A Queer Primer on Strip Club Etiquette
So, you’re at a strip club. Way to go, but try not to act like a total jerk. Here’s a couple of things to remember so you don’t show your ass while I’m showing mine:
1. We don’t work for free.
When you see a dancer on stage, or when a dancer is coming around for tips, ze is at work. It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable to ask hir to perform for free. Under any circumstances. Even if ze is yr partner, babymom or best friend. Tip the dancers and tip them well. We work for tips, and often pay a large percentage of the money we earn to the club in house fees, stage fees, and fees paid on lap dances if the club offers them.
In fact, unless a dancer is rude to you or you really detest hir or hir performance its pretty rude not to tip hir at least a dollar. It is just four quarters. A strip club is a luxury sales environment, even at a dive. If you can’t afford the rules, don’t play the game. That’s not to say that you need to have a pocket full of bands, but if there are ten girls on shift, you should have brought at least twenty dollars.
We are working hard to entertain you, so if you can’t do it, tip it!
2. Remember that LOTS of dancers are lesbian/gay, trans*, bisexual, or queer.
And I mean LOTS. Of the thirty or so regular dancers at my home club, around half identify as lesbian or bisexual. This has been the case in all four of the clubs I have worked in seriously and most of the ones I have visited as a travelling dancer. I am out to my co-workers and managers, which is a blessing and a curse.
Don’t treat the dancer that you’re talking with like some random straight person, treat hir like fam. Ze no doubt may be.
3. Don’t out us/ Don’t force us to out ourselves.
As I mentioned before, the dancer in question may be your babymom, your ex-boifriend, your femme cousin or your school teacher. DON’T OUT THEM. Don’t tell the customers around you that this person is really queer/trans*/a lesbian/gay. Don’t tell the other customers about that fun time you guys had at Henrietta Hudson’s after Pride two years ago. Don’t share any personal information about a dancer you know without hir permission. It could be dangerous, or deadly.
This also applies when you see said dancer at your local dyke bar, in the supermarket, or at the Laundromat. Don’t tell your friends how you did nine hot lap dances with hir last night, or what club ze works etc. If you think someone you know is a dancer but aren’t sure, be aware that this person may not want to be out as a sex worker to you, or to anyone so don’t pry. Don’t try to weasel it out of their friends either.
4. Don’t leave your feminist ethics at the door (they can come in too).
This is my pet peeve. When masculine of center folk who I know from around come to my club or go to my homie’s clubs and act a total ass. Talk shit on the dancers, don’t tip, and say and do all manner of misogynist crap to be accepted into what many believe (and often is) a cis-dude’s playground
We must constantly question what makes up our attractions and desires. Why do we only tip the dancers with fake tans and silicone tits, while simultaneously lamenting and questioning hir choices? Why do we buy into the stereotype that in order to be “beautiful” every Black dancers must have a super large ass? Why we be laughin’ at the same C section scars that gave life to our children, the stretch marks like lace that we kissed one night prior? Why we be actin’ way pickier with our standards of beauty in the club than we do in our real lives?
5. Consider buying lap dances.
The most common complaint I hear from queers, particularly dykes, in the club is that dancers ignore them. It’s frequently because we think you are not going to buy lap dances. For many dancers lap dances are the bulk of how we make our rent and feed our kids and pay our medical bills. They are a chunk of money you can count on when the club is slow and they usually only cost between ten and thirty dollars.
Lap dances are a bunch of fun. I buy them all the time when I go to clubs as a customer because some dancers have special talents, like clapping their asses in your face with their ankles on your shoulders, or making you extra hard by making the kitty purr like only a professional can. You may be saying to yourself “I get lap dances at home all the time, why pay”? Sure, you can get a lap dance at home, and a massage, and you can fix your pipes yourself, and you can retwist your own dreads, and bag your own groceries. But chances are you sometimes pay someone else to do it: because that person is a professional. They do it better and more efficiently. You will notice the difference between a household and a commercial lap dance – unless your paramour happens to be a dancer!
*Dynasty (W)Rex is a Black dyke stripper from hell and small business owner. She has been in The Industry for four years and sees no signs of stopping.
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