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.
Your appearance is the business card that you pass out to clients during the initial meeting. Tattoos, your tan, how you dress, and how you carry yourself all determine your appearance. Looking your best means for this job handing out a very professional business card.
Let’s examine some factors that shape our look:
Ever notice a lot of guys slouching like they’ve spent a lot of effort leaving the couch?
Good posture says a lot about someone—from how much they exercise to how confident they are. Someone who slouches looks lazy. Someone who takes a threatening stance, grabs his dick every second, and thrusts his chin out looks like he’s trying to mask his insecurities. The most confident and self-assured people carry themselves upright and comfortable without any extra pretentious gestures that scream for attention.
Stand up straight. Lift up your chest and stick it out; its resting place is not on your gut. Exercise, such as lifting weights, helps you achieve a natural good form.
You don’t need to act like you’re tough or a badass. If you’re thinking too hard about how cool you look, chances are that women will think you’re insecure. True confidence comes when you’re happy about yourself and you no longer worry about these things.
Acne occurs when oil, dead skin cells, or dirt get trapped in your pores or hair follicles. There are many causes of acne, some of which include stress, high testosterone, certain foods, makeup, and poor hygiene. In male stripping, zits can be a very unattractive sight, so I will list the best way to deal with (not treat) them.
Only bother covering up acne if it’s so bad that it looks like someone tacked a bull’s eye for target practice on your face and shot it with a white paint ball. Most people won’t focus on a few regular sized pimples. A lot of young women get acne themselves, so they won’t fault you for a few here and there. If you do get some glaring red ones, you can buy some concealer that is your skin tone and apply it over the area. Keep in mind that concealer can cause more breakouts, depending on which ones you use. Also, some camera flashes highlight concealer, so be aware of that because you don’t want to look stupid. My best advice is that if your acne is not that bad, leave it alone. Don’t fuck with it and irritate it before the show. Then everyone will notice it.
The exception to this rule are those ready-to-burst whiteheads. If you have a whitehead anywhere that looks like it’s an inflated balloon, then pop that shit even though some studies advise against it. People will notice large white heads, whether they’re on your face, back, shoulders, or ass (for you unfortunate ones). If you pop them, chances are that they are going to ooze for a while afterwards. Take a styptic stick, which is used to stop small areas of bleeding, wet it, and apply it to the area. This will stop the oozing. However, there will be white residue from the styptic stick remaining when it dries. Leave it there for at least fifteen minutes, or before you’re ready to leave for your party, then wipe it off gently with a damp washcloth. Remember to wash your hands before and after popping the whitehead to prevent the spread of bacteria and all that other nasty shit. If the area of the popped whitehead is inflamed after applying a styptic stick to it, then you can use concealer to cover the redness.
Ignore blackheads until after your show unless you have an extremely ripened and noticeable one. Popping them can irritate your skin and leave swollen and reddened areas behind. The last thing you need is to show up to a partying looking like you’ve been playing around a hornets’ nest. Wait until after your night’s work is finished to resume the joy of popping blackheads.
You can keep acne under control through healthy habits and good hygiene. Allow your pores to breathe and avoid wearing clothes that leaves sweat trapped against the surface of your skin. Don’t wipe your face with dirty hands. If your acne is out of control, see a dermatologist for treatment before attempting to become a male stripper.
There’s an old saying that women loves scars. Well, don’t apply that old saying too much to this job. A few facial scars here and there won’t hurt your chances, but the more serious gashes might distract your crowd’s attention, and you don’t want that.
Stay away from activity where you risk a high chance of sustaining injuries that will leave scars. High impact sports or MMA fighting are prime examples. The last thing you need is a welt, cut, or black eye before you go to work. MMA fighters who grapple for prolonged periods of time tend to develop “cauliflower ear,” which looks gross to most customers.
Unless you have lived in a bubble your entire life, you’re going to have a few scars. Minor scars aren’t a big deal, and you shouldn’t stay up all night worrying about them.
Avoid getting excessively drunk. People who do this tend to develop a lot of scars and injuries they cannot remember.
Tanning and preventing wrinkles
In the world of male stripping, a decent tan looks great because it helps hide acne and blemishes, and it highlights muscle definition. Tanning can enhance a stripper's appearance, but it also has its drawbacks.
First and foremost, tanning can cause premature aging. Ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning lamps can damage the skin and collagen by causing wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and even melanoma. For those of you looking to strip long-term, aging is your mortal enemy, so let’s not summon that demon earlier than necessary.
Second, tanning should be avoided for those with powder-white skin. If your skin only turns red from tanning, chances are, you're not going to get much of a tan. Instead, you’re going to look like you’re really embarrassed all the time, like you shit your pants and didn’t change into some new clothes. You have other areas of your appearance to focus on anyway: muscularity, hygiene, hair, etc.
If you do tan, protect yourself by doing the following:
1) Apply sunscreen. Even when you're not tanning, sunscreen will help protect your skin, preventing aging and preserving your health.
2) Protect your face, especially around the eyes! The skin on your face is the most vulnerable to sun damage, and it will show. Protect your face even when you’re going outside without the intention of tanning.
3) Wear as little clothing as possible while tanning. Long board shorts will leave ugly tan lines when you're dancing in a thong. I either wear a thong or nothing at all while tanning because a tanned ass looks a lot better than a pasty silhouette of your shorts. Of course, this task is more difficult if you don't have your own yard, or a secluded area where you can tan.
4) Tan evenly. Most people will lay down with their arms by their sides and miss getting exposure to areas such as their inner arms and below the armpits. This results in a "fish belly" look, where the person has a mostly darker complexion above with portions of white underneath. Other common areas that people miss are the sides of the legs and the bottom of the ass cheeks.
5) Avoid burns at all costs. Less is better. If you burn, you'll lose all your progress because your skin will peel. Not to mention, burning damages your skin and speeds up the aging process and risks of skin cancer. Lounging out in the sun for short bursts of thirty minutes is much better than eight hours straight.
6) Drink plenty of water. Sitting out in the sun will deplete your fluids. Stay hydrated.
7) Choose the sun over tanning beds. Besides all of the negative aspects of a tanning bed, a tan from the sun looks better. Those of you in colder climates may have little choice in this matter, though.
8) Stay cool. Chances are you will become very hot in the summer time. You can keep cool by filling a spray bottle with cold water with ice and occasionally spraying a layer of mist over yourself. For you rednecks, you can use a swamp cooler to keep cool.
9) Laying out in the sun will drain your energy. Get your workout done beforehand.
10) Reapply sun screen periodically. Sun screen evaporates, runs off from sweating, and gets wiped off from you during the day. Keep reapplying it to get the full benefits.
Tanning is not a mandatory element of male stripping. It's a double-edged sword that can either chisel a male stripper's looks by giving that sleek bronze appearance, or cut into it by causing unattractive sunburn and premature aging. Tanning should be a secondary consideration because there are other priorities that a stripper should focus on, such as diet, exercise, rest, and personal hygiene. For those of you who already have a dark complexion, consider yourself lucky enough to skip this step and focus on something more important like popping zits or shaving your asshole.
Remember: tan in moderation.
I highly recommend getting rid of most body hair, especially on your back, abs, and ass crack. Your stripping routine should not resemble a werewolf transformation. I suggest removing the hair on your legs, too. Body hair obscures muscle definition, and it traps extra dirt, fuzz, and other particles. There are several methods for removing body hair: shaving, waxing, and using hair-removal lotions.
The lotions are effective for removing hair from large portions of your body such as the back and legs, but can burn or irritate some people’s skin. Make sure that the stuff doesn’t get on your cock or balls, otherwise you’ll have an unforgettably painful experience. You will miss some spots in harder to reach areas of your body if you use the hair-removal lotion, leaving you to resort to a razor for ridding of the remaining hair. One good thing about the lotions is that your skin will be very smooth afterwards and lack the sharp and stubbly sensation caused by shaving.
Waxing is very effective, but painful. It also lasts the longest, meaning you won’t have to do anything for a few weeks. The major downside to waxing is the possible occurrence of ingrown hairs, which can become irritated and infected at times. I strongly discourage male strippers from waxing.
Shaving is the most common method of hair removal, and it’s currently my method of choice. I use a dull Gillette Mach 3 or Fusion razor and shave with soap and hot water. Avoid the newer, sharper razors because they tend to leave a lot of nicks. The last thing you want is to have several accidental cuts on your leg that are still bleeding when you arrive for your party.
Shave your back, chest, ass (in your asscrack too), around your crotch, your balls, abs, legs, and feet. Definitely get that hair on your feet, because you don’t want to look like a Halfling from Lord of the Rings. After shaving, rub some moisturizing lotion over the shaven areas (you don’t need to moisturize your balls or asscrack though) to give a sleek sheen to your muscles.
In the end, some customers don’t give a shit whether you shave your legs or not, but most of them will make fun of the hair coming out of your ass.
A clean-shaven look is the way to go for many men. Military and public safety jobs often make it a requirement as a sign of professionalism. Men who have a naturally chiseled jawline might want to keep their face free of facial hair.
In some cases though, facial hair can enhance a stripper’s look. A younger guy can make himself look older or more mature. A guy with a rounder or chubbier face may benefit from using facial hair as a “border” for his jawline. A nicely trimmed beard or goatee can create a sturdier look.
If you look better without facial hair, shave. If you look more mature or masculine with facial hair, then keep a nice trim going. Whatever you do, don’t go with the bearded hipster look or the dwarven beard.
A stupid haircut will cause women to laugh at you. That’s why you don’t see long-haired hipsters rocking the house at male revues. Of course, a good haircut is a subjective topic. Everyone’s head has a different shape, suitable for different hairstyles. Some guys can sport the bald look fine, while guys like me need hair to even look presentable. Experiment with different hairstyles and find out which one looks best on you, unless you’re bald and don’t have a choice.
Below are some examples of what you can do:
Spiked short hair – well-groomed spiked hair looks great on most men with a head full of hair as long as it’s not styled too excessively. Spiked or styled hair can make you look younger as well. For instance, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden is in his 50s, but looks at least ten years younger thanks to the way he does his hair.
Military crew cut – a very common haircut in the United States. Many athletes sport this haircut too. If it looks good on you, do it. It’s cheap, easy, and low maintenance. The main downside is that it doesn’t make you stand apart from the crowd much.
Long hair – unless you look like Fabio, cut it. I have nothing against long hair. Hell, I used to have long hair as a teenager. But most women don’t like it, and they far outnumber the few ladies who love long hair. The only exception is that if you have very nice hair, and you wear it to set you apart from the other guys, and your looks and popularity are so extraordinary that nothing can stop you—not even long hair. Otherwise, don’t do it.
Bald – Works for some guys. It’s the look of choice for those guys who have no choice when it comes to hair. If you’re balding, you might as well choose the completely shaven (or waxed dome) look, unless you have an awesome hairpiece to wear.
Dreadlocks – Don’t do it. Your hair will look unwashed and oily. You’re stripping at a bachelorette party, not a Bob Marley tribute show.
Spray-on hair – I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but I’ve seen guys who are balding use it. First of all, anyone can tell it’s spray-on hair, especially when you’re up close and personal. Second, this material starts to run in dark streaks when you sweat. I once saw a balding male stripper perform at a male revue, and when he came backstage after his number was up, his spray on hair was running down in black streaks down his head, face, and neck. He didn’t even notice and went out to perform again.
Tattoos & Piercings
Some women love tattoos and piercings on a guy. But some find them a turn-off. A neutral approach is best in this line of work, so if you don’t already have tattoos or piercings, don’t get any.
There are several reasons for this.
First, some customers find tattoos to be “visual pollution.” Showing up covered in tattoos and piercings will detract attention away from your performance. And if you insist on having piercings, avoid large ear spacers that leave holes in your ears the size of quarters. Leave that look for the liberal arts majors. It has no place in male stripping, unless you think it’s cool for women to hook dollars into the holes of your ears.
Tattoos also run the risk of offending people. Customers may find the tattoos of skulls and naked chicks on your body to be trashy. I knew a guy who got fired because he stripped for a party of Jewish women, and they flipped out when they saw a tattoo of a swastika on his ass.
Tattoos and piercings are great forms of expression, but it’s safer to showcase a “clean” look. That way, the focus of the crowd is completely on your performance or your looks. If you want a less permanent form of self-expression, wear a t-shirt—at least then, you can change it when you want to express something different.