American Women Turning to Adult Entertainment
As a bartender and trainer at a national restaurant chain, Rebecca Brown earned a couple thousand dollars in a really good week.
Now, as a dancer at Chicago’s Pink Monkey gentleman’s club, she makes almost that much in one good night.
The tough job market is prompting a growing number of women across the country to dance in strip clubs, appear in adult movies or pose for adult magazines like Hustler.
Employers across the adult entertainment industry say they’re seeing an influx of applications from women who, like Brown, are attracted by the promise of flexible schedules and fast cash. Many have college degrees and held white-collar jobs until the economy soured.
“You’re seeing a lot more beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things,” said Gus Poulos, general manager of New York City’s Sin City gentleman’s club. He said he got 85 responses in just one day to a recent job posting on Craigslist.
The transition to the nightclub scene isn’t always a smooth one – from learning to dance in 12-centimetre heels to dealing with the jeers of some customers. Some performers said they were initially so nervous that only alcohol could calm their nerves.
“It is like giving a speech, but instead of imagining everyone naked, you’re the one who’s naked,” Brown, 29, said.
Eva Stone, a 25-year-old dancer at the Pink Monkey, said dealing with occasional verbal abuse from patrons requires “a thick skin.”
Makers of adult films cautioned that women shouldn’t rush into the decision to make adult movies without considering the effect on their lives. “Once you decide to be an adult actress, it impacts your relationship with everyone,” said Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of adult film giant Vivid Entertainment Group. “Once you make an adult film, it never goes away.”
The women at the Pink Monkey say dancing at a strip club might not have been their first career choice, but they entered the business with their eyes wide open. The job gives them more control and flexibility than sitting in a cubicle, and “it’s easy, it’s fun and all of us girls … look out for each other,” Brown said.
In this economy, “desperate measures are becoming far more acceptable,” said Jonathan Alpert, a New York City-based psychotherapist who’s had clients who worked in adult entertainment.
For some, dancing is temporary, a way to pay for college loans or other bills. Others say they’ve found their niche.