In the long term there’s a lot of stuff you’ll want to know about selling psychology, make-up, outfits, money management, etc. But your first night you might as well just jump in – if you knew that stuff now you wouldn’t really have the schema to integrate it into anyways. For now you just need to know how to make some money and avoid drama. Remember, these things vary a lot from club to club, so this is very general.
You’re probably really nervous about stage dancing, but in most places stage is the least important part (totally disregard this statement if you’re in Portland, Washington DC, or someplace else with a huge emphasis on stage dancing). All you need to do on stage is move slowly and confidently and don’t break any laws. Make eye contact with the customers and make sure you know what the tipping customs for your club are so that you can maximise your tips (in some clubs you won’t go over to someone at the tip rail unless they put money up on the rail, in other clubs you’ll just go do a little dance in front of them and hold out your garter to prompt a tip).
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s focus on the important parts.
The very most important thing you’ll need as an exotic dancer is the ability to set and enforce boundaries. If you can’t do this, don’t even think of being a stripper (on the other hand, if you’re a concious learner, stripping will teach you boundaries like nothing else can). Understand that people are often going to want more from you than you want to give them. You also need to understand that wanting to have sex with you isn’t a predatory thing, it’s just a want. If you feel like you’ve been assaulted every time someone wants to have sex with you you are going to be totally traumatised by dancing. Most of the time they’re asking because other girls at your club or a club they’ve been to have offered sex or they’ve read about it on the internet, or because hope springs eternal and you are naked in their lap. Usually you say no and that’s the end of it. But sometimes (and again, this varies regionally) they’ll keep pressing or try to manipulate you.
As a new dancer, I recommend that you find out what your club rules are (for example: no touching during lap dances, outer thigh/back touching only during champagne rooms) and give a long thought to your personal boundaries. Decide exactly what you will and won’t do, and then stick to that. Once you’ve been dancing for a few months you can have more flexible boundaries. For example, you might dance for a sweet guy whose hand’s you really wouldn’t mind on your boobs, and he might offer you an extra hundred to let him touch your boobs. Twenty minutes later you might be dancing for a rude, grabby guy who demands to grab your boobs or offers you a good tip. These waters can be tricky, so unless you’re very in touch with yourself and confident just set some static boundaries and stick with them for a long time.
The number two most important skill you’ll need is selling. In most clubs you won’t really make any money on stage. It all comes from lapdances (at the begining of the night, ask the housemom/manager/nice girl in the dressing room if someone can show you how to do a lapdance). This is why there are so many really incredible performers who make hardly any money. You’ll want to work the entire room. Unless it’s really slow, do not sit with one guy for more than one or two songs. Sit down and introduce yourself, then ask what they’ve done that day, if they’ve been here before, where they’re from, what they do for fun, etc. Try to keep it light and look for a topic that’ll allow you to develop some rapport. After a minute or two, bring the conversation back to the dance. Don’t say, “Do you want a dance.” Say, “I’m ready to dance for you now” or, “Let’s go play.” A confident statement, not an open ended question.
If it’s really busy, don’t even bother sitting down to talk to them. You can use a total hit and run hustle. Just say, “Hi, I’m
Then repeat, over and over and over again. Try to sell around 20 dances a night, 10 in a slow club.
Then there are random little things you’ll need to know.
The Drink Hustle: Some clubs want you to sell drinks. Occasionally you get a drink commision, occasionally there is a drink quota, and occasionally they don’t give a shit at all. If they want you to sell drinks, just talk to the bartender and ask her to fake yours (a great one is a sea breeze – sprite instead of vodka). You don’t need to get drunk at work and especially not on your first night. If you find yourself having to down a bottle of Champagne, take small sips and keep refilling your customers glass. Dump yours in the ice bucket when he’s not looking, or if you hold your glass at an angle over the ice bucket with the stem down in the bucket a little ways and overfill the spillage won’t be noticable. It sucks to be dishonest, but you really can’t have 20-30 mixed drinks a night, it’s just not healthy.
Customers: Sometimes they’ll be great, and sometimes they’ll be awful. Either way take it for what it is in the moment and then leave it behind. I swear I meet my soulmate at least four or five times a night, but I’ve learned not to take it seriously. Likewise, I mostly ignore the assholes, too.
Stage fee: Ask if your first night is free, but expect to pay a flat fee or a percentage of dances at the end of the night.
Tipping out: The manager or housemom will tell you what you “should” tip out. Ask some of the other girls how much they tip out to who. On your first night you’ll want to tip out really well, even if you haven’t made good money. Think of it as an investment, because these are the people who will point customers to you, point you to customers with money, skip you on stage when you’re with a big spender, and defend you when the crazy drama goes down. At most places $10 is standard, $20 on a good night, but in some clubs it’s traditional to tip out a larger portion of big sales – like if the champagne room host upsells for you and you end up doing a thousand dollar champagne room becauase of him, you should probably throw him ten percent so he’ll do it again.
Eating: Bring some trail mix or a protein bar or whatever you’re inclined to eat in the middle of the night. Don’t think you won’t be hungry, dancing will make you ravenous.
Talking to other strippers: Just say no to drama! Be pleasant, be superficial, be a little aloof so they know you can’t be fucked with, and get your ass out of the dressing room and start making money.
Leaving: Make sure a bouncer walks you out to your car. Pay attention so you’ll know if you’re being followed.