I’ll be honest. Getting away from the strip club scene for over a week makes me wish I could stay away, but I have an urgent need for cash. I almost quit stripping about a month in because I was sick of being burnt out and taking home as little as $13 in profit after house fee, cab fare and mandatory tip-outs to the house mom and DJ’s. Nobody holds your hand and teaches you how to earn money stripping so it took me a while to figure it out for myself. I’m still very much a work in progress.
A good friend came to visit in New York one day and I was enjoying his short-lived company so I simply blew off a stripping shift at my previous club, which was very Russian dominated. I knew it was an impulsive and stupid decision, but I also knew that strip club jobs are so dime a dozen I could always fall back on it. I was at home one Saturday night at 10pm when the house mom at my current strip club texted me asking if I wanted to work. I figured I had nothing to lose working a quick 11pm-4am Saturday shift and it went well. Whetting my appetite for cash motivated me to give it another shot and I’m definitely getting better.
Still, I don’t make enough money to justify being a stripper. I could make as much bartending and I don’t do much better than my cubicle counterparts, even the entry level ones. Besides difficulty earning, I’ve also learned the hard way how exceedingly easy it is to blow money on trivial things. Manicures, pedicures, fancy make-up, waxing, jewelry, dresses. It doesn’t help that we are always being hustled into spending on those things either. And every other day, it seems, some bitch has a birthday and we all have to chip in for cake. It’s bad enough with all the empty alcohol calories we consume, why do we have to pay for cake we shouldn’t eat? Also, every time a dancer or bartender has a birthday, they plan an elaborate party where we all have to wear a certain color or style of dress. If we don’t have one already, we get stuck buying one.
Fortunately, I’m not going home with less cash than a frumpy menopausal diner waitress blowing settlement checks on vicodine. But I used to and it was depressing to do what I do for almost nil profit. The fact we start our night a good $100 in the hole should be a big motivator. It takes five lap dances just to break even. But my club and really all strip clubs, pressure dancers to work every single night til your body almost breaks in half. The burnout is extensive and I know I’m not alone when I say being exhausted causes me to get lazy and not bank. When you happen to hit the wall hard on a Saturday, you end up wasting a night with high earning potential and nights you have more energy tend to be Mondays, when there are so few customers your chances of earning a lot are lower.
I go back to work tonight for the first time since leaving for vacation 11 days ago. I’ve got energy to earn and no money to burn so wish me luck! I’ve been thinking of biting the bullet and finding a new club in Manhattan. The risk of seeing someone I know is higher, but the pockets of the customers are deeper. Still, I think I need more hustling training in Queens if I want to upgrade. Sapphire, one of the more upscale clubs, has a $200 house fee that must be paid at the door by dancers before they can start working. My current club has a $50 fee on weekends. Big leap.
Also, I was an interview subject for a blogger friend who just posted her Q&A with me along with her own thoughts. I encourage you to check out the post and the rest of her blog entries.