down. The way she writes makes you so curious, each chapter ends on a 'cliff-hanger' making you want to read more and with every chapter you are not disappointed.
ALL IN ALL
If you are interested in true life books, I would really recommend this book, as it really does grip you and make you want to read on and on. If you are a prude then trust me you really need to stay away from it! The message in this book truly is to not judge a book by it's cover.
I got this off Amazon for £2.50 in used and new.