I wake up every morning at 8am. I sit up in bed and have a cigarette and coffee. For breakfast, I have Shredded Wheat, nuts and honey. My daughter lives with my mother, only two minutes away. I usually pick her up after school and bring her to her horse. We all live in Gorey now, but I’m originally from Loughlinstown. For the past fortnight, every morning, I’ve been heading into Curves. When I gave up the dancing, I put on weight, about a stone, so I need to tone up.
After Curves, I drive into college, The Wexford Institute of Fashion and Design. When I danced, I loved all the costumes and the glamour dresses. Since I’ve been in college, I’ve made a lot of dresses. I love it.
I used to be the one up on stage showing off my body and now someone else is up there showing off my designs.
This is a totally different way of life for me, getting up early in the morning. When I worked as a lap-dancer, I would finish work at 4am and then go to bed at 5am. I wouldn’t get up until 2pm or 3pm. I’ve written a book about my life as a lap-dancer. It’s called Confessions. I left lap-dancing because I was getting older and I needed to do something with my life. I was thrown out of school at the age of 13, so I went backwards instead of forwards. Now, I’m in my second year in fashion and I love it.
Why did I get into lap-dancing? Well, I was engaged to a fella and he kept going off with other women. I said: ‘You can have all the women you want,’ and he told me that no other man would ever want me, that I was too fat. My dad was a taxi-driver and he said: ‘Would you not dance around the pole?’ I was working in a kitchen at the time. I had a house to pay for, a car to pay for and all the usual bills. My father did not know nothing about lap-dancing. He was convinced that you dance around a pole in a bikini and you got paid for it.
So I went for an audition in a lapdancing club. I didn’t have to strip for them or dance. Instead, I had a drink or two with the boss and they asked me when could I start. They explained what happened in the club. You stand there and when guys come in, you approach them and ask them if they would like a dance. Then, they buy a token and you bring them into a room and you give them a dance. They are not allowed to touch you and if they do, the doorman kicks them out.
The first night that I was supposed to go into work, I didn’t turn up. I just crumbled. I was too nervous. My mother said: ‘Just do it. There’s no harm in it.’ When I eventually went in, the boss made me feel very welcome. Then I did it and loved it. Nobody taught me how to lap-dance but all the girls gave me lapdances, so I had about 10 of them. They all had different styles.
On a day when we were working, we’d all go for a big meal before work, in somewhere nice like Coopers. We’d have big steaks and we’d be knocking back the vodkas. You have to be in work at 10pm, but if you got on well with the boss you could stroll in at 11pm. All the lap-dancers would be naked in the dressing room, waiting on a shower. We’d have a few drinks while we’d be getting ready. The whole thing about lap-dancing is drinking. We used to drink a bottle of vodka before we’d go to work and then when we’d get into work, we were drinking vodkas and Red Bull and shots. I don’t know how I never died of alcohol poisoning. Now, if I drank vodka, I’d be twisted.
Then, we’d shave in the shower. I shave every day and I shave everywhere, everything. I like it nice and smooth. You don’t really get a shaving rash because you’re shaving all the time. After the shower, we’d put the tan on — Sun Shimmer is the best. We used to do sun beds, but I wouldn’t do a sun bed now because my face is ruined from it. You’d wear a G-string, a nice dress and I have silicone, so I didn’t need a bra. I danced with Jordan in Belfast and I was mad about her boobs, so I got bigger ones. I felt more confident with them and it made a huge difference with the dancing. Men love big boobs. We’d all have hair pieces, hair extensions, false eyelashes and make-up done up to the nines. We used to wear glass shoes — stilettos, but with glass heels. We called them Cinderella shoes. When you put them on they give you power.
Every girl has to get up on stage and do a dance. The DJ would say: ‘Can you put your hands together for the beautiful Billiegean.’ (That’s my real name but no one believes me.) We’d pick our own songs. My favourite was George Michael’s I Want Your Sex. If you’re in a bad mood, don’t even think of going into work ’cos men can sense it off you.
You’re not allowed to strip or show anything on stage, although you can pull up your dress a bit at the side. You have to be fit to work the pole, but it’s not all about working the pole. I was happy doing my own thing. The bosses used to give out to me because after I got my boobs done, I used to take them out on stage. The other girls would be on the pole, but I liked being bold.
Being sexy is all about the way you move and it’s a look in the eyes. But you could be dancing away looking sexy, when really you’re thinking: ‘What time am I finished work?’
You’d have nice fellas and weirdos coming in. Some couples come in and we’d have lesbians from the George too. Some men would want to talk to you about their wives and kids and what’s going on at home. They’d be telling you that the last time they were here they got a dance and afterwards they went home and had great sex with their girlfriends. You end up like a counsellor. I’m listening to everybody else’s problems and I’m not even getting a bit.
When you do a lap-dance, it’s a topless dance. There are no extras and no touching, but a few fellas would try to grab you when your back was turned. I’d say: ‘Don’t do that again,’ and if they did, I’d smack them or scream for the doorman.
When I was lap-dancing I didn’t have time for a boyfriend. Besides, I was getting too much attention off the men in the club.
A lot of clubs are very strict — you get fired for chewing gum, or you get fired if you don’t go on stage. And if you’re caught leaving with a customer, you’re sacked. I worked in loads of clubs and I got sacked several times — for going back to parties and for selling stories to the papers.
One time I was dancing and as I was bending over, I farted in a man’s face. I said: ‘Jesus, I’m very, very sorry’ but he was disgusted. He walked out of the room, but I didn’t care because I didn’t have to finish the dance and I already had the money. I said to the girls: ‘I must fart more often.’