Prince was a centerfold; scan from Creem Magazine, June 1985
A game I like to play with my stripper friends sometimes is one where we pick our desert island strip club musicians: If you could only have five artists to dance to, ever, in the club, who would they be? The one artist that’s on everyone’s list is Prince.
There is no other catalog of music that has a broader application for strippers. Working in a club that banned hip-hop? Working in a hip hop club but feel like you can’t pull it off? DJ who doesn’t understand your requests? “Only top 40” rule? Old crowd? Young crowd? Prince has it covered like no other. And like Josephine said to me the other day, “Literally the worst pole dancer cannot screw up ‘Darling Nikki.'” When I was a baby stripper, dancing to Prince was how I learned to dance sexy on stage. “What would Prince do?” I thought, and then I humped the floor, and made more stage tips. [READ MORE]
Caty: Ciara’s given us many music and video masterpieces over the years: “Like A Boy” (is there anything better than her going soft butch?), “I’m Out” (a song that values ass shots, selfies, and texts as much as us harlots do), and “Never Ever” (cleverly riffing off syrupy 80s soft rock? Especially appealing to the sex worker sensibility, given how much of it we have to listen to appease our baby boomer clients). But her true hooker anthem is the unalloyed brilliance that is “Ride.”
Do not try this at home. Ciara in “Like a Boy.”
Josephine: Truth! Ciara’s created a plethora of handy tracks over the years. “Goodies,” her breakout single, was played nonstop at work in its day, a perfect song for customers who just don’t understand that we won’t go home with them. The music video for her single “Work” is beautifully subversive; a band of gorgeous women dancing their asses off in a construction site, a space that is classically reserved for men only. Kind of like a strip club! But you’re right, “Ride” is easily her Unintentional Sex Work Anthem. [READ MORE]
Welcome to the club! (image via flickr user dustout)
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. [READ MORE]
There was a long time when I first started working as a strip club DJ when I’d engage in small talk with customers. Almost always it led to them saying “You must have the best job in the world!” It was hard to understand why. I don’t have benefits. Trying to get days off is a daunting effort, and when I have to cover for another DJ I am yelled at for reaching overtime. I’m the whipping boy of management and certain dancers. Then the slow realization dawns of why they think it’s so great: I get to look at naked women all day.
So I wonder what they’d think if they knew they were talking to a fag (well, queer male, in the Rainer Werner Fassbinder/Paul Bowles sense. I’m attracted to women romantically and intellectually, but mostly sleep with men) who remains pretty indifferent to all the nudity. But since I don’t really want to discuss any more with them, or ruin any part of the illusion that comes with the territory, I nod and say “Yup,” then proceed back to my booth.
I’ve worked at two different clubs and there’s not much to the job. I come in, turn on the sound equipment and lights, put music on shuffle and wait out the day until I can clock out, chatting with the dancers or staff when free or not reading a book. I’m not out to my coworkers by any means for fear of being fired. In an industry that hires solely on looks and can fire someone for such bullshit excuses as saying no to a drink when already very drunk or trying to signal a customer over from stage, I’m sure a queer man in a highly hetero male space would cause waves. [READ MORE]
Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers.
Friday is Valentine’s Day, that special day wherein we celebrate patriarchal norms and reinforce insulting gender stereotypes with rampant consumerism.
Valentine’s Day is one of the those special “off” days that happen every-so-often in the strip club. Working the night of one these off days is never business-as-usual—it’s usually, business-as-oh-my-God-did-that-just-happen. The day of Cupid falls on a Friday this year, and there’s going to be a full moon.
Get ready. [READ MORE]