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Real Life

My boyfriend doesn't know I'm a stripper!

For a Brit, arriving in Australia is like arriving in a parallel universe where everything is better. The weather, the people, the cities, the food are all amazing and so much better than back home. I had always wanted to travel Down Under but never seemed to be able to get the savings together. But one day, enough was enough in my boring office job in the south of England. I quit, got a working holiday visa and a plane ticket, and away I went. I spent my first three months traveling the East coast of Australia and doing all the costly, tourist-y things. Eventually I ended up in Sydney and fell in love with the place and the people. I was low on cash so I started temping at a research centre. However, I soon learnt that keeping up the Sydney lifestyle on temping money with a huge English credit card debt was catching up with me — I needed cash fast. There was no way I was going home with my tail between my legs after just four months away. In a backpacker magazine I came across an ad that offered good money for exotic dancers. Upon investigation I discovered that a club in Sydney was looking for pole dancers. I had never done anything of the sort before, the closest I'd come was a few belly-dancing lessons with a friend at home, but being a fun-loving girl I convinced myself it would be an adventure of sorts. I auditioned and got the job. The belly-dancing classes came in quite handy as I just had to dance — no poles yet. Then I was partnered with a woman called Sherry to learn the moves using the pole and before I knew it, I was doing my first "dance" solo in front of quite a large audience. Once I got over the nerves I felt sexy and empowered, and there's really not that much to it. Each time I danced I was earning more and more in tips, and my money worries slowly but surely disappeared. I kept up the temping job for appearances' sake as I was earning cash in hand (and g-string!), even though the temp money was a joke in comparison. I can't say I truly enjoyed it but the money made it worthwhile and stopped me from feeling guilty about what I was doing. It was after about a month of stripping that I met Simon. He was a research fellow who had just joined the research centre that I still worked at and I fell for his brains as well as his Aussie surfer-style good looks. We clicked immediately and quickly became an item but I didn't tell him the truth about my weekend job. He is a lovely, straight guy and I didn't want to scare him away. I told him I worked for a hospitality agency as a waitress for extra cash. After a few months things got so good between us that it became impossible to admit what I did on Saturday nights, and the web of lies I had spun every week seemed impossible to get out of. I was also terrified that someone would recognise me because the club was popular for stag nights and boys' nights out. Now Simon and I are talking about living together and applying for a special visa for me to stay in the country. He wants me to quit my "waitressing" on Saturday nights so we can spend more time together. Now that my debts are finally paid off, I know I can quit and no one would ever know what I did for cash. Although I would do anything to stay in Australia and be with Simon, how can I keep such a huge secret from him? Would he still feel the same about me if I came clean? I am scared my guilt about lying will ruin our relationship.

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