I’m in a private section of a strip club in Queens mounted on the hard cock an Indian customer whose friend is getting lap dances in the seat next to us. At least he has jeans on, unlike the dirty old men who come in wearing swishies for maximum stimulation. He asks if I can keep riding him til he cums in his pants. I try and stall him from finishing because the longer he lasts, the more lap dances he’ll rack up. $20 per each 3.5 minute song is a pretty good rate, but you have to make up for time you waste on chatting tedium at the bar and approaching guys who reject your offer for a private dance (often with a smartass and/or insulting comment).
The customer’s friend, in town on vacation from India, is getting dances from another girl right next to us. There’s a divider between the two seats, but I can see her dancing in the mirror when I’m rubbing my butt against my guy. I’ve only been stripping for two months and I often watch the other girls to pick up new moves.
The better lap dance you give, the more you’ll make. Pole dancing is fun, but the cheap assholes who sit at the bar alone with one dollar bills blowing their unemployment checks are not the source of your big bucks. Just go to a club where it’s all Russian girls. They make zero effort onstage, no fancy pole tricks, all they care about is working the floor and hustling. Once in awhile, a customer who takes a shining to you will have a bartender rain you with lots of singles, but I’m new and I don’t yet have any customers who come just to see me aside from some guy friends who can only afford the occasional visit.
I’m ticking up the number of dances I’m giving the Indian in my head. In theory, customers pay $20 per song, but the DJ has a habit of playing very short cuts of songs before blending into something else. If I try and charge the guy $20 per one minute song, he’ll bitch and moan, so I try and estimate the bare minimum length of the dance I can get away with before pushing another one on him.
Like so many others, he wants my number. He wants to get a hotel later. I don’t turn tricks and pride myself on never crossing that line, but after earning terrible money the first few weeks of stripping, my hustling mentality is somewhat refined and I insinuate that I’ll meet him outside of the club to keep him spending now.
He suddenly pretends to lose interest in dances and abruptly stops. He owes me $40 for the last two songs, but only has a $5 in his wallet. Last week, I learned the hard way that when you struggle to put your skimpy dress back on, customers can take the time window to run off without paying. The club managers remind us that we are responsible for collecting our cash upfront, but that can be tough. It kills the mood like interrupting foreplay to put a condom on. This customer cooperates as I lead him to the ATM.
I moved to New York in September of 2008 with a near empty checking account and no particular plan beyond immediately registering with every temp agency. Having grown up in an affluent town and graduated with honors from a top 50 college in May of 2006, I hadn’t had much luck in the real world. An indecisive aspiring writer with raging ADD that’s cost me jobs, no career back up plan and a jumpy resume, I figured I’d try my luck in a more happening location than my hometown.
Like so many young wannabe artists in New York, it didn’t take me long to realize the urgent need of income had to take priority over my creative aspirations. The first magazine that hired me as an online blogger folded only two months later and I never saw the last check. I had done a lot of waitressing and bartending in the past and attempted finding that kind of work in hopes of making instant cash. Instead, I ended up an accidental stripper. Or shall I say, exotic dancer.
First, I was a hostess for a strip club, then a bartender. It’s a slippery slope toward dancing, especially since I popped my private room cherry before switching positions. But the number of tricks I’ve turned remains at zero. It’s gonna stay that way so I can live with myself later in life, even if dry humping guys for twenty bucks a song til they get off is hardly wholesome either.
Strip club jobs come a dime a dozen. They’re easy to get as a dancer, even if you’re carrying a little extra weight or pushing 30. Considering the clubs want to provide their customers a wide variety of girls (charging all said girls a house fee ranging from $20 to $200 or so at clubs like Sapphire), stripping is mutually beneficial to the cash strapped young ladies and oft mob-connected managers. I’ve run the gamut of clubs, often quitting after days and moving on to another. I finally feel settled at a Queens club since I’m too scared of all the familiar faces I’d see in Manhattan. I’ve sacrificed the higher earning potential that stripping for black card carrying suits would bring in favor of anonymity. So here I am.
Because I come from an affluent somewhat waspy background, I grew up with the stigma toward stripping. It took me until late January of this year to even think of doing it, despite various financial woes and a self-confessed fascination with strip clubs. I use the fact I’m a writer as an excuse to work in the draining, sometimes sketchy, but also fun work environment. It’s a gold mine of stories and seedy behind the scenes behavior, but it’s also a surprisingly normal work environment at times. Sure, there’s cattyness, but I’ve found the other girls surprisingly drama free thusfar. I have a million stories to tell and I’ve only been in the business for 2 1/2 months, so stay tuned and hope you enjoy!