The Girlfriend Experience

So in the last entry, I detailed a few “types” of customers and outlined (my perceptions of) their motivations. But I left out a big one, in my haste to publish that post: the girlfriend-seeker. This post isn’t just about that type of customer though, it’s about the myriad of services we sell, namely: the girlfriend experience (GFE).

Girlfriend seekers are the most pitiable class of customer I’ve encountered. I’ve seen variations on this theme, so many times: old rich white dude is lonely. Maybe he got divorced, maybe his latest (usually stripper) girlfriend finally got sick of dealing with his shit, and the money and resources and shelter from having to work was finally not enough. Maybe she just got bored of having to fuck some old dude, and wanted something that actually turned her on. Whatever. So newly-single old rich white dude, what does he do? He comes into the club, looking for the next one.

Seriously, I’ve seen this so many times.

There used to be a regular named Jim, who bared a striking resemblance to a frog (no really. It was WEIRD). He was a sweet old bastard, way too gullible, and lemme tell ya, the phrase “looking for love in all the wrong places” never rang so true for me as it did during the hours I spent with him upstairs. Maybe the second time we sat together (he paid hourly and was respectful, this was long before the economy tanked when hourly was still fairly standard), he goes, “You’re going to make me fall in love with you, aren’t you?” I mean really. How do you respond to that. I don’t even remember what I said. But in his gullibility, I could tell that he REALLY wanted to believe it.

Jim was looking for a girlfriend, straight up. He told stories about the women he’d “taken care of” in the past; this was most definitely a pattern for him. He told me he was lonely. He told me he would take care of me. Now, normally when guys say shit about how they’d like to date me, I generally steal myself and play along, just so I can empty their wallets and get the fuck out of there with them still thinking they have a chance. (Lately that’s not the case; I don’t give anyone the impression this is anything but ephemeral entertainment. I’m getting blunt in my old age). But eventually I had to stop sitting with Jim, because the charade just became too much, and it reached the same old tipping point of “whatever they’re paying me isn’t enough to deal with their bullshit.”

He disappeared for a while, but I’ve seen him a few times in the club in the last couple of years, accompanied by—you guessed it—one of our dancers, who doesn’t work anymore, whom I guess is now his girlfriend. I hope she’s happy, I really do.

Then there’s David, the guy Kendall and I sat with on Sunday. David was my regular wayyyyy back in the day, like after I first started, for about a year, until he disappeared. I figured he got remarried and moved permanently to his house on St. John. He’s got a shitload of money. David’s cool in that I can actually be honest about my relationship status(es) with him. He recently resurfaced; it’d been so long that I actually thought his name was Michael. But whatever, I’m crappy at remembering names. So anyways, here he is out of the blue, a few weeks ago. I sat and ate with him and we caught up, mostly about our love lives and what’s transpired in recent years. He’s recently single, and whaddaya know, back in the fucking strip club. Just bought his ex a house in LA so she’d get out of his hair. Hope that’s worth it...

What is it with these old rich white dudes constantly getting into commodified relationships? Do they lack self confidence, and figure they might as well purchase their companionship in a roundabout kinda way? Is it a power thing, so that they can get rid of whomever rather easily, if she turns out to be batshit crazy? Do commodified relationships automatically attract the batshit crazy? Because it seems to me, and it’s not just the fact that they resurface every couple of years when their latest fling goes tits up, that the commodification just fucks everything up. I mean yeah, there are plenty of perfectly healthy relationships in which one partner takes care of the other financially, this is obviously not uncommon in our culture, and lends itself rather well to breeding. But this is something different. It’s commodified from the get-go. How could they honestly think it could last? How are they not walking around constantly questioning the authenticity of their relationship? Are they even aware of that uncertainty, and if so, does it bother them?

Old white rich dudes aside, there are some guys who just have no clue that hello, this is our job. I’ve been over that here before. You get to the part where they pay you, and all of a sudden they’re clueless. Like, what? You want money for what just happened? But I thought you really liked me! Then there are the guys that want to see you out of the club (and not for cash, either. I’m happy to have dinner with someone for $500, but rare is the person who gets that, sticks to that, and can afford that). They think that, just because you provided a service, which also happens to include fake affection, this means that you want to go out on a date. So fucking annoying. WAKE UP. You're at a STRIP CLUB. We do not ACTUALLY like you.

And yeah, I give my phone number out. Some girls have business cards, others have work phones (those are also tax deductible btw). Here’s the deal: If there’s a chance I’ll get repeat business out of it, it’s almost always worth it. I make it clear that my primary mode of communication is text messages, that I haven’t listened to my voicemail in three years so don’t bother calling and/or leaving one, and that they should text me when they’re coming in next, instead of leaving it up to chance whether I might be working that night or not (especially if they’re travelers. Oh, how I love the travelers). The point is: if they want to sit with me again, I’d rather be there than not. I’d say this strategy works out about 5% of the time, but holy god, the money I’ve made over the years because of it. And yeah, I still get 3AM-attempted-booty-call-drunk-dials from time to time, from the locals. Stupid locals. To be clear, I don’t think this is like, the revelation of the century or anything, but there are some people who take it the wrong way, and are all, “Whoa! That stripper gave me her phone number! She must really like me!” And then they’re texting me with boring shit, day in and day out. I mean, some checking-up is fine, some random volleys here and there are acceptable, sure, this is a business relationship and certain ties need to be maintained. But really? How clueless ARE you?

Like I said in the previous entry, I cannot wait for the moment when I delete all the customer numbers from my phone. I have them saved in the same spot in my contact list; every single one of them has an “L/” before their name (L stands for Lodge), and some sort of descriptor after their name, because I suck at names and generally require mnemonic devices in order to keep my shit straight. Sometimes those don’t even work, and when someone I don’t remember does come back in, I tell him to text me when he’s sitting at the library bar. That way I can usually pick out the face, and save face in the process.

Seriously, I fantasize every day about the moment when I delete all of these numbers, save maybe like, five. There are five people, out of one hundred and seventy two (no really, I just counted. Trust me, I’m JUST as shocked as you are right now, probably more so), that I care about maybe having a drink with the next time they’re in Austin. Five people whose company I would keep even if they weren’t paying me.

Notable mnemonic descriptors include: “Andrew the pervy Canadian” (people’s kinks fucking fascinate the hell out of me) “Bob the nosy New Yorker” (OMG what a dick, but oh, so much money…), “Brad with the weird nose,” (for the record: I don’t remember the nose, but I guess it was weird, LOL), “Brian the SMU douchebag” (nuff said. Def remember him), “Cliff the desperate married guy,” (fuck, that could be ANYONE!), “Ed the submissive” (subby customers are really good outlets for aggression), “Hurricane Steve” (insurance adjustor, crazy stories about Katrina), “James in the chair” (god I miss him. My paraplegic customer. So irreverent, he was. He enjoyed pretending he had cerebral palsy whenever a waiter would ignore him due to that presumption, and missed the days before movie theaters got handicapped seating, because he had to park his chair in the aisle and then got to laugh when people tripped over it and down the stairs. And you know how blind people get insane senses of smell and hearing? Well, his neck was so sensitive, I could barely touch it without him stopping me. He’d had orgasms from neck stimulation. But I digress), “Jim the hot air dude” (Jim from a previous blog, “I got caught being a real person,” the one who kept asking me about my evil ex like months after we’d broken up. He flies hot air balloons), “John the cheapo who thinks art is good” (god, he was so cheap. Why did I save a cheapo number? Who knows) “Reagan octopus tie” (that guy is RAD and I hope he comes in again), “Ron with all the mile points” (can you tell what I was after?), “Scott the spanker” (that was a fun night!), “Tony the ?” (hmm. Don’t remember him. SHOCKING), “Chris with stripes” (he always wore shirts that have what I call “intelligent stripes.” He’s one of the five. And I think he lives in Austin now. I want to be his friend. He’s SUCH a nerd), and “Rob the racer” (has Ferraris, races Porsches, pity I never took a ride in a fucking Enzo, that’s a helluva box to check; fuck, I’d do that for FREE).

Phew, names. So many names. So many forgotten moments of feigned intimacy. So many remembered moments of actual intimacy, so many fears and hopes and dreams spilled out over drinks and flesh. Enough. I’ve had enough.

All that being said, we do the GFE all the time, and it’s great. People need companionship, the same way that babies in Chinese orphanages will die if you don’t touch them. I’ve said it before, but I’m okay with what we sell, even though my time to sell it is done. We provide what certain types of customers lack in their personal lives, we provide love, support, acceptance, acknowledgment, intrigue, adoration. R. Danielle Egan calls this role the “whorish wife.” Her work featured prominently in my thesis. The whorish wife provides all the emotional support of the wife, but the physical (in our case, feigned) availability of the whore. Such a great term.

Some of my coworkers bring a different meaning to the GFE. Many of my friends in there (read: the handful (<10) women I’ll keep in my life post-stripping) pick up dates in the club. Not like, people they fuck for money, but actual guys they date. To this day, I don’t understand it. I’ve tried once. But the guys that come into the club, the locals, the young attractive ones? Not the people I want to date. Generally the men in my life, especially the ones I’m intimate with, don’t enjoy strip clubs (unless they go to party, that’s a different story and motive altogether), and I like to think it’s because they can get pussy on their own. So the ones who come into the club, who are in the right age/attractiveness bracket, those guys just aren’t my speed. They’re boring. But whatever, not judging my girls, just making the point that yeah, sometimes we DO actually like you!

So yeah, GFE. Big can o’ worms, that one. Thanks for reading, ya’ll.


  1. Just wanted to say that I'm glad you're blogging more often. This is really fascinating stuff.

  2. "lady in the parlor, cook in the kitchen, whore in the bedroom" - what men want. i like the candidness of your confessions :)

  3. M,

    Thanks for pointing me to your blog last night - good insight. I've read a few of your most recent posts - I'll have to go through and check them all out; and I'll definitely buy the book that I suspect might be in your future. If I'd realized more distinctly you had such well-conceived thoughts and opinions on the profession I would have stayed longer and we could have had a great conversation (the irony would be off the charts: being inclined to pay you to talk about the experience/social implications/psychology of someone paying you for a transitory relationship because we are meeting the locale that said relationships take place and I wouldn't have been there had I not felt the desire drop by for a brief transitory relationship...).

    Regardless, it was nice to meet you and I wish you good fortune in Austin.