As the Economy Goes Down, Exotic Dancing Goes Up

exotic dancerAt least one industry is thriving, hiring and paying really well. As more traditional job openings close, more and more women are finding gainful employment strutting their stuff in adult entertainment venues -- and some are finding that they're making more money than they did when they were fully dressed.

One young mother in Michigan who was laid off from her job in education had a hard time getting another job because she was told she was overqualified. Out of desperation, she took a job dancing at a strip club, and now, with tips, she usually clears more than $1,500 per night -- upwards of $60,000 per year, if she sticks with it.

-- See the average salary for an exotic dancer.

"Middle class, professional business women, housewives, women who have lost their jobs or been laid off and can not find work. They're coming in to us saying, 'I need a job,'" Catsman Enterprises Manager Nancy Vasko told an NBC News reporter.

Exotic dancing has become a big hit among suburban women as a form of exercise, if not as a way to make a living. There are pole dancing classes available in most cities across the United States, and websites like invite women to "Come gain the confidence to express your authentic self." directs women to pole dancing classes throughout the country, and they even have their own iPhone app.

But those classes are just for fun and fitness. When you're a professional exotic dancer, you have to slither and shimmy in scanty outfits while mostly drunk patrons ogle you and insert tips in uncomfortable places. There's also the smoke-filled, often unsanitary environment and late hours if you want to make the best tips.

There are also extreme emotional complications, in addition to the humiliation of telling family and friends what you actually do for a living. Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls--My Life in a Harem, dropped out of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts at age 17, and began stripping to pay the bills. She admits to having extremely low self esteem, and she sought validation in all the wrong places.

"You work way too hard and you make (awful) money and you're gonna ruin your knees," one of her colleagues told her when she first started exotic dancing, but she didn't listen. It wasn't much of a leap to go from that to working for an escort service, spending time in a foreign harem, and becoming involved in substance abuse. It took many invaluable years of her life to get away from that life and those vices (Read Jillian's Story).

"Exotic dancing is one way to make extra money and it's a valid choice," Lauren says. "But it's only one option. Some people get in and get out successfully as an emergency measure. It all depends on how deep you get into it and what kind of a foundation you have."

Next: True Tales from a Former Harem Girl >>

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Patrick Kadzie

If I had breasts i'd go make some money off em too. Not sure i wanna pole dance though.. Maybe be a breast model or somethin.. Yeah, i been outta work too long...

May 14 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Come on. Get real. I clicked on "No Degree Needed" expecting to search some jobs. And what do they have? Articles about pole dancers, nude models, and award show seat fillers. Oh yes, all jobs that are in great demand in the rural part of the country I live in.

May 14 2010 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Exotic dancing is the cousin of prostitution. The drugs,alcoholism will be part of your life. Speak to someone who has been in the industry for one year. It changes your whole life,for a moment for the better,for eternity changed. You believe you are in total control.You're wrong. I had magna cum laude friends whom got lost in a world that will distort your morals & dignity. If it is an absolute must to join this industry,gather the most funds you can but please have an exit date planned. Good Luck.

May 11 2010 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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