Saturday, August 28, 2010

So you know that club in Times Square I was working at? Well not too long ago I just walked out, literally just packed up my shit, changed into my normal clothes, and walked right out the door. Without even paying my house fee....teeheehee I'm such a badass. Not really, but that place was ridiculous.
I was getting ready for work at the beginning of the night, contemplating whether to come in or not. Then I checked online and saw that the biker bar only had auditions Monday thru Thursday, which settled it. Might as well go to work. So I get there, and the house mom, who is this HUGE bitch, tried to tell me my dress was innapropriate because it looked too much like lingerie. OK, first of all, you told me to buy a long GOWN. Sure the dress was a little lingerie-esque, but it's a strip club for cyring out loud, not a ballroom! Second of all, I worked in that dress all last weekend and no one said anything. Truth be told, I think she trying to get me to "rent" one of her gowns for twenty bucks a pop. Well, I wasn't doing that, so she told me I'd have to buy a new one anyway. Hmmm lemme think about that. NO! How can I buy a new anything with the outrageous house fees.
Plus, this is the same mom, the first night I worked, who made me buy a TWENTYFIVE dollar g-string b/c mine didn't 'cover up enough'. I hate this woman. So the night was not off to a good start, and it only got worse. Not a lot of dances, no rooms, you know. By 1, I had made $120 which wasn't enough to cover my house fee, which I hadn't paid at the beginning of the night (and of course, the house mom yelled at me for that as well.) To be fair, I don't think anyone was having a good night, and I know I was doing better than at least some of the girls, but I didn't care. I honestly was just so pissed with the house mom trying to hustle me because of her stupid made up rules (What is she, the strip club fashion police? Btw, this woman wears a fanny pack and is telling me what to wear!) So I went down to the dressing room and put on my clothes. The one girl, this drunk Hispanic chick, kept asking me where I was going, but I kept telling her to be quiet. See, you're not supposed to leave early without permission and defintely not before tipping out, but that was part of the satisfaction for me. I got to keep all the money I made!! Wow, I know, what a novel idea. But it felt good, like a nice little "fuck you" to that place.
So anyways, I changed and snuck out. No one even noticed me leave, not even the house mom. I walked right past her; she was reading a book! And I think the bouncers thought I had gotten permission. And once I was on the sidewalk, it was SUCH a good feeling. Free at last, free at last! It really felt SO good to be out of there.
So I went to sleep for a couple hours and kept having these nightmares about the guido managers hunting me down and banging on my door, demanding their house fee. Or that I was in the club and kept trying to run away but the bouncers kept carrying me back in. LOL
The new plan is to audition at the biker bar until I can get a nice waitressing job. I really don't think dancing is for me, especially in these ridiculous NY clubs. The only place I would dance is my old club in NOLA ( or maybe the biker bar b/c it seems cool and laid-back).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So I'm scheduled to work tomorrow, but I'm thinking of changing clubs. The thing is, I hate that my money is going to the house; I hate it. I'm working my butt off just pay some fat greasy manager and the house mom. Like what the fuck does she do? Give the girls Motrin. Oh great, I can get some at the drugstore. I mean, the DJ, I understand. He plays the songs, but $150 to the house seems ridiculous to me. And I get that the rationale is that you're supposed to make more money in Times Square, but part of it is also the principle behind it. It's like if you were working retail, and the first four hours of your time you didn't get paid. That's really how I feel like, because my first TEN lapdances are going to cover costs.
The club I danced at in NOLA never charged house fees as long as you put yourself on schedule once a week. What this means is that you told the club you were gonna show up one day a week from 7 pm to 2am. You could stay longer, but you HAD to put in your seven hours and not be late. If you stuck to this, then the rest of the week you didn't pay rent. And we didn't have a house mom, so the only tipout you had to give was $15 to the DJ, and he didn't even count it. If it was a slow night, he'd be very understanding and let you make it up to him. And if you got a champagne room, then tipping the host was OPTIONAL. A lot of the girls didn't even tip hospitality. At my club in NYC, you have to tip the host, even if you do a 15 min. room. I mean, I feel like I'm being sucked dry by bloodthirsty piranahs.
So anyways I was talking to this one girl at work. Gorgeous, blonde hair blue eyed Russian. She was hired the same as me and is having the same problem. She can't make money because of tip-out, but she mentioned she used to work at this place in Queens, I think, where tip-out was only $50 and she could walk with $500.
So I went home and researched and there's a bar in Brooklyn called Pumps. It's actually a divey biker bar; apparently motorcycles hang from the ceiling. This actually seems cool to me. As clean cut as I seem (and I actually am pretty clean but) I love dive bars and wouldn't mind at all working in a biker bar. In my experience, people at dive bars are super friendly. So I called there and they don't have any house fees, which is awesome AND you don't have to wear the stupid long gowns that make you look like a slutty prom queen. So basically I can wear whatever I want and no house fees. This means I get to keep all my money. Awesome! And this is funny: apparently they have just one "champagne room" that says you can buy your lady her favorite bottle of champagne for $20. Hahahaha TWENTY BUCKS. Must be some pretty awful champagne. But anyway, I digress. It seems like a pretty chill place and I bet the money's not bad.
See, before I started waitressing in New Orleans, I used to waitress at this really divey titty bar/restaurant in Virginia. I made good money there, AND it was easy. Like I didn't have to hustle and I didn't get pressure from the managers to "upsell" or anything. Guys would just tip me lots of money, and I was just a lowly waitress. My first night working I made around $200 without a clue as to what I was doing.
Then when I started working in New Orleans, I worked for a big corporate club with big corporate rules. It took about a month for me to make any sort of money, and I had to hustle my ass off to make it. Plus, there was always a lot of pressure from management to upsell and sell bottles, etc.
Basically my point is that I don't care how classy a club is or how fancy the "gowns" have to be, if they're hell-bent on sucking my money out of me, I might as work at the unclassy biker bar, ya know?
I might try it tomorrow and see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I think when you are a stripper you always have certain customers that you remember, that stick out for you even after they are long gone.
For me, that one customer that I remember was this big fat guy; I think he was from Boston. I was actually waitressing back then (remember, I've only been taking my clothes off for total, not even two weeks). Anyways, it was a Thursday night, and I remember this because the last Thursday of every month the club I worked at had Taboo Night. What this meant was that the employees and dancers had to dress up in "fetishwear," for the strippers this meant big black plasticky looking boots with buckles and black lingerie sets. My taboo outfit was a black pleather skirt with a zip that went all the way down the front and a red corset. I'm not trying to sound vain, but I looked hot in that outfit. In the back, the club set up a stake that the dancers could get tied to and whipped. One time there was even this latex thing that customers and dancers coud get sucked into or something so they were being suffocated. I don't know the exact dynamics of it. And we had drink specials with names like Tie Me to the Bedpost or Liquid Cocaine.
So, it was about the end of the night and I had a hoodie over my red corset because it was cold, and I was getting ready to clean up. The hoodie was pink and had the name of my undergraduate school on it. Not very taboo, right?
This guy sits down in the back. A stripper, her name was Wenesday, after the Addam's family, sits down next to him. Wenesday is goth chick hot, like super skinny and pale with tons of tattooes and flaming red hair. I go up to the table, ask what they would want to drink. Wenesday orders her usual, Tequila Sunrise with Patron, and the guy orders two of something, I forget what. So I bring the drinks back and he gulps them down. Like literally downs the two drinks in a matter seconds, gulpgulpgulp without stopping. I just stare at him. Then he starts talking to me about my hoodie. The name of my alma mater is actually a fort that George Washington lost in the Revolutionary War. So the conversation goes something like this:
Him: "You know that Fort ____ was actually one of George Washington's losses during the Revolutionary War?"
Me: "Oh yeah, I think I've heard something about that. It's actually the name of the school I went to. This hoodie is from there."
Then he starts telling me about the Revolutionary War. I tell him I was actually a history major in college. By this time, I am sufficiently interested in him to sit down and talk a little about history. Now, when I was a waitress, I usually never sat down and talked to customers. I figured this was the stripper's job, and I would rather make money slinging drinks. But like I said, this guy was actually fairly interesting, and it was the end of the night, so I figured why the heck not.
Wenesday is listening to the conversation, occassionally adding something, but mostly it's just me and him talking. Then Wenesday gets called to the stage. By this time, I can tell the guy really likes me, and I'm thinking I can make some money off of him. Some other late night customers trickle in, and since I am the only waitress, usually I should spring up, greet them, and serve them their drinks. But I don't, I sit and talk to Mr. History Buff. I get up and brink him two more drinks and he gulps them down, one after the other. I tell him this is impressive. He says it's not and he's actually an alcoholic. "Oh," I say, a little awkwardly.
Wenesday gets off stage and sits back down at our table. He practically forces another Tequila Sunrise on her. By this time, he is telling me he loves my eye makeup and keeps calling me a "raven-haired beauty."
Rachael comes by our table and taps me on the shoulder, whispers in my ear. "Hey you have customers coming in. Go take care of them, then you can sit and talk."  But then someone, Wenesday or the guy, mentions doing a room. And then it becomes clear to Rachael that the guy reallyreally likes me. So of course, fuck the other customers. Rachael, Wenesday, the guy, and I all troop into the elevator to take us up to the VIP floor.
We get off and the first person we see is the VIP host, Drew. Drew and Wenesday used to fuck, which is something that Wenesday mentioned to the guy when we were on the first floor. The guy then mentions this to Drew, says something about him being good in bed. Everyone immediately freezes up, Drew says "Oh god," and leaves (because it is clear now that he can't do the tour), and Wenesday has this look on her face like ohmygodican'tbeleivehejustsaidthat. So Rachael does the tour and I kind of hang back.
The guy chooses to do one of the more expensive rooms, with a $300 bottle of Absolut. I get him to sign his reciept properly, scratching him on the back while he calls me his "raven-haired beauty." He tells Drew that he is gay, insults a regular standing by the bar and tells him he looks like David Crosby. "Fuck all of you, the only one I like is her," he says, pointing at me. Then he points his finger at Rachael. "And I don't trust you. You like like Dakota Fanning."
The guy is a trip and clearly hard to handle. The only one he likes is me. Rachael gets him to buy around 8 $30 shots of Patron Platinum and adds a couple Red Bulls on his tab without his knowledge for us to drink after he gets into the room. By now, with the room, the bottle,and the ultra premium shots of Patron Platinum, his tab is around $2,000. "I'm doing this for you. This is all for you," the guy tells me after signing his tab, as though I am going to marry him because he's spent a fortune on overpriced alcohol and strippers. I get a commisson off of the bottle, but the VIP bartender is the one that rang up the Platinum, so she is getting the automatic gratuity off of the shots. And Wenesday is getting the funny money from the room. I am irritated because I am the one he likes best, yet I am making the least money. And I am too polite to tell him to tip me, so he doesn't. Doesn't tip the bartender either.
As Rachael rings up the extra Red Bulls, Shay, the funny money girl, whispers in my ear. "Oh god we are going to stripper hell. Hell probably has a pole where we can spin on, made just for strippers." The guy and Wenesday go into the room, and I stay upstairs because I figure I can maybe make some more money. By this time, Rachael is happy with me and doesn't really care that there isn't a waitress to clean up downstairs. So after a while I wonder back into the room.
The guy perks up. Wenesday, releived, says, "He's been asking for his raven haired beauty this whole time." So I sit with them, hold the guy's hand. Wenesday pours me some Absolut as the guy tells me how much he likes me blahblahblah. I get drunk and Wenesday leaves, but Rachael tells her to go back in because waitresses aren't supposed to be alone in a room with a customer. Then the hour is up, and Drew comes in. "Do you want to go again?" The guy looks at me. "Whatever she wants." So I nod yes, and Drew asks what kind of champagne we would like. Again, the guy defers to me, so I tell him Krug White Label, the most expensive champagne we have. This time, my commission is significantly larger because of the bottle, and Shay forces him to tip me $300.
And somehow, Rachael has convinced him into paying both Wenesday and Fiona, another stripper, to stay in the room with him and me so I am not by myself. Weneseday leaves after a little, but Fiona stays. All three of us are trashed off of the champagne and the Absolut. The guy keeps asking if he can watch the movie Gladiator on the TV in our room. Fiona tells me I am the queen bee. I like Fiona a lot; she is queen of the strippers and will make money no matter what. I run out of the room to see Rachael getting off the elevator, holding a plastic bag filled with takeout containers from the bar around the corner. She has bought us breakfast, consisting of corndogs and fries, because it is 8 in the morning and her sales as manager tonight are through the roof because of this guy. "Rachael," I run up to her, giggling hysterically, "this guy is in love with me." I am ecstatic because of the money I have made and the alcohol and the fact that I have made Rachael money. "You're drunk?" she asks me, but not disapprovingly, with a tiny smile on her face. I run back to the room with the food and we eat it. Funny enough, I only take off my top one time in the room, when I straddle the guy for a couple second and shove my boobs in his face. The rest of the time, I am fully clothed and wearing a baggy college hoodie.
 After, Fiona tries to get me to get the guy to go again, but he is too drunk by this point and can barely stand. Shay tells me to hide in the stairwell so the guy can leave, because otherwise he will keep talking to me. Fiona and I check out with Rachael, and Fiona gives me a hundred dollars of her funny money, becuase without me she would not have made this much. Fiona is always fair.
Fiona, Drew, and I walk out into the bright New Orleans sunlight and Drew gives us a ride to our cars. I wake up that afternoon with a hangover and a tummyache because of the fries and corndog, but I am happy, pleased with myself.
Later that night, I am at work again, and the guy shows up, sober this time. He orders a bottle of water from me and asks if he can take me out to breakfast. Tells me he like my eye makeup again. But I shake my head, say I don't meet guys outside the club. He is disapointed, gives me a twenty and tells me to keep the change for the $7 bottled water, and leaves.
And that is one of those guys that I will never forget.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Well, I'm back and I'm bored. I don't have a TV in my apartment, and the only book I have that I haven't read is on the genocide in Darfur, and I don't really feel like making myself more miserable, so I am going to write. Maybe it's good that I don't have a TV, this way I can focus more on my writing. Tonight the topic of discussion is.....liking girls.
Now, I am not a lesbian, maybe bicurious would be the better word? Let me explain. When I graduated college, I was 21. I had never had a boyfriend, never had sex, and had only seen a penis maybe two times. The only contact I had had with a penis were two  (seperate) drunken encounters where I tried, unsuccesfully, to give someone head. So, there I was, little naive girl with pretty much no sexual knowledge and really no burning desire to gain knowledge. I wasn't really that interested in guys. I think part of the reason was because I was very focused on schoolwork.
Upon graduation (and withdrawing from law school), I found a job waitressing at a strip club. For the first time in my life, I didn't have school to occupy my every thought, and I was basically bombarded with sex. Working in a strip club 40 hours a week, you have no choice but to think about sex; it's thrust upon you, it's your livelyhood . Sex is everywhere in a strip club. So naturally I started thinking about sex. And it just so happened that I became aware of my sexuality and my sexual needs (I really don't mind to sound like the Vagina Monologues here, but this is what happened) in a place filled with attractive naked women. And not only that, but in a strip club, everything is very touch oriented. To get someone's attention, you scratch their back. To say hi to someone, you squeeze their boobs.
So anyways, I had this manager. Her name was Rachael. I remember very clearly the first time I met her; it was when she hired me. I didn't think she was attractive. I remember sitting at the darkened bar, and I watched a pale woman with straggly somewhat greasy shoulder length hair, streaked with blonde, approach me. She was wearing a long white skirt and white tank top and covered in tattoos. I remember thinking that she shouldn't be wearing white because it blended in with her pale skin. Really, my first impression of her was that she was just kind of blah. I tried smiling at her and acting preppy, because this is how I thought a strip club waitress should act, but she just kind of looked at me like I was retarded. So I stopped smiling.
Rachael was kind of a bitch to me at first (or maybe she was just being Rachael), but I noticed over time, how I would go out of my way to be alone with her. For example, at the end of the night, I would change out of my uniform veerryyy slowly so that I was the last one there and we could be alone together when she ran my checkout and I handed her my money. Or how I would always try and get her to sign my credit card receipts for me, instead of the other managers. Even when she would write me up for doing something wrong, I was happy that at least she had noticed me. Eventually, I faced the facts: I really really really liked Rachael. And once I came to terms with this, I became kind of obsessed with her. Like I thought about her all the time, and when she was talking to a dancer or employee, I would get depressed and jealous, because she wasn't talking to me. When she played with my hair (not in a sexual way, just in a normal strip club touchy feely way), I literally could not concentrate on what I was doing at the time. I would try and sell champagne to customers so that she could tell me I had done a good job. I had it bad. And I was delusional. So delusional that I convinced myself Rachael liked me back, but couldn't do anything about it because she was the manager.
I had never liked a girl before (maybe had one or two "girl crushes" like when you idolize a girl in your grade, which I think everyone has had at one time or another), and so this was totally new to me. But I figured, hey, this must be why I've never had an interest in guys; because actually I like girls! So fast forward to December. We had this Christmas party for all the clubs which our company owned. I got shit faced, and there was this dancer there; her name was Natalia aka Leah. Long story short, Leah and I ended up going back to her place and having sex. I genuinely beleive this would not have happened had I not been so infatuated with Rachael and convinced myself I was a lesbian. We ended up having sex a couple more times after that; she was more into it than I was.
Later, I started having seeing this guy I worked with (the first time I had every been intimate, both physically and emotionally, with anyone) and I finally ascertained that I do, actually, prefer guys. However, this is not to say that physically, I find girls less attractive than guys. I think there is a reason the female form is the most copied form in art. . Or, there was an exhibit at MOMA featuring a naked man and naked woman standing opposite each other. 80% of musem goers, both male AND female, chose to look at the naked woman over the naked man. Aesthetically, girls are more pleasing to look at than guys. I mean, penises are not cute. They are wrinkled and dangly and have two purple squishy sacs attached to them.
And what happened with Rachael? Nothing. It turned out, Rachael did not harbor the same obsessive desire for me as I did for her. I eventually came to terms with that and moved on. But would I still sleep with her if given the chance? Abso-fucking-lutely. The more unattainable a person is, the more you want them. And I will always harbor a soft spot for my tattoed, surly manager. THE END (PS this story is excellent to tell to customers at work. They will always go for a story about girl on girl action)
Wow, I was drunk when I wrote all that last night. Now I'm sober and depressed. I feel very alone in this big city right now. Which is ironic, because when I was younger, all I wanted to do was move to NYC.
I was living in New Orleans when I found out I had been accepted to a school in the city. Of course, my immediate reaction was to run around the house yelling and call my mom to tell her the good news. And everyone told me how lucky I was to be moving to the Big Apple and going to such an awesome school. The thing is, I was happy living in New Orleans. I waitressed at a strip club on Bourbon and loved my job. I loved the city, loved my friends, and I even had a guy I was somewhat seeing. But everyone told me how lucky I was to be leaving my paltry waitressing job for a master's program. I didn't tell them that I was happy waitressing and that I didn't really want to leave. And I guess in the long run, I did the right thing. I mean, I can't be a waitress forever, right? But now, I really miss New Orleans, I miss my friends, and I miss my job. I feel very much alone here, and as much as I like to tell myself how self-sufficient and independent I am, really, I think everyone craves human companionship.
To top matters off, I don't know what I am going to do about money. My parents are helping me out, but the amount they are giving me doesn't even cover my rent. Like I said, I've been stripping for the past couple days, but it's hard to make enough to cover base rent AND have a good amount left over. I know I need to be more aggressive with the customers, hustle them more, but it's hard for me to do that. I know what I need to say to them to get them to spend more money, but something in me inherently prevents me from doing so. Probably my parents teaching me to keep my head down, work hard, and be humble. And I still have some of the shy, bookish highschool loser in me that is too sweet to try and take these guys for everything that they're worth. I think part of the problem is that I see them as actual people, not just dollar signs. And when I do that, it's hard for me to be aggressive and coerce them into doing something they don't want me to do. I don't know. Maybe I care about what they think too much, I don't want them to see me as just another money-hungry stripper. I'm too nice.
But if I am going to make a living doing this, then I have to say to that person inside of me, that shy sweet girl, to shut the fuck up and let me do my job. Let Francesca take over. Because otherwise the real me can't pay the rent.
In my depression and self-pitying mode, I ordered a shitload of Chinese food, also not good for my job. Can't have a beer belly hanging out over my g-string. Bleegh. Next time I work is Friday. Hopefully it will be better.
So, here are the basics. My name is Francesca, I just moved to New York City to start my Master's, and I am trying to make it as a stripper in NYC in order to pay my rent/tuition/groceries/whatever. I stripped for about a week in New Orleans in the club that I used to waitress at for a year. Dancing in NYC is alot different than dancing in NOLA, let me tell you.
But whatever. More on that later. Actually I got off work not too long ago, ate some Ramen, and I'm drunkkkk. It's my third night working at the club I got hired at when I first moved here, and it sucks. Mostly because of the house fees.
You see, dear readers, strippers are "independent contractors," meaning they are not employees of the club they dance at. They don't get paid salary and usually are not required to stick to a specific schedule (a lot of dancers will dance at one club and the next night dance at a different club). They are self-employed; independent contractors. Therefore, they are required to pay the club they are dancing at a base rent in order to "rent" the club for the night so that they may ply their services at aforementioned club.
And in NYC, base rent is insane (tonight, a Monday, it was $150). And that's not all. After the $150, dancers must tip the DJ ($20), house mom ($10), and VIP host, if the dancer is luck enough to sell a champagne room ($20 minimum). And THEN there's the fact that I take a cab to and from work, $13 there, $13 back.
Soooo, back to me. Tonight, my third night, I did around 5 lap dances at $20 a pop. Then I did a 15 minute room where I got paid $80, plus a $60 tip. Including a $5 tip, I made around $250. Not bad for a Monday, eh? Think again! I gave around $200 of my money to rent, tipout, and my cab fare. So basically I made around $50 for eight hours of grinding on guy's cocks, shoving my tits in their face, listening to booorrring stories about whothefuckknows with an interested smile on my face, all the while trying to breathe through my mouth to avoid the smell of ciggies and beer on the dude's breath.
Is it any wonder I'm drunk? No, not at all. Drinking makes it easier, more fun. So should I stick it out and see how it goes or go back to waitressing? Hmm....who knows, but I'm stubborn as fuck and hate being bad at something, plus I'm getting to know the people I work with, who are actually pretty cool. I'm scheduled to work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hopefully I can hustle my ass off and actually make a living doing this. Because I know there's money to be made, I just gotta get good at it.
Anyways, lovies, that's enough for now. I'm drunk, I've satisfied my late night drunk cravings with Ramen, and I gotta go to school tomorrow to get my schedule straightened out. Off to bed I go!