People from my every day life would never recognize me if they ran into me at Rhode Island Dolls in Woonsocket, RI. I mean, I look similar. But I’m a different person.
First of all, they would be shocked to see me there in the first place. I’m a staunch feminist. I never wear dresses or skirt. Usually jeans and some kind of geek culture type of t-shirt. But when I go to RI Dolls with this one guy friend I have (he’s seriously my only guy friend), I get dressed up in something sexy. Usually a skirt or a dress and some high heeled boots. I put on this awesome long hair wig over my short-cropped hair and put on some makeup.
Now, I know I could dress like this and wear makeup in front of my regular friends and they would still be my friends. But they would look at me in a different way and I think they would treat me differently. I am happy with who I am when I’m with them. But sometimes I just want to be someone else.
The first time I went to RI Dolls like this, it was weird. But I liked how I felt. And I thought it would be weird to be a girl in a strip joint and not be one of the strippers. But it wasn’t. And I wasn’t the only girl.
Getting dressed up like this and going to a strip joint just lets me express another side of my personality that doesn’t come out in my normal life.
I like how I feel. I feel a kind of power that comes with being pretty and attractive and sexy. It’s not something I’d experienced before I started coming to RI Dolls with my friend. I like how I get attention and I like that I can command the attention of every guy in the room. As long as one of the dolls aren’t on the stage, of course.
I used to worry that the dancers would think I was competing with them. But I’ve talked to them. And they don’t feel that way all. Oh, they did ask me if I was a dancer and if I wanted a job. But when I said I didn’t they just treated me like another customer.
And yes, I am a customer. I have sat at the stage and put money in their g-strings. I’ve had lap dances and even private dances. What I’ve realized is that the female figure is gorgeous. I can see why men admire it and want to go and see dancers. It’s not just about sex. It’s about a fantasy for them. It’s about having the attention of a beautiful woman that is willing to entertain you and make you feel like you’re the most special person in the room.
Even though I’m not sexually attracted to the women that I get dances from, I’m attracted to them in another way. They are these strong, confident women that like to make people feel good. They love to dance and move. They embrace their sexuality and the way it can make people feel. They don’t feel ashamed for having a job like this. They are proud of it.
To me, that’s an amazing thing. I used to feel like I should cover up my sexuality and desirability like it was something that should be hidden. I used to feel like if I let my sensuous side show, I was begging for something bad to happen to me. But it should never be like that. None of the men that come to RI Dolls think that because the dancers expose themselves that the deserve bad things. They are thankful for what the strippers share with them.
Being a woman at Rhode Island Dolls – not a dancer but a female customer – was strange for me at first. But now, it’s natural. I feel safer there than I have in a lot of other places.
And yes, I still call myself a feminist. Being a feminist isn’t about denying people their rights or forbidding them from doing certain things. It’s about accepting women for who they are – gay or straight, feminine or androgynous, beautiful or plain. It is about letting women have the power to decide how they want to be seen and how they want to present themselves.
So, I’m going to keep coming to RI Dolls. And maybe, just maybe, I’m going to let my “other” side show up in my daily life occasionally, too.