Red lights, high heels. Naked bodies exposing their souls, creatures of the night… What kind of people go to strip clubs?

When I started stripping, my friends’ concern was that I would have to face “that certain kind of men” – a sentence full of judgment that I keep hearing very often, coming especially from people who have no idea about strip clubs, but who anyways fell confident enough to think they know better what kind of people hang around there. “That certain kind of men”, but also “What do you expect from people who go to those places?” are the common comments that I get after complaining about bad nights or about getting disrespected at work. There is a lot of misconception in this regard, and people who are not familiar with the sex industry think that there is just one category of people who go to strip clubs: the creepy, lonely, perverse man.

Let me tell you something: before becoming a stripper, I myself went to different clubs as a customer and I don’t exactly identify myself as a creepy, lonely, perverse man. It is tiring to hear these comments and it is offending too: thinking that just “bad” elements go to strip clubs implies judging and insulting our working environment and therefore, indirectly, insulting us. A destigmatisation of our customers is necessary for destigmatising our job. This is why I want to invite you to my virtual strip club to take a tour there and meet my creatures of the night, my customers. Close your eyes. Imagine it. It is a small club, with red velvet fabrics, black tables and soffused lights. Ready?

There, at the table right in the middle are the guys from the stag party. They got the best spot in front of the stage, they are in a big group, and they are loud. Very loud. They have started drinking since the early afternoon and some of them are really happy to have found an excuse (their friend’s wedding or birthday) to go watch some tits, some others clearly feel uncomfortable and just got dragged there because of the party. They are there for celebrating, for drinking and for having a good time. If you want to try it with them you will have to keep up with the same energy – your friend Tequila will be your saviour. If you are feeling moody, don’t even sit with them. They are probably tourists and want to have some information about the city and some epic memories from their trip: they will pay for the show on the stage, where the stag will get spanked in front of everybody, in a mixture of pain, shame and arousal.

Next to them, at the small table, are the two stingy friends who have known each other since school. They are average guys, with average jobs and an average life. If you try to sell something to them, they will answer that they are there “just for having a beer”. Everybody will wonder what the hell they are doing in a strip club if they “just want to have a beer”. Couldn’t they go to a normal bar instead? But a good stripper knows that she just has to wait, and when that one beer will have become two, three, four beers, the two friends will start buying lap dances without you even having to convince them.

Taking over a whole big table for himself is the hot guy. Yes, the hot guy: not only ugly losers who never get any girl go to strip clubs. He is young and overconfident. He is not going to pay for any lap dance, because he knows he is hot and doesn’t see the reason why he should pay for a girl’s company. Let me tell you the reason, Mr. NiceSmile: your pretty face does not pay my bills. Strippers don’t care about how good their customers look, as long as they pay, because we are there for working and not for finding a boyfriend. He is not used to girls saying no to him and he will get offended when he realizes that not all chicks on this planet want him. He will then use excuses to turn down your offers, among the most common ones: “I am gay” or “I have a girlfriend”. So what? I am gay too.

The third big table available is occupied by the group of teenagers. They just turned 18 and the bouncer had to check their I.D. when they entered. They don’t talk, their mouths are open and drooling while they are watching at a girl taking off her bra on stage. They are broke, but at the same time they are the easiest customers and they will buy a lap dance in less than five minutes, because you know, they have never seen real naked women in their lives.

Making fun of them, sitting at a small table in front of the bar, are two girl friends. Women in strip clubs can be horrible. Some of them feel entitled to make very explicit comments on every stripper’s body and outfits and even to grab them, just because they are women. A reminder: it doesn’t matter what gender you are, consent is consent. After a couple of drinks, one of them will suddenly feel jealous because the attention is not directed to her and will start dancing right in the middle of the corridor, in a desperate call for attention, bothering the bar tender who has to serve the other tables. My dear, it is the stripper who has the right to dance here, not you. Let us work.

Then there is the couple. Maybe the wife will pay for her husband’s lap dance, maybe they will want to go together and enjoy a very intimate show. Because private dances with couples are the hottest. There is another average guy as well, who entered alone, wanting some company. He is probably an IT guy, with good money, shy and respectful… Until he asks for your number. And, finally, there he sits as well, in a dark corner of the club: the creep. But the creep is just one among many, in strip clubs as well as in many other normal bars.

I could go on with the list, but the club is full now and all the tables are busy. “Strip club customer” is not a homogenous category and strip clubs are just a mirror of the society that is outside.

By Edie