Denver's done a fantastic job of making itself one of the most desirable places to live in the country--but that doesn't mean it's all bluebird skies, puppies playing in the park, and powder days. Scratch beneath the shiny, happy surface of the Mile High City, and you might be surprised what you find.
Take It All Off
Sophie, Stripper, Diamond Cabaret
Interview by Shari Caudron
I graduated from Smith College and was a junior high English teacher and Hollywood scriptwriter before becoming a stripper at age 30. I always wanted to dance. Plus, I’m a show-off.
Some of the girls feel shame about stripping. I don’t, although it did take me seven years to tell my parents. I didn’t want them to worry; my mom’s an Episcopal deacon.
I’m definitely not the typical stripper. Not only because of my education, but also because I’m drawn to guys where I feel some kind of connection—conversational, emotional, intellectual. It’s not just about the money. I wasn’t brought up to milk guys for their money.
Sure, the money’s good—a minimum of $200 an hour, and often much more. But you have to pay the club to work there and share tips with the DJ, the house mom, the door guy, the valet. You might make $1,200 a night but only walk out with $800. Ambitious dancers can make $2,000 a week. I work two or three nights a week, which is enough to support me.
A good dancer is someone you feel good around, someone who offers something more or different than you can get from your wife or girlfriend or right hand. Some dancers never take off their clothes completely, but it’s about your individual comfort level. I personally like taking off mine. I may let guys touch me, but I won’t put my hand down their pants.
On an average night, I drink two martinis and two other drinks. When you’re drinking, things become real. It’s an awesome boozy intimacy where guys say things they normally wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean the connection isn’t real. It’s a myth that strippers are thinking about laundry as they’re dancing. When I dance, I’m there. I’m fucking there.
Every night before work I try to do a meditation, a silent prayer that helps foster compassion in myself and others. Whenever I do that, I always have a good night. I make more money, have more fun, go home feeling good about myself.
I’m not married, but I’ve often asked myself, “Would I want my husband to go to strip clubs?” I would rather have my husband pay money to indulge his desires—and let’s face it, men do desire other women—someplace where there are bouncers and limits on the relationship.
I’m not sure how long I’ll be dancing, but a good night dancing is really awesome. Who wouldn’t want to spend the night canoodling with a cute guy who thinks you’re the most beautiful person in the world? But it might get taxing physically at some point.
What I’d like to tell people: Don’t ever dangle a dollar in front of a girl and say, “Work for it, baby.” That’s fucking insulting.