Tuesday, July 01, 2008

ask an angry man-hating burnout retired stripper

Dear Grace,

Are there many customers who don't seem creepy?

I've only been to a strip club once. There were some things I liked about the experience, I'd like to go again, but if I'm going to be perceived as creepy, or if the experience is negative for them- I don't want that.

Are there 'good' clients, and if so, what does it take to be one?


Dear Mitch,

Excellent question. Yes, there are many, many pleasant, congenial, non-creepy strip-club customers. I could roughly break it down like this: 25% of guys were super-nice; 25% were various degrees of pain in the ass; 50% were pretty neutral. So, pretty much your normal bell curve.

How to be a good customer? I'm so glad you asked.

First of all, you should be prepared to have a good time. As an entertainer, my job is to facilitate that good time, but it helps if you give me something to work with. For one thing, if you do not feel like going to a strip club, please don't go. It is no fun as a dancer to run across someone who hates strip clubs, hates strippers, and is only there because he is afraid his friends will think he is a big old homo if he says no. You are not going to have fun. I am not going to have fun with you. You are going to open your big mouth and say something mean to me and I am going to give you a weird look and leave and you are going to be ever-more convinced that strippers are gold-digging harpies, while I am going to be ever more convinced that you are an asshole. So, just don't come.

If you DO want to go to a strip club, go ahead and go. Go ahead and check your judgements about sex and money and who is exploiting who at the door and just relax. It is OK to want to look at girls naked, and the girls at strip clubs are there for that exact purpose. If you were not there, they would be getting naked on stage for nothing. You are in one of the very few places in our culture where it is OK to start a conversation with a girl by telling her you love her ass. Enjoy!!

Secondly -- and this is very important -- you must choose your dancer well. Look for a Happy Dancer -- one who is standing up relatively straight, making eye contact, and smiling. This girl is having a good time, or is at least willing to evince good-will. Avoid Crazy Dancers, Sad Dancers, and Angry Dancers. They are not smiling, and often slouch. They will not make eye contact with you, or will lock eyes and refuse to let go. Basically, they will give you a weird feeling when you interact with them. When this happens, throw 'er back. (If you cannot tell a Happy Dancer from an Angry Dancer, you need practice. You should go to strip clubs more often.)

When you turn a girl loose, do it promptly, without wasting a lot of her time, because time is money to dancers. Do it politely, too, the way you would appreciate having it done to you. Tell her you are not interested in getting any dances at the moment, but you will let her know if you change your mind. Be courteous.

As long as you follow this formula of promptness plus tact, you are totally at liberty to refuse the advances of any dancer. However, you should be prepared to buy dances from a dancer who takes your fancy. It is NOT appreciated when customers claim to be in the club "just for a drink" or "just to watch the game." This is a lie, and we know it. Cover charge to the club is $10, and the drink prices are a gouge. You did not "just happen to stop in." You are here to peripherally ogle us while we work, and we hate you. You know it, and you don't care. You want to look at us naked anyway. There is nothing creepier than being ogled by someone who knows you hate it and does it anyway. If looks could kill, you are dead.

Also, do not come in with the plan of talking a dancer into going home with you so you can get her services for free. I can't say this will never work. I can only say that I have never, ever seen it work, and the shit talked about these guys amongst ourselves should make their ears burst into flames. Of course, you would never do this, but I state it for the record.

Now, assuming you have found a Happy Dancer whose looks and personality are to your liking, it is time to ask her if she would like to dance for you. Depending on the club you are at, there may be a variety of services for purchase, and a range of prices. Ask her to explain, if you are interested.

Different clubs have different rules, which may vary widely from the actual laws regulating clubs, and even from the rules at other clubs in the same city, let alone state to state. If you are unsure of the rules -- i.e. how much you get to touch her and where -- ask her. Different dancers also have different limits. Just because Chantal let you touch her wherever does not mean Crystal will be OK with it. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. You might not get to squeeze as much jellyroll this way, but you will not end up being the guy all the dancers talk about back in the dressing room for being such a gropy, annoying clueless butt-plug. Some guys don't care, but you do, or you wouldn't have asked the original question.

After the dance(s), thank her and pay her what you owe her, promptly. If you enjoy talking to a dancer and take up a lot of her time, consider tipping her. In most clubs it is not required, and a lot of guys don't do it. If you do, you will certainly set yourself apart. Should you return in the future, the dancers of your acquaintance will be more likely to remember you and make time for you.

In summation, the Golden Rule goes a long, long way in ensuring a happy strip-clubbing experience for everyone. Dancers are not really so different from other people. They are likely to be annoyed by things that most people would find annoying, like being condescended to, groped after repeated request to cease and desist, and cheated out of money. They are pleased by the things that please any vendor -- a simple, pleasant transaction and a fair price for services rendered.

So there you go. It is really pretty simple after all. Go forth and enjoy! We need more customers who WANT to be good customers, so get your asses in the seats.

Love, Grace

What do you like to read?

Dear Antonio,

It's hard for me to believe how little I read anymore. When I was a kid, I read all the time. All the time. I had this little set-up with the bath-caddy where I could read while I showered. These days I am lucky if I finish three or four complete books in a year. It is largely a factor of time. When I do have time to read, it tends to be non-fiction, and generally something practical. I like books about how to do things and make things. I also like books about the body and the brain.

One of my favorite books is "Listening to Prozac" about brain chemistry, depression, drugs, and the role of medication in the evolving definition of mental illness. The last novel I read was "Stardust." It's about faeries and stuff. Not necessarily my thing, but one of my customers gave it to me and I felt kinda obligated. I read it while I was in bed with a back injury in March. It was pleasant and escapist.

I'd like to think that at some point in my life I will have more time to read. If you think of a book or author I ought to know about, please suggest!


Dear Grace:
Quick question; When your satanist said

'"What are you doing?" he says. "Why do you do that? Why do you tell everybody what they want to hear? You're so transparent it's ridiculous."'

I felt really scared because I've heard a lot of people have that misconception about strippers, that everything they do it fake and that they are transparent. Have you found that happens a lot in your life?

Lucky Luxie

Dear Luxie:
Most of the people in my life know me as myself, not as " a stripper." So honestly, I don't deal with that issue a lot, except at work.

When a lot of people around you think you are full of shit, you start to wonder yourself. This is why I always found it really important to keep pretty strong boundaries between my life at work and my personal life, and I would urge anyone starting out in dancing to do the same. It's important to have some relationships around you that are based entirely on mutual appreciation, and not at all on an exchange for goods for services.

To this end, I gave my customers an only-for-work e-mail address, never a phone number. I did not encourage them to contact me too much, and never met up with them outside of the club. I never encouraged people I knew from my civilian life to come to the club, and didn't share the fact that I was a dancer with many people, either.

Now, if the question is, "do guys at the club think I'm full of shit", the answer is, Sometimes. Some of them are really insistent about it, too, which is annoying. I mean, gold star for figuring out that I'm not really in love with you, buddy. Now do you want a dance or not?

On the other hand, some of them believe you for the moment, just like you go to a movie and enjoy the plot without worrying about whether or not it actually happened.

Still others really, really believe you, which is actually a lot more stressful.

The guy I call here the Satanist is an exceptional case, in that he is one (of two) customers with whom I ever made the transition from stripper/customer to sorta kinda friends.

Both transitions were weird and involved many leaps of faith and unwarranted extensions of trust.

What I'm saying is, it's not easy.

Does that answer your question at all?



Anonymous said...

Great post. I find I am usually the guy too uncomfortable in clubs to really enjoy myself, so I hide by watching the TV and politely telling the girls that I do not want a dance. Its good to know that I am not a total bad customer, just not a good source of income.

Anonymous said...

The answer to Mitch is GOLDEN!

You may consider printing it in bulk and having the copies laminated. You could sell them to dancers for a buck a piece and have them distribute them anytime someone asks for their number or confesses to "not being the strip club type" or etc.

It should also be posted on the door of every strip club.


Anonymous said...

the title was epic lols.

i find the entire entry itself to be rather funny. sort of like a spoof you'd expect to see on some comedy show or whatever. either way, it amused me, haha.

man, read Adverbs by Daniel Handler. ohhh, i loved that book so hardcore.

Antonio said...

Dear Grace,

Thanks for the answer and the guidelines for appropriate strip club behavior. I'll try to remember those!

I haven't read a good fiction book in a while, maybe you (or another commenter) can give me a suggestion.

When time is available, you should read "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins. It's popularized science but a smooth read. You'll probably like it. Take care!


Frank said...

Come on, girl. You can't tell me this entry wouldn't look badass in a book under the chapter: How Everyone Can Have a Good Ole Strip Clubbing Time!

I'm with wickerpark, though. I enjoy naked ladies. I just feel bad going to a strip club to see them. I don't know exactly why. It's some halfway place between "I think I'm doing something naughty to someone who might not want me doing that" and "I'm participating in something that makes women objects." But I'm all for do whatcha want if ya want. Your body is yours and all that. If I can take my shirt off when I play basketball, then god damn it, chicks should be able to dance for free.

Not that I'm arousing anyone when I go shirtless at bball... I've digressed enough. Good one, Grace.

Anonymous said...

Hurray for having a good time at strip clubs. It's always interesting to me how I'm treated as a woman going to a strip club. Some girls seem to prefer women, some girls seem to ignore me totally. Both of these things may have to do with the fact that my boyfriend will sometimes hand me the money to spend.

Anyway, thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

I love reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It's just about the best writing I know. Start with Storm Front and progress to the next books, because what's cool is that it shows growth and development.

Anonymous said...

ihatewickerpark and anonymous

women are working for tips-
tip them
no one cares if you are uncomfortable. If you are too uncomfortable to pay money- then stay home and watch free porn.
Men who don't spend money in clubs are assholes- get it?

Anonymous said...

oh - that was to iahtewickerpark and frank
not anon

I'll try to have compassion knowing that assholes often come with thick heads.

Anonymous said...

Guys looking for sex go to clubs and hate the idea. They want to get what they want, and don't want to be cool about the business they are patronizing.
Your Satanist friend reminds me of many people I know. All these people want is to fucking argue for the sake of arguing. They want differences of opinions to be expressed in every conversation and interaction. They want sane disagreements, but unfortunately, are not always sane, and can be very hurtful to people who just want to be friends in a nicer way. They remind me of all those guys looking for something else in the clubs. No matter what you say, it isn't what they want, and you just aren't good enough (for them). I think you're fine, and shouldn't put up with people who don't respect you for what you say.

JP said...

Hi Grace,

Your response about boundaries inspired me to write this. I've been a stripper myself for over six years - over the span of a decade - and I had this policy the first couple of years I danced. But it made me feel like I was having an identity crisis and it made me feel guilty for making objects out of the men I met at work. Also, the constant lying drained my spirit. I was a triathlete-by-day and a stripper-by-night and it just didn't really work. For me.

When I went back to dancing in 2005 for a second go-round to satisfy my curiosity about the whole profession, I allowed some "blending" of my work persona and my "real" persona. I was no longer having as much of an identity crisis, because I wasn't lying to anyone outside of the clubs about what I did and I wasn't objectifying the men as much in the clubs - I was being more genuine with them - but no matter how much I wanted to be "me" I could NEVER really tell a man the whole truth inside the club (unless I was telling him OFF, which I did several times). THIS was what ultimately just didn't work for me, this constant level of duplicity required to make the big money in that industry. You can't escape it. In order to make money, you need to create the fantasy, and you need to DECEIVE men. Yes, we're selling a fantasy, we're there to be "yes women" and make men feel good about themselves, we're entertainers, we're party girls...blah blah blah. Bottom line is, if you want to make the mad cash you need to lie. If I were lying to men I truly hated I wouldn't have much of a problem. But honestly? Most of the men I spent time with in the club I felt sorry for on some level.

I felt like it was exploitation of the disabled. And it made me feel pretty crappy, at the end of most days.

If you'd like to read my blog which I just started as therapy :) visit me at www.MySpace.com/parkerjordan

I would love to know what you think!

Keep writing, Grace, your voice is unique.

:) Parker

Anonymous said...

I just went to a strip club for the first time this weekend, so it was very nice to read this today. I'll be keeping it in mind when I return.

Sylvia said...

I think a post about women in strip clubs would be great. Do's and don'ts and stuff - preferrably dealing both with straight and bi customers (I'm thinking a lesbian customer will simply use what you've already posted :)

Anonymous said...

I agree! As I was reading this I was thinking that this should be mandatory reading for all customers. There is nothing more annoying than the guy who, "is just there to relax". I call it shoplifting.