I was out with a guy I was dating and a stripper friend when a drunk girl flat out tried to start a brawl with us. Defense mode activated, as my mind flooded with the memories of a thousand stripper fights and an unsurmounted amount dressing room drama, that (I will be the first to admit) I haven’t always handled with utmost grace.

So here we are trying to get a decent view of the performance we came to see and the short girl behind us was FREAKING OUT that she couldn’t see over my friend’s head.  We could have moved, but it was general admission and a packed house; not too many decent places to go.  We weren’t in the wrong and we quite liked where we were standing, but the passive aggressive commentary escalated to insults, and eventually she slammed into me with her shoulder on her way to the “ladies” room.  I felt my blood boiling.  I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath while I decided what to do.  Kill?  Perhaps.

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I looked to my right at my friend, who knows that I am a seasoned stripper from New Jersey who does not take sh*t from anyone; I look to my right and see the guy that I’m dating, who adores and respects me and knows me as an ultimately loving, tolerant, and beautiful person.  Then I looked down and see the $900 Saint Laurent heels that I was wearing and decided it was go time.

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Although yelling at this girl, shaming her for her squat stature and subsequent inability to see over my statuesque goddess friends’ head, and possibly throwing my cocktail in her eyes was beyond tempting, I remembered what good any of those times that I snapped with the intention of “putting someone in their place.”  None.  Fighting back when people have been assholes to me has literally never been a winning tactic, and has cost me more opportunity than it has ever earned me “street cred.” (Even if the aforementioned street cred DID outweigh the consequences, what good did it really do me?  What, was I in prison serving a life sentence?)

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And although this is a bar story, we can all attest that the scenario is common in strip clubs.  The mixture of alcohol, immaturity, money, personal ethics, and ego crash hard in dressing rooms and although watching beautiful mostly nude women pull each others’ weaves out is BY FAR one of the most entertaining things to witness ever; it certainly isn’t doing anything to change the stigma or contribute to personal growth by being one of the women IN the actual fight.

So I thought about my shoes and my boyfriend and my level of compassion, understanding, grace, and tolerance, and when the woman returned and started fussing with my friend again, I leaned down and said, “Honey, do you want to stand with us?  I understand we are in the way of your view but why don’t you just come stand next to us?  My name is Chase, this is Stephanie, and like you, we are here to have a good time, not to ruin yours.  Let’s have fun.  Can I buy you a drink?”

AND SHE STOPPED.  AND APOLOGIZED.  AND SHOOK MY HAND.  AND WALKED AWAY.  

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Street cred: owned.  Self respect: earned.  Pride: off the charts.  Lesson: learned.  My friend and date looked at me like I was some magical Mother Teresa, and I think in that particular moment I actually “grew up.”  I thought about the dozens of times earlier in my career that I felt a false need to defend my rights or prove myself as a strong person and everything became clear.  I proved more strength in my tolerance than I ever had with violence or anger.

The point of the story is not to let some b*tch ruin your night.  Don’t get caught up in the drunken barbarism of anyone, let alone someone you work with, handling yourself with grace is SO rewarding, and had this happened at work and not at home, it would have doubled my self confidence for the evening and thereby made me tons of money.

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Happy Hustlin

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Dear Vacant-Stripper-Eyes, So-Hot-I’m-Bored, Jaded-Better-Than-You Entertainers-

You! The one up on the stage mouthing the words to that same Nickleback song we’ve heard a million times with your gaze blankly fixed on your own reflection. Yes, YOU, staring off into space thinking about your grocery list or studying the fat roll you get during your lapdances nowadays, you are killing your profits and numbing your soul with your inability to be present and mindful during your shift.  Cut it out!

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Hello!  Are you here? Checked in? Available to comment? This is your savings account calling.  Please help!  I know it gets redundant but I really want your moneys!  Please start smiling more, so that I can grow!

-Smiling actually releases endorphins in your brain. Even a fake smile will make you happier, and being happy will make you money. Customers hate jaded strippers. The world in general thinks are jobs are easy (they’re wrong, but we indulge fantasy here) and they do not want to hear about how hard your day has been, and they DEFINITELY don’t want to read it on your face.

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-A smile makes you approachable to men. Pretty women are really intimidating to most guys. In fact, inability to talk to them is what brings most money customers into a club, so make yourself as easy to speak to as possible by lowering your wall down.

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-Smiling makes you more approachable by coworkers, too. The girls I work with love my positive attitude and that I never bitch that there is no money. I often ask girls what their plans to do with the GIANT STACKS they’re about to make and I like to tell jokes as often as possible to keep them giggling. The culture in your club is largely dictated by the individuals who work there. You are one of those; so contribute to the pack by being a nice girl with something good to say.

-Eye contact makes all the difference. Connection makes a sale, even from the stage. During private rooms, private dances, stage sets, and just sitting around waiting for my guy, I try to engage as many people into prolonged eye contact. Combined with a delayed smile, this is as good as ANY one liner, if not better. Entertainers must learn to SMIZE. Y’all fierce ass models, afterall!

-As cliche as it is, the eyes are the window to the soul.  Everyone loves a soulful performer more than a plain hot one.  Humans feed off of one another’s energy.  Tune in and experience this totally crazy life you’re living.  It’s (if nothing else) interesting as hell and worth paying attention to!

 

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Sex workers and strippers face so many of the same issues when it comes to relationships.  Can a stripper have a boyfriend and not be miserable?  Yes.  Are those relationships few and far between?  Absolutely.  Even as dancing becomes more accepted, the stigma remains the same for the majority of men.

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If you’re under 24, you’re labeled as a person with no self esteem and daddy issues.  If you are over 25 or have children, you are a “single mom with no other choice.” We know men are going to judge us and when they are angry, we know the easiest target is our jobs.  That’s something that’s hurt me, but it’s something I can live with.  It really helps me detach from someone actually–when they are so low to call me names because of my job.  Goodbye, sir.  You are done.

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What I can’t live with is the manipulation.  What many dancers don’t realize when getting into relationships is that there is a large number of men looking for “sugar mamas” or even subsidiaries (there are stripper pimps, you know about them if you live in the South or North East) and sex workers are known for having expendable income and a lack of love in their lives.  There are wolves looking for lambs who need to be loved, and which one of us can definitively say that we don’t need it?  It’s really hard for a boyfriend to be comfortable with a job like ours, so if early on your guy seems way too comfortable or encouraging, don’t be ashamed of doing a little homework.


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A parasitic boyfriend won’t complain about your job ever, because he plans on paying his bills with your ass.  Please watch your money.  Please don’t give it to anyone, please only invest in yourself.  Please never trust someone who expects you to purchase their affection (unless, of course, you have hired them to do that, like so many men have hired us to do.)  Please know your worth (priceless) and require that your needs are met (or walk!)

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Humans are pack animals, but strippers are so often lone wolves, darting through life avoiding .  “Isolating” is probably the leading term I hear when discussing sex work, “crazy” being second.  Of course some of us have a little crew that we hang with, and some always go to work with our BFF , but the advice we hear most often is “don’t get too close to the other dancers,” as if these women are bad or tainted, the mainstream view is that it’s best not to get too close to the “crazy.”

But what if the crazy is sort of relatable?  Strippers ARE a little crazy, but isn’t every single person you have ever met?  CEO or high school teacher or escort, crazy is a term that has been overused and shoved down our throats, and now it has effectively made us feel ashamed of ourselves and afraid of others.

Stunning-Photography-by-Annett-TurkiMost of my friends are dancers from one place or another, or they are people trying to learn how to strip or how to quit stripping, and they have become like a motley adopted family to me when I sometimes can’t find anyone else who understands.  All of them are unique and all of them have their own personal weaknesses.  Some of them work hard at those weaknesses until they become strengths, and those people are my heroes.  (Thank you, you know who you are.)

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My personal struggles in this industry have been real and the lessons have been intense.  Why would I ever want to avoid the other women who are experiencing or will experience or have experienced a similar struggle?  I don’t.  I want to hug them and show them that if they follow their dreams and refuse to go down the dark path and stay diligent, that they can build an empire and make amazing things happen.

I want each person who walked that rocky path to get here to know that there is always balance in the world.  If it has been cold for you, it doesn’t always have to be that way.  The warm world is welcoming, it just takes work to change the cycle.  You’ve got it in you.

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I know the struggle has been hard, and I know many of you still have much more climbing to do before you reach the top of the mountain, but those of you who have figured it out, please pass it on.  If you have recovered from addiction, if you have learned to deal with your family issues, walked away from an abusive relationship, or survived losing people you love, or even if you recently learned to budget and save, pay your taxes, or raise a child with morals, ethics and boundaries, pass that information on to someone who needs it.  Listen when people talk to you and help a sister out.  Remind one another that you are all important.  Remember what you needed when you were down and give it to someone, even if no one gave it to you.

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I know for a fact that a person with a very impoverished and abusive past can take what they learn in this industry, invest what they make, and completely change their lives.  I also know that the bumps in the road are sometimes bigger than we expect, and they end up killing some of us.  Hold your hand out, a candle loses no light by igniting another.

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*all photos by Annett Turki

 

 

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by: WiscoStripper

When you are first becoming a stripper, you meet all sorts of new challenges.  When it comes to almost all things, the motto is “All things are difficult before they are easy.”

One of the most difficult relationships to master is the one you have with the DJ. There are tons of great DJs in the industry that know exactly how long a song should be, which girls dance to what, and keep rotation nice and equal, but you already know how to handle those guys.  Here are the two most frustrating types we’ve encountered and how we deal with them.

 

The “god complex” DJ

This person sits in their booth all night like it’s the royal throne. They decide the music so respect them, or expect to hear, “Oh you mere mortals try to tell ME what to play? You want to hear T-pain??….hahaha here is Toby Keith!”  He doesn’t care what’s best for you or the club, just his own ego.  What is even worse is when you don’t tip him, he will refuse to ever play your music.  The natural response to this egomaniac is, “Why should I tip a DJ who didn’t play my music, or verbally abused me before playing a song or two I like?” The natural response isn’t the most effective, however.   We are professional entertainers, and as professionals, we have to simply: Suck it up, be humble, tip, and hope that you can change the course of the relationship.

The  “forgetful” DJ

At the beginning of the night he is personable, life of the party, you want to hear that song hell yeah I’ll play that! Then a few hours into his shift things start to go down hill. Those shots of Patron’ that everyone was buying him are starting to kick in. His speech is a little incoherent (did he call Katie or Casey?!?!) and all of a sudden the club turns into what HE wants to rock out to all night.  Usually these guys are pretty nice, so if you can, before your set leave him a list of songs you love so he can queue them up on the computer.  I try to do this two girls before my set so I don’t have to rush to stage. Some girls will try to tip him at the end of the night, but he’s usually pretty hammered by then, so I find that tipping him at the beginning of the night for the day before works best. He remembers that I did tip, and that puts him in a great mood to start out his night.  Bitching about this guy or to him will do no good.  I just joke with him, and if I end up dancing to something I can’t stand, I try not to let it ruin my mood; my mood makes the money, not my music.

The “I’m grandfathered in” DJ

There are some DJ’s that are just part of the boys club.  They are friends with every male staff member and have slept with half of the girls.  They basically create drama everywhere they go, and none of it effects them in the least.  Girls fight over him, he calls girls names, he forces himself on girls and actually gets away with it.  Unfortunately, this is business and your personal beliefs need to come second to your money.  I say be cordial to this guy, even though you probably hate him. Tip him $5-$10 above the minimum every night consistently, and keep your distance personally.  Don’t gossip about him and definitely don’t develop a crush on him.  He has the upper hand, and you need to get this money, girl!  No one is saying put your morals on the back burner, but definitely save your emotions for something that you can control.  Just pay him to do his job, leave the character judgement to the silly girls who go to bed with him.

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The one thing I try to remind all girls, new and old, when dealing with anyone who works in the club is that this job is exhausting. No matter if you’re a Dancer, DJ, Bartender, or bouncer this industry can wear you down. Cut people some slack. If the DJ is grumpy, let him be grumpy, don’t penalize him because today he wasn’t in the best of moods and so instead of your rock music he felt like hearing some R&B. Is it fair to do to you? No. Think about this though, most strippers make their own schedule. If we are having an emotionally or physically exhausting day. We can choose to stay home. If the DJ is…he still has to show up. Just that fact alone, I try to empathize the best I can, and I encourage you do too. This may make your relationship with your DJ just a little better, and could turn a god complex DJ into a friendly I’ll play what you want DJ.

written by: WiscoStripper @wistripper

Biased out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin I was born and raised in southeastern WI. Though I only started dancing a year and a half ago, I have used it as an ally of self expression to push my way into other performance arts. I currently practice the Arial hoop, or Lyra, and have begun to compete and showcase my talent in it. I also am an avid fan of burlesque dancing. My recent interest into burlesque has led me to begin to practice with a burlesque group out of Kalamazoo, Mi. I thoroughly enjoy performing, but just like everyone else I can get burned out pretty easy. One way I find to deal with that is to write. My blogging, and podcasting, in the past has been an outlet for stress from my environment. This has brought me to http://www.SurvivetheClub.com. I hope that with writing I can not only find an outlet for myself, but to inspire and assist others to share their experiences and to improve their situations. Through Twitter, blogging, and in the future podcasting I hope to create a network of outreach for entertainers across the globe.

Q:  I work at a very nice club. I live conveniently close, and I get treated well by management and I love all the house girls .. Here lately they have been hiring some less classy girls and the energy and vibes in the club have been off. I’m finding it harder to stay positive and stay all night and work. Please help!

A:  If you really love your club, try and talk to the managers.  Go in and speak to the GM specifically, and be humble.  Understand that strip clubs are a business, and dancers are the club’s best customers.  If a club has 20 dancers a night and charges $40 a night for each girl, they will make $290,000 each fiscal year.

When I first realized this, I was really angry, but then I realized that business is business, and if you can’t beat them (I for one am very angry with the girls suing clubs for charging house fees), join them.
We are in a partnership with management, so when approaching them, make sure you keep this in mind.  Be articulate and let them know that you understand the business and money is everyone’s objective.  Understand that more girls for them equals more money, but explain that when they saturate your market and lower their standards, it hurts your money.  Desperate girls can really hurt your profits.  Once your manager knows that you understand his or her point of view, they will be more likely to hear you out on yours.  If you have always been professional and you are consistent and polite to your coworkers and have been a generous tipper throughout your career, this is when it pays off.  Then ask your manager if you can work at a discounted house fee.  There are clubs where I have never paid to work, just tip outs, and I have never had a manager deny me a negotiation.
Also, without getting too involved, try and be kind to the other girls.  Unless they are the tweaker girls who latch on and will never leave you alone, a kind smile and a little bit of understanding may change your whole perception, and if you are nice to them and they see you making a lot of money, you can help them clean up their acts a little just by setting a positive example.  Remember that a lot of the most depressing girls in the industry have a really shitty story, and what you are dealing with them is NOTHING compared to what some of them go through on a daily basis.  With this understanding of the entire situation, you can change your mindset.  Also, if you are nice to the new girls, they are more likely to listen to you.  You can say, “Hey, girl, you don’t have to do all that, here.  These guys will pay you just to talk!”  or “I just don’t understand why girls get so close to guys on the floor.  If you make him wait until he’s in VIP to touch, the time passes so much quicker!”  You are going to get more flies with honey than vinegar.  When girls who have a rougher life perspective, they’re just doing what they think they have to do to get money.  Show them a better way; EVERYONE wants to work smarter instead of harder.  You can tell them about my website and other dancer websites–I am about to get some stickers ordered and you can plaster them on the lockers-maybe they just need someone to take the time out to teach them a better way.
Don’t repeat to yourself over and over that there is no money because of xyz, just stay your positive, beautiful self.
If none of this works, you can always considering looking for clubs in other cities and going away for weekends to work.  Lots of cities are still doing well, find one you love and go there often.  If you’re a top tier girl, you should have no problem getting hired!
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I feel like this statement needs to be shouted from the rooftops of every building in every city in every country, and in every language, but especially it needs to be said to strippers and sex workers.  You are not a whore no matter what anyone says about it.  Your job DOES NOT determine your character, and it does not eclipse your values.  Many of you have had arguments with close friends and significant others in which the person/people you love most will tell you that you’re worthless.  “You’re a whore and no one will ever want you.”  is something I wish I could say I’ve only heard once, and only heard from one person I loved.  Talk about something that could cause a person to start to die inside.  But no matter what they say, don’t self stigmatize, do not believe it.  I wish one blog post could undo that feeling for those of you who have had it (and will in the future).  I wish it could undo it for me.

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This is the second best thing.  I can teach you what I’ve learned and I can show you how I’ve grown.  When people cut you down, when society does it to you over and over, when dead hooker jokes are on primetime television as though that girl is not a person, it’s easy to start considering it, even in the back of your mind.  When people say things like that it is because they feel weak and they need to kick you down.  Then they use your broken spirit as a step ladder to their own validation.  Do not give anyone that power.  Refuse to lower yourself to the “you” they want you to be.  Elevate.

The truth is that who you are is based on your character, which can suffer from being in this industry, but it’s mostly because of the associated lifestyle, not from the job itself.  I can sit here for hours and go on and on about how it’s the oldest job and that there’s nothing wrong with using your body for money, but you already know that.  If people you love are cutting you down, you don’t have stripper problems.  You have boyfriend problems, girlfriend problems, family problems, and maybe even identity problems, but being a stripper, escort, sugar baby, cam girl, dominatrix, or any other type of industry performer is not the problem, and it’s definitely not who you are.

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Your job doesn’t need to demean you, and if you feel like stripping makes you less of a person–you should quit.  Now.  Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do or how you’re going to do it; trust me-you’ll figure it out.  Work one more shift, make it a money night, and call it a day because really, you deserve so much more.  Maybe you can be a waitress or maybe a customer you know can help you find a 9-5, maybe you can live off of your savings until you figure something out (because you saved, right?)
If you are a stripper and you’re having a hard time with your identity, you can figure it out.  You can determine what is going to define you.  Instead of going shopping for your 100th pair of cheeky panties, you can make a plan to implement some community service or charity into your life.  Instead of sleeping in bed all day and ordering delivery every night for dinner, learn to cook, or at least get great at dining out.  Developing your other “non-stripping” skills and values is going to be essential to feeling like you are a real human being with a real purpose in life.

Untitled 6At some point I stopped being a stripper and became an entertainer (when I learned to dress myself and perform on stage and give a great lap dance).  Next, I graduated from being an entertainer and became a hustler (when I learned about sales, especially in the commodity industries), and now I have a day job in a luxury industry, because instead of seeing me as a useless stripper, smart people saw that I was a well developed individual with integrity, honesty, work ethic, intelligence, knowledge, and hustle.

If you let it, money will replace passion and drive in your life, so don’t coast.  Spend your time defining yourself, and it will be much easier to identify the TRUE problems in your life (like the people who drag you down and diminish your self worth) and get rid of them, or better yet use them as a ladder and climb.

happy hustling, you beautiful humans

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It’s 2014, and I am holding you to your resolutions for the year by going the extra mile. Going public with your goals on facebook, twitter, etc. DOES help you fulfill them, but in this social media world where they are *poof* gone in 30 seconds, you have to wonder if it’s really enough. So here’s to the declaration of goals! I’ve reposted you here, for all of your peers to lurk. Thanks for being my twitter friends in 2012 and 2013. I am excited to be a part of your next chapter!

And for those of you who are already gettin’ it!

Hey, Tami- me too. My new years resolution this year is to only dance the weekends. My new job starts tomorrow! Are you worried about a pay cut? How are you supplementing?

and everyone knows how much I love sassy, defiant women. You are beautiful exactly as you are.

And thank you, LoveDove. I spent my Christmas this year finding out that I had been cheated on repeatedly by girls who were well aware of my existence. We certainly can’t rely on men to keep solidarity between women, but we can pledge it to each other. Thank you for not fucking my boyfriends in 2014. I love you all! Happy new year!

For those of you who are learning to strip this year, or want to pull yourself out of your slump, I do private one on one consultations for the price of two lapdances.

Follow SurvivetheClub on Twitter for more stripper action.

5 Things to Retire in 2014

December 30, 2013 — 2 Comments

As 2013 comes to a close, I think it’s time that we look back at the mistakes we’ve seen strippers make, mistakes we have ourselves made, reflect on the changes in the industry, and adjust our hustle to make the most of the year ahead. Strippers have been directly affected by sexualization of mainstream media, and strippers, instead of being a part of a “secret society” are now front and center in television, movies, and of course, music videos.

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When something changes, everything changes, and although it moves at a slower pace than the real world, strip club culture does exist, and we DO evolve. So what things should we retire in 2014 to make this year our most lucrative yet?

1. Asking, “Wanna Dance?”

We KNOW this doesn’t work. We do it anyway out of laziness. Most dancers come into work more than they want to or not enough, which results in this “I don’t wanna do this tonight,” sort of feeling. The trick is to find the sweet spot. For me, it’s always been either 4-6 nights a week, but for some girls it’s 1-3, some can push it to 6-10 shifts even! But the reality is, when we don’t want to be there is when we do the “wanna dance?” thing. If you can’t do it tonight, don’t do it! Don’t get in lazy habits and become the “wanna dance” girl just because $100 is better than nothing at all. Take those nights to yourself and make an EXTRA hundred on the day that you DO feel like it, and nix the “wanna dance” crap FOREVER.

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2. Looking homeless on the floor

I know it’s cold out. Get a catsuit, a cute shrug, cropped jacket, or wear long sleeved dresses and leg warmers, but for the love of everything holy, please stop wearing your PINK hoodie on the floor. The general rule to stripper wardrobe styling is, “If his wife would clean the toilet in it, don’t wear it.” (plus, you look so sad!)

3. Tracks/Bad weaves

You get paid to look nice. If you messed up your hair or you prefer the look of a extensions or a wig, please invest in quality hair and have it put in by a professional. If you bought it at Sally’s and your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin did it in her kitchen? It’s not good enough for the strip club.

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4. Booty Work

No more. PLEASE no more booty, and no more booty poppin music!) The butt tricks of 2007-2013 are over. Miley does it, Beyonce does it, everyone does it. It’s too mainstream for us, so let’s take this opportunity to class the joint up a bit. Unless you work at Club Onyx or Magic City, we really don’t need the strip club to look like a rap video. Every club that I have worked at that allows pretty little blonde girls to twerk around on the floor to Gucci Mane has run off it’s good money customer base.* To be honest, it just looks trashy. Sooooooo let’s make an initiative amongst us to embrace the return of 90′s fashion and 90′S MONEY into the strip clubs by making whales feel comfortable there, and to make them feel a little less like they are looking at their highschool daughters on stage. Dance to less abrasive songs this year, do a little less ass popping, and try sensual on for size. It’s a new year, time to re-choreograph your stage show anyhow!

*There is a difference between “Bootylicious” and “Bust it Open”. Please keep dancing to R&B forever.

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5. Using your cell phone on the floor

Why this is permitted at any strip club is beyond reason for me. If you are making excuses in your head right now, do yourself a favor and STOP THAT. There is absolutely no reason to have your phone on you in the strip club. If you have kids, their sitter should know the number to the club and be able to retrieve you at any time. If you are bored, too bad. Stay bored. Your cell phone is making you complacent, and what’s worse, it’s keeping you checked into your real life. You need to leave (insert your birth name here) at the front door, and fully become (insert your stage name here). You cannot do that if you are texting your boyfriend or your homegirl or scrolling on instagram. Plus, you look like a huge asshole to your manager and your customers. Entertain yourself by devising plots to run the world with your favorite stripper friend.

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Honorable mention: The pussy flip.

Stop. Turning. Upside. Down. In. Guys. Laps. If I have to explain why you don’t need to do this, email me. We need to talk.