Home Strippers Two VICE Writers Walk Into A Bar

Two VICE Writers Walk Into A Bar

I try not to let the positions of the sun, moon, and other planetary objects dictate how I go about my daily life. That being said, there are two things I really try to avoid when there is a full moon: using public transportation and working at the strip club. People get weird. Hipster girls on lesbianic friend dates find their way into the club, act like assholes, and then blog about it.

I’ve never been to Pumps myself, but I can visualize a strip club with the lights on and the music off, the bartender counting out the till, the bouncer placing stools on the bar, and the dancers getting dressed. On a busy Friday night, this might be the first time they’ve all been in the same place at the same time. They can finally ask each other “what was up with those really drunk bitches?” and “did you see when they got kicked out and one of them screamed that she left her scarf and that we’re mean? It was amazing.” And then someone will note that maybe the supermoon brought out such bad behavior from a pair of women who didn’t look like they would be jerks. Some of them would give the two the benefit of the doubt and agree that they are probably nicer people when they’re not doing shots underneath a 14% bigger, 30% brighter moon.

The thought of writing about this makes me tired, but here goes:

Have you ever had a private dance before? They are awesome and after having my first one I am now ready to spend every cent I make on having fancy ladies with complicated shoes rub their butts on me.

Props for this! Nothing wrong with that statement.

I asked for my change in all ones in preparation for Pumps. I told the guy at the wine shop “I’m meeting someone I work with for the first time tonight at a strip club so I need lots of ones. She is kind of like my boss. Oh don’t worry, I’m a writer, not a sex worker.”

See, strippers don’t go around hitting up wine shops in order to have a lot of singles. The club owner gets the singles from the bank. The bartender makes change and gives them to the customers who give them to the strippers. The strippers either cash them in at the bar or take them to a drive-through ATM.

Which brings us to tipping. Offhand, I would say you maybe need to do more of it.

Whether you were actively staring at the girls or not, they would walk up to you, interrupting your conversation if need be (in our case, catching our attention by yelling out “GLASSES!”) and push their tits together indicating that they want you to put money between them. […] One girl towards the end of the night actually got way rude and tried to say we weren’t tipping the girls enough.

Those greedy hos get your money, we dropped some fat stacks to pay for these hangovers.

Well, which was it? The “greedy hos” don’t typically act “way rude” if you’re dropping “fat stacks.” Sigh, I’m tired already. In the spirit of their piece (sans the mutual masturbation tone), I’m bringing in Elle to finish this post.

“The new version of yuppies are truly the only ones who get a thrill from strip clubs. As a stripper, I see them all the time. All fancied up for a weekend night out with their boyfriend or girlfriend, looking to feel superior by insulting women who are legally making an honest living. Taking pride in harassing strippers is like being proud of snubbing a grocery store cashier, or stiffing a waitress. The night that you bothered to write about is probably already long forgotten in the minds of the women who had to put up with you that same evening.” What she said. And just remember this piece of conventional stripper wisdom: you can tell a lot about a (wo)man by the way s/he acts in an environment s/he thinks is free of consequence.

Kat is a co-founder of Tits and Sass. She started stripping in 2003 and is still hoofing it. You can find her on Twitter.


  1. I found the Vice post just boring, mostly. They went to a strip club, got a couple dances and then were asked to leave for being cheap. Yeah, it was more of a weird mutual ass-kissing than a worthwhile story.

    Posts like these pop up all the time where a female writer goes to a strip club, nothing out of the ordinary happens, and she acts like it was the craziest night of her life. Then a bunch of men post comments that are just like verbal high fives, and everyone (especially the author) thinks she’s crazy edgy and funny and that she produced this totally unheard of perspective. Besides usually being offensive in at least a couple places, these pieces also tend to be totally uncreative and dull.

  2. I knew that piece was gonna end up on here. Their whole “we weren’t looking so we aren’t tipping” spiel was wack. Then apparently they disintegrated into drunken free-show mode. Which leads me to the conclusion I think everyone came to: “get the fuck out.”

  3. I had a long conversation with Winter at Lucky Devil about this kind of thing (after a female friend of mine got justifiably booted out for inappropriate behavior). She called it self-misogyny and, now that I’m conscious of it, I notice it happening with surprising frequency. … Chicks.

  4. I totally didn’t go to work at pumps on Saturday because of the supermoon/cinco de mayo combination. This article confirms that I made a good decision.

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this “writer” didn’t do her research before heading out on this “crazy night”. If she had, she would have know that the “fat stacks” that they dropped, were, if it was for a “hang over”, for the club only. She would have known that the club doesn’t pay the “fancy ladies”, that, from my understanding, they actually pay the bar for the use of the stage. Were these things known to her, one would hope, they would understand a little better why they were RIGHTFULLY booted out on their pompous asses! 😉

    • yep. We pay a “house-fee” every night that goes to the bar/club (anywhere from $1 to $15 to $100 or more, it varies greatly depending on the bar/club), even if we make NO money (in which case we gotta pull it outta our own pockets.) PLUS for some stupid reason WE have to pay the bouncers and DJ’s, because club owners decided it was easier and more profitable to make one set of workers pay another set of workers in the same establishment instead of, you know, actually paying their own employees a living (or even minimum) wage. Brilliant strategy on their parts. And on top of all that some clubs/bars take a cut of the girls’ lapdance sales. So yeh, if you find yerself at a strip joint and you wanna be a considerate patron buy lotsa dances, don’t waste strippers’ time if you don’t intend to spend and tip generously 😉

  6. The more I think about this, the more I want to leave a more thoughtful response than my previous one of “did you write this with your feet.” Initially I was disappointed by this post, thinking that if your intent was to “burn” us, you could have done a way better job, but then I started feeling like my feeling were genuinely hurt by this, because I am a fan (excuse the conversational term) of sex-workers and strippers, and have been for as long as I’ve had pubes.

    This was our first time going to a strip club, and admittedly, we did get way too drunk and out of sorts. The claims that we were being cheap and mis-treating the ladies working there that night, however, are just not true, or fair. Between the other writer of that VICE post, and myself, we each spent well over $100 each, tipped the girls (almost) every time they came over, always had a fresh drink in front of us, and even each paid for a private dance. I’d say that was us trying to contribute to the bar, and the income of the ladies working, the best way we could. BUT, we are both writers, and not made of money, and it did seem like the women were coming over to us WAY more than the other (male) patrons of the club that night. I don’t know if they thought it was funny, or what, but tipping the same girl every three minutes seems a bit excessive to me.

    To me this is really a matter of customer service. I’ve had service jobs before (not where I had to show my boobs, but still) and knew that if I wanted to come home with good tips, I had to be “on.” Even after only one experience at a strip club, I’d say that a stripper who just lazes about and then literally walks over and says shit like “you need to give me a tip,” is just an example of a person being BAD AT THEIR JOB. A person who relies on tips as their main source of income should learn how to finesse their clientele a little bit more, and the women working that night who DID know how to do that, had no problems with us, and went home with all the money we had to spend.

    • I don’t want to speak for all the strippers who contribute to and read this blog, but I’m going to assume they’re really grateful that you, a one-time strip club goer who was kicked out for bad behavior, explained to them what they should do to be good at their jobs. It’s a shame those nasty “sluts” hurt your feelings, especially since you’re such a big supporter.

  7. Kelly, you may make this argument about customer service now, but the tone of your article went an entirely different direction. From your comment, can we assume that when you come across a waitress with poor service, you call her ugly as well? Or is that particular performance review reserved only for “sluts”?

    Sounds like a poor attempt to cover for what was most certainly regrettable behavior. A simple “sorry for being a hateful twat” would likely be better received.

    • Actually didn’t call anyone ugly in the post. But since it seems to be okay to call people “twats,” then I guess it’s also okay for me to do that in the next one. Thanks for leading by example taking the higher ground. You really showed me.

      • “We were like, ‘look lady, you look like you should be working at Borders or something, we’re saving our dollars for the hot girl.'”

  8. So over vice magazine. The only semi-entertaining part are the do’s and don’ts. The authors of this vice peice clearly have little understanding of strip club etiquette. To stare at a dancers in a club merits a tip. Tipping ‘most’ of them isn’t grounds for applause. Belittling a dancer for doing her job and asking for a tip, which is a dancers only income from a strip club, comes across nasty and cheap. Doling out their fat ‘stacks’ of skrilla sent them on a power trip in a world they obviously know very little about. After all they’re writers, ‘not dancers’. The dancers have probably seen this kind of behavior by entitled drunken female patrons over and over, been called worse by better, and have had more to show for it then sharing 200 dollars in tips.

  9. we get trolls like the hags from vice often at my club a reputedly “upscale” club in manhattan, but i imagine the women at pumps get them with more frequency. i am sure the two chose pumps not only to present an us vs. them dichotomy in regards to profession, but to specifically seek out women of color–as the writer admits to–at a presumably “low class” establishment. which is to say, i doubt these two hacks would have taken their broke asses to score’s or penthouse.

    also, no surprise that the one “hot girl” at pumps that night happened to be white. as for vice, haven’t they been trying to reinvent themselves as serious journalists, and if not serious, at least thoughtful? mcclure’s piece is not only poorly written but no less than ten years stale.

    • I’d like to make just a quick note to everyone to steer clear of any ad hominem attacks. I edited part of this comment that violated our commenting policy rather than not approving it altogether.

  10. I went to Pumps as a customer and I thought it was pretty much the most awesome strip club ever, precisely because the dancers ask for/expect tips SO often. There are signs up in the bar that say you have to tip to sit at the stage (which is just about the only place to sit anyway), and there’s even a sign behind the stage that says something like “If you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home”. I think I spent $40 in ones in about 20 minutes and I was only tipping a dollar or two each time a girl came over/asked for a tip. Plus they make you buy a drink every 15 minutes or something (and they’re like ten bucks each). That’s kind of excessive as far as not getting completely wasted, but I still like that they force people to spend money to be in there. That’s the way it should be! I can’t even imagine any of that stuff being standard in Portland clubs.

  11. Oh shit I worked Cinco De Mayo/Supermoon. All sorts of insane, nasty shit happened… customers were unnecessarily rude… I made WAY less money than ive ever made on a saturday. It was just fuckin weird all-around.

  12. Just as an aside- this is why I rarely approach female customers. I know that to women who’ve never done sex work before, $20 towards a dance and $80 towards both drinks and tips for an evening seems like a very generous spending-amount, but as a stripper, expending the emotional energy to deal with women to possibly get just one dance and be one of a dozen or several-dozen strippers to get a few one-dollar tips… it’s just not worth it. I pay a $90 fee to work a night-shift, plus I have to tip-out minimum $25-$50 to bouncers cumulatively and about $10-$20 to the DJ. That means I pay sometimes $160 or more, just for the “privilege” of working! If I need to sell 8 dances just to BREAK EVEN, I’m focusing my time and energies on middle-class, middle-aged men. Gotta wade through the cheapos (mostly young guys and women) and find customers who are going at least get a few dances, hopefully those who will spend $100+ on me (not altogether for everything and everyone for the entire night) or get a VIP room.

    And then we gotta deal with these exoticizing, patronizing, tourist-y “omg we went to a stripclub!” articles from women who call dancers “skanky” and insult their looks and joke that stripper pussies excrete cocaine or whateverthefuck, and no amount of backpedaling or insistence that they love strippers or have stripper friends or whatever takes away from the usual boring slut-shaming and sex worker-bashing that we’re used to getting from mainstream media, misogynists, etc. This vice article is just more of the same, re-packaged for liberal bi hipsters.

  13. The first time I went into a strip club back in 1990 (a week after turning 21 to support a neighborhood friend’s first night at a new club) she told me the rules of etiquette in clubs that has not changed much between then and now. Kelly and Sophie should have done some minimal asking around.

    Kelly’s second paragraph let’s you know exactly what kind of woman she is. The fourth paragraph is icing on that particular cake.

    While reading that article, I hoped either Kelly or Sophie would add comments.

    Now before Kelly replies to my comment personally (a boy can hope right?) I don’t go to strip clubs in my town often, and if I do it has been to apply for jobs. An adult actress in LA suggested it as another avenue of employment.

    Perhaps one of Tina Fey’s fans will read this and we can all read the future article of “How Kelly and Sophie met Tina Fey for lunch and lamented the downfall of society” and then in a twist of irony tipped $2.92 on a $54.08 bill.

  14. You know, I don’t hang out with a particularly “edgy” crowd and literally every woman I know has been to a strip club at some point in their lives (and quite a few of them like to go semi-regularly). I don’t know what annoyed me the most about the Vice piece — the fact that they come across like a couple of jerks or the fact that they genuinely appeared to think that they were oh-so-special-and-daring for doing something that’s actually really commonplace. (Also, for the record that scary gas station they mention is like the least sketchy gas station in Williamsburg).

  15. Pumps is in Bushwick, no matter how many real estate agents try to sell that area as east Williamsburg (sorry, personal pet peeve).

    However, it does seem that what we have here is two overprivleged spoiled children wanting to get patted on the back for being “bold” and “edgy” for going to a stripclub in a somewhat rough around the edges neighborhood, while snickering at how bougie and above it all they are.

    A dancer’s job is based entirely on tips……if you prefer not to tip, you can visit any other regular bar/club…why is a simple gratuity a problem for 2 ladies with supposed “fat stacks”? The dancers don’t come into the Vice headquarters stomping your laptops with stilettos and drunkenly rampaging (though that might be a more interesting article than what the writers cooked up), you might want to show them the same courtesy by not fucking up their workday with obnoxious antics, or being so presumptuous that you think a dancer would need or want to steal some article of clothing your mother bought you from your favorite shopping mall store back home.

    (I also will say that even in their drunken ranting they did get one thing right…..the dancer they are probably referring to as the hot one is an extremely cool girl, and is a well known/respected fetish and bondage model also)

  16. dear kelly and sophie,
    sigh. i’m going to go out on a limb and defend you, kind of. i actually don’t like your article and i agree with catherine it was, for the most part, boring (did you really tell the same story from two different perspectives and think that was creative?) BUT i think maybe you’re getting slammed a little too hard. i think spending $100 each for a night out at a strip club is totally fine. are you the customers i want? no. but it’s not like the club is ever packed with dream customers. middling spenders exist and they’re not nearly as bad as the folks who don’t spend a dime so thanks for at least throwing some greenbacks around. plus the first time i stumbled into a strip club i didn’t spend more than $20 and i was stupid and self-congratulatory and definitely trying to impress the people i went with so i feel you. only after a little more life-experience and learning (and stripping!) did i wisen up and expect to pony up on strip club visits.
    i still don’t spend tons of money at clubs when i visit as a patron and it’s not the fact that you didn’t actually spend fat stacks that’s the problem. the real rub in your article was your unsavory commentary that was at best thoughtless and at worst hateful and offensive. admittedly, that makes the whole article pretty lame and i’m glad you’re getting an earful on the subject. my guess is you wrote all that weird “greedy ho” business to sound snappy and edgy but bad jokes don’t take the place of good creative writing and you probably didn’t understand that from our point of view your night out was anything but novel.
    all in all, my take on it is that you’re silly newbie custies more in need of sympathy and education than dragging through the mud. you made the bad choice of trying to write about your first time at a strip club because you needed some eyebrow raising material and didn’t realize your freshmen antics were cringeworthy – especially with how much you felt the need to talk each other up in the article like a two lady circle jerk BUT, to both of you, come back and try again! if you don’t want to tip someone who you’re not interested in, that’s fine, just be polite about it. and watch your alcohol intake and don’t confuse bragging about your faux bad assery with good journalism. if you’re such a fan of sexworkers show it with your money and your words in a second strip club visit.
    story the stripper

  17. This is a huge problem with Vice, in my opinion. They have some smart and funny women writing for them, but whatever individuality they have is generally subsumed by the “house style”, which consists of writing from the point of view of an asshole, “un-PC” dude who “doesn’t give a fuck” about being respectful towards women, minorities and gays because feminazis destroy humor! He is going to make the laziest jokes possible and when people rightly point out that they’re offensive, he is going to call them faggots!

  18. Oh my god! People can get kicked out of strip clubs for being cheap? Thats the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard and I wish other businesses would adopt that! I’ve never been a dancer (I missed my chance) but I have been a waitress and I can spot a bad tipper a mile away. As a server, I didn’t have to pay a house fee – but I did have to live on my $2.13 an hour plus tips, and waiting tables is hard work too. People should be banned for not tipping a hard-working individual.


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