Lessons in Love & Strip Clubs

Recently I picked up a third job at a local gentlemen’s club to save some extra money for the expansion of my spa. I’ve waited tables before, although it hadn’t been for about ten years, and I had never served alcohol; only food since I was a minor at the time I had been serving. But, I’m extroverted and love talking to people, and honestly, I loved the allure of working in adult entertainment and getting that nightlife feel, without actually participating. Since I work a lot, I can’t really physically afford to drink, so it made perfect sense to me at the time – be at the party without a hangover the next day.

In my own business, I’m a healer. I help heal people through therapeutic touch. Yes, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist. I take my job very seriously and am very aware of massage’s spotty background in the world culture as a whole. It’s had a bad rap for many years as being sexual in nature, and was even banned for a while and wasn’t reinstated as a therapeutic treatment until the renaissance period. But over the last ten years or so, it’s gained steam again and has become more mainstream as a therapeutic approach to healing the body, mind, and spirit.

So what does me being a Massage Therapist have to do with working at a strip club? Everything. My life as a healer is the white, and my work as a cocktail server at a strip club was the black.  Notice the past tense. At first I was drawn to the idea of it all, and quite frankly, I thought I was going to make bank in tips. I think I envisioned some scene from The Great Gatsby, but really it was more like, well, working at a strip club. Even though the management was nice enough, as were most of the patrons, it was so opposing to what I do in my regular line of work, and just dirty. I live my life to a code – a code of healing and purity, and strip clubs are the polar opposite of that.

They take away and don’t give back

You have these insanely hot girls dancing on men, who most often are not that attractive, although sometimes they are which confounds me. At the end of Friday night, my first night on my own, the other cocktail servers and I were cleaning up. A dancer was still finishing up her last dance in the curtained section. These curtains were see-through, so I could see everything. She was completely nude and his hands were all over her breasts. The look on my face and the words out of my mouth were, “Gross.” How could anyone subject themselves to that? This goes both ways – the dancer and the receiver. Girl, you’re taking money for rubbing your bare naked body all over some strange person. And receiver, you’re just getting turned on to go home and, well…you know. How can that be gratifying?

I didn’t know how much I wouldn’t like working at a strip club until I worked at one. On the one hand, I can understand that strip clubs are the only place where some men and women may get attention from beautiful women, but how does that really make you feel good in the long-term? I truly believe that everyone deserves to be loved – unless you’re President Trump – and that there’s someone out there for everyone. How can that make you feel good to pay for someone to pay attention to you? Sure, maybe it does temporarily, but after, you’re left with this sense of emptiness and loneliness, knowing that the only way you’re going to get that attention again is by going to the strip club. Plus, once you go down that road of going to strip clubs for lap dances and attention, it makes dating in the real world really challenging because you’re used to the way twenty year old women look naked. And let’s face it, when you’re a not-so-attractive fifty-five year old man that isn’t a baller, you’re probably not going to be pulling in young, beautiful women, unless you order a mail-order Russian bride.

My man and strip clubs

Although I already abhorred the idea of my man going to a strip club, working at one made me not like it even more. In one way, it’s made me a little more chill with him ending up at one every once in a while, but if it’s a regular thing, then that’s a deal breaker for me. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and I truly believe that the body is beautiful and artistic. But for me, having my man watch some other extremely hot, naked woman shove her vagina all up in his face isn’t romantic, and it definitely doesn’t turn me on. I’m also not bi though. I believe that love is more than just being sexually attracted to someone, and although I’m confident in myself, who I am, and what I have to offer, I don’t see why my man should feel the need to go to a strip club on any regular basis. And if he’s getting lap dances, that’s definitely not cool.

All this being said though, I have spoken to several older women who have been or are in long-term relationships, and they said that they don’t care if their man ends up at a strip club every so often, so long as they bring that passion back home. I can understand that, I suppose. I myself have never been in a long-term relationship, so I assume that after a while, although you still love your person and choose to be with them, you’re still a human and find other people attractive. This should also be done with tact, of course. I, nor the women that I’ve spoken to, would want the guy talking about how hot this other woman was and then trying to have sex with them. Great, thanks – go have fun with that, in the bathroom…alone.

Dollar, dollar bills y’all

I understand that the strippers are out there doing this for money, and no judgement here. There’s a need for it and you’re capitalizing off of it. You do you. But it just seems so strange to me. Like, we’ve never met before – let me take off my pants and show you my butt hole. Mmm, yeah, you like that? No. It’s weird.

Also, like I said, I thought that I was going to make bank. Even though I didn’t even make it a full week there – only three shifts – I think the most cocktail servers made there was around $200 in a night, but averaging around $150. You’re slammed from nine o’clock in the evening until three o’clock in the morning and you only make $150? Thanks, but I can take one or two extra clients a day and make that up – only two extra hours of work instead of five for the same amount of money. Plus, I don’t have to degrade myself or put up with unwarranted advances. And just think – most cocktail servers make more money than the actual dancers. That means that dancers are showing off their body to strangers for barely anything.

I’m not a hooker

I literally had some random guy tell me that he was staying at the Marriott and that he wanted me to come back to his hotel room. He said that he would make it “worth my while.” Umm…thanks, I’m not a hooker. I also had some guy, who seemed nice enough and was also from Minnesota, give me his card. He wanted to get together sometime; he said that he traveled a lot for work and came to Portland often. Thanks, but no thanks. You don’t exactly look like you exercise, and I’m not looking for a hook up.

Finale

All-in-all, the management was nice and seemed supportive, but it’s not the place for me. The dancers were nice, but some were definitely on drugs and most drank regularly. Strip clubs have an incredibly large amount of negativity which isn’t something I personally want to get mixed up in. I’m sweet and a healer; I don’t need any drama. Plus, if you think that working at a strip club is going to be lucrative, think again. Sure, if you like the hours, environment, and don’t mind taking off your clothes for strangers, then get it! But really, there are tons of other jobs out there that you can make way more money in with limited or no schooling at all, and where you can actually make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. I can’t understand why people gravitate towards them for comfort or attention. For me, people who frequent them regularly seem really lonely and probably don’t love themselves all that much; they have this unquenchable thirst for validation, approval, and social acceptance.

4 thoughts on “Lessons in Love & Strip Clubs

  1. I’ve never been a fan of strip clubs and this article just confirmed it for me. I loved reading about your experience and laughed out loud multiple times. At the end of the day to each their own, no judgment but I agree with you…just not for me.

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  2. I’m with you – to each their own. That said, I had a friend out of college who worked at a strip club as a dancer, and the job just beat her down one little bit at a time. It’s not what happens in the clubs that I have a problem with: it’s the soul-sucking damage it can do to the fragile people – both workers and patrons – at the end of the day.

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    1. Thanks Susan! I try to stay fairly open minded – you can’t really judge something until you’ve experienced it firsthand. And I definitely found that that lifestyle is NOT for me. But now I know what it’s all about, I suppose…

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