Top Ten Things To Know Before Becoming an Exotic Dancer
What You Don't Know About Gentlemen's Clubs
After the time I've spent managing a gentleman's club, I could write a book about what happens behind the scenes, things that people don't know about and can't even imagine. I always joked that my job was a sociologist's dream because I literally had a front row seat and the chance to observe millions of different behaviours. Since I have the attention span of a goldfish, I'm just going write it out as a list and hope it helps someone (or at least offers a good laugh). Let's get on with it.
Shoes and Clothing Are Important (Despite the Fact That You Take Most of It Off)
Ironically, clothes matter. Exotic clothing and shoes may be expensive, but they also create the look you want on stage, and that can often affect how much money you make.
Every customer has a different taste in women; appealing to that particular taste is the only way to keep the customer for more dances. There are three major looks that are normally found in a club:
The Young Girl Look: Dos and Don'ts
Outfits that are fun and flirty, in pink or other fun, bright colors tend to appeal to customers who are looking for the younger-looking girl-next-door. Being cute and appearing young tends to bring in the most cash.
My theory is that because older men want exactly what they wanted in high school. Even though they have changed over the years, they still like the young look, but there is a right and a wrong way to achieve it. If you're older than 26, don't even bother. Women who dress too young for their age is frowned on in public as well as in the gentleman's cabaret.
Another way to sabotage this look is to overdo it. A cute pink bikini with a strawberry pattern and pretty clips in your hair can be adorable. Often coupled with the clear open-toed shoe, this outfit is meant to look as light as the material it is made of. Clear plastic shoes are the easiest to wear with an outfit like this because they go with any color and don't draw attention to your feet. On the other hand, lollipops and rainbow leg warmers are ridiculous. When women overdo it in this way, it reminds me of when I was five and wanted to wear my bathing suit under my clothing all of the time: It's childish and doesn't make a lick of sense.
The Edgy Look: Dos and Don'ts
Outfits that are darker in color and have a harder edge go especially well with alternative music, rockabilly styles, and seductive electronica. This look is best suited to the girl that isn't interested in bopping along to Fergie but rather someone that can make a dance routine to Bjork's "Human Nature" look like an exotic peep show.
This look appeals to a lot of younger men as well as the older men that like to explore their alternative side. However, there are many ways to ruin this look and it happens all the time (if you've been in an exotic dance club, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about).
What dancers don't realize is that a black romper coupled with a g-string made of metal chain link and chrome/black heels is extremely erotic, but certain haircuts, razor blade jewelry, black 'n' chunky boots, and an over-abundance of black eyeliner can also look just plain stupid. You didn't make friends with that look in high school, and it won't help you make friends here, either.
Flowing Lingerie: Dos and Don'ts
Outfits that are more lingerie-based, flowing, and sensual is the look I recommend to anyone that is older than 26, chooses to dance to music that is sexually charged (like Kylie Minogue's "Slow"), and/or tends to dance and do a floor routine rather than doing inverts and pole tricks. Lace and flowing fabrics are ultra-sexy and can make a dancer of any age look unbelievably gorgeous. A spin around the pole and even a simple walk is accentuated by the flow of fabric, allowing every movement to seem more fluid and sensual. This type of dress can also add to a floor routine because you can twist the fabric, play a little peek-a-boo game with your most intimate parts, and even have an S & M binding session with the pole. Can you tell this is my favorite look?
Shoes should be simple and not draw attention to your feet. Clear shoes will work but why not get a sexy pair of stiletto heels with small sparkling embellishments? Classic chunky shoes won't work here, but a shoe that has thin straps and a shorter platform than normal will lengthen the look of your legs without actually adding length and yet will be simple enough to keep the attention above the knee. I find that most men are attracted to this type of girl and usually stay for more dances.
Because everyone has their own taste, you can't guarantee your outfit will be a hit with every guy. Spend time soaking in the vibe of the club and pick an outfit that is best suited for that atmosphere so that you don't look like a fish out of water.
Your Social Skills
Engaging a customer in a polite, lightweight conversation before asking him to dance increases your chances that he will, in fact, spend money on you. It's no different than meeting anyone else in a business situation. Ask them how they are and if they are enjoying themselves, but stay away from questions like these:
- "Are you married?" (It may just remind them they have a wife and that they should leave.)
- "What do you do?" (Some people don't see this as a rude question, but when propositioning someone to give you money you shouldn't pry, especially since most people hate their jobs. The only reason I would ask this question is if the gentleman said he was visiting on business.)
- "Will you buy me a drink?" (Come on now! You know better than that! Only take what is offered because the gentleman may be offended by how rude you are and decide not to take you for a dance. If you ask for a drink, be assured you just traded a cocktail for 3 or 4 dances in the back room. Good job, moron.)
- "Do you have children?" (His daughter is probably your age, so don't remind him. If he does bring children into the conversation, remember to keep it light and polite.)
Remember, you can ask every customer in the room to take you for a dance and one or two might actually take you for a song, but if you put extra effort into a five minute conversation, the gentleman will be more inclined to spend more time with you. Take the time to get a gentleman to relate to you personally, like your spirit, and pay for an hour up front. CHA-CHING!
Not Every Customer Is a Saint Sitting on a Wad of Cash
It's common for men to agree to dances without having enough money to pay, to not understand the rate at which they are charged, and to expect more than what is legally possible. I'm not sure if it's due to intoxication or just because they're men, but being ripped off happens more than you'd ever expect. Here are steps to help ensure this doesn't happen to you:
- Make sure the customer is coherent and at least semi-sober.
- Explain up front how you will be paid per song.
- Explain the rules of touching and, if propositioned for "extra attention," politely let him know that is illegal, and you are a law-abiding citizen.
- After every song, ask him if he would like you to continue. I find a lot of girls will keep going if the client doesn't say anything and ultimately end up dancing a lot longer than the customer can afford. This means wasted time because the customer will refuse to pay, bouncers will become involved, and everyone will get upset. If a customer complains, it will tarnish your reputation in front of other potential clients.
- It is a good idea to offer dances for a reduced price if he buys half an hour of your time. It's just like buying in bulk and really, there is less of a chance of being ripped off if you get the money up front. Instead of the average 2-4 dances, you get paid for an entire half hour. I know a lot of girls in clubs who charge $20 a dance but offer a rate of $160 for half an hour instead of $200 because they can make more money this way (since it takes an average of two songs before another client comes along).
There Are a Lot of Strange Personalities out There and You Will Meet Them All
I have seen so many odd people and strange behaviours it seriously blows my mind. There is no getting used to some of the requests from clients. Because I'm worried about you going out there unaware, I'm going to let you know what kind of freaks are going to approach you.
The crier. Maybe his wife just left him, or he's lonely, or maybe he's getting shipped off to Iraq in the morning. Who knows! He's just looking for a little comfort in the company of a beautiful lady and then, mid-dance, he starts bawling his eyes out, clinging to you for support, and making you feel at a loss for words. Remind him he's still on the clock and console the poor dear because these guys will pay for your time and tip a bit extra.
The Radio Operator. Way back in junior high, did you ever have a boyfriend that had no idea what he was supposed to do with nipples and sat there tweaking them like he was tuning a radio? Some of those boys never grew out of it. I'm serious! Grown men going to town on your nipples like they're popping pimples. All you can do is politely remind them that it hurts (because yes, believe or not, they are attached to you). Unfortunately, if they are drunk enough, they'll keep doing it, so either be prepared to put a cold pack on your nips or terminate the session.
The S&M Fan (who is too embarrassed to find a dominatrix in the yellow pages). You think I'm joking, but it's all too common to find men that want you to step on their genitals with your heels and pinch, poke, slap, and call them names. If you're uncomfortable with this, then they will usually turn down the regular dance, but if you're smart, you'll say that kind of thing is outside a normal dance, and it will cost extra. It's especially fantastic when you've just had a fight with your boyfriend, and you're down for a little ball-crushing.
The Dirty Talker. Most common of all is the man who wants to say disturbing things to you and get away with it. It's a common thing to be called names such as "slut" and "whore." Most girls don't put up with it or charge more for this kind of colorful language. You just have to remember it's always your choice, and you can end it at any time.
The Only Money You Get Is the Money You Make (DUH!)
It's rare to find a club that pays its dancers. Honestly, most dancers pay a fee to work in the club. The only money you will be getting is the money handed to you after providing dances, which means there is no time for being lazy. This isn't a job where you can waltz in, take forever to get ready, mill around, drink, and wait for men to ask you to go for dances. No! You have to hustle, work the room, and use every opportunity to make money. That means you should eat a meal before you go to work, bring a quick snack, bring band-aids in case your shoes rub, cut down on cigarette breaks, and, most importantly, don't get drunk.
The Other Dancers Are Your Competitors
You are competing against other women for a gentleman's attention, but it's important to keep an air of tact and manners about you. Let the other girls gossip and be catty and lewd while you ignore them, do your job, and maintain a ladylike appearance. All of this drama is just a distraction from the of money you could be making. If you keep your head down, work, and keep to yourself, you're going to bank much more than the others.
You Can Establish a Regular Clientele
The easiest way to do this is to become familiar with faces, realize which regulars take girls for dances (because not all of them will), and then befriend them. Learn their names, ask them how their day was, and then you're off to a head start. If a regular walks into a bar and you're the first one to say "Hi, Jim! How is it going?" he's going to stop to talk with you. Remember, having polite conversations and smiling is the best way to make friends, but it's even better when those friends have money.
T.I.P.S means "To Insure Prompt Service"
I can't stress this one enough. The bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and bouncers see a lot of girls come and go. If you're nice, polite, and tip, they will go the extra mile for you because, trust me, they've seen a lot of evil dancers in their time.
If you tip well, bouncers will keep you safe and be more inclined to be on your side in the event of an argument with a customer, bartenders (who will set up a dance session when the client is too shy to approach) will send you customers, and cocktail waitresses will notice if your drink is low and offer to grab you another one (which is fantastic if you're with a customer, because most times they'll offer to pay)!
Anal Bleach Will Be Your Friend
I don't have to explain this one, except I can give you advice on what kind to buy. Look for a skin bleaching cream that doesn't have sunscreen in it (often indicated if the brand is a "nighttime formula") and contains 2% solution of hydroquinone (because it's such a delicate area). You can pick this up at almost any chain drug store.
(Side note: Keeping personal care wipes with you on the job is a really good idea because I've never laughed as hard as I did when the black lights picked up a piece of toilet paper on a girl's bum... during her performance.)
Stay Away from Drugs
This one should be pretty obvious, but I've seen a lot of dancers end up trying a little, going partying, and then spending all of the cash they earned that night on blow. If you're in this business to make money, then don't be an idiot. I'm sick of seeing strung-out girls who can't do their jobs. It's a mean thing to say, but dancers are a dime a dozen, and if you want to do blow you'll inevitably lose your job. Remember: There's a line of women waiting for the opportunity to make hundreds of dollars a night.