This weekend went epically south. Like bad…tonight took the cake.
Turns out our GM is fired and the new guy, the overseer, well he’s under contract for the next 4 months.
He sat us down last night to let us know that if we didn’t start doing legal dances, i.e. air dances, we’d be terminated.
He also used the divide and conquer tactic. Taking a few dancers, two of my buddies included, one at a time and gave them that talk privately. Seemingly out of nowhere because he hasn’t introduced himself to us dancers.
I cannot even begin to tell you how infuriating that is. All I can think is how manipulative and disrespectful that was. Unfortunately, it’s completely reflective of all the negative things that occur in our industry. But that we can discuss another time. For now I’m going to talk about the heart of the issue: legal lap dances.
In this town, there is virtually no club that gives a legal dance. Not one. The one club that did got shut down for drugs a few years ago. Since no club really gives legal dances a few problems have cropped up.
Problem one is that any dancer that didn’t dance at that club or has started dancing in the past few years has been giving illegal dances. Problem two, the poor management at other clubs has forced many dancers to come to our club seeking refuge. Compounding problems one and two, many of those dancers are coming from a club that has an especially bad reputation.
The result is that we have virtually every dancer, rookies and vets, giving an illegal dance. They’re either giving it to keep up with the other girls, or to one up the girls. In both cases, management has had enough. Hence one of the reasons the police are especially up management’s ass and why management is up ours.
Wait, but there’s more!
So in all this they are blaming us, that if we don’t clean up our act, we’re fired. Alright, don’t get me wrong, yes, we as dancers are certainly partly to blame for how the dances got out of control. However, they also have to look at themselves and how they approach managing us before they starting firing dancers all willie nillie. But that would imply that they care for us as dancers, which they don’t. And it would also imply that they care about doing their jobs carefully, mindfully and with the hope of creating permanent change, which they don’t.
First, they have to acknowledge that dances that each of us is giving are generally illegal. You do that by telling us in a specific way what the laws are and what we can do to not break them. Make it as clear and as simple as possible so there is no question as to we should and shouldn’t be doing. The point in doing this is to give all dancers a chance learn how to give that legal dance and to know what’s expected of them. This process should also be hired for all new dancers. So that way if they do fuck up, no one can say it came out of nowhere. Do this in a way that’s respects as professionals, as employees; which is what management cannot seem to grasp.
Second, it’s our job to give a legal dance, absolutely. But because of the delicate nature of our job, balancing fantasy with reality, we shouldn’t be the ones solely responsible for making sure a customer behaves. If a customer touches, gropes, kisses, licks, slaps, or otherwise comes into physical contact with us (which is illegal in my town) then the bouncers should be there to tell the customer that they’re either going to stop the dance or kick him out. Period. This helps us manage the customer so we can give a legal dance. This is a role that our bouncers are just not prepared to do yet. If we are lucky enough to have this become the norm, I’m sure we’ll see a change in customers behavior, AND AND, hopefully get better clientele.
Lastly, and the most important, once you start making the changes BE CONSISTENT. No special treatment allowed — not for the prettiest dancers or ugliest, the top earners or low earners, regulars or otherwise. Everyone has to be treated the same or everything falls apart.
So a group of us dancers got together, including one of my friends who got that private lecture, decided that we’re going to do the legal dance from now on. We’re spreading the word around the club and hopefully each dancer will pass it on to the next so we eventually get on the same page. We figured one of these things is going to happen:
First scenario: We don’t get fired when the new GM starts firing everyone else for illegal dances. Which would mean that only legal dance givers are left, which means maybe less vice visits and possibly more money.
Second scenario: We don’t get fired while this GM is on a rampage, he leaves and at least we’ve weathered the storm.
Third scenario: If each dancer does eventually gets this message, we all end up doing legal dances.
In any of these cases we don’t loose anything other than money in the short term, but the upside is that we stay employed which is more important.
This legal dance issue brings up a bunch of points I’ve been thinking about lately which I’ll talk about in other posts, two being:
Inherent distrust between everyone in this industry, between dancers, staff and management. But particularly from dancer to dancer.
The transient nature of the job which allows for distrust and exploitation.
…Ugh, anyways, I figure this is the closest we’d get to a stripper union. Ooohh, if only.