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Stabroek News

Sex in the city: Go-go dancer started at 13, plans to retire at 30
published: Sunday | September 4, 2005

Adrian Frater, News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

UNEDUCATED, UNFETTERED and unflustered Dashalee McLeish is a veteran go-go dancer, having spent the last 15-years of her life strutting her stuff on the stages of nightclubs across the island.

The 28-year-old woman, colourfully bewigged, wearing a blouse cut clumsily at the midriff and a jeans skirt, two sizes too small, said she has no choice but to dance to put food on her table.

"I started dancing when I was 13 years old," said the former Balaclava Primary School student, who did not progress beyond grade five. She said things were hard for her parents and she needed to help herself.

"Me parents neva find out I was a dancer until I was about 24 years old." She puffed on a cigarette, pouting her dark 'stained' lips as she blew smoke rings in the air.

ENCOURAGED BY OLDER FRIENDS

McLeish, who started her 'career' at a nightclub in Ocho Rios, said she was encouraged into a life of dancing by some older friends, who were involved in that line of work.

Club owners were excited by the antics of the young underage dancer and made every effort to disguise her youthfulness. She was exposed to adult behaviour in the shortest possible time and her body grew hard quickly with the rigour of the job.

"There was no problem fitting in as a dancer," said McLeish, who now dances at the Royal Palm Nightclub in Montego Bay. "People neva question me about me age because me come from big-bone family and always look bigger than me age."

While she has continued in the job, the poverty which pushed her into it, has not left her alone.

Now a mother of five children (one girl and four boys), she remains committed to the dancing in order to maintain her offspring.

Although she remains committed to it dancing has not always been kind to McLeish, who readily declares that surviving solely as a dancer can be very difficult.

"A regular dancer cannot make more than a $1,000 a night," said McLeish, who said she is in the regular dancer category. "However, the freaky type (girls who engage in sex acts on stage), dem can mek all $5,000 and $8,000 a night."

BENDS RULES SOMETIMES

While claiming that she does not mix her private life with her job, McLeish reluctantly admits that sometimes "a nice patron" will come along and based on what he has to offer, she will bend the rules just to suit a situation.

"Me nah lie. Sometime a thing will gwaan yes," said McLeish. "However, it is not a everyday thing."

On the converse, McLeish said patrons regularly try to talk go-go dancers into sexual favours for a price. According to her, when they do not get their wishes, they sometimes try to rough up the girls and even rape them.

"Dem thing usually happen to the younger dancers," said McLeish. "A girl like me know how to handle myself so a guy can't romp with me dem ways deh."

While dancing has been her life, McLeish does not want her daughter to follow her footsteps into a life of a go-go dancing.

McLeish, almost scornfully, said. "I want her to take up a respectable job like doctor or a lawyer."

Although her family knows that she is a go-go dancer and has pretty much accepted it, McLeish plans to leave the stage in another two years and do something she feels would better suit a mother of young children.

"I plan to dance two years and then resign," said McLeish. "I will probably do a little buying and selling."

- A.F.

  • Sex toys, a popular choice in MoBay

    Monique Hepburn, Staff Reporter

    WESTERN BUREAU:

    THE GROWING trend in sexual liberation in Montego Bay has also created a major boom in the sale and distribution of sexual paraphernalia.

    As sexual experimentation and alternative lifestyles mushroom, many persons are rapidly coming out of the woodwork and are being more open about their sexual orientation.

    An enterprising young businessman has found a way to capitalise on this through the sales of adult toys. Clasford Woolery Jr., is a household name in the sale and distribution of adult toys, which he supplies islandwide.

    The Sunday Gleaner visited a popular outlet that he operates in Montego Bay and viewed a wide array of sexual aides used by both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

    "There is an influx of sexually- transmitted diseases in Jamaica and specifically Montego Bay, and people want to be sexually active in a safe way," said Mr. Woolery, who explained that people also want an increased level of independence in acquiring sexual gratification.

    Many women, he said, use toys to regulate their sexual activities, often in secret.

    USED IT IN SECRET

    "Sometimes a woman is with a man who cannot please her and she does not want to rock the boat, so she pretends to enjoy having sex with him. In order to satisfy herself, she buys a toy and uses it in secret."

    "Many females do not want the stress associated with a relationship and to be worrying about what their partner is up to, so they use toys."

    Mr. Woolery also cited clients who use 'clone kits' to copy their penises so that their partner can use the replica for stimulation in their absence.

    "There are some people who might not be around for a while and they allow their partner to use a toy when they are not around."

    Mr. Woolery said that sexual aides are not limited to people with outlandish sexual orientation but also persons with sexual dysfunctions, stemming from ailments such as diabetes and hypertension.

    "Lots of men are afflicted with high blood pressure and diabetes and they want to have sex. Often, the medication they take affects erectile function. Males often cannot maintain an erection.

    Lesbians buy strap-on penises and also men with erectile dysfunction. For the men, many say that while they are not the ones actually penetrating the woman, once they are behind the toy, they are comfortable with that."

    The businessman said that toys and aides are very popular in the local gay community and range from strap-on penises, used by men and women, to stimulators and lubricants.

    "Once you are a lesbian, you are automatically into sexual aides. Things have changed and hardly anyone is ridiculing anyone anymore. People are more open about their sexual preferences and about the products they want to try."

    "The age group between 15-18 is most vulnerable to the lesbian underworld and parents need to be open with their children and provide them with the necessary guidance."

    Other popular sexual paraphernalia include clitoral stimulators, such as the 'pocket rocket', 'torpedoes', 'vibrating egg' and the popular 'butterfly'.

    "I do all the personal deliveries myself and when clients view toys, they are alone in that section of the store. There are even code words that we use when a client comes in and wants a particular thing."

    An advocate of safe-sexual practices, Mr. Woolery says he works closely with the Ministry of Health to promote safe and responsible sex.

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