I worked as a waitress in a strip club for a while and am happy to share my experiences and advice.
It's Not as Bad as Everyone Thinks
I had never been in a strip club up until I was 26, the day I went in for my interview. I had been kicking it around for months, on the fence about what to do. I liked having the day to myself and I wanted a night job that included tips. I had already served in restaurants and was sick of wrapping my day around a poorly drawn up schedule, made based on someone else's time constraints.
You'll have more freedom.
The thing about working in a strip club is that it provides you with so much freedom. You schedule yourself based on your own availability—you don't have to work any shift except the one you agreed to. It might not work this way everywhere you go, but that's how it was at my particular facility.
If You Tell People Where You Work, They'll Assume You're a Stripper
I got this all the time. If it comes up in conversation, you should probably specify more than once that you were not an exotic dancer at any point. Not that there is anything wrong with the occupation; I've seen girls walk out with a grand in their pocket, bills paid for the week.
You'll gain a whole new perspective on dancers.
To be honest, it's pretty incredible to watch other women basically take an entire check from patrons with little to no effort. You'll constantly hear people say "girls who make that kind of money aren't just dancing." This simply isn't true. Upon observation, I can tell you the highest paid women are making conversation with their guests. In my club, the long-time waitresses were making $400 on Saturday nights. However, these women had been in the industry for more than four years, and I really wasn't trying to be there for that long.
They're not giving free shows or doing extra-curricular activities, they're just building rapport and ultimately working as a salesperson. Although, I can't speak for VIP lounges. My advice to any waitress would be to stay as far away from VIP as possible.
There Are Good Nights and Bad Nights
Most of the tips you make will depend on how much business the club is bringing in, and how many regulars you have.
My advice would be to look online and see who has the best ratings in your area. Don't just look at the good ones. Browse the worst of the worst and see if they're consistent. I'd say unless it's a 4-star rating or higher, don't bother applying.
Your Outfit Is Flexible
What you're required to wear depends on which club you're working in. At the club I worked at, we were allowed to wear whatever we wanted as long as it was black. Now, I was okay with wearing a black t-shirt or nice black top with some shorts, but some girls went all out. We're talking crop tops, fishnets, skirts, bare midriffs, and so on.
Dressing up might get you more tips, but I'm not sure because I never did it.
I was there to serve beer, not to compete with the dancers. When I did make an effort to look a little nicer, it didn't really turn out as hoped. Honestly, you'll just get grabbed more. I would say it's best to smell nice, have your nails looking decent, wear some makeup, and look fresh. Men are into personal hygiene.
As far as shoes go, just wear some comfortable ones, preferably non-slip. The last thing you want is to trip and fall carrying a tray of beer—it comes out of your pocket.
Men Will Constantly Push Your Boundaries
Even though the job can be fun, you need to be ready to put your foot down and stand up for yourself when someone makes you uncomfortable.
Some of the men who come to strip clubs have manners and know how to behave themselves. The majority of your customers, however, will try to take advantage of you in some way. But as long as you have a tough, confident exterior, you shouldn't have an issue with guys like this.
Don't ever let someone touch you in a way that makes you feel unsafe. You must speak up for yourself at all times.
If you serve a gentlemen a beer and he decides to get a handful of your behind, address it immediately. Say, "Sir, this is a no-contact club, don't touch me."
Mind you, that's a more polite version of what's actually being said—you say whatever you need to if someone touches you without permission. Even if you're the shyest, most polite person in the world, the rules don't apply in this world. Find your voice and use it.
"Some of the men who come to strip clubs have manners and know how to behave themselves. The majority of your customers, however, will try to take advantage of you in some way. But as long as you have a tough, confident exterior, you shouldn't have an issue with guys like this."
Don't Let Anyone Short You on a Bill
Both patrons and occasionally the dancers will try to short you when paying for their drinks. If a beer is $5.50 and someone shorts you by 50 cents, you might be inclined to let it go at first. Don't let it go, EVER. If you let it slide once, you'll let it slide again and again. Before you know it, you've lost $15, dropping 50 cents at a time.
If you think this doesn't happen, guess again. Guests tried to stiff me all the time, on 50 and 25 cents. If I haven't said it enough times yet, you've got to speak up for yourself. Yes, your managers can help you in extreme situations. But in this environment, you have to stand on your own two feet.
Customers Want You to Party With Them
It is a party atmosphere, after all. The problem is, no one ever takes just one shot or has one beer, especially if it's not coming out of your pocket and you've got unlimited access to a lonely client with a big wallet.
There have been countless times where a customer has "bought me a vodka," which was actually just a glass of Sprite. If you have any guilt about this, let me ask you something: Do you think they feel guilty about trying to get you drunk?
While they very well may be a harmless individual who just wants you to have a good time with them, you should never at any point assume that someone is doing something just to be nice . . . that's not how it works.
That's not how any of this works.
These are your patrons, not your friends. They're not going to call and ask if you made it home, and they probably don't care.
"While they very well may be a harmless individual who just wants you to have a good time with them, you should never at any point assume that someone is doing something just to be nice . . . that's not how it works . . . These are your patrons, not your friends. They're not going to call and ask if you made it home, and they probably don't care."
Don't Give Out Any of Your Personal Information
On that note, handing out your phone number, email, Snapchat, address, or any other personal information is a HUGE no-no. Making arrangements to meet up or providing your personal information is dangerous.
Some of these guys are legitimately insane, some of them are married, and some of them have serious substance abuse problems. The last thing you need to do is wrap yourself up in a bad situation because you gave your social media handle to a stranger.
If he doesn't turn out to be a weirdo, there's still a chance that the woman in his life is just waiting to slash your tires after finding out her man is being unfaithful. Just . . . don't do it.
Remember, You're There to Make Money
Whether or not you get along with staff really depends on how quickly you find your footing. Most of the time, you'll have two or three veterans that are happy to answer questions, but don't expect anyone to go out of their way to train you or be your buddy. You are competition and you could potentially take clientele and money away from the other waitresses.
This is not to say you should avoid being friendly. If you meet a few other waitresses you get along with, make a connection. Especially if it is profitable and you can somehow make it work for the both of you.
"At the end of the day, you are doing a job, nothing more. Serve your drinks and build a customer base."
Take Care of Your Dancers
If you look over and notice your guest has an entertainer with them, go over and ask how they're doing.
During my first weekend, a dancer named Roxanne had grabbed quite a few customers for the evening. Every time someone offered to buy her a drink, she called me to her table. As a result, I was getting tipped for every single drink the guy paid for. When you take care of your dancers, most of the time they'll take care of you too.
People Are Going to Judge You
The fact is, most women travel outside city limits and into other towns for jobs like these. In addition to avoiding a stalking situation with creepy clients, no one really wants their friends or family to know where they work. They're probably going to make snide remarks, look down on you, or try to make you feel guilty about it.
If you're serious about entering the industry, you're going to have to throw all of that B.S. to the wind. Ask yourself: Are they paying your bills? Are they going to feed you? Are they going to give you a car to drive or a home to live in if you go broke?
If not, don't worry about what they have to say! At the end of the day, you are doing a job, nothing more. Serve your drinks and build a customer base.
And if you decide you want to go the dancing route, just be smart, watch your surroundings, don't let anyone pressure you into making naive decisions, and don't drink on the job.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on September 24, 2020:
What a brave and interesting article. I can imagine that it would be a bit of a trying job at times so I don't envy you that. Parts of what you have said here will probably be ringing in my mind the next time I talk to any waitress anywhere. Well done.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 05, 2020:
You are quite right. Waitresses tend to do well based on the strip club. We usually picked up dancers when I worked in the taxi business, and they did not do "extras" for cash. Good information and well written.