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Controlling Your Emotions

A woman in a pink shirt expressing emotion

Controlling your emotions is one of the main skills that will make you successful in this industry. It's a tough job, and you will deal with a lot of challenging people. Some people are hard to figure out, some are manipulators, some have personality disorders, some are predators, some are abusers, and some are just odd. And all of that is your problem, not their problem.

Your job is catering to people's needs and desires. To do that you have to constantly be checking your emotions. If a customer is rude and verbally abusive to you you may have to check your anger and wait to get past the wall of abuse to get paid. Or if another customer is weird and gives you an odd vibe that makes you uncomfortable, you may hold in that uncomfortable feeling to entertain a fantasy that's not yours.

This job is an emotional rollercoaster that you have to be prepared for. When you're managing a variety of personalities every day and are responsible for performing emotional labor constantly it will drain and affect you. All that sucks, so what's the light at the end of the tunnel for you?

It gets easier with practice and you will make more money and gain a social skill. You will learn to not take things personally. You will learn how to manage challenging people. You will learn how to protect your energy and nourish yourself after being depleted. You will become more skilled at navigating this industry and the challenges that come with it.


Yesterday a very challenging customer came in right as I was getting ready to leave. I had never seen him before, but from the way all the male employees circled him, greeted him, and began catering to him I could tell that he was a big spender. I was on stage doing my last set while noticing all this happening. He sees me, says "HER!" and comes up to start tipping me with 20s. I can immediately tell from the way he's acting that he's going to be a problem.

He's loud, he's rude, he's arrogant, he dangles promises of more money, and he starts demanding everybody's attention. Basically, a complete narcissist. He stuffs all the 20s into my outfit and then tells- not asks- me that I will be spending the rest of the night there with him and no one else. So, when I get off stage I go straight to his table and sit down he puts 5 more 20s in my outfit. I'm watching him, reading him, and anticipating the problems I know he will cause after a few more drinks. His personality is so obnoxious and disgusting I think there is no way this guy is a real person, this has to be a joke? But he continues.

"What do Christmas cookies and Party Girls have in common?" He asks.

"What?" I ask, pretending to be amused.

"Nobody wants them after 25! Hahahaha!" He chuckles while blowing cigarette smoke around me.

This is where the rules of our industry come in. This world is not real life. It is an arena in which you earn fast money by putting up with this shit. He wants a reaction out of me. He craves attention and his negativity is a way of getting it. He wants to dangle money in front of people's faces and watch them jump.

So what do you do? Take the moral high ground and tell him that he's disgusting? Are you angry with him for being so obnoxious? Decide you just can't do this job anymore because you encounter people like him?

Hell no.

You sit back, laugh, and let him live in whatever world he wants to live in for the night and get paid. That's being an entertainer.

The night is not about you or how you feel, you're providing an entertainment service in exchange for money. It's business. Your business is making people happy.

Attitude Adjustment Tips:

  • If you absolutely cannot handle a customer's behavior for whichever reason, then remove yourself from the situation. Getting angry and starting an argument with them is something that all your coworkers and customers will witness and remember and it will negatively affect your business.

  • If there is a designated break area (dressing room, outside patio, etc) then go take a 15-minute break away from performing and interacting with people. Eat a snack, text your friends, drink some water, and do nothing.

  • Stay sober. Alcohol loosens the ability to control your behavior.

  • Create a "refresh" station out of your locker. Stock it with a toothbrush, wipes, makeup, dry shampoo, deodorant, light perfume, snacks, water- whatever makes you happy. Put your favorite motivational quote front and center. Put a crystal in there for good luck. Sometimes taking 5 minutes to take care of yourself can dissolve the tension you built up over the day.

  • Keep a stress ball in your purse for when the shift gets too overwhelming.

  • There will be a handful of days when it is better to leave than persevere. I am a firm believer in pushing yourself to reach bigger and bigger goals. But sometimes, when you're done you're just done. Know yourself and trust yourself enough to push yourself when you can but know intuitively when you should leave the shift and try again another day with a clean slate.

  • Have a letting-go routine when you get into your car. As you drive away, leave that world behind and make the emotional transition from the fake life to your real life. Put your chill playlist on (I like lo-fi). Some people prefer silence after being immersed in the booming club music all day. Slip on your sweatshirt or comfy shoes.

  • The same technique applies to entering the club too, and transitioning into your warrior-stripper-entertainer mindset. For me, I make the emotional transition when I put on my club makeup. It's a whole process to transform myself mentally and physically into a Showgirl. Makeup, hair, perfume, jewelry, and positive energy ready to engage, uplift, and cater to my customers.

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