In the paragraphs below y’all will be reading information which I finally had time to transcribe from a recorded talk I had with a very good friend of mine and former employer. She discusses the life of a stripper, how to make money, what to do with that money, personal safety, and so much more. I encourage y’all to set some time aside to read the information she has provided as it is considerably lengthy. It also provides insight to her personal accomplishments and how she has become a successful businesswoman. There are very different professions for all of the people who want to work, hopefully this will show y’all a different view of the world a stripper lives in. This could very easily be done as three separate posts but I’m an all you can eat buffet kind of guy who likes to get my fill all in one sitting. So, with that being said, here we go.
To begin with let me say that I started stripping at the age seventeen with a fake identification and a fast talking mouth. With that resting comfortably in the back of your head I also opened my own full nude strip club at the age of 24 in Houston and have since opened another location in Dallas. There are a great deal of misconceptions out there about strippers and that is something you will have to deal with if you enter the profession. I will say this, I truly enjoy what I do and I have never felt exploited because I’m a stripper. In fact I have always felt it was far more personally empowering than any other profession. But stripping is not for everyone. It requires a certain temperament. Don’t go and become a stripper because you feel you “have” to. If you hate what you do it will show and you will make very little money as a stripper. The minute you start dancing the clock is ticking. There are a limited number of years in which to make as much money as you can. Most dancers retire around 27. If you’re starting when you’re 18 that gives you nine years in which to make as much money as you can and then get out. Chances are you will never again be able to make as much per day as you do while stripping. Make the most of of the time.
There are two kinds of strippers, subsistence and capital strippers. A subsistence stripper just works enough to get by. Maybe a few days a week, saves little and is always in a financial crisis. I see these girls panicking to get enough dances to pay rent the next day but by the next week they are back to partying, doing drugs, buying expensive clothes and generally pissing away every dime they earn. Their plans for the future are vague at best and even though they claim to realize they can’t dance forever they seldom save and invest their money or invest in an education. These girls get out of the business no better then they started and spend the rest of their lives getting their ass pinched in menial, low paying jobs. A capital stripper dances as an investment. In my opinion this is the only reason to strip. Stripping is just too hard a way to earn a living to do it for just enough to “get by”. You can get by on a McDonalds salary. If you are going to have guys staring at your naked ass all evening you should at least be securing a decent future for yourself, not just tomorrow’s groceries and rent. There are many excuses for not saving your money but in my experience few of them are valid. Single mother, health problems whatever, you can still afford to save. If you work hard you can make a great deal of money stripping.
When you see that money in your hand it just doesn’t seem real, and when you keep seeing it night after night it seems like the supply will be endless. It’s really not, you need to put away the largest portion you can. Not just 10% or so but 40% or 60%. It is possible to do that and still live a very comfortable life. Strippers tend to live beyond their means and end up with nothing but memories of that nice sports car or that fancy apartment. If you can just keep it under control for a few years you can have that stuff for the rest of your life, long after you’re done stripping. Live within your means; base your spending around not what you make stripping but what you would make at a good entry-level job. Get a good, reliable car but you don’t need that giant SUV or fast sports car. Make sure your lease or car loan doesn’t rely on a strippers level of income to pay it. Same goes for the rent or mortgage. It’s very easy to fall on heels and break an ankle or tear up your knee, it happens all the time. You could be out of work for weeks or even months. You don’t want to be buried under a mountain of bills. I suggest buying at least basic health insurance but if you don’t you will need at least enough savings to pay for emergencies.
So what to do with the money you save? Well, set enough aside to pay for all of your expenses like food, housing, tuition, utilities, car, whatever for 4 months. This is your emergency fund, put it in your saving account and don’t spend it. The rest you should invest. I have a few well chosen mutual funds that I have been very happy with. As a stripper you’re looking to invest for the long term, at least 5 years and probably 10. Mutual funds are low maintenance and are well suited for this purpose. I strongly advise against investing in individual stocks. Despite all tales of buying low and selling high at the end of the year very few people are able to make money off buying and selling individual stocks. Stick with mutual funds, they are safer and more reliable (at least for the novice investor).
The best possible investment you can make is an education. With a nice big nest egg and a good degree you can do just about anything you want when you retire from stripping. Without an education or any job skills that money will eventually be gone. With an education you can make the most of your savings, use it as capital for your own business or invest it for a steady source of income. Too many strippers talk about how they’re planning on going back to school or they’re just taking a semester off. This is bullshit, if you want an education you need to go to school and work hard. If you’re not going to school then you’re pissing away your own future.
At most clubs you will walk around and ask the customers if they’d like a private dance (or lap dance depending on the club). Some clubs just have stage dancing. Often there is a private area that you can go for a dance. Be careful, though, the dim lights and the privacy tend to make the guys a little frisky. Not in a bad or scary way just in a way that may need to be corrected. The most important thing to do when you’re dancing is to smile and make eye contact. Nothing turns a guy off faster then a stripper strolling bored around the stage while staring vacantly off into space. Try to make each guy you’re dancing for think he’s the only guy you’re dancing for. This is how the pros make the big bucks. At many clubs a significant part of your nightly earnings comes from private dances. Most of the time the customer will pay for you to sit and talk with them as well. Guys vary a lot but it’s always important to be attentive. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ignored. Most guys are pretty nice and easy to talk to. Provided you’re a good listener and act interested, it’s no problem. Then you get the guys who aren’t trying to be obnoxious, they just don’t have the best social skills. They will sit and alternate between nagging you to go out with them and lying about how much money they have, how many places they’ve traveled, how important they are in their company, etc. Simpering and looks of wide-eyed wonder come in handy at this point. Some guys are an absolute pleasure to sit with, they buy plenty of dances, they visit on a regular basis, and best of all they’re lots of fun to talk too. It’s guys like this who really make it all worth while.
When dancing it’s important to stay motivated, at most clubs you are an independent contractor. You won’t get fired if you don’t work hard and no one will say anything if you decide to hang out at the bar and talk all night talking to the bartender. You need to treat being a stripper like a job and not a social experience. Decide on what time and how long you will have dinner for, the rest of the time work the floor as hard as you can. Make sure you always get at least 8 hours of sleep so you’re not tired. You’ll look and feel better. Set a clear goal, try to get 4 dances and hour, as you get better set higher goals for yourself. Never assume a passive approach and wait for them to call you over, stay moving and keep working. If it’s hard and you just can’t get motivated make a game of it, make bets with other girls on who can get the most dances. Promise yourself ice cream if you reach a certain goal, whatever you have to do to stay motivated and keep earning that money.
Learning how to properly break the ice and get invited to sit with a customer takes time. Most girls tend to just walk around to every guy in the room and ask “Wanna dance?” and then when he says no walk off. This is the exact wrong approach. Every guy in that room has enough money for at least one dance and you just have to find the right words to get them to buy one or more. “Wanna dance?” can work in a very crowded room or if a guy is already interested but it will do absolutely nothing to convince a guy who was uninterested to change his mind. It’s too easy to say no to and that is usually what happens. To start with, choose your targets, who is looking at you the most when you are on stage or dancing for other customers? Talk to the bartender (always be friends and take to the bartender) and the floor hosts about who has an open tab or has been spending a lot of money. If a bartender or floor hosts gives you a good lead and you make money ALWAYS tip them at the end of the night and that way next time they will go to you first when they see a big spender. When you approach your prospective customer try and say anything but “Wanna dance?”: would you like some company?, would you like if I joined you? If the room is slow and he seems reluctant put a very slight push on. If he says he’s not interested ask if he would mind if you just sat down and rested your feet for a minute- you’re “not used to these heels”. Few men are going to say no to that, and the “not used to these heels” implies that you’re a new dancer and invites conversation. If 10 minutes go by and he still doesn’t buy a dance don’t ask- just say “I’m sorry, I’ve got to get back to work- it’s been nice talking to you okay?” This implies that you didn’t consider sitting with him work, a slight bit of flattery that will get you a dance later. Think of this approach as “seeding” in that you may not get the dance then, but chances are you will later. After a half-hour of “wanna dance” from the other girls he’s going to wish for your company again and probably be willing to pay for it. Or even the next time he comes in your’s will be the familiar face. With this approach it’s important you not spend too long with them, always keep them hungry. Unless they’re paying don’t sit with them longer then 10 to 15 minutes and only that long if the room is very slow. If they’re used to getting it for free it’s going to be hard to get them to pay for it. You’re friendly and available and they just have to be willing to pay for it.
Never ever, sit on your own or hang out at the bar talking to other strippers. At any given time you should be either sitting with a customer, moving to another customer or on stage getting naked. If you’re just standing around they will assume you’re not busy and it will be very hard to get a customer to pay for your time because “you’re not doing anything anyway”. Look busy, if they think other men want you then they will want you. It’s important you have respect for the money they give you, so much money changes hands that girls often forget what it represents. Let’s say your customer earns $40,000 a year after taxes- probably about average income for a stripclub patron in Houston. That works out to around $20 an hour. If a customer sits with you and you make $100, that’s 5 hours of his time. If a handyman came to your house and fixed thing for 5 hours you’d say “thank you” right? Always thank the customer and make sure he knows you mean it. Even if $100 doesn’t seem like a lot of money to you to the average customer it is.
One last thing, don’t screw with guys’ heads. It’s not cool, you can make money without doing it. I see lots of girls who string guys along implying they’ll go out with them if they just visit a few more times or laying on sob stories about their sick children or parents. Don’t do it, there is never any reason for you to lie as a stripper. After a few repetitions it gets very fake and you just come off as a greedy gold digging bitch. If you want customers to treat you with respect you should treat them with respect. If they are disrespectful just walk away, there is no reason for you to sink to their level. There are more then enough good men who will to pay you to sit, talk and laugh with them and when you dance they will treat you like a goddess. As customers they deserve your courtesy and if they don’t respect you in return they don’t deserve to have you spend time with them. Safety is a critical issue for strippers. Many menaked not understand that what we sell is a fantasy or feel that our employment makes us fair game for unwanted attentions. The six dumbest words that can leave a woman’s mouth are “I can take care of myself”. No you can’t, and get any notion that you’re some kind of tough girl out of your head. Men are bigger, stronger and meaner. They’ve been beating and raping women for thousands of years now and have pretty much got it down pat. Your little kick boxing lessons at the health club will not help you. If a grown man hits you full force you will be knocked unconscious and very likely break the bones in your face. Do not ever make safety decisions based on your opinion of your ability to defend yourself.
I personally think that carrying weapons or taking martial art, self-defense classes etc. are a bad idea for most women. The most effective way to survive is to be scared; anything that makes you brave makes you more likely to walk into a dangerous situation. If you have a gun in your purse you might be more likely to take that shortcut home, or take a ride with a man you don’t know very well or any number of risky things. If you’re scared you’re careful, if you’re careful you don’t get into trouble. If you are a feature stripper, have a very public presence (website or modeling), or have had problems with a stalker then a gun may be something you want to consider purchasing. You need to be trained in it’s use and practice with it at a firing range at least once every few months. Don’t bother carrying one unless you comfortable with the idea of killing someone. That’s what guns are for, you’re not going to be shooting knives out of anyone’s hands, you’re going to be trying to make a hole in the center of their torso. If you have small hands like me you can have a gunsmith machine a trigger guard that will comfortable fit your finger but too small for the finger of a grown man. But I would like to emphasize, most women are far better off not carrying a gun. Only if you are in a position of constantly being exposed to unavoidable danger is it an option.
One never wishes to blame the victim but every single girl I know without exception who has ever gotten into trouble was doing something most women would consider risky or just plain stupid. Don’t take chances- the stakes are too high. As a stripper, leaving the club after work is the time when you are most vulnerable. I have only gotten scared twice at work. On both occasions it was when an overly enthusiastic customer decided to wait for me outside the club after closing. On both occasions the men were just confused about the nature of what a stripper does and were quickly dealt with by security. This being said, transportation is a critical safety issue that you really have to think about. Going to work is not a problem because customers can’t really see where you are coming from. Leaving is when you have to be most vigilant. Public transportation is out of the question, it’s too easy to be followed and is rarely safe at the hours you’ll be riding. I’d suggest sharing a cab with one of the other girls. If you decide to drive, make very sure that your car is reliable, last thing you need is a break down on an empty road at 3AM. A cell phone is a good thing to have. Make sure when you register you car you do it to another address (friend, parent, etc.). That way if some creep takes down your license plate number he can’t find out your home address. For obvious reasons never give any personal info to anyone who knows you as a stripper, including other strippers. There are strippers and bouncers who will give the information to customers for money or as a favor. There is no reason anyone needs to know anything but your stage name. Don’t tell them where you live or what school you go to no matter how trust worthy they seem. Once that information is out it’s very difficult to put back in the box.
We are not all success stories. I had my eye on the prize the first time someone slipped money in my garter. I learned how to capitalize on a man’s willingness to part with his hard earned money to see me naked. Done properly, a stripper can sock away grand amounts of cash just by dancing naked, and it can end as a very fruitful career choice. Not every girl is a naturally born stripper, you have to be willing to work your ass off, and then the world holds endless possibilities for you.
“I don’t know how young girls get it stuck in their heads that the perfect wedding is one of our life’s goals. When I was a little girl I learned that I desired the perfect white wedding to mark the beginning of my life as being married to my prince charming. What I never knew was how it was all going to happen for me. I suppose one could say I grew up in a typical suburban family, the youngest of three girls, all of us achieving the goal of being a high school cheerleaders while remaining as straight A students. We all followed in the footsteps of our mother who we all idolized, we all wanted what she had, we all wanted to be where she was in life. Being the youngest, I was witness to seeing just how easy it is for one’s dreams to fall by the wayside. Somewhere in high school I began losing my faith in God, not because I blamed him for anything, but because he no longer seemed to have the answers. I grew impatient with him because when I turned to him to find my strength I felt as if I was waiting for something that he couldn’t help me find, myself. I lost myself wanting to be like my sisters and wanting what my mother had. Dreams I would soon find that I could not reach the way they reached them.
Halfway into my freshman year of high school my oldest sister found out she was pregnant. My sisters and I were close, we had a pact to remain virgins until our honeymoon, so I was sure how my sister explained it was the truth. She had attended a seniors only party a few months before, she went with her boyfriend of three years, and she was dropped off by that boyfriend after the party. The truly strange part about it, because my parents had DNA tests done, is that he was not the father of the baby. At the party she did like she always did, just drank diet coke, because she didn’t drink. A few hours into the party she remembers feeling sick so she went to the bathroom, which is where her boyfriend found her thirty minutes later, passed out on the floor. Long story short is that it is believed that someone at the party put some kind of drug into her diet coke, this lead to her getting sick, which lead her to the bathroom, and where someone raped her while she was out cold. Nobody is ever going to know the secret to the mystery. At five months pregnant, the fetus aborted in the middle of the night, we were told that due to unseen complications during the pregnancy that it just terminated on its own. Three days later, during my sisters first night back home from the hospital, she committed suicide. We buried my sister and her unborn daughter at the end of the week.
As a family we took all of this real hard, my parents really closed off the world, even worse, the closed us off from them the most, emotionally and physically. It seemed, at the time, that being the youngest, that I was taking it all in the most negative way, but the following event proved the opposite. Within a month of her funeral, my other sister decided to just disappear from the face of the planet. She left a brief letter to explain not to worry about her, she needed to be far away, and she would be okay because she had a plan. Nice plan, abondon everyone, give everyone something new to grieve about. I personally, have not seen or had contact with her since the night before she disappeared. I continued high school, I watched my parents grow distant from each other, and finally my dad decided that everyone would be best if he left as well. After their divorce, shortly after I graduated, I too, left everything I knew, my mom was heart broken, but said she would always be there for me. I ended up in Houston somehow, came in with the wind one night, broke, hungry, and alone. I didn’t like my current situation so, after seeing an ad I applied for a job and was hired a few days later. That job lasted about a month and one day I heard these two pretty girls talking about the money they had been making. I sat down with them, we became friends, and, in a weird way, showed me an uncertain path.
Which, coincidentally, is where we sit today. I will be 23 in a few days, graduating from Rice University later this fall, after 4 very long years of hard work. I really don’t mind doing what I do, strip for money, because it has actually given me a bright future, one that I can touch, feel, and see. Stripping has given me an education about people, an education that I’m not sure I could have received anywhere else. When I graduate this fall I will be leaving this club and beginning the next chapter in my life, always being very thankful that I overhead a conversation I was never meant to hear.”
…………. The preceding paragraphs were transcribed from a recorded conversation between myself and Molly, well, most of it was her talking while I listened. I have let technology take the place of my own memory and little black note book when it comes to writing for Scorpion Sting’s Bartender Stories. I’m liking the way it worked out, I didn’t have to handwrite any of it and I just pushed play and pause to thumb type this on my phone. I hope y’all enjoyed this entry, it was sad and happy, just like my own life seems to be, sometimes life is what it is and we must roll with the punches just to survive.
Just when I thought I had been away long enough that it wouldn’t make a difference any longer I was quickly proven dead wrong. I went ahead and accepted a temporary bartending position at Club X while the management attempts to fill the vacancy. As much as I didn’t want to I bit the bullet and went in last night. This time I had terms because I had no intention of making this permanent again. As my 10-99 was already on file with Club X all I really needed to do early yesterday afternoon was go in and sign some paperwork and give them a current copy of my contractors liability insurance policy. The contract is for 60 days and states I will only be required to work 10 hours a night for two nights a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays, beginning on 11 June 2014. Employee will be paid at the end of his shift each Thursday at the agreed rate of $900.00 per day equalling, but not limited to $1800.00 per pay period. Employee will not tip out 35% of tip proceeds to the bar or the house, employee will keep all tip proceeds, paid out in cash, each night. In the event employee exceeds the agreed 20 hours weekly the employee will be compensated at the rate of $135.00 per additional hour. Employee is required to provide his own transportation and will be compensated at the rate of $1.61 per mile to include the distance traveled in each direction to fulfill the terms of this contract. After reviewing the contract I signed and dated it, made me copy, and headed home for a nap because it was going to be a long fucking night.
All of this was discussed with my wife over the weekend and we agreed that I could do it for the next 8 weeks but “prefers” I do not accept anything permanent afterwards. The money will be nice and it will help but I wondered if it was all worth doing over again. I remember clearly why I chose to stop being a bartender at a full nude strip club and as I rode into “work” I almost talked myself out of even going. Plus, it was a nice evening to ride and I was enjoying my tour through Houston. I did go, I followed through with the obligation I agreed to, what the hell, just roll the dice. After parking my Goldwing in the back of the club I smoked a quick cigarette while I stripped off my leathers in preparations to go inside. Ready. Set. Go. I had a part of a song stuck in my head that was so fitting to me walking through the doors of Club X, “you’re a crazy bitch but I like the way you fuck me so I’m on top of it”. Exactly. This was like I imagine it would feel if I were ever to have taken my psycho cunt ex-wife back when we were just separated. She tried hard, in the end, to fuck me ways I never dreamt she was capable of. Because for 12 years I always got the impression it was a ” obligatory chore” she performed. In the end it was actually like she wanted to be there and actually liked me a little. But, it was a game I was not going to play, the end. Similar to my leaving the club, I was tired of the lies, the drama, and the bullshit that came with being a bartender there.
I quickly was reminded that the “scenery” inside the club was always fantastic and generally could make a man forget his problems outside the walls of the club. But I don’t have problems outside I am trying to forget or drown, all if mine, all of my fears, were inside the club, and as I walked to the bar I tried not to focus in the past. Instead, I was greeted by Grace, a friend I had here who remembered me quite well. Nothing beats being greeted but a completely nude 5’11” stunning brunette with sweat dripping off her glistening body. All I am saying is it was a very pleasant surprise which actually was a great distraction. She was assigned to be my assistant at the bar, meaning she was assigned to the stage that also is my bartop and will entire customers to not only try new drinks but to enjoy them served in a different way, something that disappeared when I did. If you are new, curious, or can’t remember, you can search this blog’s bartender stories which some explain in graphic detail the way shots/drinks get served some times. But, because it plays into this night I will explain it some. Imagine Grace on her back, laid across the bar, legs spread while her ass is propped up with her hands, providing me with the perfect “cavity” to pour the ingredients of a Texas Tea, topped off with a orange slice, drink umbrella, a a straw for sipping. That is a $75.00 drink ensemble (interactive drink with personal show) and it began an onslaught of repeats. We did 73 of these drinks with a variety of drinks. Which means money for me and Grace, $13.00 goes to the bar, $50.00 goes to Grace, and the remaining $12.00 goes to me. Which means I picked up an additional $876.00 in tips I wasn’t expecting and she got over $3600.00 for letting drinks be sipped out of her tiny little vagina.
Eventhough these ensemble drinks keep me busy I also had to do my actual job. It was a fast paced night, I hope the rest of the nights I will be working fly by so fast. Plus, the extra money in tips will work out nicely as well. Maybe my fears are because I left on a bad note before, being burnt out has a negative effect on my attitude, but I think I might be able to tolerate this all the way through. We’ll see, since only time can really tell. Anyway, I’m going to be fishing for a while longer. After 2 hours of sitting here I have had two bites, maybe they are playing hide and seek today.
I generally get a handful of texts and e-mails every week from people I worked with at Club X. Usually just to let me known whats been happening and what will be happening. I suppose it is done to “keep me in the loop” even though I have been out of that loop for quite some time now. I generally do not reply to 99% because there usually isn’t anything for me to say. Now, I have two people, one stripper and one waitress, that I do keep up with and talk to regularly because we all became decent friends over the years I worked there. What makes them special you might ask? I will make a long story short, because it actually took me a few months to figure out what was going on. In the beginning I thought there was just the waitress who also was a stripper on her off nights. She would talk to me like normal regardless of what shoes she was wearing that night. Then, out of the blue, after a couple of months, she was on the dance floor stripping and at the same exact time she was waitressing. I thought I had lost my damn mind at first and then they both came over to the bar I was working and sat down, the both smiled while they just sat there looking at me. Yes, now I know, they are twin sisters. There had always been the two of them and few, if anybody, knew about it. Most people in the club thought the same thing I did. Anyway, a friendship grew and developed and now they keep in contact with me quite a bit.
This morning I get an e-mail from them asking me if I miss being a bartender there. They also known I was laid off and wanted to known why I just don’t come back. Do I miss being a bartender there? Not really. I do miss the money but I have said this all before now. I’m sure I could go back to bartending and it would be a decent paycheck, but I walked away when I did for some very specific reasons, first and foremost it was because I was done working nights and second is the hours I worked. It was a freaking part time job yet I worked 50-60 hours a week while having a day job doing 40 hours a week. You do the math, I was tired, more like exhausted, no walked around like a freaking zombie most days. So, I gave up bartending at the strip club, with that I have up about $100k a year, so yes, it has been missed. However, after doing that for 5 years, I socked away a nice start to a retirement, which, so far, we haven’t had to dip into, as of yet. I think it would take something very drastic to get me to go back permanently. Not that time is not now. I liked it after I quite, I see my family now and we have relationships now, something we could not have when I was working nights. I won’t bore y’all with the issues that job caused with my wife. I will say that it wasn’t for the reasons y’all might be thinking, it was simpler, it was because I was never home to spend time with her, ever, and it had a tremendous impact on our marriage. I will leave it there.
I do miss the people, I do miss bartending, and yes, I even miss being surrounded by hundreds of totally nude woman every day. The scenery was always nice. But, back in the real world is where I belong. Perhaps if I was single it would be different. One never knows. As always, the sisters like to include pictures of themselves at work, and to date the one shown here today has been the only one I have been able to share. I wonder, daily, where my life is going, and with often reminders of the past I see that wherever it is that I am supposed to be going is probably I’m the direction I am already headed. I am happier now that I have been in so many years. That’s what we should be, right, happy in our life? Personally, I think that is the answer.