A Straight Girl's Guide To Visiting A Strip Club
The Debrief: TBH, the same basic rules apply to everyone: be respectful, don't get scared, and always tip
I like strip clubs. Some of the sexiest evenings of my life have been spent with a friend or two in a dark-ish corner, watching women take their clothes off, and perform enviably spectacular tricks using just a pole, a pair of knickers, and a cheeky grin or two.
The first couple of times, I went with guys who’d been before - they were very useful tour guides, who were kind enough to give me a breakdown of the rules and etiquette. Since then, I’ve been with other newbies and passed on the rules in turn. But I'll be the first to admit that some of my strip club rules could use a little refinement, so I chatted to Sassy Lapdancer – who writes an excellent blog at LondonLapdancer.com about her own stripping experience – to find out what the key mistakes women make in strip clubs, and the best rules to help you get the most of a sexy night out.
Traditional strip clubs charge a large(ish) fee on the door, and a fair whack for drinks. Others - usually more casual places with a pub-type atmosphere - will charge less for drinks and entry but you’ll be expected to chuck a pound or two in a pint glass before each person takes the stage.
If you've never been to a strip club before, you might be picturing American-style dancing bars like you've seen in all the films. You know: dollar bills stuffed into G-strings, Salma Hayek dancing with a python, that kind of thing. It's way easier than that in a strip pub: you pop a quid or two in the glass before the dancer gets on stage, which has the added benefit of preventing dancers having to deal with pissed guys shoving notes in their knickers.
Sassy Lapdancer explains
'In strip-pubs, everyone should tip the girls. It's their basic wage and anybody and everybody in the building has to contribute to the show, every time.'
On top of entry fee and drinks, you pay separately for private dances. Some clubs will have full private dance rooms, with plush seating and mirrors and whatnot. Others will have semi-private booths. Either way, this is where the magic (and the money) happens, so expect to see lots of people popping off for private dances.
Respect the dancers (yes, even women need to be told this)
Payment might be tricky, but the other key basic really shouldn't be: respect. Just because you're a woman, that doesn't mean you get special privileges over and above other customers. While you'd think this would go without saying, Sassy Lapdancer tells me that it can often be a real problem:
'Don't try and touch the girls. Drunk girls can have much less respect than drunk men, plus they hit harder. I once got my breath literally knocked out of me by a girl customer. She tried to slap my ass, missed and hit the base of my spine instead. You could hear the slap from across the room. I thought she'd broken my back. It was awful.'
Don’t be scared
What I love about strip clubs comes down to the skill of the dancers, and the hotness of being in the audience. Hanging out with men who are often transformed into nervous balls of lust, seeing their eyes follow beautiful women as they step on stage to dance - there’s something powerfully horny about the whole thing. Unfortunately, if you're with a group of people who've been frequently before, the experience can be a bit nervewracking – like the cool kids have taken you to a hot new party and you're too scared to ask where the toilets are.
Despite what a previous boyfriend told me to persuade me to give him a hand job during The Exorcist, fear isn’t always a turn on. If you’re nervous or unsure about anything, Sassy explains that there’s no harm in asking.
'Don't be scared - strippers have to have big personalities and be pushy. It's a dog-eat-dog world. We are really nice girls outside with kids, bills and days on the sofa with pizza and a hairy smelly boyfriend or chihuahua or both.'
It might be hard to remember if you're nervous, but I promise you that people who work at strip clubs aren't mythical sex-creatures who’ll disappear into a puff of smoke if you ask them an honest question: they’re usually more than happy to tell you what happens in the back room and they’ll even point you to the toilets.
You aren’t special (sorry not sorry)
While the majority of customers in a traditional strip club will be men, it’s not like you’re the first female customer to walk through the door. Once I’d got over my first-time-strip-club nerves, I moved into a phase of misplaced swaggering confidence. I genuinely believed that I was super-cool because ‘OMG how many girls take their boyfriends to strip clubs?’
The answer, it turns out, is 'quite a few.' Sassy explained:
'Lots of women visit strip clubs, especially couples who want to spice things up - I get emails on my blog from visiting couples asking for advice occasionally too.'
What's more, private dances aren't just for blokes who are there with their mates. Sassy tells me she used to love dancing for women, and although you may get fewer dancers approaching you to offer, you can always take a bit of initiative.
'A lot of dancers don't approach girls or couples as they think they won't spend or have a complex about being too lesbian (strange but true). Don't be offended, just call them over when passing or ask the waitress. You can be accompanied if you want by your friend. Two customers and one girl is OK, three or more customers and you'll need extra dancers.'
Don't try to compete
We all fancy a bit of a dance when we’ve had a few beers. And that pole looks soooo tempting, doesn’t it? You’re in a room where most of the girls are getting a turn on the pole. Why isn’t it your turn?
Avoid falling into this trap at all costs. While the dancers may make it look easy, and you may think you can leap up and amaze the crowds, I’ve never seen this happen. What I have seen happen is one humiliatingly pissed girl popping up in between songs and trying to swing round the pole. It didn’t end well, and no one put a pound in her pint glass.
Likewise, don't try to provide 'constructive' critique of the dancers. Sassy gave a couple of dos and don'ts that are eminently sensible if you want to comment on things:
Do: compliment the dancers on their hair and awesome pole skills.
Don't: sit there and loudly slag or provide a running commentary - you are not a judge on X Factor.
You’re not there to ‘rescue’ anyone
Sassy Lapdancer describes this problem as the 'white knight' – aka 'customers who want to save us.'
'This gets tiring as it fails to see the obvious point that we chose to be there, we have lots of flexibility in which club we choose, who we hang out with or approach - and doesn't everybody want to get saved from the dull monotony/evil boss/annoying customers at some point? So why single out strippers if you have probably had exactly the same feelings?'
Here’s the deal: while it might look totally different to what you do for a living, stripping is a job just like any other. We live in a society where you have to pay for somewhere to live, pay for food to eat, pay to get on the tube and sniff commuter armpits on your way to work in the morning. To get money for these things, some people choose to stare at spreadsheets from 9 til 5, some work as chefs, lawyers, truck drivers - others dance.
It's not a good idea to go up to anyone while they're working and start telling them what you think of their job. Do you break into JP Morgan and tell them their profession looks like an awful way to spend a life?
It’s never compulsory
I’m never going to twist your arm and drag you to a strip club - I want to make sure that the people I'm hanging out with are having as good a time as I am, and aren't awkwardly staring at their watches wondering how soon they can leave without risking offence.
Even if you go because it sounds fun, you're never obliged to get a dance – just make sure you say 'no' nicely. Sassy Lapdancer explains that rejection hurts, even in circumstances you might not be used to. She recommends a couple of nice ways to say no:
“You can say 'I think you're a gorgeous girl, looking especially stunning tonight. I'm not specifically going to getting any dances tonight but I'm sure there will be plenty of other people who will be getting a dance from you.' Or 'We're not getting dances tonight, but if you want to chill out, get a breather, we can buy you a drink.' Basically it's always nice to give a nice gesture - don't make girls feel like a piece of meat or brush them off.”
If you're thinking that these rules are all far too obvious, then please do come along to your local strip club – you're exactly the kind of customer that'll help your local club get through the recession. You can get more info on strip clubs over at Sassy's blog, which is well worth checking out, and I hope that having a bit of background on what to do and what not to do wll give a few of you the confidence to head along and have a bloody awesome time.
To be honest, they apply whether you're a straight girl, gay girl, single dude, or participant in a rowdy stag night. While some people are more likely than others to fall into particular traps, we can all benefit from the same basic rules: be respectful, don't get scared, and always always tip.
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