Where was I….. oh, yeah – dancing with no top on.
I once had a friend that compared something to dancing and he said I’d be really good at because I was a dancer. It took me a minute to realize he didn’t know my past college history (I was a dance major before I went into the Army) and that he was talking about my job. I said, “That’s not dancing.” He said, “What is it?” I said, “It’s walking around in impossible shoes, twisting myself into impossible positions [one of my gimmicks was that I’m really bendy], wearing improbable clothes and occasionally striking a pose.”
Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, that job was so much fun! Regina had shown me some gimmicks to make money and I eventually developed quite a few of my own. One of the easiest was to walk up sort of next to and a little behind a guy and put my stiletto clad foot on his knee. His eyes would look at the foot and follow it up and I’d say, “Would you like a dance?”. Usually, they just nod with their mouths hanging open. Or, if you think they’ll go for it, walk up to them head on, put your foot in their chest and push them back into their chair, then ask. Again, jaw-dropped nod and you’re set for the next 20 minutes of money-making. (This only backfired once. I had a guy who grabbed my stiletto heel and wouldn’t let go. My foot was on his knee and I’d gently pull away and he wouldn’t let go. I said, “Look, you’re not allowed to touch us and you should really let go of my heel before you get hurt.” He said, “Do I scare you?” I said, “No. Are you trying to?” and I signaled the bouncer who threw him out. Creepy much?)
The money was amazing! I saw how easy it was to fall into that trap and just stay in that job until your looks or your body gave out. Again, kind of like the Army! I know lots of people who joined for college money then got sucked in to the comfort and security that the military gives. But like the Army, you sell your soul for it.
When I first started, lap dances were $5 each. They eventually went up to $6 each, which seems like a nice raise but it was such a pain in the ass – we need to make change for people? Seriously?? Making change wasted time. All the songs were 3 minutes each. That’s 20 songs per hour and if you were moving and it was a good crowd, you could average about 15-18 songs per hour (that’s giving time to move from customer to customer). If you were lucky and had a guy fall in love with you, you could spend the whole hour (or more) with that one person and make even more money. I didn’t much care for dancing for the same person for too long. It was easier money but it got really boring. Also, I did basically the same dance every time so if I got stuck with someone too long, I had to start getting creative and that was always annoying (you mean I actually have to work? C’mon!).
On weeknights, I’d clear $150-$200 in about 4 or 5 hours. Cash. All cash. On weekends, I’d make between $200-$300 bucks. I never worked Sundays (only because it was terribly slow and not worth it), I never worked on my birthday (in any job I’ve ever had) and I always worked New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve I’d make at least $500 in less then 4 hours.
But you do sort of sell your soul for it. I’d have to check my brain at the door and not think too much about my job. A lot of the girls were just 21; I was 26 when I started – certainly old enough to realize how stupid the job was. But it was easy and great money and the hours were such that I had plenty of time for school and study. So check my brain at the door I did. I’d bounce around that club with a big smile on my face and act bubbly and brainless and all “I’m just a girl!” Something I always hated on the outside of that building.
Some girls showed up for work all decked out and made up and all they had to do was put on their T-bar (thong) and their nipple glue and they’d be ready for work. (Oh yea, the nipple glue – one of the more retarded parts of the job. By law, you couldn’t actually have your nipples completely uncovered so to get around that, all the dancers bought theatrical glue and covered their nipples with that, then they used blush to dust the glue so it wasn’t sticky. You could see the nipple and it was uncovered but technically it had a cover – so stupid! Also, if the glue was old (it had a shelf life of about 3 months) it would start to peel off about halfway through your shift so you looked like you had leprosy or weird scaly lizard nipples. Not a good look. And going back to the locker room to reapply wasted time which loses money.)
I showed up to work like a schlub. I’d wear baggy shorts and a big baggy T-shirt and sneakers. I’d get ready as quick as I could once I was in the locker room – slap on the make-up, put on the costume, off I’d go. When my shift was over, I’d remove the spackle on my face, put the baggy clothes back on, tie my hair up, pick up my brain at the door and leave. I remember one girl would show up with a long, wavy red-haired wig, green contacts, full make-up and she’d leave that way, too. She told she wanted to make damn sure no one recognized her outside that building.
That happened every now and then. I’d be at the mall or at some restaurant with friends and some guy would see me and he’d get that look like, “Where do I know her from?” and I’d just wait patiently…. Either they’d not remember and move on or they would remember and, if they were with their woman, get that deer-in-the-headlights look like I was going to bust them out. Why would I do that?? I didn’t want the recognition anymore then they did. I’d just smile, roll my eyes like, “Relax, dude” and move on.
I also never wore anything that would get people in trouble later. A couple years later when I was a massage therapist at that spa in Tucson, I could always tell who’d been to the club the night before – that glitter on their forehead was a bitch to wash off. It’s just bad for business. If someone gets in trouble for going to the club, they won’t be able to come back and give me their money!
Another reason I’d get ready so fast was because, apparently, I have one of those faces where people tell me ALL their drama and want my advice. I never understood that as I was never very compassionate about it. I’m usually of the mind that if you don’t do anything to fix the problem then you can’t whine about it and if you continue to whine about it to me, you get no sympathy! And, as I’ve mentioned, a lot of these women had more problems then Ally McBeal and I’m not a psychotherapist and we’re not friends so I don’t care!! If they were friends of mine or something I would understand but for the most part, I didn’t befriend anyone I worked with at these clubs. Too much drama.
I’ve seen girls throw down in the locker room and beat the shit out of each other over a guy or money or just looking at each other wrong. Whenever that happened, they’d get fired. It didn’t happen often but it would occur now and then.
What else can I tell you?
I had another decent gimmick for making money. I’d walk up to a guy and say, “Would you like a dance?” and if they said yes, I’d say, “Would you like it here or in VIP?” because, like Regina taught me, I’m all about the upsell! Usually they’d just say yes or no but sometimes they’d ask, “What’s the difference?” and then I’d lean over and whisper in their ear, “Well, here I’ll make you smile, but up there…. I’ll make you cry.” Then they follow like little puppies. The only real difference was geography and cashflow.
The VIP areas were only a different area of the club. They weren’t blocked off or private or anything! Here’s the layout of Tens…
You walk in and there’s the desk where they take your cover charge, then you pass through a doorway and to your immediate right is a staircase. At the top of the staircase and to the right is the door to the locker room. The rest of the top floor only covers the kitchen below and 1/3 of the downstairs area. There’s leather couches, some tables, a bar at the other end of the top floor and two stages. The stages are one at each end of the upper area, they each have their own pole and they’re at the edge of the balcony looking down on the lower floor. There’s a plexiglass and brass half-wall all along the upper level so drunks don’t fall to the lower part. That upper area is one of the VIP areas and it’s also for bachelor parties and such. We rarely had to dance on those upper stages only when it was super-busy or if there was a party up there.
If you don’t go upstairs but still turn right downstairs, there’s the ATM and the bathrooms. The main bar is all along that back wall and behind that wall is the kitchen and the manager’s office. The entrance to the kitchen is at the other end of the main bar – opposite the bathrooms. Yes, they had a kitchen. At 5p, they’d have a free prime rib meal. Prime rib, mashed potatoes and gravy. They also had really good burgers and other bar food available. I ate that free prime rib every time I worked! (They let us eat, they aren’t slave-drivers, remember.)
The rest of the downstairs area/main level was surrounding the stage area. The main stage was a barbell shape with a pole in the middle of each circle that went all the way to the ceiling. The wall opposite the bar was the other VIP area with 3 or 4 steps leading up to it. If you’re facing it, the left 1/3 of it was the DJ booth and the rest of the wall was lined with little… benches? I don’t know how to describe them. They were comfortable seats, wide enough to fit about 2 ½ people. They had plexiglass table/armrests between each seat and each table/armrest had a pole at the end of it from the floor to the ceiling. Again, no “privacy” and no need for it. The only difference was the price. A VIP dance was $11 instead of $6 and for each dance we did in VIP, we had to pay the house $1. (Told you… the owners made money 6 ways from Sunday under that roof!)
This is getting long again so I’m going to tell one funny story about Tens then announce the winner and continue my topless adventures next time.
In the last post, I pasted a video of some amazing pole work. I said I could never do any of that stuff and here’s why. The only way to practice was on stage. It wasn’t like they let us in the club off-hours to try stuff out and I was never brave enough to try out new stuff in front of everyone! The only thing I did that even came close to a pole trick was to use the pole as a support and do a headstand, then the splits with my legs, then curl over to the splits on the floor. There was one girl who was very impressive – she was strong without being too muscly and she would do a handstand on the floor near the edge of the stage, do the splits with her legs, then do handstand pushups!! Loved her!
There was another girl who would take a running leap at the pole and swing around. And when I say a running leap, she would go to the inside edge of the opposite barbell circle and freakin’ all out run to her side of the stage, when she was about 3 feet away from her pole, she’d launch and then catch the pole and just swing around it until physics made her stop. There was a long-running money pool as to when she would miss and sure as shit one day she did. She launched herself, missed the pole entirely and went sailing off the edge of the stage, landing on a table and the two guys sitting there. It was sad but it was also fucking hysterical! Someone won $100 bucks off that dumb girl’s antics!
Now for a winner….
Since this contest involves Dave, I told him to pick a # between X and Y (the amount of comments in the contest blog). He picked and the lucky winner is Yarnhog! Congrats Yarnhog! Email me your mailing addy and I’ll send you your prize.
I know I promised yarn in this post but my camera and my computer(s) still aren’t talking so I’m going to have to figure that out and get back with pic’s later.
Yes, even Santa got lapdances, Ruth!