Friday, January 05, 2007

As The Dawn Breaks

Many of you, through no fault of your own, do not have the slightest idea how socially exhausting working in a strip club is. It is, literally, like no other place. I get paid very well to do what I do, mind you, but it's not without its consequences.

My job (and it goes without saying the dancers' jobs as well) is to sell sex. It's that simple.

Grotesque, I know; and it makes even me uncomfortable to see those words flashing back at me from the computer screen.

On a nightly basis I will be hit on, touched, assaulted, sexually harassed, propositioned, insulted, and treated like a piece of veal that someone is examining in a butcher shop-- and I'm just the waitress. Dancers have it even worse.

Their job is to take your money. Plain and simple. How they take your money is a different story. Their job is not to swing around the pole for a few sets and make millions of dollars on stage. They have to develop different personas for different people. They have to smile, look sexy, act sexy, pretend to be attracted to even the most unattractive people, and act as if they enjoy grinding on strange men's cocks nightly. It goes without saying that a strip club is a breeding ground for sexually deviant men; many times emotionally unbalanced and slightly psychotic.

Dawn was my closest friend at my club. We hated each other in the beginning, almost instantly; but I believe that's more because we are so much alike than anything else.

Dawn knew how to make money better than any dancer I have ever had the pleasure of watching work. Watching her dance was like watching water flow. Her moves were graceful, sexy, but still tasteful for strip club standards. She was young, beautiful, sexy, the biggest bitch I have ever met, but the nicest person on the planet.

Dawn also attracted more "regulars" than anyone else. Every weekend, it seemed, someone was sending her flowers or buying her gifts. For the most part, she took it all in stride. Slowly, though, the sheer selling of herself started to get to her, and she started to crack.

Jared was the final straw for Dawn. If I had to pin it down to a specific person, I would say that Jared was the one that finally sent Dawn over the edge, and righfully so.

Jared is an idiot.

It's that simple, folks.

Jared has money. More correctly, Jared's parents have money, and give their money to Jared. Jared was completely and totally obsessed with Dawn. Jared also has a problem with strippers. His last few girlfriends were dancers, and all of those relationships ended badly.

If I had to pin him down, psychologically, I would say that Jared is the most insecure person I know. He is also a liar. The two tend to go hand in hand, but more so in him.

Jared got to the point where nothing coming out of his mouth was even slightly true. I'll admit it, I've exaggerated things in the past, but there's a difference between exaggeration for effect and straight out lies. Jared straight out lied. He would make things up just to have something to say.

Things that you really shouldn't make up.

He started telling Dawn that he worked undercover for the DEA doing drug busts. Then he would talk about how much cocaine he had. The two don't tend to mix.

The final, and completely unbelievable straw came when he started to probe into Dawn's personal life.

Unfortunately, some people forget that dancers have personal lives. I'm not sure if they think that at the end of the night the dancers pile into the dressing room like crayons in a box to wait for the next shift, but let me be the first to re-iterate that dancers are dancing for the money. They have lives.

Jared, through his obsession with Dawn, became way too invested, and curious, into her personal life. He started asking her questions about her boyfriend. Making up lies, telling her that he had friends with the FBI that gave him a bunch of dirt on him. He went as far as to try and involve other employee's in his little theatrical debut.

Jared doesn't even know Dawn's boyfriend's name. No one does. Not even me. It's her one true, bright thing that isn't tarnished with the sliminess of the strip club industry.

Jared started calling Dawn all the time. Texting her when he wouldn't get a response. The lies and the disrespect finally became too much for her, and she had to get away.

Her last few nights there, she was so fed up with it all that she barely left the dressing room.

My point in all this, readers, is this: never forget that these people are people. People, who, for whatever reason have decided that this is their only way to make a living. They've seen and been through things that some of you can't even fathom, and it's no wonder that so many of them turn to drugs and alcohol to make it through the night.

Love and respect each other. Never forget that every person has a backstory, and don't be so quick to judge one another.

This business is starting to wear on me, readers, and I'm not sure how I can fix it. I think when school starts back up next week I'll have some distraction to get me through another semester. I'm just slowly becoming angrier and more fed up with ever person that walks through those doors.

It's a dirty business. There's a lot of money to be made, but at what cost? I only wish that some people had a little more respect for their fellow man. I know that a strip club is a fantasy environment. I know that we are supposed to provocate sexual interest, I know that we are supposed to play the role, smile, and leave it all at the door. I'm just tired of being groped every night. I'm tired of being disrespected, and I'm counting down the days until graduation.

I promise you this. If we didn't have the amazingly supportive and loving staff that we have I would have left a long time ago.

I'm sorry to be such a downer, I've just needed to get this out for a while.

Until next time, be good to each other.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to see what you have had to endure. It is sad to see humanity become so self involved that they cannot see or do not care of the world beyond their own self interests, therefore are not capable of respecting other's right to a free existence. However, take comfort in the fact that you are doing a most valuable Robin-Hoodnistic service to the public. Taking money from these self centered pricks, so they cannot afford screwing around with our lives. Hats off to you and your co-workers.

5:33 AM  
Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

People like Jared are the reason clubs need bouncers. Heavy-handed ones...

I don't think I fully respected dancers until a good friend started dating one. I saw her dance, and felt really uncomfortable, like now I owed her a view of "mine!"

Changed my whole view, thankfully.
And thanks for writing this!

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Diva ZInnia said...

How about padded bras and panties? At least they can grope fake tits and ass? /giggles.

I swear, men are so retarded - don't get so down, smile baby! /hugs

Really, its so easy to manipulate their tiny minds. That's why there is so much money to be taken, err made at the clubs. They love nothing more than to stare at the almighty Boobie Goddess. All it is, afterall is a big ole bag o' fat. Somehow tho' it isn't the same when its on the side of one's hip, or in the middle of one's belly! Awwww... /teasing the big ole silly heads! Baby, will you buy me those shoes?

8:09 AM  
Blogger Ceetar said...

Good luck with it. At least when you hate your job, you're hating it with a good reason, i just hate my job because i hate to work. ;-)

If you left, it'd just be someone else, so it might as well be you getting that money.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Historical Wit said...

Not as rough as your gig, but I felt the same way about slingin pizzas. I made good money, but hated the industry. Was so glad when I graduated and got a 9-5 office gig. Been here for 3 years and really dig it for the structure and consistency. And I get to read these great blogs at work. You need a break.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if she didn't want jared to be part of her personal life, why did dawn provide her cell number to him? seems incongruent.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep your head up, Waitress!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calypso said

I've been enjoying your blog and your stories for months. Today's entry, though, raises a question I've been wondering about for a while----not judging, haven't formed an opinion yet, just wondering.

The thing is, yes, the strip club is selling sex, or sexiness. It's reinforcing the commoditazation (if that's a word) of what *some* people might say doesn't belong in the marketplace. Yes, it's always been a commodity for as long as history has existed, yes, it's arguably a product people will pay for, so why shouldn't the women and club employees and owners profit from it---I'm not arguing that.

What I'm saying is, the basic confusion still exists. Some of the consumers of your product don't "play by the rules"---partly because they're massively jerks, but maybe also because they're resisting, on some level, the fundamental notion of some of their basic urges being turned into a commercial gig.

(And as I typed that, I thought, well, isn't that what restaurants do, take our basic urge to eat and profit from it? get to EAT the food. Are the men completely to blame when they come in a place that sells sexiness, but doesn't allow "follow through"??)

I don't know the answers. I only have questions.
But I absolutely agree that Dawn deserved being treated with respect. And Jared should suffer some consequences for failing to do that.

Take care ((((server))))

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girl, I know how you feel. I worked briefly at a club and so often in tears from the psychological damage--without ever knowing its extent. Most jobs involve quite a bit of personal sacrifice; I know you're busy with school, but if you realize that you're sacrificing too much, there are certainly other options. Sorry, I wish I had a more helpful comment!

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol...while I totally sympathize with you, I must are selling the "illusion" of sex, not the "real deal"...because that'd be prostitution. It's a fine line you must tread to make your money. And, most (many? 98% of?) men are going to be rat bastards just because they think their gender entitles them to less "higher brain functioning" ("Duh, I didn't think it would matter to you...can I grope your ass again?") than the norm (whatever that is...but, I digress...).

Bottom line? Bitch all you won't change anything. Unless something along the lines of mass, planet-wide lobotomies occurs (wherein the sexual centers of the brain are drastically modified or just taken out); there will always be assholes like Jared waiting around to prey on the psyches of women like Dawn.

It's highly admirable of you to undertake the task of trying to educate people on the "underbelly" of the stripping profession. And, you might succeed in "reaching" a few people to think of the situation from a different angle. I applaud your efforts, truly. But don't expect it to "change the industy".

{hopping off my soapbox now}
"Seneca, the Younger"

8:06 PM  
Blogger Crusader said...

Keep your chin up time some jackass gropes you, "Try that again, and pull back a bloody stump". Can't say I can relate to what you are going thru as I never worked in a strip club. But I think every woman has felt this way at least once in their lives. Hope you feel better soon.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Semi-Celibate Man said...

Perfectly understandable that it's wearing on you. You might not believe it, but it eventually wears on longtime customers too, and for similar reasons.

Does it really pay that much more than waitressing at a steak joint? And, isn't there part of you that craves the excitement, twisted as it is, at a strip club that you wouldn't get at an Olive Garden?

9:40 PM  
Blogger Semi-Celibate Man said...

One more observation: here's a post I wrote last year on "DanceFan" about the toll it takes on everyone:

9:58 PM  
Anonymous The Drowmage said...

I worked in a night club back during my college days and it was just as emotionally draining, hence I relate with you on the same level as a waitress. But it's admirable that you're sticking through with it - it takes a strong person to be able to handle this crap.

We know that we can't change the perceptions of the jerks who walk in through the door, but as long as you don't degenerate down to the I-don't-care attitude, that's what matters.

Keep up the writing, really enjoy reading it - and good luck with the new semester!

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy said...

Oh baby, do I ever know about skindustry burn out. When I finally left the biz, it happend as so many other dramas do... I just had had enough, in the middle of my shift. I left. I havent been inside a strip club since. In that instant I quit the job, I also quit drinking, quit sleeping late,Quit indulging in other naughties etc... My life became extremely managable over night. Ironicly, my Hubby had left me a note, having never asked me to quit befor, this note asked me when I would be done. I left a note saying "ITS DONE". as simply stated I was. at last, DONE being "gypsy".
What I learned is that I dont like people, in general. maybe thats a strip club stigma, what I know is the power that I felt the day I started dancing had been stripped away in the years that had passed. I didnt want to be "the old girl who doesnt know when to leave the biz" (u know the ones.. every club has a few). 6 years later, I have my family, my home and my beasties...and relative PEACE in my life. no regrets (not really)....
buck up lil waitress, theres a light at the end of the tunnel (its called graduation) :)


10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waitress, I was a dancer for 6 years. I was one of the "Good girls" who was actually working her way through grad school. For the last 2 years I was miserable, bitchy, made little money, and was throroghly unhappy with my life. Now I own my own business, have gained enough weight to never want to wear a bikini again, am happy, and -- never want to date anyone or hang out with anyone who has anything to do with the porn industry ever again. It sucks you dry, and I feel for you. Good luck with school, get out of the scene as soon as you can. {{{hugs}}}

10:34 AM  
Blogger SkippyMom said...

You are always [without fail] a pleasure to read. I check everyday to see if you have posted and it is always a WOOHOO moment when I see a new title.
That said - No apologies necessary for this post needed as I think we all wish we could just give you a big hug!

I hope that school helps with the stress of the job - I hope that you know it will get better! It will. I am a Mom - I KNOW! heehee

Hugs to you sweetie.

11:23 AM  
Blogger MissTara said...

I'm in the industry as a phone sex worker and I tell you, there are days when I don't want to turn on my phones or touch my computer. There are way too many men out there who assume that they are allowed to treat me without a drop of respect or manners, because I make my living this way. And when they discover that their almighty dollars aren't good enough to buy back a lousy first impression, they get rude,and angry and petty.

I can only imagine what it's like to dealing with the entitled type in person. Most of my actual callers are great guys, friendly and respectful, and I'm sure you have many decent men who come in. But even the nice guys have an idea about the women they meet that I suspect we wouldn't recognize. Take care of yourself and make them respect your boundaries!! ( I know, easier said than done:)


6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:25 PM  
Blogger Tanning Lotion said...

I love the name of your blog, but I was hoping for pictures.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Waitress,

This is my first comment even though I've been following for a while. I love your blog and you sound like an intelligent, loving, and interesting woman. I know from personal experience, however, that having a good self-image can make you feel like negative experiences and abuse in your workplace will bounce off of you. They don't. If you've been feeling like quitting for a while, listen to your gut. There are many ways of making good money that do not involve exposing yourself to the risks of your current job. Take it from another Jewish girl from the South.
All the best!

4:12 PM  
Blogger cracktown! USA said...

Hey, its refreshing to see that someone else out there understands. The sex industry is tough work - no matter which part of it you work in.

Remember: Just smile and know that you're better than them.

Stay strong. :)

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pardon my naivety, but why did this guy have a dancer's cell number? Considering how sacred she held her private life, it seems somewhat strange that he had her number.

-- George

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Gypsy said...

george, dancers keep/use a "regulars" list, and often will call them to let the gentlemen know that she is working at place X at X time. caller ID has its backlashes, this being one of them. Also, many girls (way back when I danced) used 1 cell phone to use for customers and a seperate one for their personel use.
DANCERS: never uuse a nextell phone for your clients! they have a GPS system in the phone that can be detailed and followed via computer. if you do, TURN IT OFF while at or near home or when not at work.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jewish mom said...

I love the fact that you've got an ad on your blog, but Urinary Incontinence?

Now I've got a picture of strippers in diapers stuck in my head!

1:20 PM  

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