Welcome back to Stripping with Laura, and the second part of the interview I did with my boyfriend, John.
Do clubs have different rules?
Yes. When I worked in Jacksonville it was full nude, full contact, no alcohol.
The manager said to me, “No fucking, other than that you set your own prices.”
I was naked with a guy in a private room giving a lap dance. Solicitation was expected. That was a hard night, because the men were expecting more than just a lap dance, and a lot came to the club already drunk.
Is that a type of club you would work at again? Given your restrictions?
I would work at a full nude club again, but not that specific club because it was full nude and full contact. If I’m not making upwards of $600/hour in a champagne room, I am not putting myself in that situation. I don’t want tons of men touching me full nude for eight hours. Not my jam.
What is the relationship like with other girls at the club? It sounds competitive.
It’s very competitive and there are cliques. My club used to be a lot busier than it is now, so we would turn girls away that came into work because we already had so many working. I think if we had more than 50 girls working, we wouldn’t let any other girls in to work. I would get there at 6 to make sure I had a spot working that night. As far as interactions go, it really depends on the girl. I walk in and go to the dressing room and do my thing. Sometimes I’ll catch a girl’s eye in the mirror, and she immediately snaps at me for looking at her. A girl will leave the dressing room and immediately everyone starts talking shit about her. Only a couple girls have I really been friends with, and we would go get breakfast after work at waffle house.
Have you ever tried to get any of your friends to be strippers?
Yes, I have. It was a fun experience, and around thanksgiving one year in college I finally told my best friend that I was a stripper, and she was like, “why didn’t you tell me earlier?!” and she wanted to try it. She brought two other girls who were in the same friend group, which turned out to be a weird dynamic. She also had some emotional stuff going on that I wasn’t aware of, and the club isn’t the best place to be if you’re not in a good emotional place. The other two girls I really didn’t like as strippers. A lot of girls will put on a lesbian act on stage, and work together, which is fine, but that gets old fast. And they did the lesbian act on stage every time. I think that if you can’t make money alone, then why are you stripping? Can you truly hustle then?
Is there variance in the quality of a club? What makes a club better or worse than others?
Yes, you and I went to Centerfolds Boston together and it was great. The bouncers talked to us, shook our hands, we were on the sidewalk, and they already made us feel welcome. We were greeted by a manager who walked us to our seats, to the ATM, to the bathroom.
In my club it’s not like that. You get patted down, and we run the metal detector swipe thing over you. After 7 there’s a dress code, no white t-shirts, no hats, close-toed shoes, no gym shorts. They want to get rid of any gang-related signs. A good club won’t make you feel like you’re going through TSA, like you’re doing something bad just by being there. You should feel like you’re going to a nice bar.
Where the stage is also plays a factor. At Centerfolds, the stage was elevated, and you couldn’t really touch the girls. An elevated stage means there’s stage rules.
At my club the stage is eye level, like you’re sitting at a dinner table.
When I worked in Savannah, Georgia we had a stage that actually had stairs, and the bouncers would walk us up. We danced for three to five songs, so we were up there for a significant amount of time. We had to wear night gowns, which we took off at a certain point, we had to take our bra off at a certain point, by the third song I believe. That was topless only, and when we were done with our set we had to get dressed again and the bouncer would walk us down the stairs.
We weren’t allowed to chew gum on the floor, smoke cigarettes, or be on our phones.
If a club has more levels, like literally floors, that means it’s a nicer club. The higher you go, the more expensive it is. For example, in Savannah we sold three minute table dances for $14. Then a private dance was $25, a private room was between $50-$100, then you could do a champagne room. That was $150 for 15 minutes, $300 for 30 minutes, and $600 for an hour. An average lap dance is $25-35, for 3 ½ to 4 minutes. A very good hourly rate. You usually pay $5 to the house per lap dance, so you’re making $20-30 per lap dance.
What is the relationship between a stripper and the club?
You’re an independent contractor, so you have to pay the club to use their venue to sell your services. Dances, entertainment. So I pay to work every night. I have to pay $75 just to show up to the club, then they take $5 per dance. In Miami I paid $100 to work, which is cheap in Miami.
The extra money from guys is all mine. A house fee and dance fees are the bare minimum you’ll pay to work. If the club has a dj you’ll have to tip him, and you usually have to pay your bouncers too. My club used to be very expensive to work, but now has gotten cheaper.
Have you noticed a decreased quality with the cost?
We have a decrease in the quality of girls, not clientele. We have different clientele, many of whom miss the old club (my club was recently bought out and renovated). We used to do lap dances in full view on the floor, because the more the managers could see the better, but now we have a private room that the bouncers will walk around and check periodically.
Strip clubs are often portrayed as places where drugs and gangs are around. How much of that is true, and are clubs raided because it’s the normal thing to do, or is it all a fallacy?
I don’t know from a police standpoint if they do regular raids on clubs, I would be interested in finding that out though. I know my club was raided because we were known to be the drug club, you could get whatever you wanted there. I’ve seen people smoking crack in the club, and we used to be so busy, no standing room, so you could essentially do anything in there and it would take a lot to find that one person out of the hundreds packed inside.
I was approached by some drug dealers one time, men with nice clothes and jewelry and bottles. They sat me down and told me what I had to do, deliver x y and z then we come throw you your money onstage. While that sounds great, you don’t want those drugs on you or be tied to those men in other ways they didn’t tell you about. There’s so many what- ifs in that scenario. I’ve only been approached that one time, but I’ve had dealers tip me without trying to rope me in. They were nice guys, and just liked me and tipped me well.
There are also undercover cops that come into the club and pose as drug dealers, or they’ll try to take a girl out of the club to catch prostitutes, so you have to be careful of them. You always have to look at their wallets to look for a badge, or military id/state id, anything. Only if you’re doing nefarious things, though, do you have to worry about that.
Have you had cops come in with their badge? Just as a patron?
I’ve had a secret service agent come in.
Bartenders drink on the job, even if it’s not allowed, so what are the rules around strippers and drinking?
Drinking is a huge part of stripping. That makes it hard because a lot of your money is tied to alcohol. If you’re not 21 you can’t drink,(but you can show your tits…). It’s just like if you were to go out with your friends. You’re an adult and know your limits, don’t go past them. And a lot of girls do. I’ve seen a lot of puke in the dressing room.
How did your work life change from before you were 21 to after you were 21?
I was drinking more. I learned how to pole dance, I was drunk the first time I ever attempted a trick. So beforehand I would just walk around, move my hips. After I started drinking I got that liquid courage, so I would be confident enough to try the trick, then go back and practice when I was sober.
What’s the deal with pole tricks?
It’s for the girls. We’re just competing, showing off to each other. “Look, I’m stronger than you, I can do this, and you can’t, I can do a split and you can’t.”
If I didn’t do tricks, I would make the exact same money onstage as I do now. It would have no real impact. Some of the highest earning girls in my club don’t do any tricks.
What’s the proper strip club etiquette?
That’s a great question. Don’t be mean, first off. That puts me in a bad mood. Don’t assume you can do anything. Just like when you’re flirting with someone, play off their body language. Respect us, we’re humans and have boundaries too. You wouldn’t like it if someone just came up and grabbed your dick, so don’t just grab us. Don’t talk down to us, because we are smart people. A lot of girls are in college, almost all of us have second jobs, so don’t assume because we’re a stripper we’re dumb. Also, pay us for our time. If you’re not there to spend money you need to make that clear right away, in a nice way. Don’t get us into a conversation to waste our time. If you like a girl, give her a few dollars. If you want a girl to talk to you, throw her a five. I guarantee she’ll come over to you.
Do you see couples come into the club? What’s that dynamic like?
Yes, and it’s interesting. We had an older couple come in and the wife loved girls. The husband liked watching her enjoy herself, and they were respectful and spent money. Young couples coming in are wild cards. If your girlfriend isn’t a stripper and she comes to the club with you, you’re in for a world of hurt buddy. It will be worse than both of you thought it was. If you’re going in there to spice up your sex life, don’t. Porn hub is free. I’ve seen so many couples fight in the club because the girl gets jealous. Or the girl gets drunk and jealous, making it worse.
And we strippers don’t want your boyfriend, we want his money. You’re boyfriend is tipping me, so I don’t care who you are, I’m making as much money as I can from him, then moving on.
How much money can you expect to make as a stripper?
It depends where you are and your level of hustle, but you shouldn’t be making less than $500 per shift.
Does that include day shift?
Day shift is tricky, I know some girls lose money on day shift. My club is good about discounting or eliminating house fees on slow days, which is nice because they don’t have to do that. Making $500 on a day shift might be good for that club. In Georgia I made $700 on a day shift, so it really depends on the area.
What’s the most you ever made in a night?
$1,300 in Georgia.
How often do strippers typically work?
Because we’re independent contractors we do have freedom to work whenever we want. My club asks that if you work a weekend, you also work a weekday. If you’re only stripping, I would say work three or four nights a week. Make money while you can, what’s stopping you?
How have your views of stripping changed from when you started to now?
It used to be hard for me to think about the fact that I was a stripper because I was ashamed, and I didn’t tell anybody. I felt dirty when I came home from work, I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t have a boyfriend until I stopped stripping. I just thought that no man would date me.
Since then I’ve become very confident. I’ve gotten experience in different clubs and educated myself, I’ve set clear boundaries, and I’ve gone on dates. I now have rules when dating- I tell a guy I’m a stripper on the fourth date, with no alcohol involved.
How were those experiences with guys once you put that rule in place?
Guys don’t believe me. I would say that’s a positive experience. Negative experiences are when guys just make it all about sex. Or when they decide they can’t date me because I am a stripper, and they can’t take me home to mom. That’s just soul crushing. I’m not worthy of meeting someone’s mom, because I’m a stripper.
What has kept you being a stripper?
Freedom. Once I had financial freedom I had freedom in general. If I had to I could take a week, month off of work. I sat down one day and did my finances and realized that I could not work for six months and be totally fine. That feeling is incredible. I was also able to help out my family. My sister went through a hard time and I paid her bills for a year, and helped her get out of credit care debt.
When my father died, I was able to take off a month and go home to my mom. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I could buy a new car and not worry about it. I also had time to do things that mattered to me. I could finally sit down and do the things I wanted to do, not what I had to do.
I could take mental health days and not worry about it. I could buy lavish gifts and not worry about it. You can’t describe how that feels.
Do you ever worry about people finding out that you’re a stripper?
Yes. I’m not too worried about my friends finding out. Only three family members know I’m a stripper, and I have a blog and I’m doing this interview, so I’m kind of putting it out there at this point.
I’m afraid of people that I look up to finding out, because I don’t want their view of me to change. For example, professors at school, previous employers that I admire. My uncles, aunts, people that I don’t’ want to look at me any differently. I think telling them would have a negative impact.
Do you worry about your job prospects?
I do. I don’t know if it would affect me getting a job necessarily, or if it would put me in danger in the job. With regards to male colleagues, when you tell men you’re a stripper, then feel like they can do what they want to you because you’re a stripper.
I’ve been in compromising situations before, I’ve felt cornered by a man before, I’ve been sexually assaulted, and I don’t want that to happen again. I don’t want to give a man any reason to think that he can do anything. If I tell him I’m a stripper, he gets that false permission.
Women in the workplace are up against these struggles as well. Carly Fiorine, former CEO of HP, says she has to be more aggressive than men to overcome the fact that people already look down on her because she’s a woman.
Now throw in that you’re a stripper, and you’re up against a little bit more.
Yes. I’ve also never thought of how other women would perceive me in the workplace, just men.
What do you think most people get wrong about strippers?
That we’re not intelligent, and that we’re all drug addicts. I think that there is a higher percentage of strippers that are drug addicts, but funnily enough, (and John thought it was hilarious that I used the word funnily), girls that I know push drugs don’t do drugs, and good on them.
I’ve seen needles in the trash, in the toilet, bruises on arms. Blood spots on toilet paper. There is truth behind that statement that all strippers are drug users. But you can’t blanket statement that.
You and I recently talked about a politician that just came out about being a stripper, and I know that you had some strong feelings about that. Can you talk about that?
I felt like, she’s a stripper and so what. Why does it have to be such a big deal? Not to be negative, but that fact shouldn’t make her stand out. I didn’t see why there was such a big commotion about it.
Do you feel differently now?
Yes, and after you and I talked about it. I also think that since I was never a customer before stripping, and that I started so young, I have a different opinion than everyone else. You said she was very courageous because now she has to face new challenges, but it shouldn’t be something she has to hide. Now I agree with that viewpoint. If I was a politician I wouldn’t tell anyone I was a stripper.
Yes, exactly, the journey becomes significantly more challenging.
And a lot of people that have known her her whole life probably never knew until that announcement. People that should have known, and are hurt that they didn’t know.
Any crazy stories you haven’t shared yet?
Oooh. I’ve seen a female customer fingering a stripper. The customer had her hand resting on the chair, fingers straight up, and the stripper was literally bouncing on top of her fingers. I’ve seen girls onstage spread their legs super wide and push air out of their vagina, and men will lay dollars on top of them, and the dollar just puffs up.
The beer bottle in the ass of course, classic. You take a beer bottle, and the stripper holds it between her ass cheeks. Ass clapping, and girls with fake butts are usually really good at this, when they jump up and down making their ass clap together and it sounds like you’re clapping your hands.
It’s such an interesting environment, where you have a customer space that wants the absurd, the sexual enticement, then you have those that are so desensitized to the normal that they want the odd.
Yes. We had a foot guy. I tried to get in with him, but he didn’t like me. He paid girls to lick their toes and put their toes in his mouth. Those girls were raking it in. I thought, “that’s all I have to do? I can just wash my feet after. No big deal.” I tried so hard, but I just wasn’t his type, I guess.
This was a fun experience, and I hope you learned something about strip clubs. So go forth and get lap dances.