Dallas Superbowl Stripper Fest 3000: Hype?

So, the Superbowl is coming to town this weekend. For months, reports have been trickling in on what we can expect—mostly we all expect to buy new cars. Most of the tickets are corporate, and so apparently we can expect hot and cold running expense accounts. Despite the influx of corporate cash, we paid attention to the playoffs (I looked at a NFL bracket for the first time in my life. The games were on my google calendar. For shame, for shame). We strippers were rooting for Chicago and New York because those fans presumably have more money. The Jets played the Cowboys a few months ago, and I walked unsuspectingly into a late Sunday night shift (usually dead, but fun) and was greeted by a club packed to the gills with New Jersey. I screwed up and asked, “so what part of the city do you live in?” and got “fuck you, I'm from Jersey!” twice before I caught on, turned the bitch-o-matic meter up to eleven, and banked. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Those guys are all used to the eastern european girls which populate the clubs out east, so if you sit with them for like, a song, before asking for a dance, they feel special. God that was a fun night. But alas: when the Jets lost last weekend, we heard that half the scheduled charter planes flying into Love Field were canceled. Stupid Jets. Stupid planes. Gah.

Price gauging is getting crazy. The La Quinta in Arlington is charging $500/night with a five night minimum. Parking spots at the Death Star are going for $900. Seriously? Is football really this awesome?

We had a strategy meeting a few weeks ago. The club opened early on a Sunday, served us brunch, and we discussed what sort of changes we could expect in the coming days. Apparently we're the only club that's not raising our prices. They're cracking down on the rules, mainly the ones in place to maximize club capacity and efficiency. They quit hiring out-of-towners a few weeks ago, and now have stopped hiring altogether (thank fucking god—you know those new girls will work every night, because they're, well, new. We had 120 on the floor one night last week. I expect over 200 strippers will work every night Thursday/Friday/Saturday. SO doing my makeup before I come to work this week; that dressing room is going to be a clusterfuck).

Despite the general hype around town (it feels like the Olympics are coming, I swear), we don't need to advertise. We get press instead. We were written up in the New York Times a few weeks ago, and were back on the Rachel Maddow show AGAIN, because Newt Gingrich is an idiot (but we knew that already). D Magazine has listed us as their pick for superbowl-related titties. So you could say, boys and girls, that this shit is ON.

I had a customer a few months ago (who goes to the superbowl every year via various corporate-gift related activities) tell me that we could expect people to start trickling in the Monday following the last playoff game. That was a week ago. And you know what? The club has been dead, people. Dead. And to make things worse? IT'S SUPPOSED TO SNOW TOMORROW. I've been saying for weeks that the only thing that could ruin this fucker would be an ice storm. Well, you can all blame me. I jinxed it.

To make matters worse, there's this bullshit story (started by TMZ...naturally) that the local FOX station started circulating about how Dallas is in supposed “dire need” of 10,000 strippers. Don't listen! It's a vicious rumor! Fucking outsiders need to quit coming in and poaching on our big week! Here's what went down: some jackass club manager in Kenandale (I don't even know where that IS) said his club needs 100 more girls and the metroplex as a whole probably needs 10,000 more (and let's face it, the clubs in Arlington and the outlying cities probably do need more girls. All the hot ones work in Dallas. Everyone knows this), and BAM! Instant sensationalist crap. It's all over everywhere. I've got customers from around the country texting me saying, “Oh hey I was listening to sports radio this morning and apparently Dallas needs 10,000 more strippers?” I swear someone sends me a version of this story via various social media every fucking day, and each time, just a little bit more steam comes out of my ears.

My coworkers are starting to post stressed-out “this better not all be hype” comments on the FB feed. If we don't all pay off our credit debt this week, come next Monday, the general morale of Lodge employees and entertainers is going to be somewhere down around the 5th circle of hell.


"I'm just me, in sluttier clothes."

The Aussie and I are sitting at the front bar, enjoying a tasty adult beverage at the beginning of our shift. I rather like chatting with her, she's in the 99th percentile of exceptional women in that club. She's an incredibly serene and old soul, one of those people who has stories and wisdom that seem to surpass the years of her current lifespan. I like to talk with her about sex (she's got similar predilections to mine, and is never shocked by my stories, just happy for me), work (she's been doing this longer, and is far more skilled than I will probably ever become), and sex work (wicked smart, this woman can wax theory and keep up with my ivory-tower-educated ass). On this particular evening, we're discussing our strategies for relating to customers. We're both very similar in that we find it downright impossible to employ personae; instead, we feel as though we simply highlight and/or suppress certain aspects of ourselves in order to form emotional/intellectual/sexualized connections with various clients. Actually, those are my words, which makes sense, because that's basically half of my master's thesis topic in a nutshell. What she said was this:

“When I'm connecting, I truly believe in people, like I am giving, and that people are truly good. If I can project and make it a better day for them, then fine. My kindness isn't only presented to people who will pay. Other girls reserve that kindness for the paying customers, and that's why you and I aren't starving to death.”

She's touched on a few issues that are absolutely central to our work: the ability to relate to almost anyone, and the ability to give (or sell) love. She and I have similar strategies for interacting with customers and potentially extracting money from their wallets: we just talk. If I don't feel a connection with someone, if the conversation doesn't flow smoothly, I don't ask them if they'd like a dance; if the chemistry isn't there, I tell them to have fun and I leave. You'd be amazed at the random shit you learn from people with this kind of game plan. Last night I learned about golf. And how walmart killed a small town in Oklahoma. Four nights ago, I learned that a married man desperately wanted to be fucked in the ass, but had never told his wife (definitely not the first time I've heard that one).

But the Aussie's point is that we don't have to be paid in order to listen, at least at first. Our job is to connect, relate, engage. We'll do that for a moment for free before we decide we need to move on (a classic rookie mistake is to do this for too long and then lose insurmountable sums of cash along the way), we don't simply walk up and ask someone if they'd like a dance. I absolutely have to feel like I could sit down for a meal with someone before I'll offer them my more corporeal services. My rules become even stricter with potential “regulars.” The Aussie and I are of the opinion that this makes us highly exceptional at what we do; there are always bits and pieces of our “real” selves included in the relationships we form with customers, no matter if that relationship lasts for five minutes, five hours, or five months. Even years. We sell companionship. We are Texas courtesans in trashy outfits. We are ourselves, only in sluttier clothes.

Case in point: the other night I was very mentally distracted by the awesomeness that had just transpired in my bed with a darling new boy. I couldn't really engage, I was lost in my own head. Sometimes after a vacation or a particularly-entralling break from work, it can be very difficult to “fake it” after being so “real.” Sometimes realness can't be suppressed for the sake of show. On nights like this, I prefer to do a dance here, a dance there, not converse a whole lot, to sell more of my body than my personality. So I'm wandering around playing the who's-going-to-make-and-hold-eye-contact game, and I happen across a Pakistani gentleman in a corner. He seems interested, and I wait <1 song to ask, “So, would you like me to dance for you?” Two things are of note here: First: I normally don't approach middle eastern men, because I generally find them to be both handsy and cheap. They'll grope the shit out of me for a song or two but not plunk down enough cash for subsequent dances to make my efforts worthwhile. Also, usually they either smell bad and/or wear too much cologne. (Yes, I know, that's racist. But we're strippers. We profile. Deal with it). But in my distracted state, I hadn't made much, and I was getting kindof desperate, and he held my gaze, so I approached. Second: the manner in which I transitioned from smalltalk into dancing was a bit odd for me. As aforementioned, I normally wait until I have a mental/emotional connection with a customer before moving into money-extraction mode. But I didn't have a connection with him, rather, I didn't have a connection with anyone that night because I was so distracted, so I figured I'd just play it simple and go for dances right off the bat. Also, the way in which I asked, would he like me to dance for him, was rather submissive, which I also figured (in my racist profiling mindset) would play into his culturally-imbibed patriarchal tendencies.

I got what I asked for. I got approximately three and a half minutes of groping in exchange for $20. I felt like a cheap whore. Then I left. Normally I leave a customer feeling as though I've actually made a difference in their day, their mood, or perhaps (and ideally) changed their mind about what they consider a stereotypical stripper. I didn't feel anything but dirty when I walked away from Pakistani dude.

The Aussie says that my “truth” shines through in a more effortless way than hers, that she has to work at it more. Maybe that's why she makes more money than I do, because it's easier for her to hide.