How Alcohol Plays an Important Role in a Stripper’s Work
And the honest truth as to why it’s so hard to be sober in the strip club.
If you’ve ever visited a fully nude strip club in the United States, chances are alcohol wasn’t sold there. Alcohol sale restrictions vary from county to county, but most adult establishments that offer fully nude entertainment are prohibited from selling and serving alcohol per local ordinances that regulate sexually oriented businesses, or SOB’s.
However, if you’ve been to a 21+ semi-nude or topless strip club, you’ll notice that not only are you allowed to buy beer, wine, and liquor there, it may be required for you to order 2 drinks minimum as soon as you find a seat.
For anyone unfamiliar with the strip club world, you may not know how important alcohol is to this adult entertainment business.
Everything revolves around alcohol.
- If you want to sit in a private booth with your friends, that requires a $750 bar tab minimum.
- If you want to “sign a dancer out” or get dances in a VIP room for 30 minutes, that requires a 4 drink minimum. 2 for her, and 2 for you.
- If you want to spend an hour in VIP, now it’s an 8 drink minimum. And so on and so forth.
It’s no secret why alcohol is a crucial part of the overall strip club experience.
Alcohol unwinds the clients; it makes them comfortable and eager to spend money on the incredibly sexy, naked women sitting on their laps.
Everything is easier to justify when you’re under the influence. Like getting a lap dance in front of buddies, messing around with a stripper in a private room, and charging several of your credit cards because you don’t want the night to end.
But from a business perspective — for strippers and the club management — alcohol is the ticket to getting clients to spend more money. And when clients run out of cash, if they’re drunk in love with a dancer named Destiny, they’ll walk on over to the ATM and happily pay a $25 ATM fee to get more money.
“Who ever heard of a good night at the strip club while sober?” the bartenders/cocktail servers/strippers will say again and again to anyone who doesn’t want to order another drink.
But the clients aren’t the only ones who feel the pressure to drink alcohol in the strip club.
The dancers are definitely feeling the pressure to drink too.
Sometimes the pressure comes from the club because if the dancer drinks more, the clients drink more. And if the clients drink more, the strippers make more money.
But the pressure for strippers to drink also comes from themselves. They drink on the job for many reasons, and if they’re smart enough, they’ll learn when to stop drinking real alcohol and how to order virgin drinks without anyone knowing.
Unfortunately, if you’ve seen what I’ve seen in the club, it’s obvious that many strippers aren’t drinking just to have a good time.
During my second year of stripping, at the end of a very slow Tuesday night, a few of us dancers were sitting at the empty tables complaining about our bad night. No dancer had made more than $150 in their shift; after working for over 8 hours, this was terrible considering our house fee was $100. I was sober and in a terrible mood, debating if I should just give up and go home.
Suddenly, the club smelled of something burning and before I could figure out what was going on; I saw a dancer sitting down calmly while her hair was on fire from her cigarette.
She didn’t notice the smell (or the sensation of the fire) until one of her friends yelled and poured a cup of water on her head. When the water hit her head, she was too drunk to react immediately. She laughed it off and stumbled as she got up. The manager that worked that night took her into the dressing room to get her a towel. I learned later that management sent her home in a cab after the incident.
I started ordering virgin drinks at work after this night for a very long time. I know mine was an extreme response to an also extreme display of drunkenness, but I was devastated and embarrassed for that dancer.
I never ever wanted to be on that level of intoxicated, and I learned through my own mistakes that not drinking as a stripper was more difficult than it seems.
Because of the personal stories I heard, the strange people I met, and the graphic acts I witnessed as an exotic dancer in topless clubs— I know firsthand why so many strippers drink alcohol before, during, and after work.
Some of the strippers I knew were only 21-years-old, and they were getting flashed by men three times their age nightly. I was 23 when I started, and I learned there was a great deal of truth to the statement that stripping makes you grow up really fast. Of course, it does. But so do the physical and emotional effects of excessive drinking and partying.
We drink to entertain our clients.
Some people like to have a shot of booze at home before going out to a nightclub. That’s because pre-gaming is the perfect social activity to get a pleasant buzz before the night begins (and the drinks at home are free.) Strippers aren’t any different; we drink because we feel more fun with a few shots of warm whiskey making their way into our blood.
And in case you’ve forgotten, our job requires us to be a shit-ton of fun.
No one is buying dances from a miserable dancer, so we drink to be the fun, hot stripper everyone wants to spend time with.
Our job also requires an insane amount of confidence — confidence in the way we look, the way we talk, the way we approach men, the way we dance, etc. Drinking gives us the ego boost we need to dance topless on stage in front of a crowd of three hundred strangers without feeling self-conscious or nervous. It helps us find that confidence and sustain it over 8 hours.
We drink so our clients will drink.
Strippers ask clients to buy them drinks constantly because we know they won’t let us drink alone. A buzzed client will be more likely to purchase an hour in a private VIP room. We know a drunk client will be more likely to purchase three consecutive hours. And we know that if we turn down a client’s offer to buy us alcohol, he’ll spend his money on a different girl who will drink with him.
We’re aware that it looks bad if we stop drinking suddenly. Because, in a drunk client’s eyes, the more we drink, the higher the chances are that we’ll go home with them.
But the truth is, unless we actually want to sleep with you — the real us, not the stripper version of us — it will not happen, no matter how many shots of 1942 we’ve had.
Sadly, we also drink to feel numb.
Alcoholism and drug addiction run deep in the strip club. While getting a good buzz at work helps us make money and pass the time on an overwhelming Friday night, drinking can easily become a natural part of our routine considering alcohol is usually free and easily accessible for dancers.
In the United States, 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older had Alcohol Usage Disorder in 2019. While the reasons for the millions of adults who consume alcohol regularly vary from case to case, one of the biggest reasons strippers drink large amounts of alcohol is to forget what we see in the club.
Some dancers bring booze with them to work. They drink right out of the bottle as they stand in front of their lockers, doing their best to block the cameras with their naked body. Strippers do this so they don’t have to pay for drinks or wait for a client to buy them one — we are prohibited from bringing our own alcohol. To clarify, the clubs I’ve worked at do not give free drinks to the girls; drinks are “free” when the customer orders drinks for us on their tab.
For most of the strippers I knew — including myself — alcohol was the unspoken liquid courage we needed to block out the horrible parts of this job. Like the tenth guy of the night who took out his penis during a dance without our consent, or the third guy who tried to finger our ass when we turned around, or even the fourth guy who slapped our ass so hard he left a solid handprint for an hour after.
If you haven’t read up on the experiences of the average stripper, or you’ve never been a stripper yourself, then perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the issues we deal with regularly.
Stripping is empowering, sexually liberating, and exhilarating. But it also involves tolerating an astounding amount of degradation because unfortunately, many strip club clients don’t view strippers as their fellow humans; they see strippers as cheap sex workers who don’t care who or what touches them. Not only is that not true, but it is useless to explain to a drunk guy who can barely keep his eyes open that sex workers deserve respect too.
So, to prepare ourselves to fight a client when they try to do this or that to us, we drink. We drink a lot. And sometimes, we drink too much.
Because in some clubs, club security and management have our backs. They’ll take our side in the cases of clients who don’t want to pay their dancers. But most of the time, we’re on our own to handle everything.
Optimistically, most strippers find a balance in the strip club life through trial and error and learn to focus on their financial goals and their future.
Stripping is absolutely possible to do without drinking. But I will admit that it is hard when part of your job is to upsell bottles of alcohol to clients that won’t buy unless you’re drinking too.
But when you look at stripping as a financial stepping stone and a lucrative business opportunity instead of a party job with unlimited alcohol, everything changes. Sure, alcohol is still part of the equation, but it’s not the solution to making money. It becomes nothing more than a valuable tool that you can use responsibly to getting the financial freedom you are working towards.
© Erin Taylor 2020. All Rights Reserved.
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