Monday, October 6, 2014

Chapter 6: Personality Requirements

*Note: The following chapter is an excerpt from my book, "Behind the G-String: Dion's Guide to Becoming a Male Stripper" that is available here.  

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Once upon a time in college, I had a conversation with a bodybuilder who was taller, bigger, and more muscular than I was. He had discovered that I was a stripper, so he said, “No offense, but I’m better built than you, so I should be able to go to your company and make a lot of money.”
He was right about one thing: he definitely had a better body. But he was forgetting something very important: Personality. He did not get the job.
Having a good personality is the key to success in this industry. Having a body like a boulder is a nice asset, but it can’t help you if your personality is as dull as one. We are not like female strippers. Our audience requires more than eye candy.
There are three personality traits that help make a successful stripper. Let’s examine each trait and its importance for the job.

Charisma In simple terms, charisma is the ability to make people give a shit about you.
I went to a Wrestlemania event with my brother when I was in middle school. I didn’t care about wrestling and only went because my brother wanted to go. Well, Hulk Hogan made a surprise appearance and the crowd’s cheers surged to a deafening level. He walked by me, scanning the crowd, waving, and smiling. He had an aura radiating around him that warmed the entire arena, its heat reaching even those sitting in the back rows. Even I, a person who dislikes Wrestlemania, found myself cheering when he cupped his ear towards my section of the crowd, expecting everyone to cheer him on. His personality was infectious. From that moment on, I understood why he was popular.
Male stripping is a lot like Hulk Hogan’s performance. You have to catch the audience’s attention, get them participating, and make them excited. That is charisma. Some people have an innate pool of it inside them, and they can whip a crowd up into a frenzy. Others who are more naturally shy, like me, had to train and develop it.
Charisma is not limited to performing. Being personable plays a huge part in being charismatic. Listen to what customers have to say about themselves and take genuine interests in their stories. People love a good listener, especially if that listener took his time from the spotlight to listen to an audience member’s story.
Whatever you do, work to minimize any of the following traits, which are counterproductive to charisma: rudeness, negativity, cynicism, apathy, and dullness.

ClassinessAs strange as it sounds, male strippers should be classy because they deal with customers from all walks of life. Some traits that make a male stripper classy are good manners and consideration for others.
Having good manners is important, because it shows other people that we care about them. Unfortunately, more and more people toss manners aside in favor of selfishness. Don’t be one of those people. Introduce yourself formally to the customer when you arrive. When you accept something from a customer, whether it’s payment or a bottle of water, always say “thank you.” Don’t accept anything without a word of gratitude. Thank the party again before you leave.
Use the titles of “Ma’am” or “Sir” when addressing people unless told otherwise. I see too many people saying “hey” or “hey, you” when they address others. Don’t be that insolent prick. It gives a bad first impression.
Taking a little extra time to utilize good manners does not hurt anybody. It shows that you are respectful, and when you give people respect, you are more likely to receive that respect in return. Good manners can only benefit you in this line of work, and best of all, they’re free.
Classiness also relates to the desire to do a good job and make the customers happy. The show is about the customers, not the stripper. Interact with the entire party if possible. Don’t ignore someone because she is shy or unattractive. Understand your customers’ vibe and adjust the wildness of your routine accordingly.
One male stripper I knew made sex his biggest priority. He’d show up to a party and seek out the girl that seemed the most willing to have sex with him. This often pissed the other guests off, but he wouldn’t care. He’d say that they were a bunch of “prudes” and move on to the next party with wild hopes of attaining the next easy girl.
Don’t be this guy. Have some class. Show exceptional character by giving your customers a memorable experience that they’ll talk about for weeks to come.

Reliability – Booking companies want their strippers to show up to the parties so they can get payment from the customer. If a stripper shows up late or fails to show, customers will call the company and complain, and booking agents hate nothing more than giving a refund because one of their strippers flaked. Also, agents frown on male strippers who are always unavailable or constantly turn down work. A reliable person takes on as many shows possible and shows up on time.  
Integrity is important in this industry. Many booking companies operate online, so the stripper sometimes collects the entire payment in person and sends the company its cut later. The company needs to trust its strippers.

To summarize, if you lack charisma, classiness, and reliability, then you most likely don’t have the personality required to be a successful male stripper. Your actions demonstrate these traits; your words don’t mean shit. That’s why you prove yourself by showing up to your parties on time, every time, being polite and considerate, and entertaining the crowd where they can’t thank you enough for a job well done. When the girls tell your agent how awesome you were, or they throw you some extra cash, you know that you’re on the right path. 

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