There aren’t a ton of strip clubs where I’m from, so despite struggling to make ends meet in New York, it took me a while after moving down here to think of working at one.
Before getting into the business, I was combining a part time job at a consulting company with promotions jobs (think the girl that gives you Coors Light bottle opener keychains at bars). The part time job was very off and on and the promotion jobs took up to eight weeks to mail my paychecks so I was looking for a cash gig.
I saw a Craigslist ad for an open call at a strip club and decided to go apply for any position besides dancer. After attending the open call, I heard from the Russian manager who told me he had a hostessing gig he wanted me to try. He explained that I would go out from about 7-10pm every night hitting up Wall St. hangouts like all the steakhouses and recruiting guys. But I was supposed to convert to dancer when I got back to the club. That didn’t mean throwing on some 7″ clear heels and a mini stripper dress, but it meant doing lap dances in the private rooms and spending time there to make money.
The first night we went out was a success. The Russian dude gave us a teeny cash budget of $60 per night to get a cab and a round of drinks. The girl I was paired up with and I were a bit shy about starting conversations with guys at first. Hanging out at high end locations, it’s easy to be mistaken for a hooker and I didn’t want everyone judging me. We finally talked to two guys about where we were working and the bartender ended up charging us just $35 for three rounds of drinks. It seems there’s this understanding between ladies working the evening and the service industry peeps who help them. It’s all about tips and taking care of each other.
We left the first steakhouse, Sparks and went to another two blocks away. The second we got there two Swiss businessmen offered us drinks and wanted to sit down and eat with us. I probably consumed ten thousand calories that night as everyone shared a three pound lobster, salad, a huge plate of steak and tons of booze. We got them back to the club and each made $375 taking them to a private room. We were plenty sloppy and I remember one of the men saying “what are you doing?” when I tried to pull a fancy lap dance move. He also wanted to get a room with just me (probably thought sex could go down) and I’m not sure why that didn’t happen. Woulda been nice to make $375 more.
The second night working for the private club, the same girl and I went to The Four Seasons. She told me the lobby there is notorious for being a high end hooker hangout and she likes going with a friend of hers and playing a “spot the hooker” game. Good people watching. In fact, I saw Elliot Spitzer. After that, we went to Delmonico’s and bounced around trying to recruit guys. We ended up bringing guys on the young side back to the club who proceeded to complain there weren’t a la carte cocktails and lap dances and really couldn’t afford bottle service and private rooms. The night was bust and I made zero.
The next night, I went to a cigar lounge, Macanudo which is a real pickle party of old WASPy dudes. Instead of the straight shooting Jersey girl I’d been going out with who faked sick to go to Lady Gaga, I was paired with a Russian chick. When our cab pulled up, we couldn’t tell which building was Macanudo and the smartass door guy to the building next door said “Oh I know where you’re going.” Great. He undoubtedly thought we were call girls, not just “hostesses.” I kept thinking the bartender was sizing us up as hookers as well, thanks to the Russian’s accent. Like most Russians, she was strictly business. She kept telling me to relax and smile more and kept her big seductive eyes peeled for dudes who seemed loaded.
A regular customer came to the club that night and literally the entire staff of hostesses and dancers went into a large private room with them. There were only three guys, all young and hot (I said as much) but they weren’t really feeling me. At a certain point, they got rid of me so I assume the girls that stayed made extra commission. I was still unused to the rejection that is a regular aspect of stripping and I took things way too personally.
The same rejection occurred the next night I worked when I went out hostessing with two 19 year old Jersey girls. We met some banker boys who wanted to come to the club, but it was very clear they preferred the younger broads. Once we got back to the club, just about every girl had a private room secured but me. I was being a weepy loser, hanging around the locker room complaining to the house mom.
The Russian dude fired me for not having my shit together. Sucks, cause it was a good gig. It just involved the risk of getting way too drunk and not making ANY money on nights people rejected you instead of making SOME money the way you do at a traditional strip club where you may not be the crowd favorite, but get tips from the stage and lap dances.
I was having a rough emotional time the last night I worked there which was exacerbated by the alcohol. It was a day I had reason to think of lost loved ones.
I’ve developed a much thicker skin and I don’t usually get half as drunk at my current club as I did working there. But it’s too bad I messed up that gig. It was only Tuesday-Thursday and assuming I could get customers every night, it would have been an easy $1100+ per week working just three nights. Oh well. You booze you lose. You cry, you fly. You sob, you get fired by the Russian mob….ok enough!
To wrap this longest post ever up, my friend from my current club and I have been talking about going out and promoting at upscale joints in the same way. It is frustrating to wait in vain at the club and hope good customers come in. Also, it’s frustrating when high rollers come in, but only to see their favorite girl who isn’t me. My friend and I want to go hit the high end happy hours and recruit the suits, encouraging them to come visit us at work later (possibly after letting them buy us several drinks and/or dinner). We won’t be able to say it’s exclusive and the metal detector at the front door might turn them off a bit, but it’s worth a shot! Plus, guys with big money will spend the kind of green at a strip club other guys would only be willing to spend if raunchy gang bangs were guaranteed.