Strip Club Science: Anatomy of a Hustle

Money is being held hostage in wallets. Like most of the men in the bar, it’s scared and lonely and you need to rescue it.

Sep 4, 2012 at 6:00pm | Leave a comment

*STRATEGY
 
The arcane ways in which cash-hungry strip clubs accept money defies logic and infuriates dancers to no end. Herds of men say that they’d like another dance but balk when they have to “feed the meter.” Running out of budgeted cash means a walk of shame to the ATM (disambiguation: automated teller machine, not "ass to mouth" in the men's bathroom).

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ATM Walk of Shame

If he doesn’t already feel like a sucker, this is the part where the ATM charges a $15 transaction fee, confirming his fears. 40% of ATM missions are aborted, instilling a burning hatred for friction in payment procedures and incessant bitching to management about how ”Square must be installed above each dance booth."
 
Money is being held hostage in wallets. Like most of the men in the bar, it’s scared and lonely and you need to rescue it. Deciphering who’s holding what is a critical part of the game, but deducing what each person is looking to gain after the money changes hands is what will get you all of it. There’s a finite amount of money in the room at any given time. Here’s a location breakdown:
 
-the actual cash in customer’s wallets;
-the secret stash they keep in the car so they don't spend it inside...but end up going out to get it anyway like a spare bag of cocaine; and
-the physical cash held in ATMs within the club’s walls (or within two minutes of drunk walking).
 
There are also a finite number of girls working at a given time. This sets the scene for a zero sum game -- a situation in which one girl’s gain is another girl’s loss. 
 
Accurate modeling of the dynamics of this system is a pipe dream as this assumes that all players are acting rationally. They are not. It also assumes that each participant is equally motivated.  They are not.  Sprinkle in random variables such as alcohol (ab)use, late rent, babydaddy drama, final exam week, an endlessly rotating PMS carousel, and you’ve got all the necessary ingredients for an economist orgy. Half the reason clubs charge a cover fee is because they know that no matter where you’re sitting, you’ve got front row seats to the Big Show.
 
NINJAS TRAVEL SOLO
 
Top-notch hustlers become addicted to the power, the challenge, the rush of the game. Like all the men who wronged them before, they get what they want and bounce. You can almost see the animated video game coins swirling above their heads Nintendo-style like halos as they lead a new conquest to the dance booth. Each success gives them more fuel to get back on the floor and find the next. Men always want the girl who’s already been giving dances all night; it’s only logical to assume that exclusivity equates to status.
 
At the end of the night these pros go from hyper-sexed avatar to exhausted mortal with every layer of makeup chiseled off, dopamine signals fried from the overstimulation. The next morning all incoming calls are predictably ignored. She’s got work in a few hours. She has to be ready. At 2 PM a fridge inspection yields only eggs, expired orange juice and champagne. An expensive lunch is in order to refuel and get motivated for the night ahead. Shopping always sounds appealing, but watching your bank teller uncomfortably fidget and banter as he counts every single dollar bill from the night before is schadenfreude at its sweetest. Just $1,150 more to meet the March goal. Self-righteousness is a highly addictive drug.
 
PUTTING YOUR PSYCH DEGREE TO WORK
 
Attraction (his) and enthusiasm (yours) are the dry tinder of lap dances. While getting a guy who likes your look to buy a dance is not so hard, the key to getting multiple song sessions is to condition him using the principles of Skinner’s Box to make him addicted to your box. First, identify your target and initiate contact. Match interest with interest. Just when he’s expecting you to ask for a dance, take a lap around the room, making eyes at your target throughout. Reciprocated eye contact is the green light; grab him by the hand, lead him to a booth. Don’t pressure him into multiples yet, just collect your cash for one song and slowly pull on clothing suggestively as you gyrate. When the song comes to a close, begin to pull off a layer. Ask if he wants to continue. You know he does. Every wad of green equates to another pellet, every pellet should only be a slight increment from the one before. If in your mind each reveal or position is another step toward losing $1,000 you just bet at strip poker, you have the potential to make that much when it’s all said and done.
 
KNOW YOUR TARGET: CUSTOMER ARCHETYPES
 
The Cocaine Sociopath -- If Christian Bale in "American Psycho" frequented strip clubs and charmed dancers with free blow and witty banter in exchange for their “company” instead of just murdering people, the result would be one of the most diabolical breeds in the adult entertainment industry. They are always young, attractive, well dressed and appear to be extremely fucking rich. Lawyers, brokers, executives, trust fund babies and any other over-privileged, under-disciplined types fall under this category. Jackpot, right? Easy money? Think again.
 
The Cocaine Sociopath is smarter than you are. Sorry, but it's true. Why, pray tell, would a gorgeous young man with money, power, charm and intelligence be in a titty bar instead of having dinner with his beautiful wife on a Friday night? It's almost too good to be true, right? That's because it is. He's not married because he's evil. Literally evil. He doesn't want you to dance for him. He wants to possess you, take you out, do you up, have you over to his house, feed you lines (literally, figuratively) with the goal of eventually using you as a combination ashtray and portable dickwash station. Don’t egotistically assume you'll just play the player only to become one of those dancers that bragged about dating some young hotshot lawyer they met at work, lost 80lbs in two months, and just stopped showing up one day, never to be seen or heard from again.
 
Observe how far away the oldest girl at your club stays from a suspected Cocaine Sociopath –- It isn't because she's afraid of him, it's because she knows how much his money costs and is there to get paid, not mindfucked and manipulated by a degenerate serial soul collector.
 
Bobs -- Bobs, or “Back of Bars,” do what their name says they do –- they sit in the back of the bar, away from the stage. It’s a mixed bag of shy guys, assholes, misers and amateurs that make less cake in a week than you do on a Tuesday night. Veterans know that Bobs are an undervalued market in skin palaces all over the world. There's some serious coin lurking in the corners, if you pay attention to the critical details.
 
Assess the dress: Is he wearing a tie? Good. Is he wearing a tie and in his 20's? Bad. Fledgling Bobs always think that it's cool to play dress up in hopes of being mistaken for a High Roller, but most strippers know that overdressed youth are either insecurely fronting or just finished a shift at their catering gig.
 
Ideally, you want your tie on the body of a fat 35-50 something that has a nice white tan line where his wedding ring used to be. Examine the knot of the tie -– does it look like this poor asshole tied it himself, sloppily, with lobster claws for hands? Perfect. It probably isn't the first time he's worn one, he's just used to his recently gotten-the-fuck-outta-there wife tying it for him every morning. His shirt probably has an iron burn on it somewhere, too. Why is this such a good mark? This Bob knows his ex-wife is going to loot him. He's in your club because he would prefer that it be you who pillages his pockets and takes his money before she does. He's emotionally vulnerable, lonely and wants to talk as much as he wants to look -– what does that spell? “Regular.” Keep your mouth shut and your ears open and you'll become his loyal XXX therapist throughout the duration of his divorce. Regardless of your intent, he's going to financially appreciate your indispensable services during this difficult time just as much as he does his lawyer's.
 
Incognito -- The more savvy cousin of the traditional Bob, who desperately wants to be liked for whatever he considers himself to be. A naked girl who wants to talk to you on the basis of your net worth isn't so different from a clothed one, and Incognitos strategically throw off the scent of the money-hungry stripper Bloodhound by dressing down. They've been there, done that and don't get off on being fawned over because of what's in their bank account anymore -– or as close as it gets in this particular venue which, incidentally, they could buy in cash at their whim. Connecting with an Incognito is lucrative because he is often passed over by strippers who mistakenly classify him as a Sweatpants Boner Man.
 
Thug Love -- A customer of any color who shows up in a hat and T-shirt but is impossible to assign a dollar value to, mostly because they sell drugs. Picking out the more financially endowed ones is totally Where's Waldo, but when you find the one that sells coke AND weed, he pays out like a slot machine as soon as he's liquored up. Most will blow their entire wad the second you bounce your ass all gangster n' shit, here's hoping it's more than $13 in crinkled singles.
 
High Roller -- The extremely obvious rich idiot who dresses like he's 20 when he's actually 50, picks one girl per club to dump barrels of cash onto and disappears every few months for a while when his wife discovers how many credit card cash advances he did at the bank adjacent to your club. The hustle here is look expensive, be obscenely aggressive and do what he wants you to do: take all of his money.
 
LLV (Leaving Las Vegas) -- So named for Nicholas Cage in the semi-biographical epic about a depressed man who goes to Las Vegas to burn through all of his money and drink himself to death. He falls in love with a prostitute after he almost hits her with his car. Please pause to swoon if needed, ladies. If you don't mind attending a living funeral, one night with this sort of desperate soul can put you through Law School.
 
The Strip Club Junkie -- The regular who understands the game, has been around the booty block numerous times and can either be a gigantic asshole to deal with or an absolute cream dream -- Just. Like. A. Stripper. You aren't going to pull any extra rabbits out of the hat with a Junkie, but he's going to pay and play fair on a consistent basis. If you give the guy the best show he's ever seen, he'll hold his Amex up like an Olympic scorecard, but be prepared to get hit with however many quarters are in his pocket if your performance is less than a 8/10. These guys are critical motherfuckers but make loyal regulars and don't have any misgivings about the dancer / patron relationship.
 
Sweatpants Boner Man –- A variant on the Bob who has just enough money for entry and one haggled dance, and has dressed to maximize his pathetic budget. Your best strategy would be to pull a Rip Off Bitch and demand a deposit in advance for “future services” at the motel up the street…but it’s hardly worth the drama. Avoid this one unless you’re bored and want to fuck with his head or direct him to the city’s busiest 3 AM street corner.


 

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Sweatpants Boner Man

THE FEMALE VERSION OF THE STRIP CLUB IS THE STRIP CLUB

I used to bemoan the lack of existence of a female equivalent of the strip club. No offense to dude strippers, but even the male strip clubs marketed to women reeked of camp, cheese, and blatant gayness. But then I realized that I already am in the female equivalent of the strip club -– just on the other side of the DJ booth and clothing. It’s kind of like that joke about a woman’s idea of a perfect day (presents and adoration) versus a man’s idea of a perfect day (sex and feeling like a man). Think about it: men want to make money to get (sexual) attention from women, and women want to be adored (drooled over) and get presents (cash). In a politically correct world in denial about being ruled by ego, absurdity, cash, snap judgment, and primal desire it is immensely refreshing to step into a microcosm where these same natural and sociological rules apply but are blatantly acknowledged.

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Check in next week for STRIP CLUB SCIENCE: Anatomy of a Hustler Part Two, where we’ll lay off the unintended guy-bashing and fairly explore the universe of stripper archetypes, superstitions, and girl logic gone awry.