what do strippers look like?
August 19, 2011 1:58 PM   Subscribe

What do strippers look like?

I realize this is a silly question.

I'm a woman and I've never been to a strip club. I live in a rural area and the closest strip club would be around 3 hours away. A friend has been to a strip club in montreal and said that the women were way hotter than he would have thought. So I have a couple questions as I'd like a more diverse range of observations.

1. What do strippers generally wear (in a strip club)?
2. How naked do they get? Do they take their bottoms off?
3. When giving lap dances, how naked do they get? Do they really dance all up on you, topless?
4. What do they look like? Is there a specific "type?"
(I guess what I'm wondering is, are there naturally hot girls who are strippers, or are they more "manufactured" hot - lots of makeup, fake breasts, etc?)
5. Do they interact with one another? Like, I'm a waitress and I talk to other waitstaff while customers are around. Do they chat with each other while they mill around in a specific area? Are they really on a stage dancing the whole time?
6. How do they interact with customers, besides giving lap dances?

Thanks for the input.
posted by pintapicasso to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This all depends on where you go (different cities have different laws regarding how much flesh can be shown) and what sort of strip club it is. The pricier ones will generally look for conventionally attractive women with the sorts of proportions you expect from a stripper. They tend to wear high heels and g-strings, perhaps with some sort of top they can remove while stripping. These places often will serve drinks (if it's allowed) and may even have food.

Your corner strip club will have all sorts of women with all sorts of body types, but the g-string will still be a standard.

All strip clubs are set up for a succession of upsells. The women's dancing is mostly intended to show the wares, as it were, and they mostly get tipped a few dollars for it, which the men often fold into little pyramids or, if allowed, put directly in the g-string. Strippers will then work the tables, trying to get men to buy them obsceneky overpriced drinks. They will then try to get the men to buy a lap dance, and, depending on the place, there will be additionally upsells available (bed dances, as an example). Higher class joints will have private rooms for this. I have been in a place where it is done in the hall outside the bathroom.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

A LOT of this depends on jurisdiction. In some places strippers get totally naked, in some places they have to wear a thong, in some places their bits and nipples have to be covered. Their interactions with each other and with the clientele are also affected by jurisdiction; in some areas, the dancers get paid per-shift by the club and get to keep some or all of their tips, while in others, they actually pay the club rent per shift out of their tips. In the latter case, the rent can be pretty steep, and you have to hustle like hell to cover it.

There's really no "type" that's universal. There are dancers with implants and highlights and tons of terrifying makeup, and then there are dancers with A-cup breasts who just throw on a little eyeliner. Some are heavily tattooed and pierced, others could be (and often literally are) the girl next door.

As far as the club is concerned, the dancer's main function is often to get the clients to buy overpriced drinks. So that's a big part of what drives the dancer/ client interactions.

Caveat: I've never stripped. My first roommate out of college did, though, and I learned a lot about it second-hand.
posted by KathrynT at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2011

1. On stage, depending on location they usually end of wearing nothing. Walking around in front of the house also depending on location either a bikini or just th bottoms. Behind the stage, usually the same stuff you or any woman would wear out.
2. Depends on the laws where they are, but yes a lot of times. Some local laws only allow for bare breasts and some no bottom or nipple showing. (Pasties.)
3. In my experience in NY, yes. Atlanta too.
4. They look young and firm usually. Some are manufactured and many are natural.
5. They interact with each other in the dressing rooms and around the club. If they are in front working for tips and lap dances, they are usually working and busy just like you are waitressing.
6. I have had long conversations with girls about how they are "working their way through college" to being blown off as soon as I said no to buying a bottle of champagne. It really depends on the stripper and her level of friendliness and the level of sobriety of the customer.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2011

Strip club laws are highly local. The dancers also vary wildly, from shift to shift (I went to accompany a friend of mine on amateur night a few times -- she was literally putting herself through school -- the club was quiet, and some of the non-amateur ladies seemed like they had seen better days.)

FWIW, Montreal is fairly renowned for its' joie de vivre as far as strip clubs go; my understanding is that it's more liberal than most places, and has a higher density of strip clubs. So impressions based on there may be somewhat skewed upward, compared to rural Nebraska or whatever.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:16 PM on August 19, 2011

I have friends who have been dancers and have dated them on occasion. For the most part, they're normal looking girls which is to say, they do not look perfect, at least not in good light. Most such clubs are poorly lit for that reason. I'm not sure you can generalize about them and be correct.

Clubs vary in terms of dress and undress. Dancers usually dress provocatively and often change clothes throughout their shift. Depending on the laws in your area (and whether alcohol is served), they may shuck all or most of their clothes on stage. Most places I've been to on the west coast and Vegas have the girls minimally covered on the floor with patrons.

Interaction with customers (i.e., marks) typically involves pretending to like someone in order to sell additional services or get tips. Occasionally they may actually be genuine but usually it's not. Dancers relate to co-workers and actual friends who drop by just as you probably would expect in your own line of work.
posted by Hylas at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2011

A lot of strip club websites have pictures of their dancers, that would be a good place to look.

For example, from my home town, Austin (I assume these are NSFW):


In my limited experience, yes, there are occasionally strippers who are exceptionally beautiful, and would stand out anywhere. This seemed to be the case in my couple visits to clubs in Canada.
posted by seventyfour at 2:20 PM on August 19, 2011

A LOT of this depends on jurisdiction.

I would rephrase this to "ALL of this depends on jurisdiction." I have been in places where nipples had to be covered; I've also been in places where the stripping was simply an enticement for open prostitution in upstairs rooms, with fairly extreme things taking place on the stage. "Normal," in my experience, is pretty much what others have already described: the maximum nakedness allowed by local laws, expensive drinks, and all the emphasis on the upsell that you can imagine.

And definitely, the range of body types is broader than you would think from seeing strip club scenes in movies, though in my limited experience as you go more upmarket the range gets smaller.

There are quite a few documentaries (some critical, some positive) about strippers and strip clubs, which might give you a perspective. Live Nude Girls Unite! is one, for example.
posted by Forktine at 2:28 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Go to the waffle house nearest the club at bar rush time and you can see for yourself.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

0. Not "stripper" but "dancer." Stripper implies that you are looking down on the profession and that you are a crappy customer. Dancer will show that you are more down to earth and tends to get better service from not only the dancers but also the staff.
1. Typically lingerie or bikinis, especially that of the "scrunch-butt" variety. I've had extensive conversations about how great scrunch-butt products are at making your butt look much better.
2. It depends on the local laws. Many get completely naked, some have laws that say topless. It depends on the alcohol law as well.
3. YMMV. Some places the dancer can't touch the client. Some places they get completely naked and get all over them physically. And in some places the client can touch the dancer, too.
4. It really depends on the club. There is no particular average body type. Many are skinny and slender, but there are definitely larger-frame women who dance. Around 10-20% have breast implants or other plastic surgery from what I can tell. The more expensive the clubs have more slender dancers and plastic surgery. They all do wear makeup, and it's closer to stage makeup than it is normal/everyday. Many have wigs, hair extensions, dyed/colored hair. Out here in Portland there's a ton of tattoos, and some with no tattoos.
What's most important in this regard tends to be how they work with their body to make themselves more attractive. A dancer doesn't have to be 36D-24-36 to make money. They have to know their body and how to show it off. And personality goes a long way.
5. Dancers interact like any other service profession. There is almost always a locker room where they can get changed, use the restroom, do makeup, etc. The dancers most certainly talk to each other. There can be turf wars, especially in regards to big-spending clients or repeat customers. Like any other service profession.
6. Most of the dancers will talk with the customers regularly. They will sit down and have conversation. Some will prefer to be alone. Some will have genuine conversations and others are doing it for a show and hustling. It's a very wide mix and depends on the dancer and the club rules. The worst for conversation is in clubs who take a cut of the lap dances, as the dancers in those clubs will spend their whole night hustling and seemingly never get a break. I actually won't go to clubs that do this practice because in my mind it's pimping and greatly annoying to have to tell every dancer "no" 100 times/night. Most clubs don't particularly care what the dancers are doing unless they are doing drugs, seriously breaking the law (prostitution [again depends on the club]), not making the stage on time for dances, or not paying their fees.

My experience: I lived with a dancer for a year and frequented her club because I got cheap drinks. As a result of being her roommate, I talked to more dancers than I've ever talked to whilst giving them money. I've also been to at least 50 strip clubs in the US and Canada, and my goal is to go to every strip club in Portland, OR (I'm at 38 of 52 as of last count).
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

1. Depends on the local laws, sometimes tassles, sometimes completely naked, etc..
2. Depends on the jurisdiction again.
3. Yes, and depending on the place, they will grind on your crotch..
4. No specific type, but plastic surgery is pretty common..
5. Yes, they interact with each other, and no they're not dancing the whole time.
6. They go from table to table and strike up conversations... they make most of their money this way.. Sometimes they'll just hang out and talk or ask you to buy you drinks.

I haven't been to a strip club in 10 years, so YMMV.
posted by empath at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2011

I realize your question was about female strippers but note that there are some major differences (IMO) to male strippers. In my experience, male strippers dancing for women will let women be a LOT more touchy-feely than a female stripper dancing for guys. Men generally are not allowed to touch female strippers at all and can be ejected from the club if they do.

Male strippers (straight or gay) are generally much more attractive than the average male, whereas female strippers will run the gamut from average attractiveness to smoking hot. Stripping geared towards straight women tends to be pretty cheesy, with uniforms (fireman! sailor!). They will bring women up on stage. Gay male stripping tends to be more straightforward and there is less contact with the audience.

Also, I'm not sure what male strippers are putting in their thongs but many of them simply must be ... augmented in some way, or they are several standard deviations away from normal in the penis size department.
posted by desjardins at 3:06 PM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I forgot to add this to 5.

The dancers are not on stage the whole time. They typically rotate onto the stage, one at a time. The DJ will call out the next dancer ahead of time. If there are multiple stages, they will rotate to the multiple stages. Small clubs will have one stage, the big clubs may have up to 4-5 stages. All depends on the club. The time spent between dancing on stage is lapdance time, break time, whatever time.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2011

I've dated/lived with multiple strippers (topless-only and bottomless) over the years in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania. They cannot be pigeonholed.

But to answer some of your questions:

3. When giving lap dances, how naked do they get? Do they really dance all up on you, topless?
They get as naked as local law allows, usually. And yes, they dance all up on you. Every girl is different, though -- some are straight-up prostitutes, and allow all sorts of touching, including digital penetration and nipple sucking (yuck!). These will also provide a dry-hump happy ending (see the movie Showgirls).

But most just grind against you and don't allow touching. Like everything else, it depends on the type of club and personal preference.

5. Do they interact with one another? Like, I'm a waitress and I talk to other waitstaff while customers are around. Do they chat with each other while they mill around in a specific area? Are they really on a stage dancing the whole time?

Usually they dance on stage for 2-3 songs per hour, and spend the rest of the time either out on the club floor offering lapdances or hanging out in the dressing room with the other girls. Dancers rarely talk to each other much on the club floor. They socialize with each other outside of the club, though, and generally refer to each other by their stage names.

6. How do they interact with customers, besides giving lap dances?
Many spend a good part of the night chatting. When I go to a club with my gf (this one's not a stripper), girls will usually hang out with us for a few minutes to an hour chatting, even if I say up front that I'm not interested in a lapdance. Some just like to chat, and some never stop hustling dances.

I'll also add to an above comment ("female strippers will run the gamut from average attractiveness to smoking hot") that many strippers -- even at more upscale clubs -- are very, very unattractive. There's a type of guy who goes for nasty crackwhore-type girls, so the club provides them. Often they make more money than the very attractive ones.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you'd like, send a message with a mailing address and I'll pop my copy of Candy Girl in the mail for you. I have no idea how much of it is true, but was a good enough read from the remainder bin and I'm happy to send it along.
posted by peagood at 3:59 PM on August 19, 2011

Strictly anecdotal based on my own experience and having two testosterone-infused younger brothers..... Back when I worked (starting at age 16) at a large company, one of my supervisors (not the department manager) was an older guy who didn't drive but was, for some reason, a staunch regular at a strip bar called the Tender Trap at Six Mile Road and Woodward. He occasionally treated me to lunch and all the drinks I wanted if I'd drive him there. Of course, that also meant looking at bare-breasted women throughout the meal. Those dancers looked early-30-ish, sort of like Peg Bundy - big hair, lots of makeup, not reed-thin, showing a bit of road wear. I was later informed that the really "hot" girls danced for the evening crowd, when there was more money to be made via tips.

My two brothers started visiting the occasional strip club once they turned 18 (mainly for the novelty, which wore off after a year or two), and my one brother ended up taking various business clients to different levels of strip clubs when he worked for an electrical contracting company. The scuttlebutt I heard from him was that the youngest, fittest, most attractive strippers (like the ones you see in movies) only worked at the very high-end clubs along Eight Mile Road, and near Metro Airport. The further away from the "main strip" you went, the older and less Hollywood-attractive the dancers. How naked do they get? In Michigan, at least, the law is that dancers must keep their "bottom" on (thong or whatever) if the venue has a liquor license. If the club does not serve liquor, then they charge $5 per soft drink, but the dancers get stark naked and engage in full-contact lap dancing (allowing customers to touch them).
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

To reinforce what others have said, the answer to every single one of your question is "it depends on the club's location." What you asked is equivalent to asking "What is a restaurant like? Is the food good or bad? Is it cheap or expensive?" And so on. Clubs range from air dancing topless places where you'll get your ass kicked for touching the dancer to, so I understand, straight up brothels.

Can you narrow down your question some? A specific area? Or are you asking what's the most or least liberal clubs get with regard to customer participation? Because the question is not answerable as is.

Also, I believe there was an LA meetup at Jumbos Clown Room. I heard that anyway, I've always been shamefully lax with my meetup attendance.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on August 19, 2011

Reading the responses reminded me of a guy I knew when I lived in Chicago who worked at a strip joint back behind the CBOE building before they developed the land on the other side. This was in the mid 80s so things were different then. His job, when he wasn't busing tables and bouncing was to inspect any dancer's crotch for pubic hairs that may be sticking out from her bikini bottom. Apparently the law was no pubic hair showing and this was before a lot of women shaved. Every evening before the woman's dance he would get at eye level and check. He said that after a day or two it was sort of like being a gynecologist in that he really did not care that he was inches from the crotch, all he was doing was his job looking for pubes. Danny had lots of interesting stories about working in that place mostly involving cops and getting them off the bar's case with cash or free drinks when they were off duty. Chicago's finest!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:31 PM on August 19, 2011

Quebec strippers are la creme de la creme so it's not suprising the ones in Montreal impressed him.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:27 PM on August 19, 2011

I worked for a short while at a strip club as a cocktail waitress so I can tell you a few things about the place I worked, which was meant to be a "classy" strip joint (whatever that means).

The girls at my club went down to thongs only. They walked around between dances with thongs and some kind of a top. I heard at the time that they weren't allowed to go fully naked because we served full liquor, but that the less classy place down the street didn't and the girls there got fully naked. I have no idea if this is true.

When giving lap dances they went down to thongs only but would grind up against the guys. They would usually only do this in a private room. I don't remember seeing grinding out on the floor - just normal lapdances. The private rooms were rented by the half hour and the dancers were trying to get the guys to go in there (the waitresses would also fight over who got to take the room). The guys were not allowed to touch the dancers with their hands, but it's your guess as to what happened in the private rooms, as neither the management nor security ever looked in on them. It was probably up to the discretion of the dancer, to be honest.

From what I remember, the girls at the club I was at were all pretty gorgeous. If there was any specific "type", it was probably a "must have good body" type. That seemed to be the only real commonality between all the dancers. Some seemed pretty natural, others less so. A good friend of mine was also a dancer for many years and she's a really pretty girl and has never had any work done apart from a short stint with hair extensions.

They interacted with each other if they were backstage or in the dressing room. If it was really slow, they would sit around and talk to each other on the main floor - like literally take over seating areas, lounging around and ordering drinks as if they were customers. One thing that surprised me was that - at my club anyway - the dancers did not really interact with the waitresses at all. Some of the waitresses did double-duty as "shot girls" and therefore also did lap dances, and they would chit chat with the dancers, but the dancers never really talked to the waitresses. The waitresses were also very wary of the dancers, as some dancers were known to stiff waitresses on drinks they had ordered while sitting with customers and then didn't pay for when they left to go to a private room. Waitresses usually had to eat the cost because - good luck going to the dancers and demanding they pay up and/or getting management to care.

Most of the dancers (if not all) drank the whole time they were working and were usually drunk and/or high at the end of the night.

There were a lot of dancers that would sit and chat with customers. We had a lot of regulars there, some would come in to chat and get a dance and some would come in to chat, watch and get a drink. If the dancers weren't busy, they would sit and chat with any of the customers. Though if he wasn't a regular, he would have to deal with the heavy push for a dance and/or a private room. If it was busy and you were a regular, you didn't get any special extra attention unless you were known to be a big spender.

That was the worst job I ever had, though not for the reasons I would have expected.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:10 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here are a few links you might find interesting. This blog is written by a stripper. If you go back to the beginning and read through you'll learn a lot about what it's like from the dancer's point of view.
This book is more in depth. The author strips in various clubs around the country and writes about the experience. Definitely worth reading if you're interested in the subject. She also talks a lot about the rules in different places, some clubs are full nude, some topless, sometimes nipples need to be covered, even if it's just with clear plasticy stuff, sometimes they have to wear two thongs for some reason. I found it all fascinating.
posted by catatethebird at 8:04 PM on August 19, 2011

I grew up in Phoenix, and we used to joke that it was the lesser corner of the "stripper triangle", the other points being Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I had a few dancer friends who would occasionally travel for long weekends to one of the other cities. When I visit my mom, I quietly keep a tally of "strippers heading off to Vegas" when I'm in the airport, although a certain type of Arizona woman tends to be highly tanned, blonde, fit, and high-heeled whether or not she's in the business so I know my tally is suspect.

I occasionally went to clubs with friends. The strippers were generally really beautiful, but tended to look a little older than they were--heavy makeup was the main culprit though.

As a female going to strip clubs, one thing I noticed that I haven't seen mentioned, is that strip clubs don't really tend to have women's restrooms. The men's restrooms in a nicer club can be very elegant--with restroom attendants handing out towels and selling an array of personal care products. But invariably, as a woman, I would end up having to slip through the dancers' dressing room to use the bathroom, and it was never very fancy or tidy and I always felt like I was invading. This seems to be true in even the nicest clubs in Phoenix and most of the ones I've been to in Vegas, but I've never been to one anywhere else, so maybe it's not a universal thing.

I was driving in downtown Minneapolis with a fellow PTA mother to pick up some donations for a school function and we went past a notorious strip club (one that Diablo Cody mentioned in her memoir "Candy Girl"). The other mom was surprised I hadn't been there yet and told me I had to go, and I had to severely readjust my impression of Midwestern PTA moms.
posted by padraigin at 8:55 PM on August 19, 2011

Totally depends on location.
In large cities where "dancing" is a fairly professional affair and competition between clubs exists, the women can be quite stunning and their shows genuinely exciting.

Once you get to more mid-size cities and towns, the talent starts to look a bit more...hardened and rough. Heavy makeup, over-worked hair, dead eyes, and exuding a definite "going down the checklist of moves" air of inevitability and boredom. You can actually leave these places feeling far more depressed than anything resembling excited.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:07 AM on August 20, 2011

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