Throughout my stint in the nightlife industry, I’ve found myself employed at a number of uh, drastically different establishments, to say the least. Between dive bars and lounges to high-end clubs and rooftop bars, the most interesting club that I’ve ever worked in has had to be the strip club. Home to pulsating LED lights, lone men and bachelor parties alike – you either hate strip clubs or you love them. After working at a number of these raunchy establishments throughout my short two years in nightlife, I still don’t really know the answer to that question myself. But if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work in the sex industry, know that it’s not quite as glamorous as Drake or every other rapper like to pretend it is. Here are 5 things that shed an eye on what it’s really like to work as a strip club cocktail waitress.
1. The dancers are nicer than the bartenders and waitresses
I can safely say that I have more dancers who I consider genuine friends than any of the waitresses or bartenders I worked with. Don’t get me wrong, dancers can definitely get catty amongst each other when it comes to their finances. But the real tea is that bartenders and waitresses are even more catty. I’ve had waitresses attempt to steal my tables, or try to sell another bottle to a client who already purchased from me. I’ve had bartenders calculate my tips and try to finesse me into paying them more than what my tip out actually was. The level of competition between bartenders and cocktail waitresses is INSANE.
2. Unwanted touching and groping happens all the time
Prepare to be groped, harassed, and stalked by half of your clientele. For some strange, bizarre reason, men seem to think that just because they’re in a strip club, all rules of consent go out the window. I’ve had a customer I’d given my number too because I thought they’d be solid, recurring client, harass me for my address when I declined his offer for a ride home. I’ve seen a dancer who literally had her breast bitten (yes, you read that correctly) by a customer. And depending on the club you work in (because a lot of managers let certain things go on for profit), it can really be a frightening, unsafe environment.
3. Customers always talk shit about strippers to you
What really gets under my skin is when customers think they can confide in me their unwanted, disgusting opinions of dancers. The things I’ve heard men say about these women is disturbing, and what’s even more horrifying is the fact that they think it’s ok to talk sh*t to me because I’m a waitress. I’ve heard customers tell me on multiple occasions that they like me because I’m the only girl who “has respect for herself”. *eye roll* But of course, they’ll still run to the back for a lap dance with a dancer because that’s the only female attention they’ll ever get in their sad little lives.
4. Some of us make more money than the strippers
The sad reality of being a cocktail waitress or bottle girl at strip clubs these days is that we often make more than the dancers themselves. There have been slow nights where I’ve gone home with twice as much as the dancers made. But the real scammers are the bartenders, who’ve coined the term “striptender” and are basically just glorified strippers who twerk behind the bar. A lot of customers will come in to see their favorite waitress or instafamous bartender as opposed to the dancers who literally have to pay to work (House fees cost anywhere between $50 to $200 a night). These women are on their feet for 8+ hours, busting out pole trick after pole trick in 7 inch heels, yet customers would rather make it rain on the IG model bartender because she has a BBL and 200k Instagram followers.
5. You eventually become desensitized to it all
My first night as a cocktail waitress was one of the most terrifying nights of my life. I honestly didn’t know if I could put with the creepy customers, the petty competition between the waitress, or the myriad of fake asses and fake boobs constantly in my face- IT WAS A LOT. But I quickly became desensitized to it all. Nothing really fazes me at this point- and especially not nudity or scantily-clad clothing. The scariest thing about working in a strip club is probably the management behind the whole establishment, but we’ll get to that in another article…