I've been performing striptease a long time, and I've lost a few men along the way who were afraid or intimidated by what I did. They couldn't cope with other people watching me. There have been a few who couldn't make it past the first performance. I can't see them in the audience when I have the spotlight shining in my eyes, but afterwards I always recognise whether they have the confidence to be with a woman like me.
I have given a lot of men a hard time in my life. My first love was when I was 15. He was slightly embarrassed to be seen with me sometimes, because I really liked dressing up, and it was hard for a 16-year-old lifeguard walking hand-in-hand with a girl with a blonde beehive and red lips. But we were very much in love. I wore stockings and garter belts, and he must have thought that this was just what girls wore, what girls did. I wonder sometimes how that's shaped him. I got really experimental with my hair and make-up when I was 19, going out with my second boyfriend. I was influenced by Marlene Dietrich, I wore men's tuxedos, and I dyed my hair black. He freaked out. Throughout my life, men have always fought my eccentric looks, I must be very clear on that.
I grew up watching Forties movies with my mother in Michigan, looking at the stars and being completely fascinated by the way they were painted up to be like glamorous cartoon characters. Glamour is a difficult thing to define, which is what makes it interesting. For me it's about being different from everyone else. I've always been very shy, and I was able to be more bold with the way that I look than the way that I acted with people.
I admire men who have a personal style that doesn't change or falter depending on what I'm wearing, because in relationship after relationship I find that men change to accommodate the way I dress. But I like someone who's comfortable in their own style. I'm just as happy with the guy in a polo shirt as with the guy in a suit.
I wish I knew what men wanted. They seem to love an independent woman until they lose control of her. I went through a short period of having relationships with women, but it was more about my retaliation against a boyfriend whose attention I couldn't keep. It was complicated. I realised I wasn't cut out for it. I never had posters of famous men on my wall - I had pictures of ballerinas and women I wanted to be like. All my friends were in love with Johnny Depp, and I never got it until I met him, and realised he was the most fascinating man on the face of the planet. Sure, he's dashing, but he, and George Clooney, too, both have that old-fashioned glamour of a man like Rudolph Valentino.
I don't claim to be a good judge of character in relationships. I get so nervous when I'm attracted to someone that I can't talk. I'm so scared of rejection - I'm not good around boys. But I'm single for the first time now, and allowing men to bring me a lot of pleasure. Whenever I'm in a relationship I am blind to everyone else in the world, and all the chapters in my life are defined by my relationships. With my marriage [to rocker Marilyn Manson, which ended after a year, in 2007], I believe that everything happened for a reason, and I don't think I had the power to change anything. I did my very best.
I started thinking, recently, about everyone's quests for the happily-ever-after, and I related it to my idols. None of them, I realised, had just one important relationship. They all had many great loves, and that made me more accepting of my relationship defeats and failures.