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A rose by any other name … still gets the job done

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“So what’s your real name?” It’s a question I get asked at least five times a night, every night, since I started stripping. My first stage name, Justice, is obviously not my real name but we are not trying to represent real life. By giving customers a fake name, we intend to protect our privacy and create a persona. We are in character and the stage name is a part of it. The customer and the worker both know the truth, that the name is fake, and it’s proper etiquette to leave the issue alone. Lately, however, there are more people in my life who call me my fake name and I wonder if the persona is actually who I’ve become.

People prodding for my real name are generally, in my experience, not good customers anyway. Great customers are there to play the game, spend the money and suspend rationality for a few hours. They are there to escape the world of real names.

Some customers, however, like to think that they are special enough to be trusted with something as personal as your real name. In that case, my options are to insist that my name is real with “My parents were hippies” or give them a fake real name. Your fake real name should be common enough that there are no questions about your name once you divulge your secret. Ashley, Sarah and Christine are common solutions to nip this conversation in the bud and move on to talks of kinky fun.

I once met a man that told me to pick between two names that he would call me. Both names were of his girlfriends when he was a teenager. I feel sorry for people.

One Armenian man called me Janna. It’s Armenian for “sweetheart”, allegedly. I bet it was actually Armenian for “Mom.” People are strange.

I am foreign, so if I’m feeling energetic I can actually claim that my real name is something exotic. Alaina, Ivanka, Etcetera. “My real name is Etcetera.” I can say it with an accent and win extra points. Some men are really excited by exotic women. It’s all about reading people, I suppose.

I once went by a very common name. I borrowed it from a Saved By the Bell character. It never brought up questions but it was way too boring for my taste. Even rotating between the names of the main characters was not enough.

I was recently hired at a new club and picked a ridiculous stage name. It’s something like Encyclopedia Britannica. My world is an ongoing joke.

I often go by my Mormon sister’s name. She is highly opposed to my line of work. It’s unfortunate that she was named after a poodle.

But what’s in a name anyway? I don’t think it matters but for some, it completes the fantasy experience. To quote Billy Shakespeare again, “A rose by any other name,” is still going to give you the same lap dance.

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