Dancing Queens

Navigating six inch heels on stage with smoke in your face takes practice. Sporting a smile while dancing to Me So Horny in those heels takes a cocktail.

In the ten years I worked as an exotic dancer, one of the unique challenges I faced was pretending to like certain types of music. Like suffering through a bad date, you realize something isn't your taste but you smile politely and muddle through.

A typical Saturday night set on the main stage was shared with three other women, each providing the DJ with very specific song requests. I was always the Enigma or Nine Inch Nails Girl with an occasional PJ Harvey thrown in for good measure. Pair that up with the Bel Biv Devoe and Naughty by Nature Dancers and let the muddling ensue. It's not that I didn't appreciate a little Ice Cube with my INXS; I just didn't feel sexy dancing on stage to it. I always felt like an extra on MTV's Beach House.

My personal taste in music was a bit more edgy and alternative than what was played on mainstream radio. In classic narcissistic fashion, I took full credit for introducing the local masses to PJ Harvey's Down by the Water. The song made absolutely no sense to me, but it made me feel sexy as hell. My style on stage was very Bob Fosse inspired, so the percussions were the perfect backdrop for the wanna-be Solid Gold dancer in me. When I was eleven, I was obsessed with the movie All That Jazz. Go figure.

You may be surprised to learn that strippers actually cared about what music they danced to. I can't speak for exotic dancers today, but back in my day (it's official, I'm old) most us gals actually danced. Don't get me wrong; the American Ballet Theatre wasn't banging down the door, but there were performances, and some of them were downright amazing. I used to sit in awe with my 21 year-old eyes popping in wonder at such beautiful women and their talent. A couple, more seasoned gals in their late 20's come to mind.

There was Gretta, a petite but solid blonde woman who walked on stage donning an old-granny mask, baggy clothes and a cane while The Beach Boys Little Old Lady From Pasadena sang in the air. The audience would cheer in excitement mid-song as Gretta peeled off her mask revealing her stunning face. Cheering continued as the body of a goddess emerged from the baggy clothes and the money would literally fly on the stage as the men stood in awe. Gretta was the embodiment of classic blonde beauty and top notch physique. Think; Brigitte Bardot meets Jessica Biel.

Loretta, a raven haired vixen from the island of Kauai, was another showstopper; a feature dancer performing just a couple times a year. Buzz in the air about her arrival equated to the club filled to capacity. I don't know if Loretta invented chair show choreography, but she sure did master it. I remember being star-struck by this exotic beauty who loved her Cannabis and was never shy about it. If the smell of a burning joint bothered you, you knew not to hang out in the dressing room when Loretta was in town. Each time I watched her show, I was mesmerized. In addition to Loretta's flawless, ivory skin and thick wavy hair (think Dita Von Teese) her oversized tattoo on her left thigh kept my gaze. I remember thinking only someone really hot could get away with a tattoo that large on your thigh. I don't even remember what her tatoo was, but she made it work. Not too many women could pull off Goddess with half their leg marked in ink.

One night in a local bar, some random guy came up to me asking if I had a large tattoo on my left thigh. I almost kissed him. Self-esteem and stripping do not go hand-in-hand and being mistaken for Loretta was one of the best compliments I ever received.

Gretta and Loretta were just a two of the many women throughout the years that helped my inner Goddess emerge purely by inspiration. Thanks ladies. Wherever you are.