The club called a mandatory meeting of all dancers Sunday afternoon. I imagine people who work in offices must wonder what their officemates look like naked. Me, I was more than a little intrigued to have a look at all my coworkers wearing pants.
The meeting starts thirty minutes late, of course, because we're strippers and stripper are thirty minutes late. The old white men who run the club line up on stools at the back bar neat as clay pigeons in the classic strip-club manager pose: hands clasped over paunch, gaze cast contempuously down over rosy red nose.. The General Manager starts out with a cheery greeting. "This is not a question-and-answer session," he says in his too-good-to-be-true Godfather accent. "We will tawk. You will listen."
They go on to own up -- finally -- to the lousy slump into which the club has been sunk these past months ( or years?): the lack of paying customers, the abundance of cheapskate perverts, the prevalence of dirty dancing, the generally low spirits and tatty appearance of the dancers. They tell us what they will do to fix things (buy new chairs) and what they expect us to do (lose weight, come to work sober, wear dresses instead of raggedy mismatched bikinis, "stop wawking around here with a longneck in one hand an a cigarette in de udder.")
Personally, I am not hopeful. This used to be a classy club, from everything I hear, and it still gets its share of high rollers, maybe because there's really nowhere else for them to go. Most of the other clubs in town have well-deserved reputations for the unappealing qualities of their dancers, the youth and rowdiness of their customer base, the ready availability of sexual gratification, or any combination of the above. If this club were able to step up and fill the high-class steakhouse-with-tits niche it formerly occupied, it would have only a few real competitors. Not sure I can stick around whirling my thumbs till that happens, though. If it happens.
On the other hand, moving on is an uncertain quanitity, too. I don't know how much money other dancers make, because I don't ask, but from what filters back to me, I'm actually doing surprisingly well. If I changed clubs, it could take me months to rebuild the regular customer base I have now. Hard to know if it's worth it. I think I'll take the Boyfriend on a fieldtrip to one or two clubs, and get a feel for the lay of the land. Horoscope says "change may be imminent." So there you have it.