Sep 302012
 

Ten days ago, one of my favorite bloggers – Girl on the Netwrote about strip clubs. She’s writing from a different perspective (straight female) in a different country (the UK, I believe).

She refutes a few myths that seem to be prevalent in the UK, or at least, that are repeated in a recent article in The New Statesman.  She writes:

1) Strip clubs aren’t all expensive

2) Strippers don’t all either love it or hate it

3) The girls aren’t all on drinks commission

4) Strip clubs are erotic, but not for everyone

5) Not all feminists hate stripping

Now.

Girl on the Net does a great job of dealing with these myths, but as I said, her perspective is quite different from mine. So I’m gonna do the same thing here, only from my angle. There will be some repetition, but some differences as well.

Strip clubs aren’t all expensive

First, strip clubs are all expensive, but you don’t have to spend a lot in a strip club. In my experience (which is admittedly a bit dated, but not that dated), there are some basic rules of thumb. The vast majority of strip clubs make money a few different ways – most, directly from the customers, but one, from the dancers. First, we customers often pay an entry fee, or cover charge. At some clubs, there’s never a cover charge; at some, there’s always a hefty ($20? $40?) charge. At most, it depends on time of day, and day of the week. Call the median $10. At clubs that are bona fide “clubs,” and not just bars, there’s almost always a “coat check,” at which the second fee is collected. Here, owners and their bags (or coats, or umbrellas, or whatever) are separated, usually for anywhere from $3 period, to $5 per item. Plus a tip for the “coat check girl,” Then, you get to your seat, where you can (but aren’t typically required to) drink. I say you’re not required to, but the pressure is unrelenting, and often, I would simply buy a drink to stop the pressure. And drinks are steeply priced. At the lowest-end strip clubs, a soda might be $7. At the higher-end ones, they’re $12 or so. Alcoholic drinks are similarly over-priced – it’s easy enough to pay $10 or $12 for a Corona. Or a well drink. For a name-brand liquor? More. Then the lap dances ($20 at something like 90% of clubs I ever attended). And the private rooms (which can run from $100 or $150 for a half hour to $800 or $1000 for an hour, plus “champagne and strawberries,” and tips for the various staff). And finally, the way that (I think) clubs make the bulk of their money – from the dancers, who “tip out” – who pay the DJ and/or the “house madam,” or whoever for the privilege of working there.

So it’s possible to head into most strip clubs and, if you’re so inclined, drop a grand or more in an evening. But it’s also possible to leave having spent $20 or less, most of the time. All depends on the club you pick and the experience you want to have.

Strippers don’t all either love it or hate it

I’m sorry, but this is just stupid. Somehow, people think that “strippers” are a monolithic group, that they all either love it or hate it. But not only do they not all feel the same way, but they don’t all select from these two choices. Like people doing just about any job you can imagine, there’s a range of ways strippers feel about their work. Obviously, for a man to get an honest read on just how they feel is complicated, because a crucial part of their work is acting, and acting for our benefit. But I have had some candid conversations with strippers in clubs (and more with women who have stripped, out of clubs), and shockingly, what I’ve concluded is that (gasp) there are some who love it, some who hate it, and most who have mixed feelings.

The girls aren’t all on drinks commission

This seems (to me) to be an artifact of a UK way of doing business. I’ve almost never been in a club where I had the sense that drinks commissions represented a significant part of strippers’ income. That’s not to say that I don’t imagine they benefit from the drinks I order, myself or them, when they’re with me, but just that I’ve never felt any pressure to drink by, or to buy a drink for a stripper.

Strip clubs are erotic, but not for everyone

Um, right. Some people love ‘em, some hate ‘em. Some love ‘em no matter what, some love ‘em only alone in a raincoat, some love ‘em only with their wife (or girlfriend, or boyfriend, or husband). But seriously – what is it about people that makes us so eager to generalize. Strip clubs are a thing – and as with most things, people have varied appreciation for them.

Not all feminists hate stripping

I confess, the first time I read this, I thought the “stripping” in question was to be done by the “feminists” in question. Once more, though, duh! Feminists are like strippers (and like women, or men, or right-handed people, for that matter): they’re diverse. Some both hate strip clubs and hate stripping for their lovers; some hate strip clubs but love stripping for their lovers; some love strip clubs but hate stripping for their lovers; and some love it all. And some fall somewhere in between, or elsewhere. Geez – isn’t that obvious? Stripping is not inherently “bad,” and appreciating strip clubs, or strippers, isn’t intrinsically misogynistic. Sure, there are a few people who disagree, who believe that there is a “right” answer to this question, one that extends across all strippers, all strip clubs, all patrons, all situations. But there really are just a few of those people left.

To me, strip clubs can be really fun, or they can be soul-killing. I’ve had my share of both, but unfortunately, weighted toward the soul-killing.

What are your thoughts?

  4 Responses to “Strip clubs”

  1. Thanks for your take on it, I find it fascinating. As a woman, and one that’s only been to a handful of strip clubs I always wondered what the motivation was…since in my mind if you can’t touch, I don’t see the point really. My only observations where the girls who were younger and dressed “innocently” ie the school girl outfit etc. seemed to get A LOT more attention and $$ than the older women. Breast size didn’t seem to factor into it, either. I found myself watching the men’s reactions more than I watched the girls(plus my reason for being there were a tad different). I still find it all very fascinating.

  2. Well, I guess it was different, cause the men couldn’t touch. Maybe a caress here or there but nothing overt. Whereas, the girl that we’d come to see(my girlfriend had a crush on her) when she came off stage literally would sit in my lap or my girlfriends. But I figured it was different for women. We(the girls) didn’t have to pay a cover charge either, just the men.

  3. I’ll throw in my 2 cents here.

    I always budgeted $100 per visit. I don’t drink alcohol so $20 on drinks, $20 in singles to tip the stage dancers, and $60 (3 x $20) for lap dances. Occasionally I’d walk in with $140, but I never spent more than that, ever. VIP rooms are for suckers.

    I met strippers who were some of the happiest, funniest, most wonderful people I’ve ever met. They loved their jobs, did it well, made a ton of money, and went home happy every night. I also met dancers who were in serious need of intervention on every level. They were mean, angry, hostile, and the only thing that kept them working was a nice ass and low self-esteem. Go HERE – for a great blog about stripping.

    Drinks? The girls love to sell them, but I’ve never felt they got any money from it. But, when the club buys soda and a cup for 45 cents and sells it for $7,00, everybody makes money.

    Strip clubs can be, should be, safe, fun, entertaining, and erotic, but so should Sandra Bullock movies and those don’t always work out. Like any business, there are clubs for many different tastes. Some cater to couples, some to parties, some to travelers and some keep their regular happy. But, they all have naked women dancing in your lap, so, if you don’t like that, don’t go.

    Feminists should love stripping just like they should support porn if it is the woman’s free and unfettered choice. But feminists are people too and they all have their hangups about people giving other people money to make their naughty bits tingle. Live and let live.

    So there are my thoughts on strip clubs. I love ’em.

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