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License to Strip in California: Wacky Rules

Pacific Beach, California- Sunday writes: Living in Pacific Beach, CA and very unsatisfied with my job at Von’s, one day my girlfriend Jasmine suggested that I come visit her at The Body Shop, a strip club on Midway Drive where she works. The idea of ever even entering a strip club much less applying for a job there was for the most part simply out of the question.

But, as a courtesy to my well-meaning friend, I decided to go check it out. As I walked thru the front door, there were maybe about ten girls walking around the floor, while one girl was dancing on the center stage. She didn’t have any clothes on—no top, no G-string, not even a Band-Aid. As much as I had previously drilled Jasmine about her work out of curiosity, I had somehow managed to miss this one detail.

I must not have caught that small, insignificant fact. It hadn’t even occurred to me to ask her what the dancers wore while on stage or just maybe, Jasmine had just forgotten to tell me. The girl on the stage was dancing to the Door’s classic hit, “Light My Fire.” She was completely naked. She was doing splits and flips. She was abusing the stripper pole like she’d grown up with it.

She was such a good dancer that after the initial shock wore off, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. After she finished her set and collected her tips, she walked right over to where I was sitting and introduced herself as Cherry; then she welcomed me to the club. She told me that Jasmine was in the back room and said she’d go tell her that I was out here.

I watched Jasmine dance; she was just amazing. Most of the other girls were good performers; they could move and dance pretty well and lots of dollar bills were flying around. Jasmine introduced me to the manager. Then she gave me the tour of the place. As I was saying good-bye to the other girls and about to leave, one customer asked me when I was going up on stage. I told him I didn’t work there, but he replied “I don’t see why not, you are really beautiful and I know you would make a lot of money.”

I walked out of the Body Shop with a smile on my face thinking to myself that possibly working here did not seem as out of the question as I originally thought. Going to see Jasmine dance was certainly a unique experience for me. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun there. I had once heard somebody say that people change their minds about different things at any given moment and I guess this was one of those moments, because as I walked out the door, I actually found myself considering the possibility of auditioning to become an exotic dancer.

A couple of days later, I met Jasmine at the beach, and we had lunch at a restaurant called The Cove of La Jolla. We were seated up high on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. I asked Jasmine about the little part of her work that she forgot to tell me about: having to get totally naked. She looked surprised and thought for a moment and insisted that she had mentioned it to me. Then Jasmine told me that to work in most strip clubs in California, one has to have a license.

“There are basically two kinds of strip clubs,” she explained. “The first requires you to be at least eighteen years old and does not serve alcohol. For some dumb reason that I’ve never been able to figure out, dancers in those clubs are allowed to go completely nude. I guess some idiot who got to make up laws a long time ago figured that, if no alcohol was being served, it would be okay for eighteen-year-old girls to dance around in a club naked.” “That’s pretty lame,” I said. “I mean how hard can it be, if you really want to drink there, to just bring your own little bottle and put alcohol in your Coca-Cola when nobody’s looking?” She laughed. “That’s exactly what a lot of the guys do.”

Jasmine told me that the second kind of club is the one where you have to be at least twenty-one. In these strip, or the more appropriate word would be topless clubs, alcohol is served. Another bright light bulb of a law is that, in a strip club that serves alcohol, the girls are allowed to only take off their tops. Now, just how stupid is that? If a guy wants to go into a strip club and watch girls dancing on stage without a top on, he goes to a topless club. He can have a drink or two, whatever amount he wants.

But if he wants to see an eighteen-year-old girl, he has to go to the club down the street that doesn’t serve alcohol, and he can see her nude. I’m not the brightest star in the sky, but what kind of sense does that make? Jazz, as I often called her, also told me that the license in California is called a ‘nude entertainer’s license.’ The only way any girl can get this license, she explained, was to go to the local police department.

“Not too many clubs will let you dance if you don’t have a license,” she said. “You’re going to have to bounce around from one spot to another to get it, though. First, you’ll have to go get photographs—then you’ll have to go to another department, to get fingerprinted, then its back to the main office for a mini – interview, a background check, and warrant check. If that wasn’t enough, she added, this was going to cost me around two hundred dollars, and that was just for the license. I was sure that I could handle whatever it took to get a license.

The big day finally arrived. I had called down to the club a couple of days before and asked if I could come in for an interview. “Come in on Thursday around four o’clock,” the manager had said. Was I a little nervous? You bet I was. I wasn’t exactly going for an interview to be a cashier at In-N-Out Burger. I hadn’t even stepped out of the condo, and already I had butterflies in my stomach. First I had to decide what to wear.

Undecided, I thought I would just go for the girl next door (on the sexy side) look. That was basically me anyway. What I mean is, even in high school, there were a lot of guys and even some girls that used to tell me how beautiful they thought I was. Since I personally always thought I looked all right, kind of cute even, but not a stunner, I was always pleased when someone used the word beautiful.

At five foot six and weighing in at a hundred fifteen and with my long, strawberry blond, naturally sun-streaked hair and hazel eyes that changed color in the light, I knew I had something. Plus, I was blessed with curves in all the right places, so yes; I guess I did look good. I started with four-inch heels. Then I went with a little miniskirt, which was not all that mini compared to some of the one’s I’ve seen these days, and a nice, little tank top. I added a purse to match my shoes and a cute little shell necklace with earrings to match, and I was good to go.

I got down to the club on time, and one of the girls came right over and said, “Welcome to the Body Shop.” About then, the manager walked up and asked me to come into his office. I sat down on the chair in front of his desk. He asked to see my ID and social security card. I think he glanced at them for about four seconds. It took him another minute to write down my information on a work sheet. The rest of the time, as he talked to me, he couldn’t take his eyes off my chest, which was funny. He said to come on in the following night for a tryout on stage, just to see how I felt up there and if I could dance. I knew at that moment that I was going to get hired to work as a stripper in one of the most well-known clubs in Southern California.

Now it was Friday night in the big city, and I was supposed to go on stage and get totally naked in front of how many people? I was quite sure, being that it was the beginning of the weekend, that there would be quite a few guys there. These guys can be really appreciative. Just get up there, whirl around for a minute or two, and then you’re done.” I didn’t respond. “How are you feeling?” Jazz asked. I just kind of looked at her and said, “What do you think?”

Jazz was right. That five-minute dance turned into a six-hour party. The butterflies in my stomach turned into eagles as I spread my wings to become one with the music, every – thing just seemed to feel perfect. Three minutes into my first set, a customer tossed me a fifty-dollar bill. It just got ridiculous. Everybody started throwing money. One of the girls let me borrow a cowboy hat, and I told the DJ to play Kid Rock’s “Cowboy.” The crowd was crazy that night, and that made me go a little loony too. Did I actually possess just a touch of magic this night—a small whiff of power and control over my captive audience? I honestly couldn’t say. In six hours, I got to go on stage thirteen times. By the time Jazz and I walked out of there at 3:30 in the morning, I had cleared $347.00 All I knew is that it was one of the most exciting Friday nights I’d ever had in my life.

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