Work is expensive. Exotic dancers in Las Vegas and in many other places generally pay to work. Few places pay an hourly wage. Workers generally pay what is called a “house fee” to the club every shift.
I’ve paid between $35 to $90 per shift, plus tip-outs, just to work. We tip bouncers, DJ’s, bartenders, “house moms,” (a house mom is the lady in the locker room who provides odds and ends like safety pins, coffee and moral support) and sometimes managers. As a dancer, you can expect to pay about $100 a day to work on a typical night, and hundreds more in tips if your are spending a lot of time in the VIP room, since larger payments are charged to credit cards and your earnings are on the radar. You’re expected to tip and it’s a bad idea to piss off the bouncer. You spend all that money and that’s before taxes (yeah, right) and shrink bills from emotional stress. I’m not completely familiar with all labor laws, but I heard that mandatory tip-outs and mandatory time minimums are illegal when workers are paying to work as independent contractors … or something like that. What do I know about The Man? I’m a lowly stripper.
Yes, it’s a major expense, but it comes with great perks. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, we have no schedules and incredible earning potential.
This system does, however, make for an often irritating experience to customers. As NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones put it, “Them Vegas freaks are money grubbin’ bitches, with no class, for real.” Though I could only find this quote from one source online, I’ve heard this opinion before. “Pushy,” “Greedy,” “Annoying,” “Desperate,” are all adjectives to describe dancers, made by displeased strip-club visitors. I was at a strip club with a male friend recently, and he didn’t want me to leave his side because dancers would be on him like cheese on pizza. We don’t just show up and collect checks at the end of two weeks, though. Being forward is necessary for success in this job. I have youth on my side, but it’s a short-lived tyranny.