You guys... I have a huge grin as I type this. I'm delighted to share this week's interview with @Kilt Boy. You may have seen him around on Lyla, often commenting on threads about strip clubs and the dance scene. But I had no idea about how fascinating history in the industry! He's also an incredible writer, a man after my own heart, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Q: Hey Kilt Boy! It’s great to have you answer a few questions. When I reached out to you for an interview you said you didn’t know if it’d be relevant/interesting but I totally disagree - I’m excited to get your take on a few things. So first of all, tell me about yourself.
A: My favourite topic! Sure thing.
I'm in my late 50's now. I have a good, steady, straight job and a good, steady, straight relationship. My life is pretty basic. I just bought my first pair of Crocs last month. See what I mean? Pretty boring.
I run a little side business making things. I can't ever focus on only one thing, so I just do whatever the hell I want and see if people like it. Kind of like my life, I guess. I make (or have made) vanilla extract, cocktail bitters, personal lubricant, whisky rocks, hardwood chopsticks, weed tins, lamps, cat beds, dog sleds, and a long list of other odds and ends. I've taken orders and done custom work as well. I'm a problem solver and a tinkerer. I work with wood, stone, glass, electronics, concrete, metal, you name it.
My introduction to this site was as a reviewer of exotic dancers. There are more than a few threads started by me in the dancer group.
I love women. All kinds of women. Age, ethnicity, hair, size ... that shit don't matter to me.
I've seen all kinds of really impressive wang up close. It never did anything for me.
Q: Hey, crocs are great! Thanks for sharing this with us - excited to hear more! So I assumed you were a regular Client but I got that wrong - you actually used to be a stripper, is that right?
A: Straight out of high school, yep. My family (on both sides) is so large that I couldn't date in the community I lived in without doing a blood test first to make sure we weren't related. I moved almost immediately after graduation to the nearest large metropolitan urban centre, sleeping on a friend's friend's couch. He was the one who introduced me to where he worked. He changed my entire personality in a month. I was getting positive feedback for the first time in my life, and it felt good. He helped me with my attitude and showed me how to move and to live. I owe him everything.
Q: Can you give me a bit of background on your career? What types of sex work have you done and what prompted you to get into it?
A: Oh, lord. Let me see now. My roommate worked at a club and said that I'd probably do well at it. I gave it a try and was hooked right away. My expenses were pretty low, and I was making some serious money for the first time in my life. I thought I had it made. I had a brief fling with a client (my first sexual experience) and she also became my first massage client.
Though never having HAD sex, I certainly had thought about it a lot. I'd bought an amazing photo book on all kinds of massage techniques (Playboy's Art of Sensual Massage or something) and had been reading it for years, hoping for the day I'd be able to use it on someone. I tried it out on her and then she introduced me to some of her friends. And so on. And so on. I'd say about 20% of the time it was straight massage: the gold package. About half of those converted to the platinum package within a few sessions.
The guys at the club got me into a few bachelorette parties, which were pretty wild. It wasn't really my scene, so that didn't last. It was just a bit TOO wild. Everything you've heard about bachelorette parties is true. We had a method for keeping things under control, but we were our own security and had to be careful. I tried doing some outcall work with some patrons from the club, but though the money was more than adequate, I wasn't enamoured of this either.
A lot of guys would think that having sex and getting paid for it is a dream job. It is, at times, but the emptiness of it turned me off. I was a good enough actor to not let it show, I think.
Sex is what got me into sex work. I was a virgin, working in a strip club. You can imagine what it was like when that news got out. I was a fairly attractive 18 year old, showcasing a buffet in front of a starving audience. I made so much money that first month. It was intoxicating and it drew me in. I think that this is what defined my ideas of sex and how I feel about it.
Yes, I know that stripping is sex work. I've just always seen it as a gateway since it isn't supposed to include a sexual element. My opinion.
Q: What were your Clients like?
A: As you can imagine, it wasn't all rainbows and blowjobs. Clients ran the gamut from young to old, pretty to plain, stable to wacky. It's the same as the traditional SW/client situation, but with the roles reversed. You take the work that is presented to you, and you don't make a fuss.
I will say that there was probably a higher percentage of clients who just wanted to talk; just needed to feel wanted by someone in a throwaway situation.. I got very good at that, very quickly. I wasn't a clock-watcher. A date was a date and took as long as they wanted. I was being paid for my time. I worked the day shift at the club, so I had my evenings free for this. Weekend jobs were the best. I was a terrific companion; very attentive and caring. Those were the traits that I found the most effective. You can't fake those, either. If you try to fake being attentive, you end up being attentive.
I only ever worked with women. I wasn't even approached for couples. It wasn't part of the scene I was involved in. Men were discouraged from coming into our club, so the women I was dealing with were used to being alone or in small groups.
Q: When did you stop? And do you mind me asking what made you stop?
A: I worked as a stripper/body mechanic/SP for about 4 years. It was a great time in my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. My last job was the night before Christmas, 1986. I woke up the next day and had a long think about things. I took stock of my mental state, finances, and opportunities and decided that it was a good time to get out. I knew going into it that I didn't want to be defined by what I was doing. I think I was pretty good at it, but wanted to get on with my life. I wanted to go to school. I wanted a stable relationship. I wanted to get a job and a house and a car and not worry about the insecurities inherent in what I was doing at the time.
I said my goodbyes, some tearful, and moved on. Sharply. I went to the club a little while later and cleaned out my closet. I had a drink with a couple of regulars and that was it.
I was comfortably set financially, so that made it easy. I took some time off to travel the Earth and inventory the continents and started school the next fall.
Q: What are some things you learnt from being in the industry?
A: I learned so much about myself. I was so naïve and confused when I started. Believe it or not, I hadn't had sex until after I was on the stage. I grew tall early in life and always felt gangly and awkward. I didn't fit in well with groups (or girls), so was a loner and had few friends. I didn't date. I didn't know how. Moving out, I had to learn EVERYTHING about life, and fast. There were some hard lessons, obviously, and some crying. Over that time I learned how to read people really well and become detached from the work.
I also promised to never use my powers for evil. Seriously. I can pretty quickly figure out how people will react long before they do. I've been a student of human nature for my entire life. I let them do things their way so they can learn. I could manipulate a situation with that knowledge, but don't. It isn't fair, which is something I strongly believe in.
Women and men aren't that different. The extreme differences are baked into our heads by society and without talking about things, we'll never see all the similarities. Communication is always the key. This is the greatest thing.
Q: Some fantastic life lessons learnt, thank you. That’s enough about the past, let’s focus on the present. How much are you involved in the industry now?
A: A couple of years ago, I was contacted by one of my current massage clients because her daughter was into camming and needed a stunt cock to work with. Her manager told her that her numbers were slipping and needed to step up her game. She knew all about me and my past. It was good money for a couple of weeks, but I eventually decided that it wasn't really me any more. Oral doesn't count as sex, right?
Other than that, I was a frequent client at the strip clubs local to me. I am well known and pretty widely respected for my attitude there. I don't just go to have a good time myself, I try to make sure that the other patrons, the wait staff, the DJ, and the girls all have a good time. I'm pretty free with my money there. I'm in a job that pays pretty well, and I like to bounce a pretty girl on my knee. Those things work pretty well together.
I gave advice to anyone who asked for it. A lot of the specifics may be outdated, but the techniques and personal coping tips I gave were timeless. A couple of times someone drove over from another club just to meet with and talk to me when a friend texted to let them know I was around. Reputation is important.
I've still got the hot hands, so I don't want to let them go to waste. I have a couple of massage clients who I've been seeing for years. I'm not looking for more. Every once in a while one of them will ask for something a bit off-menu and I'll oblige, but only up to a point. We all know my limits. Hey, stress is stress. Horny people are not relaxed people.
Q: I know that some people think that sex work is for the hypersexual, or can make people hypersexual. Do you agree?
A: I had to look that up. I honestly did. I think about sex a lot. I have detailed fantasies that I play out in my head, and they are important to me, but I can't imagine them taking over my thoughts so much that it would compromise my good sense. Maybe I'm immune to it. Having said that, I've seen it happen so many times that it was just a commonplace situation while I was working. So, I guess I CAN imagine it.
Human emotions are a tricky thing. Add in easy access and guaranteed gratification and people feel that they can get whatever they want, whenever they want. That has to be an intoxicating feeling. Used incorrectly, it can be dangerous. I know I've had to have 'the talk' with a client or patron who was seeing too much in a situation. Being in the fantasy while in the situation is fine, but you have to know when to turn it off. You have to be ABLE to turn it off.
One of my regular clubs has 2 levels; all of the client stalls are on the upper floor. I had often told a new dancer that the stairs were the cutoff line. Downstairs, we were drinking buddies. Upstairs, we were playing out the first 30 minutes of a fresh relationship. Setting and respecting boundaries are important steps at the begging of every relationship, no matter how long. Again, because sex has never been an overly important part of my life, it doesn't seem to have the same hold on me. People who equate sex with love are going to have a hard time.
Love is the problem. I know that sounds wrong. I'm talking about the wrong kind of love. Obsessive love. Unreciprocated love. One-sided love. It's important that people in the SW industry understand this. Providers do (or should). Clients can have a harder time because they may restrict themselves to one provider and develop the wrong kind of feelings. No, not wrong. I can't tell you that your feelings are wrong. Maybe you just feel them too deeply.
You don't know the number of times I've given advice to young (or not so young) women in a strip club. I'm fairly well known as an authority on this kind of subject and was always dropping knowledge like Galileo in Pisa. It's hard to be dispassionate when your entire job is to rile up the emotions of your clients. It's a delicate balance and can be a dangerous game. I guess that's where strong mental health comes in. I can't emphasize this enough.
Q: I talk a lot about sex work and how it’s not always actually to do with sex. A lot of it is companionship, for escorting at least. What about stripping? Are there other elements to it than just sex?
A: Of course. When I was working in a club, my clientele was almost exclusively bored housewives. There was a lot of talking. There was a lot of listening. There were a lot of drinks. It's true that a career stripper's job is about 50% dancing, and 50% analyst. Talk, talk, talk, raise your eyebrows and push the sale. I was there to make money, but you talk to the same person enough and you get to know them. We couldn't just sit at a table and play with our phones. They didn't exist.
This was 35 years ago. There was no such thing as a mobile telephone or instant communication. You had to be at work all the time if you wanted to get paid. It came in spurts and if you weren't there, you missed it. That meant a lot of bored hunks cruising the room, talking to the patrons. You got to know them; their lives, their problems pretty intimately.
Remember, when I was doing it, the concept of 'extras' hadn't been fully developed. What happened between you and your client, well ... it happened. There was no judgment. It was part of the job. We had rules and limits, but a very clear idea of what was permissible. There was an art to the tease, and that was what kept them coming back. The continual promise of more. There's a mental aspect to the game.
Q: Getting personal now… you mentioned to me you’ve not had sex in 16 years. Is there any particular reason for that?
A: Fall 2004. I was 40.
I've never cheated on a life partner. I'm living with someone and we get along really well. She's 7 years older than I, nearing retirement. We've known each other forever and been together on and off until we got back together 20 years ago. Our sexual relationship just kind of faded away and we never even talk about it. She isn't interested anymore, and I don't need it so much that I feel I have to step out. I'm happy with where my moral compass points and feel no need to change. I've certainly had the opportunity. The responses to me saying no to the offer of sex is comical sometimes, painful at others.
Don't get me wrong. I love sex. I love the idea of it. I love the feel/smell/taste of it. I love thinking about it and watching other people doing it. I was pretty good at it too, by all accounts. I just don't NEED it. That's pretty rare, I think. I can take care of my personal intimacy needs by myself. My desires are pretty tame and easily (if not quickly) satisfied.
I blow off steam by doing massage. It's something that I've had my hand in for over 30 years. I have the experience and good, soft, strong hands. I have a couple of 'clients' I've been seeing for a long time. Well, not lately. That's been painful for me. It's the longest time since the 80's that I haven't had my hands on someone.
Q: Do you think you’ll get back into the strip club scene?
A: I don't think that things will go back to the same kind of feeling that it had before. I loved walking into a strip club, surveying my domain and knowing that I was The King. The Alpha Cock. It was home. I knew how everything worked and my place in it. I'll certainly try going back when it's safe again, but there will be a level of trepidation that I've never felt before.
As a patron. Not as a stripper. Nobody wants that. I asked.
Q: Did you find it hard unwinding from the industry?
A: No. Not at all. Ask any ex-stripper and they'll tell you the same thing. A wealth of experience is to be had, some good, some bad. If you were doing it as a means to an end and you reach your goal, you get out (if you're able). That's what I did. I'm also speaking from a world of privilege. I was a young, white male in the 80's. I didn't have to be doing what I was doing. If I failed, I'd have easily survived. There was very little risk for me. I know that.
I miss entertaining. I miss that, for sure. I miss dancing on the stage and enticing an audience. I don't miss the daily grind and stirring drinks with my dick.
I'd like to think that I made a lot of women happy when I started dating again, and a lot of that was due to the mental hardening I had gained. I knew how to run a short-term relationship so that nobody got hurt. Some of it was therapy. Some of it was adjustment.
If I seem coldly detached, that's just the way I am. I think I've explained pretty well how I got here.
Q: For someone who is looking to step back from it, have you got any advice for them?
A: You know, I'd love to give advice. I just can't. Everyone is different. I was never really IN it, to begin with. My experience is pretty unique. I was a provider of services, not a patron. I can't imagine anyone reading this who would find it easy to step away from having sex. I don't even recommend it. Keep having sex as long as you can. It's good for you.
However, if you are really looking to get away from it, figure out what you're going to do instead first. Read a book. WRITE a book. Take up woodworking or some other hobby if you are able. Learn to cook. Start an exercise program. Talk to your friends and see if any of them have done the same.
If you're a dancer and want to get out, do it. There is nothing worse than a sad dancer. How many times have I had a girl cry all over me DURING A LAP DANCE? More than a few. Both as a dancer and as a patron. It's a human reaction that can come out at any time. Still, if you need to get out and can afford it, I suggest it. When a regular tells me that she is ready to retire or is getting her shit together and needs to step away, I'm always supportive. I'll miss them when they're gone, but I'm glad to see them go.
Look out for yourself first.
Q: Thanks so much for your time - anything else you’d like to add?
A: You made me look through my tickle trunk to see if I still had something. On my first shift, the owner tossed me a soft pitch by having a regular customer show me how things worked in the back room. It was something I'll never forget. When we worked out her bill, she had to pay me with a little bit of small change. I kept one of the coins because it had the current year on it. This is my Dance Nickel. I kept it in my wallet all this time, only putting it away a couple of years ago after doing that cam work and retiring for good. It helps me to remember one of the greatest, strangest, most strengthening times in my life.
I'd never have made it as a male dancer these days. I didn't have the personality to be in that kind of amazing shape. I was tall and in pretty good trim with a great voice, hair and other attributes that made me popular, but so pale. My god, I was pale. Still am. Life is what you make of it, I guess.
So, while my story is interesting for sure, I can't see it being relevant to most of the readers. It says a lot about how I came to be who I am today, but the experiences are going to be alien and quirky to most. I hope it might be of use to somebody.