Starting a new club is never easy. You have to contend with the management, the staff, and a whole new crowd of customers. It takes a while, but eventually you adapt to the new atmosphere. So long as you make it through the initiation—the unspoken way a tight group of strippers sometimes try to break the new girl in. Try to not to take it personally. Use the music you dance to as a passive-aggressive tool to protect yourself—and impress everyone in the process. Here’s how I do it.
Once I feel comfortable at my new club, I’ll begin requesting changes to my setlists. The retaliation begins when dancers giggle and request a couple of my freshly incorporated tracks into their stage sets during our shift together, as if it will get a rise out of me the way it riles them up, seeing stacks thrown at another dancer “ruining their song.” You know, “Pussy Liquor.” Their song.
When this situation occurs, I wait for my eyes to return to their proper position post-roll and gather songs from these dancers’ elementary school days, ensuring that they either don’t know them, or would never think to request them because it’s much too difficult to pout at yourself in the mirror as they’re played. The following list contains songs that aren’t necessarily obscure—but if the club DJ still used vinyl or CDs, these tracks’ albums would be the ones covered in dust.
Bjork: “Army of Me”
This one I choose as a way of letting the peanut gallery know there’s a trove of songs I’d rather be dancing to if our friends would merely play them for me, and back off, I don’t want to dance to your treasured Avenged Sevenfold song any more than you want to dance to any of my favorite random 90s electronica songs.
Poe: “Angry Johnny”
While I may not be expecting Boner City from the tip rail, rest assured there will be someone (uh, me) appreciating clever song writing. I feel these lyrics closely pertain to the current situation: “Where did your pleasure go/When the pain came through you/Where did your happiness go/This force is running you around now.”
Fiona Apple: “Criminal”
Bush: “Mouth (Stringray mix)”
Here’s enough subtext for even the least imaginative reader.
Garbage: “#1 Crush (Nellee Hooper Mix)”
The lyrics may seem romantic, but this song is actually about a stalker. While “stalker” is not the term I’d use for someone trying to get under your skin, there’s something to be said about that imitation we’re supposed to feel flattered by when catching someone stealing your style, and not in an “Oh my God! I have that same dress/bikini! I won’t wear it while you’re wearing it because I don’t want to look like a clone” kind of way.
Love and Rockets: “My Delicious Ocean”
“Her pussy tastes just like nothing at all.”
Dead Can Dance: “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove”
Another sensual beat eroticizing lyrics of betrayal perfectly: “You build me up then you knock me down/ you play the fool while I play the clown.”
Another underplayed favorite with the perfect video for the club, even though I’d rather not have the customers believe the lyric “put your hands all over my body” to be a suggestion made by the dancer before him. Ideally, please keep your hands shelling out stacks all over my body. Maybe in a cover version this could be worked out, who knows. Either way, the song remains classically, timelessly sexy.
Aailyah: “If Your Girl Only Knew”
I like this song when I’m in a playful mood. The kind of mood where I want to keep the customer spending money while letting him know just how despicable I find some of his behavior to be, and what a derelict dick he has and must be to question what would happen if he touches me.
Janet Jackson: “If”
I saw a dancer perform the choreography to this my first year dancing and have never forgotten it. Accompanying the sexy video are the teasing lyrics, reminding the audience that they’ll never actually engage in a meaningful, romantic rendezvous with us and we won’t give them the satisfaction we would give our partner(s). Simultaneously, it’s a flirtatious way of saying “keep spending your money and we’ll see what happens, wink wink.”
So there it is, vengeful strippers. Naked exercise music to drown out the cries of your pearl-clutching, hand-wringing coworkers and overzealous, undersexed customers.