I was recently chatting with a dancer in Vegas.
My wife and I wanted to go to a classic cheesy Vegas ’steakhouse and strippers’ venue off the Strip.
So we did. It was super fun.
Anyway, I met the lovely Misty* in the lobby as I was changing some cash for a thick wad of $1 bills and asked her about how dancers like to be tipped in the US.
And then I went back to my steak. Which was good. Before the lovely Cici (one of the ‘house mums’ who happened to have a thick New Jersey accent and continuously gave us recommendations for programmes to watch while we ate our steaks - ‘Yellowstone’ was her top pick) moved us in to the lounge, where Misty came and joined us and chatted for a while.
It turned out to be a very quiet night in the club.
So, I learned:
- Good strippers have better conversation skills than any real estate agent or car salesman you’ve ever met.
- They have to be. They have a job. They need to get paid. They need to buy groceries, pay rent and fly back to San Francisco for mum’s birthday - they are not animatronic.
By ‘good stripper’, I mean a dancer who plys a trade and earns a living wage. I’m not commenting on dance skills or anything even much above a MA15+ rating; just the ability to pay her bills.
- Strippers need to make decisions based on local and national economics, season, local weather, and events happening within the city.
- They must consider supply and demand, of course. Saturation of a city with dancers leads to a Supply > Demand situation in which it can become un-economical to even show up for work. Las Vegas is currently saturated, I’m told.
- Economic downturns (link to ‘Strippernomics’ here) leave men short of expendable cash.
- Dancers may need to ’act’ or change their natural behaviour under the incentive of tips.
- Dancing skills are not necessarily highly valued with respect to monetary return.
Some examples -
- Las Vegas is currently saturated with dancers. The ratio of dancers:patrons is unbalanced.
In practical terms, this resulted in a bunch of girls sitting around waiting for their scheduled dance slot. Often bored and scrolling instagram, killing time.
It also meant that likely patrons are snapped up quickly. A dancer would find a likely man, join him, have some drinks together, then hopefully schedule a profitable dance.
It also meant that a likely profitable customer was held on to tightly by whichever dancer found him first. The assumption on the quiet nights, presumably, is that you may not get another chance at a profitable dance.
- There are situations in which a Dancer will ‘earn’ more (over the week) by not showing up for work.
Dancers may need to seriously consider not showing up for work.
They need to consider:
- A $50 cover charge for entry to start your night of work.
- Paying commission of nightly earnings to the house.
- Paying room fees for private dances.
- Tipping your DJ - who may or may not schedule your dance at advantageous times during the night.
- Tipping you host - the drinks ladies who may decide not to introduce you to likely patrons.
- Tipping your security staff - for obvious, more concerning reasons.
It is clearly possible that it is not worth showing up to work…
For example, As we spoke with Misty, she knew that if the club did not start to get busy from about 2330, allowing for the time it takes patrons to travel from the bars and nightclubs to the stripclub, then it was unlikely to get busy at all.
Unfortunately her cover charge to work was already paid, but she may at least be able to not waste any more time and just go home to bed…
- Dancing is not everything, behaviour and allure wins.
”Acting drunk” gets tips.
This one was a little creepy. If patrons think that a dancer is ‘fun’ or even drunk, they are more likely to tip well.
Some dancers will switch from stone cold sober in the change room to ‘drunk’ for their scheduled dance time.
- Full nudity is not allowed in Vegas clubs in which alcohol is also served.
This was just a surprising piece of information. There is apparently a club somewhere that was grandfathered in to whatever rule or law mandates this.
But…yeah. There you go.
To close with a PSA:
Naturally, if a dancer gets the impression that her prospective client is not going to spring for a dance, she must move on. She has bills to pay.
Idiot men get mad at this and pretend to be upset that the pretty lady didn’t absolutely want to spend all night with them for free.
The dancers are at work.
They are working.
It would be weird to get angry at your hairdresser for NOT making you a coffee and sitting down for a chat after you declined a haircut…
* Name changed for anonymity…