Whether you’re into them (“Naked chicks who are actually into me!”) or not (“They smell like chemicals and shame…”), strip clubs are an integral part of American culture, and the first attendance is even considered a rite of passage for most men. Consider these ten unspoken rules of this unique social sphere.
10 Thou shalt ensure your newcomer friend is having the best night of his life
Maybe that guy is you. In which case, order a twenty-dollar whiskey-soda from the fifty-year-old snaggle-tooth cocktail waitress and relax, already. If you’re the seasoned pro — meaning you’ve been more than once — be a good friend and check in with the first-timer. Having a fantastic time starts with the mood of your crew.
9 Thou shalt not compliment the dancer on her perfume
That baby-powder, Windex-y stench is actually antibacterial spray strippers coat themselves with to prevent getting cooties from kids like you… rookie.
8 Thou shalt tip Towel Man in the bathroom
You may think he has the coolest job you could ever fathom. You are just not correct — he’s parked right next to a sticky shaker of Gold Bond and has to listen to wasted horny guys piss and shit all night. Throw the man a couple of bucks, too.
7 Thou shalt appreciate mad pole skills
Nothing is more distinctly depressing than a woman showing off her ability to climb up a cold metal rod, tipping entirely upside down using the awesome strength of her thigh and ab muscles, and then merely having the audience, “pssh”-aw at such a feat. You don’t have to buy lap dances from her or become her biggest fan. But a nice golf clap or a “Way to go!” would be appreciated. Encourage the art form to stay alive.
6 Thou shalt not inquire for her “real” name
You may think you’re extra super special tonight: You’re different from any other customer she’s ever had. You’re nice and normal. Not creepy and predatory like that bald guy donning stained sweatpants in the corner — right? Resist the urge to pry for details on your favorite dancers’ “true selves.” A major part of the job consists of adopting a fake fantasy persona. How is it going to help you to know that her name is Erin, not “Heidi,” anyway?
5 Thou shalt not regard her to be a prostitute — unless you’re in Iowa
We’ve heard that “only the best tippers get hand jobs,” and it does truly vary from place to place (sorry, my Corn King friends — after doing my senior thesis and interviewing far too many exotic dancers I feel confident making this assertion, don’t take it personally). Just don’t have any expectations for strippers to moonlight as hookers. If you hit a legitimate establishment you will be sorely disappointed at the end of the night and you may or may not go totally broke trying to push the dancers’ limits.
4 Thou shalt go to private rooms with caution
After all the shit we spew, we’re still uncomfortable talking about this. Let’s just say “private rooms” can be the best four hundred dollars you’ve ever spent in your life, if you like to do things like give people four hundred dollars for thirty minutes. Or they can be a total joke. (As in a darkly-lit room that looks exactly like the main room, with only a slightly smaller crowd, plus a few stupid curtains, minus Muse blaring on the speakers.)
Know that you can change your mind if you enter said Lame Private Room. Just say, “Sorry, this isn’t what I thought it’d be,” once you get to Stupid Place and before you start your “experience.” You may be confronted with Strip Club PR people (it is a business, after all). They’re better than a mean-looking bouncer (who you will get if you’re a douche about it).
3 Thou shalt not attend by your lonesome
Unless you’re having serious marital problems or need to get a fix for your stripper addiction (sorry!). Please refer back to #10 for reasoning. Plus, that’s beyond Charlie Brown-sad.
2 Thou shalt not fall in love with a stripper
Sure, most dancers probably do have the capabilities to love and feel. This is just a recipe for a wasted-paycheck disaster, though. (And a really nice way of indicating the fact that you have a stripper addiction. As we discussed in point #6, these women are getting paid more in an hour than your 20-year-old ass ever made for being actresses. You will most likely be dubbed a “regular” and not a “lover,” no matter how hard your romantic heart tries.
1 Thou shalt be a genuine dude
The strip club is a capitalist fantasyland where you can exchange money for tangible attention and a temporary heightening of masculinity. In non-sociological talk: Even if you’re feeling macho ‘cause you’ve converted your yearly bonus into fives and singles and have a million tits in your face all night, don’t forget to be the rad dude who you really are. Be sweet, dole out genuine compliments as they come, and if she says no touching mid lap dance, don’t touch. America, f*ck yeah!
Originally published on January 6, 2011.
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