Stupid mainstreaming of stripper culture. If I have to read another article about recession strippers, pole dancing classes, or strippers-turned-respectable-citizens, I’m going to throw my platforms at the cat. Our audience has changed, and instead of show behavior being learned by a young man on the occasion of his 18th or 21st birthday, it’s imparted from Auto-Tuned vocals and lists on the web. I’ve seen customers like the girl who slapped my ass so hard she bruised me, or the guy who threw quarters wrapped in dollar bills onto the stage. However, I assume ignorance before malice on their part, and, in that spirit, I offer these etiquette tips for customers in the strip club. WOMEN
1. Relax. I’m here for your entertainment. I have exactly zero interest in your date/boyfriend/husband. His wallet interests me, and, to access it, I’ll be interested in keeping you happy and in the club. Don’t look at strippers as adversaries, but rather as fun boner facilitators! If you don’t want to come to the club in the first place, stand up for yourself at home and make it clear to your lesser half that he should come up with a better idea for a wacky date.
2. Stay off the dance floor. At one club I loved, when a female customer stood up to dance at her table, the DJ would remind her over the PA that “dancing at this club is done only by the professionals. If you are not working for this club, please sit down.” At best, it’s goofy and you look silly. At worst, you’re stealing attention and potential tip dollars from the dancers.
3. Tip, please. A couple is two customers, not one, and having a vagina doesn’t exempt you from tipping me. If you’re occupying stage-side seats, observe at least the bare minimum dollar-per-song-per-seat tip rule. If you’re seated away from the stage, but obviously watching the dancer, tip her.
4. Don’t get grabby. The rules are the same for you as they are for male customers. Dancers will let you know if female customers are allowed different touching privileges — in what I think is a generally misguided attempt to get the guys to spend more money. If you want to touch, observe, ask, and follow. If you don’t, ask dancers to back off a bit. It’s all business, and our feelings won’t be hurt.
5. I am not your unicorn. Do you see a shiny white horn sticking out of my head? No. That’s because I’m not going to come home with you to fulfill your bi-curiosity, or let you make good on that promise to your husband that you’d have a threesome with him. If I am and if I will, trust me, you’ll know, because I’m a stripper and therefore not terribly shy.
(N.B.: If you are a lesbian, disregard all of the above and follow the dude rules. This is not because I think you’re like a man, but because your primary sexual preference is for women, and therefore we know you’re not a tourist in the land of nude women. You have been to this country and like it. Unless, of course, you’re newly out, and you ask me, like one sweet, still-confused girl did recently, “Do you know your sexual orientation?”)
1. Dress code. For the love of God, don’t wear sweatpants, athletic shorts, or thin pants with an obvious lack of underwear. There’s one of two situations you’re getting into: It’s not that kind of place, and your dancer will stay far away from your sweatpants boner, or it is that kind of place, and the kind of pants you wear don’t matter.
2. Tip like a baller. Remember that, yes, it’s about the money, and tip accordingly. If you aren’t prepared to simultaneously enjoy yourself and pay us — just like a massage therapist, hairdresser, or any other personal service provider — stay home. In all clubs, we pay to work there and anywhere from 15 to 50 percent of the take goes to the club. Covering that cut with generous tips for our private dances, stage shows, or champagne rooms will endear you to us endlessly and guarantee preferential treatment.
3. Ask for permission, not forgiveness. No one is ever so naked or so friendly that her consent doesn’t matter, and this applies in commercial interactions just as much as it does in personal ones. “Family Guy” episodes and Bloodhound Gang songs aside, your stripper is a performer and a human being who’ll tell you yes or no. The bottom line is the bottom line. Customers will often spend more if they can touch, so we’ll make sure you know when, where, and for how much.
4. Don’t ask for sexual acts. I’m not going to lie, in some places there is sex in the champagne room. Not in most strip clubs, but in some, and if it’s available, you’ll know, because it will be offered to you at a high, high price. If it’s not, you might have a pissed-off stripper or bouncer to contend with, especially in areas where vice stings are known to happen. And I’m not going to give any advice on how to do illegal things, but think with the big head. Don’t get yourself ripped off or rolled because you’re drunk and horny and believe anything.
5. Observe club norms. If everyone is setting tips down on the edge of the stage, don’t try to stick a dollar bill in the dancer’s thong. If they’re sliding bills into garters, you may not want to “make it rain.” I hate it when guys ball up bills and toss them at the stage, but, in some locales, due to minimum distance rules, it’s the normal way to tip dancers on stage. There are club rule variations from state to state, city to city, and club to club. Watch a little before participating.
Don’t be afraid to ask us anything. That’s what we’re here for! And, I really would love to go out with you, it’s just that I am so busy with nursing and real estate school right now, and also my 3-year-old, and rehab, and the trailer remodel, and my boyfriend’s almost out on parole …