Beth Hansen 

There are scores of super-hot strippers in Portland, but not all of them are still smiling after 17 years on the job. Beth started dancing in 1989 at Flight 99 in Salem and, six months later, at Mary's Club. At the time she was working two jobs and single-parenting two kids. When she saw how much money her stripper sister was making, Beth figured if she started dancing, she could go back to school. She eventually earned her Associate's Degree and became a paralegal, but hated it and quit. Since then, she's worked at nearly every club in town, raised four children, and started her own business making stage wear. But it's her smile that's remarkable. Beth is always smiling, and as everyone knows, a smiling naked lady is infinitely preferable to almost any other kind of naked lady.

What do you like best about the job?

The flexibility, especially with kids. You can work 50 hours or you can work 10 hours, and you don't get punished for it. The money's not bad either.

Has the money changed?

I think so. When they [the clubs] stopped paying us is when it really changed a lot. Before that, clubs could only afford to pay two or three girls at a time. When they stopped paying, any club could put a stage in the corner and throw up a dressing room and have dancers for free. Then they could have 10 girls instead of two. That's when everybody and anybody became a stripper, and you had to do more for your money.

How do you keep smiling after 17 years on the job? You smile through your entire shift!

Half the time I think it's because I'm nervous. Also it's fun. It's kind of like being at a party every night; people are out to have fun or to relax or to celebrate something and it's fun being a part of that.

Is it true you used to strip to cassette tapes?

Yes, at Club 205. Lara Lee told me at the Acropolis they used to have 8-tracks. Mary's had a jukebox with 45s in it.

Have you thought about what you'll do after dancing?

Yes, more and more. I'm buying a house and I've thought about becoming a mortgage broker. Waitressing and bartending are appealing, because then I could stay in the industry. I dread the day I have to stop.

You'd rather keep dancing forever?

If I could physically! I do realize that stripping is about youth, but I don't want to go yet. I still have fun, still make good money. It's a great industry.

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