Kristina Love - "nothing will make me quit"

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We'll open this edition of Czechs Today in a different way than usual. I am not going to introduce today's guest - at least not right away. I have a question to ask instead. What is the job of this young woman called Kristina? She is in her early twenties, very attractive, loves dancing and is a bit of an exhibitionist. Here she describes the previous night's work.

"Last night was difficult. My legs were hurting badly after a day of horse riding. The seventeen-centimetre-high heels I had to wear didn't make it any better. It was not too good money-wise but it was Tuesday so it is not surprising. I earned 1,500 crowns. The situation changes in the middle of the week. The closer you get to the weekend the more money you can earn."

Any ideas? Kristina Love goes to work late in the evening and comes home or goes straight to college where she studies English in the morning, when most of us are just getting ready to roll sleepily out of bed.

"There was a group of older men. They were nice. They did what they were told and stayed all night. They danced, bought us drinks. A few groups of younger men came a bit later. They usually come just for a beer. They watch and drink and then leave without spending a great deal of money."

By now it should be clear: Kristina works as a stripper - in one Prague's numerous nightclubs. Most of these clubs are profitable thanks to tourists. Czechs don't spend their savings on sex. But Kristina is not a prostitute but a stripper.

"It is my job to dance and nothing more. When someone asks for more I refuse and tell them they've got the wrong idea. I am the best proof that strippers don't offer sex. I am too shy to communicate with people I don't like and if you sleep with men for money you have to deal with everybody. Those girls who do it don't like men but money. They love it and if they say anything else they're definitely lying. It is an easy way to earn money. Dancers have to work hard. We sweat and dance even when our bodies are hurting."

Kristina prefers older guests and those who are more spontaneous and communicative. Cheering, whistling and clapping, she says, all help her put on a better show.

Kristina's career started in a nightclub when she was fifteen. She was approached by a stranger, the owner of a nightclub, and couldn't resist his offer of a little money for dancing at his club.

The stripper's golden rule has always been 'Less clothes, more money'! But, never, ever touch! A guest can pay for more - a private table dance but that's it. Everything goes back to normal with the end of the song. Interestingly, Kristina dances for anyone and everyone except... her boyfriend. When he asks, she always says 'no'.

"It will seem strange to you but all strippers have the same problem, we are not able to dance and take our clothes off in front of a person who knows us in normal life. In my case, I'm a student who turns into a stripper at night."

And Kristina certainly pulls off this double identity. I would never have guessed about her night life. She looks like any other regular student. Maybe a bit more ambitious, more realistic about life, better off financially, but she can't pinpoint which is the cause of more envy among her classmates or teachers. Sometimes colleagues, in the many clubs where Kristina has worked, can also be envious. Competition is tough, she says, you must pursue your goals: not wait for a prince on a white horse.

"Most strippers are very naïve. They think they are going to earn a lot of money. And that one of the guests will fall in love with them and marry them. But these men like their bodies and nothing else. Girls don't think about the future and don't realize that they should study. I have been asked many times why I don't give up studying. But what if I fall off a horse and become disabled - what then? First of all I must get a good education."

"What I really miss here is a school for strippers. I have met a lot of girls who would like to learn to dance but there is not such school available. I think it would be difficult to legalise it. Someone should finally realize that there is a need for a school where girls can learn to dance around poles."

Kristina is convinced such a school would attract plenty of girls, and she jokes that men probably wouldn't have any complaints either. She says that she plans to carry on stripping until she is thirty-five. Nothing will make her quit. It's the perfect 9 to 5 job, she laughs - 9 pm to 5 am that is.