Saturday, February 4, 2012
THE MALE STRIPPER CHRONICLES, Part 2: SO YOU WANNA BE AN EXOTIC DANCER? Review: “The Quintessential Guide to Becoming a Male Exotic Entertainer”
Hey, guys! Do you got the moves like Jagger and a huge dagger? Did you ever dream about embarking on a new, exciting career as an exotic dancer? Well, having the right moves and killer abs to match is a great start, but there’s much more that goes along with this sexy career than just gyrating your goods onstage. Meet Ly Sander (AKA “Blaze“), who has made a successful living from doing just that. He is now the author of a new book, “The Quintessential Guide to Becoming a Male Exotic Entertainer”. The guide should be mandatory reading for go-go boys and male strippers worldwide. In the introduction to his book, the buff writer explains part of the reason he decided to create this man-ual. "When I started out ‘back in the day‘, if there was a course, a book, or a DVD that explained what to do, I think I would have been farther ahead of the game and maybe even made more money. All I had was an ad in the paper that said ‘no experience necessary, training provided‘. I still chuckle to myself every time I think of that ad. They did not lie about it though. Really, where are you going to get experience in that business. There aren’t any courses offered in high school, university, college or even on the back of a match book."
That’s too bad! Maybe someday we will see “Male Stripping 101” offered in the college curriculum. Until then, Sander does an impressive job of covering almost everything you wanted to know about the art of taking it off, “from soup to nuts” (No pun intended!), concluding with “The Ten Commandments of Male Stripping”. Some may opine that a lot of his advice is "common sense"-- eating right, hitting the gym, etc. Nevertheless, since the dancer’s body is his tool, as Sander points out, dedication to health and fitness can’t be over-emphasized. Other readers may disapprove of his advocacy of the tanning bed. He offers his observation-- with his own research to prove it-- that the crowd reacts better to a tanned stripper than a pale one. (But for the record, he consents that spray tans are also OK.) The author also takes a very strong stance on... or should I say, stance AGAINST -- body hair: "Body hair is a definite ‘no no‘. This means ALL body hair EVERYWHERE. An absolute must if you are going to be completely naked He adds, "Facial hair should be kept to a minimum, I’ve never met a bearded dancer or have seen one anywhere.” (Clearly, the author has never seen the go-go boys at a “bear bar”!) That said, he offers some very nice photographic evidence on why trimming pubic hair is essential... because it makes your penis look bigger! While we are on that subject, there’s also an entire chapter in the book dedicated to enlarging the penis-- including lengthening techniques and the centuries-old proven “jelq” exercises.
So much for the body. Ly also gives the reader a lot of insight into everything from developing a stage persona, creating costumes and themes, and making and managing your money, all the way to avoiding the pitfalls of the business: shady people, steroids and other drugs abuse, and other pratfalls. For example, he warns us, “When you are at your last song of the set and are naked, you DO NOT walk or trot around with a fully exposed Mr. Wiggley." (Now, what‘s wrong with that?!).
The author spoke to me about his career as an exotic dancer and his new book:
JR: Hello Ly. Congratulations on the publication of your book. How has the response been so far?
LS: Hi Jed. Thank you. Response has been quite overwhelming for me. I am surprised how many people have shown interest in such a short period of time my book has been online…its been a very cool experience.
JR: That’s great to hear. Now, as a bona fide expert in the field: What, in your opinion, is the most difficult thing about being a male exotic dancer?
LS: There are a number of difficult things an exotic dancer may experience. Temptation from drugs and alcohol and falling into a party lifestyle….and not being able to get up. Some may just not know how to dance and entertain a crowd, assuming that all there is to it is getting naked and having big muscles. For me it was starting out. I didn’t have any idea about costumes and themes. I did a lot of trial and error. For a few months very early in my “career” all I had was a black suit. I learned how versatile that black suit could be. I could dance out of just the suit, or I could add props like a top hat, white gloves and cane. Change the music, and now I have a completely different show.
JR: What was your most memorable experience through the years as a dancer? Have you ever met any celebrities, local or otherwise?
LS: My most memorable experiences as a dancer was being on the road with the other guys going from gig to gig. While we are “working”, it became a sort of guys night out and getting paid for it. The experience that stands out in my head was one of these out-of- town occasions. Some people think that we are treated like movie stars with our own dressing rooms, and a production company with us. On one of my first road trips, five of us traveled to a venue-- I forget the town we were in, but I do remember it was a charity event for a local ladies club. When we arrived it was packed. This was at 8PM. One of the first questions you ask is, “Where do I/we get ready?”. On this occasion we were shown to a room where we could change. To my surprise the room was about the size of a small washroom…without a toilet or sink. We had to put our gear in this room and change out of it. We had to go on back-to-back beginning at 10PM. That room was just too small for all of us, so we improvised. We found the men’s washroom and claimed it as our own. We took turns using the assigned room and the washroom. One guy was always guard standing outside the washroom. Because I was still learning the business and pretty young, it was strange for me to have to “tie off” in the presence of other men. Because of the time crunch and having to go on back-to-back, we just got it done. We got through the night and I learned that night just how “glamorous’ the business really is.
As far as meeting celebrities, I have had my share of numerous celebrities….but I don’t kiss and tell…(wink, wink!)
JR: Aww, come on! Well, anyway… In your book, you make it a big point about the dancer's body being his most important tool. Do you have any workout or diet secrets for us that you want to share?! Inquiring minds want to know...
LS: Life on the road can be tough as far as diet and training goes. The name of the game is making money, so spending it on gym visits, supplements, food, and gas can become expensive. I learned to be able to get a workout anywhere: be it in a hotel room, a venue, or even in a park…FREE. Water is a necessity: keeps you hydrated, flushes out toxins, keeps you feeling full, lean and …FREE. I grew up poor, so I am always fine with plain tap water. Eating out on the road becomes more of a luxury and expense while trying to keep yourself fed. Tuna, in-store rotisserie chicken, and ready-made rice kept my tummy full…its cheaper to eat clean than most people think…it’s just bland while on a budget. For extra protein, a bucket of protein powder used sparingly-- and in extreme cases I have had to resort to soda and tuna or tuna and juice…yes, blended together. Grin and bare it.
JR: Hmmm… I don’t know if tuna and juice shakes will ever catch on, but you never know! Well, anyway, on to a more serious subject. It's sort of an open secret that a lot of exotic dancers, shall we say, "turn tricks" for the right price. How do you feel about the guys who may do this?
LS: We live in tough times… more so for some than others. I really don’t think it is my place to judge, so I would guess you have to do what you have to do to get ahead in life. I have personally never had to resort to sex for money whether it be from male or female patrons. The offers have been there. I have, however, met a lot of people over the years and have crashed in homes, hung out, and gotten to know people. Its amazing you are asking me this because for me, in retrospect: For the guys who “turned tricks”, their money is long gone for the hour or longer they were with a person. While I asked for nothing, the friendships I made by NOT tricking the people I met have lasted a lifetime. Prob the best example of asking for nothing, but getting the world. I feel very fortunate.
JR: I hear ya! Now, what age would a guy just be "too young" to enter this field? What would you say to a guy who strikes you as being too young to be a stripper? Conversely, at what age would you tell a male dancer to retire his G-string, once and for all?
LS: I really don’t think a guy could be too old or too young. As long as you are the legal adult age and you can excite a room, you aren’t too young or old. The oldest dancer I have worked with was 60, but had a body better than any 20- year old I ever met, he had natural charisma, and he could dance like he was straight out a music video… Being hung like an elephant didn’t hurt either…(Laughs) On the other side of the spec, the youngest I worked with was 18…He looked and was built like he was 15 and was hung like a hamster…poor little fella. He was encouraged to train hard and heavy, eat everything in sight to put on weight…Needless to say his career was cut short.
JR: No pun intended! (Laughs)
LS: Never saw him again. The crowd can be tough. The hardest blow to the ego is when you are onstage and every one leaves while you are on.
JR: No doubt! So, unlike in Canada, in almost every city in the United States, a male dancer is not allowed to get fully naked. How do you feel about that?
LS: I actually like it. It leaves a lot to the imagination for the patron… and for the dancer, it makes it easier for anyone who wants to make money to do it. A lot, if not all men, have “size” issues and insecurities. I’ve run into so many men who are built like a comic book hero and have no problem meeting people, but when it comes down to showing a full frontal are not able to go through with it. IMHO, you have to be comfortable with your body and sexuality to be able to be able to be completely naked.
JR: A new movie about male strippers, starring Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum called "Magic Mike", is coming out soon. Do you plan on seeing it?
LS: I look forward to seeing it. I hope it sheds some insight on what happens behind the curtain and brings in a new generation of guys to the business.
JR: You tell your readers that you are only releasing this book in PDF format-- not on paper-- largely because of your feelings about the environment. This is still a pretty revolutionary idea! Do you think that people may respond differently to the book since it is not available in printed format?
LS: I wrote the book envisioning it to be a back pocket manual , and was originally going to have it printed. With all the devices we have today-- Smartphones, tablets, netbooks, I-Pods…it could be at anyone’s fingertips. If I could save a sheet of paper, I have saved a tree, and have saved a bird’s home, and I am thus helping our ecosystem. We only have one planet, and I just want to do my part.
JR: Wow, all this and environmentally conscious too! Too bad, I was actually planning on giving this book as a gift to aspiring male strippers, wrapped in a thong instead of a ribbon! (Laughs) But while we are on the subject, where can people get their hands on your book?
LS: I have it on a couple of different sites. These are the links:
For anyone with a Kindle:
I also invite people to join my Facebook page:
...and to follow me on Twitter:
https://www.twitter.com/@thebootydaddy …I don’t always tweet dancing things, I use Twitter as a way to talk to the universe.
Thank you for this opportunity to tell you about myself , and my book.
All the best, my new friend!
JR: Thanks so much for speaking with me!
One of Ly Sander’s best quotes in “The Quintessential Guide to Becoming a Male Exotic Entertainer” is, “Being an exotic dancer is by far the most fun job you will ever have.“ It’s fitting, then, that the book is great fun to read-- even if you have no desire to ever do the "helicopter" on stage to an audience of hot-to-trot fans for a living. I especially love when our author pleads for fledgling strippers to avoid those white briefs: “No Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, etc… ABSOLUTLY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are cotton briefs to be worn. Sorry but ‘tightly whiteys’ are strictly forbidden, no exceptions at any time. If you forgot to pack any sort of undergarment and you were just wearing a brief under your street clothes, go naked. Trust me, briefs and boxer shorts just look silly!”
After reading this, I cleaned out my underwear drawer!