Sassy by name, Sassy by nature, I write to explode the myths which surround the lapdancing profession - standing up for the clubs, the girls and the customers. Its not always drinking champagne and playing with my tits - it can be hassle, hustling and hangovers. At heart I'm just a regular twenty-something posh cockney living in London who likes taking her clothes off...
During my forays into lapdancing I have been fortunate enough to have worked at a variety of clubs all over the world. But there are so many types of lapdancing venues that I thought I would give a few definitions. Every place has been different. I’ve had to audition in front of managers who seemed so strange to my English culture that I felt apprehensive. I’ve acclimatised to different clientele – burly miners are far more rowdy than your suited and booted London businessman, but they sometimes saw me as such a refreshing change after all that sweaty hard toil that they spent more money than anyone could have expected! I’ve had to learn routines to dance on stage, or got used to my stage show lasting fifteen minutes when it’s usually around five. Most importantly, I’ve had to alter what I do in a lapdance as the rules changed – some clubs let the customers get away with murder whilst others keep a strict eye on me and make sure that I’m a foot away from the customer at all times when giving a lapdance.
So, lots of types of clubs can be found – it’s up to you as a dancer to find which suits you best.
In the UK the venues are usually billed as a ‘gentleman’s club’ or ‘lapdancing venue’ rather than ‘stripclub’. You do not need to be a member to enter, there will usually be an entry fee on arrival, and although the name ‘gentleman’s club’suggests otherwise, both men and women are allowed in. There will be at least one bouncer at the door and more members of security inside, and they will not let in any customers who are too drunk or don’t fit the dress code – in London for example they operate a ‘no-trainers’ policy.
There are places offering striptease all over the country – every city and most large towns have at least one gentleman’s club. They can be split into three broad types – the Big Brands style of club, the strip-pubs which have a stage in the middle of your average British pub, and the small neighbourhood joints which are essentially glorified bars with opportunities to get a lapdance.
Let’s look at these clubs in more detail…
Big Brands; These include Spearmint Rhino, Platinum Lace, Secrets and For Your Eye’s Only(FYEO) in the UK, and in the USA they include Spearmint Rhino, Deja V Showgirls and Hustler. The general rule is that if you work at one of their venues you can usually transfer across and work at another of their branches (unfortunately only within that country due to visa regulations). I remember one hot summer when a friend and I worked at the flagship Spearmint Rhino in London during the week, but on Fridays drove to Bournemouth and caught the weekend crowd. During the Ascot weekend – a big race meet held just outside London – we worked at the Heathrow branch of Spearmint Rhino as it was close to the racecourse. All we required each time was ID and our dancing gear – we told the managers in advance that we were coming down and didn’t have to audition when we arrived. Score! This flexibility meant that we could chase the money around the country whilst getting a weekend by the sea to boot!
The typical Big Brand club will usually have several stages, with dancers on them throughout the night. The venue will be able to hold a hundred punters or more, and will have long opening hours – typically to the early hours of the morning and there might even be a day shift. For example, Platinum Lace in Leicester Square is open Monday to Saturday from 3pm till 6am, and even opens its doors for a few hours on Sunday.
The clientele will be a mixture of city workers, guys on a night out, and businessmen entertaining their clients. However, it is in the Big Brand clubs that you are most likely to get a ‘sitdown’ in the VIP area, which is by and large how a dancer makes the best money.
These clubs will have lots of dancers on their books. They need to be able to keep the stages ‘open’ all the time – that is, have a lapdancer dancing on it. They also need enough dancers to satisfy the customers – although quite often dancers complain that they have put too many girls on and its difficult to even find an available customer to talk too let alone get a dance. On the busiest nights of the week, essentially Thursday, Friday and Saturday, you can expect to find 60-80 girls working as lapdancers. As you can expect, competition is fierce. Although around a third will have worked there for several years and have several regular customers who come in and spend on them, there will be new girls starting every week. Turnover is generally high and there will probably be several cliques of dancers.
Neighbourhood Clubs; These are smaller venues which are in suburban towns or grouped around the nightlife area of cities. They will be able to hold anything up to a hundred or so customers, although there will usually be far less than that. They will have one or two small stages, an area filled with private booths for lapdancing, and increasingly you can hire these out to act as VIP rooms if they do not have a separate VIP space. Because of their smaller size, they will have less girls working there – twenty to forty on the busiest nights. Many will have worked there for several years.
Neighbourhood clubs generally have a more relaxed feel to them – you will be able to get to know the managers personally and they may have a more hands-on approach – working behind the bar for example. You will have more freedom in your outfit choices and will not have to spend as much time and effort looking picture-perfect as it isn’t as competitive as the big brand venues.
It will generally attract a local crowd and will have regulars that come in every week and spend a little, especially on their favourite girls who they have cultivated a ‘friendship’ with over time. It is rare for big spenders to come in and spend thousands in a VIP area, but once in a while it will happen. It is a stripclub after all!
Strip-Pubs; These are clubs that are mainly found around the East End of London. They are often called ‘pound-in-the-pint’ places, so nicknamed because each dancer walks around the pub requesting a pound from each customer before she goes on stage. This is not an honour system – every customer must donate a pound for every stage show, whether they are watching it or not. Old favourite’s of mine include The White Horse and Browns.
A Strip-Pub is, as its name suggests, essentially a traditional English pub with a stage in one corner. The stage will have a pole and occasionally a chair so that each dancer can showcase her best moves. As the show is all important, it is the best place to go to watch pole tricks – the dancers here work for tips, so will practice their showcase so that they can maximise their earnings. Depending on the number of girls working, each dancer will have a two song set every 45 minutes, and can spend the rest of her time talking to customers and getting lapdances. There will be a show on stage every two or three songs – roughly just under ten minutes. There will also be a small area for private lapdances to take place.
The customers in these pubs usually stay an hour or two, until the lineup of dancers begins to repeat itself again. They do not always get lapdances, but are more likely to come in reguarly.
The dancers get a fairly good deal at strip-pubs – they will only have to pay a token house fee, or none at all, and each shift only lasts 4 to 6 hours. They are also scheduled on, so have a greater sense of responsibility and flexibility that lapdancers lack at the other clubs with longer shifts and more competition. Furthermore, as the stage show is key, and a dancer will get her money regardless of how she looks, these clubs have a wider range of girls of different ages and sizes. In a typical shift, a dancer can expect to make several hundred pounds and several stage shows filled with hardcore aerobic pole work.