Believe it or not, little has been written about the actual dynamics of the consummate American...contemporary strip club. These bars-clubs-joints exist, various regimes try to regulate them, and we for the most part smile at best, and frown at worst about them. To some, they are a mystery, to the faithful they are the beloved "titty-bar," to others they are a necessary emotional distraction and outlet.
Like many food and entertainment businesses, things change. At this time, in this economy, and in the ever changing culture at large, it is unclear as how strip clubs and especially rural strip clubs will hold up. And, or, it is hard to predict how they will adapt to the nuanced changes and signatures each subsequent generation puts on its entertainment desires.
As an example, it is not a secret, that in the culture of hyper-regulation, and changing cultural trends, that rural mom and pop taverns have taken a beating. Society's "new norms" are affecting the tavern culture. Yet, at the same time, society has accepted lax standards in other areas of culture. Cutting edge cinema movies from 40 years ago that at the time were rated "x," in today's norms will elicit a yawn at best. This speaks to a fickle, hypocritical, and paradoxical society. A schizophrenic, bi-polar society if you please. As with anything, only time will tell where exotic entertainment will land in the future as society lumbers onward through time in its collective schizophrenic state of mind.
I found a university-esque study while in college as an old guy that focused on analyzing strip clubs. My assignment was to critique the academic study - I got an "A" on my paper. Being a lower level bachelor's degree sociology class, we were given a list of studies to critique by the Professor. I of course, was the only one to choose the strip club study. Later in grad school you are expected to find your own research - but I digress.
It has been my impression after nearly 60 years of living the American guy culture world, that strip clubs are a bit like cars, they are around, there is a wink and a nod, but few of us know how they really work. This Web page is dedicated to dissecting the nuances and charm of that peripheral sub-culture of...the strip club.
The Obfuscation of the language: There has been many ways to say, "Let's go see some boobies." Old George Hurbert Mead (famous sociologist) and his Symbolic Interactionism Theory should be pleased. He studied the meaning of signs, symbols, and...the meaning of words, down in Chicago academia for decades. Here's to you George!
The Culture of strip clubs: The study
Elizabeth Anne Wood published an academic study of "stripteasers" in The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography in February 2000. The article is titled, "Working in the Fantasy Factory."
The almighty dollar: A set price through recessions and inflation for over 40 years
The one thing that has transcended decades of recessions and inflation is the consummate dollar tip at the ol' strip club. I have heard of a place somewhere that gives you change in two-dollar bills. But even so, even doubling the Buck tip is still an amazing economic constant over the years.
It is not clear when the "tip-walk" started in this culture, but dancers will sometimes make one stroll around the place after their performance to extract one more dollar from each customer.
Go figure - strip clubs resist inflation. Economists' ears should be burning, and nanny-staters' eyes should be a'bug'n out.
The dancers, "the girls," step into the role; they don the costume – seven-inch high heels, dangling earrings, skin sparkles, and an endless array of thong outfits.
Bear in mind, things may not be as glamorous as they seem. There is a dark side to this culture. Depending on the dance club, the dancers my often work as contractors: They pay a fee to dance; also pay a fee to use the V.I.P rooms; and, also find themselves working half a shift just to break even on a slow night. I was told by one dancer she even had to pay one dollar per song while she was on stage.
There is always a Ginger; a Precious; an Amber; an Autumn; and, a Summer. They usually have the consummate bio if they are twenty-ish years old - they have two kids; they have an unreliable boy friend; they have recently just started dancing; they are only working two nights per week; and, they are taking nursing classes at the next community college over from the one near where ever the strip club is.
If you go in sober, and actually listen to the more seasoned dancers, they may actually give you a more realistic story about themselves. They have been dancing for years off and on; they may be non-drinkers and/or non-smokers; their significant other actually gives them a ride to the job; their kids are grown; they have been laid off from their normal jobs; or, they still work a day-job; they probably enjoy motorcycles and cooking; and, they seem to appreciate that you are not drunk, and actually are interested in something besides their breasts. This group might even tell you their real names.
And of course, there are always the gaggle of dancers that fit the, "I-think-this-chick-might-be-drunk-and/or-on-drugs," stereotype. The caveat is, you better be able to summon up the people assessment skills to filter this bunch out, or the strippers that occupy the dark side will extract every last dollar you have - and then some. The nefarious chickies in this genre usually smoke two cigarettes at once; and, they will usually ask you to buy them a seven-dollar drink - which will probably be their tenth, and the night is still young. They may try to get you to make a quick decision about spending money in the V.I.P. Room. Before you know it, they are dancing for you on credit as your cash is now gone. At the end of the experience you will find yourself at the ATM machine with a bouncer with biceps the size of bowling balls and a tattoo of the devil on his bald head, looking over your shoulder. And, the ATM route will most likely have a ten-dollar fee just to put one last jab into your finances.
There is probably as many personalities presented by men in strip clubs as there are men in America. And without the male customers, this whole strip club exercise would be moot. If you go to strip clubs enough, you might notice it is not always theater. The strip club role playing sometimes gets more real life than one might think. The girls sometimes present with an attitude. Some dancers might even get snitty. Some may ignore you as a customer. Hey, just like real life. At that point, is it beyond role playing or is it mimicking real life?
I have noticed some men even seem to fall for a particular dancer and return time and time again to see her. That seems contrary to the role playing shtick. But then again, perhaps it is role playing to the extreme. One of the charms of the strip club is the guy can banter with a woman and he can listen to her story, she can listen to the guy's story, and, neither has to be bothered with ever seeing the other again after the encounter, or at least any time soon. Falling in love with a stipper then, could almost be construed as creepy.
Non-the-less, in general, a need it seems, is being met for both parties. The guys give a woman some money to listen to their story; the dancer makes a buck or two, and does not have to spend the rest of her life cooking for said dude. If he throws some more cash at her, she will sit on his lap and shake her hips. Again, he pays, she shakes the hips, at the end of the day, he ain't got to mow her yard; she ain't got to do his wash.
Some dancers seem anxious to nurture returning customers. Perhaps it is a comfort zone. There is a communication theory called "Penetration Theory." No dirty comments please. Penetration Theory in a nutshell, explores how far someone will let another person into their lives via conversation. Familiarity usually helps push the relationship to a more personal and intimate level. However, at times the relationship may take a step back to there being less confiding between the parties - for what ever reason. None of this is rocket science. We all do it every day in the course of our daily toils with family, work, and friends.
The bottom line might be for the guy is he pays, the dancer will chit-chat with him, he pays a bit more, she shows him her portfolio, he pays more, she shakes her hips on his lap, and at the end of the day he does not have to live with her.
It's a guy thing.
Your goal maybe should be: To find your way home “not” covered with sparkles; and, "not" smelling like stale perfume, cat food, and parmesan. You probably might also want to strive to get home with some of your one dollar bills still left in various pockets.
Unless, of course, you are just into being economically and emotionally slain by the more rougher-around-the-edges stripper-chicks.
Not my worry - your worry.