YOU MAY HAVE seen him on the volleyball court or read about him in his recently published and massively touching Story of Appreciation, but the story you haven’t heard about Jaylen Jasper yet is certainly one you don’t want to miss.

Jaylen recalls a certain afternoon in his Chemistry class last spring. It was the end of his senior year of high school, he was bored and messing around with a friend, when he made the joke that he was just going to “drop out of school and be a stripper.” Thinking his friend was just going along with it by replying that his brother was, in fact, a stripper and could definitely hook him up, Jaylen was beyond surprised to receive a phone call from his brother with a job offer two days later.

PULSE sat down with Jaylen to hear the rest of the story.

Jaylen: I had no idea what he was talking about. He started talking about his crew in DC and said they had a spot for me if I wanted it. I had to lie to my parents but a week later I drove 45 minutes and went down there to check it out. I had a background in dance and it didn’t end up being that different. It was super fun. I loved it. From playing volleyball and basketball, I was always super tight and dancing was something I just always really enjoyed doing. I felt like it really helped loosen me up.

PULSE: So, what was a typical day on the job?

JJ: Normally, I would go in on Fridays through Sundays. I would get out of school, go to practice, go home and do some homework, and then get into DC at around 9:30. We would go to the studio first to get set up, and cover ourselves in oil and get ready. I would work until 1:30 or 2 in the morning, and then sleep in the next morning.

I told my parents I had an internship at a law firm in DC. But they really weren’t stupid. Every time I tried to sneak out or anything, they would always know. But, I guess they never noticed when I walked in the door and my skin was just glistening. It’s funny, one time I walked in the house and I still had money in my underwear. I was so exhausted that night, I had just gotten in the car and driven straight home, without showering or anything, which I didn’t normally do. When I walked in the door, my parents immediately asked about the money. I quickly made up an excuse and told them I had been cleaning out the car and found some money. They actually ended up taking it from me—my hard earned money. I seriously thought that night was it for me. I thought they were going to catch me and it would be over for me, I’d have to go to military school or something. For all of this to go over their head was so weird to me. I think they probably just didn’t think that I had that in me.

PULSE: You’ve got to have some pretty crazy stories—can you tell me one of them?

JJ: Well, one thing that happened a lot was if we were dancing in a club or a bar and people would try and actually grab us and pull us off the stage or bar that we were dancing on. You just have to get yourself back up and pretend like nothing happened and keep going.

But there was this one time that we got hired to work a bachelorette party at a hotel. Everything was fine and normal—there was a DJ and lights were set up—until this middle aged, 50-something-year-old woman kept trying to slide me her hotel room key. She kept following me, even after I declined her offer several times. But, I mean she had been tipping really well so I didn’t want to tell her to completely go away. At the end of the night, when we were all walking out, she was waiting by the door, and pushed her way through the crowd to approach me again. At this point, it was two o’clock in the morning, and I was completely exhausted and over her and the whole situation. We told her we would have to call the cops if she didn’t leave us alone, but she proceeded to follow us out to the parking lot. It was creepy. We were so close to calling the cops. She was a total cougar, probably older than my mother. She did give me a lot of money though…

Oh, and then there was Safari Night.

PULSE: What’s Safari Night?

JJ: It was a themed night, so we all dressed up like we were on an African safari. We each had to pick characters from a hat. There was a Steve Irwin-type character, and different fun costumes, but of course I picked the elephant. It was so bad. I was wearing a tiny thong, and I was an elephant, so you can guess what the trunk was. One thing I should say is that I never actually fully stripped down in front of people. The closest would be wearing just underwear for a few minutes, but then I would put at least my pants back on. But that entire night, I was walking around with just the elephant thong. It was so bad. I hated Safari Night.

PULSE: So, I have to ask, is it like Magic Mike?

JJ: Honestly, that movie is not a bad representation of male stripping. There were nights where we would just be dancing on a table, but then there were other nights where there would be a stage and a big crowd. People always ask me about Magic Mike though, and the sad thing is that it is pretty accurate.

PULSE: What are your favorite songs to dance to?

JJ: Well, I will never dance to the song “Pony” [by Ginuwine]. Never. Never, never, never. I’ve done it so many times; it’s the song everyone always associates with male stripping. That one and “Grind with Me” [by Pretty Ricky]. But there’s honestly so much more to it than that! “S&M” by Rihanna is always a good one. Honestly, I have a whole playlist that I listen to from time to time, there are some really good songs. “Kiss Kiss” by Chris Brown, “Earned It” by The Weeknd, Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex,” “Or Nah” featuring The Weeknd. That last one gets me every time. If that comes on anywhere, I don’t care if I’m in front of my coaches or my parents, my inner stripper will come out. God forbid they ever play that at a frat party. Who knows what will happen.

PULSE: What about now that you’re here at Stanford? Do you ever still dance?

JJ: Ugh, if I had the time, I would definitely keep dancing. I would probably have to go find a go-go bar in San Francisco or something, and it would probably be predominantly male, which would be a different audience for me. But if I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat. It was so much fun. And I feel like there’s such a negative connotation when it comes to stripping, like it’s considered dirty or shameful. But the group that I was with, we’re honestly all really good friends. They are some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I was the youngest one there, I had just turned 18, but the other guys there, they had other jobs too, and families and kids. It was so nice. But, now that I’m here, sports and school take up all of my time. I have 20 hours a week of volleyball, with school work on top of that.

JJ: I did bust out some moves for Cafe Night in my dorm, and that was really fun. Everyone is so chill about it. For birthdays, my friends will sometimes ask for lap dances, and I will always be down to do that. Just hearing people’s reactions and seeing their looks is so much fun.

Jaylen’s story is not like your typical pre-Stanford experience, but hey, that boy really knows how to put on a show. And, if I were you, I would request his kryptonite, “Or Nah” by Ty Dolla Sign, if you ever see Jaylen at a party.

By: Katharine Rubin

Photography by: Alessandra Diaz & Elizabeth Gray