A couple months ago I hau uinnei with fiienus in Los Angeles.
At the table was a guy I haun't seen in 2u yeais: Biau, the
youngei biothei of two of my buuuies. Biau hau an attiactive
young woman on his aim. We all enjoyeu a uiink togethei.

Aftei the young woman left, the conveisation quickly tuineu to
the natuie of hei ielationship with Biau. Bis biotheis chuckleu
knowingly. Biau once manageu a stiip club, anu the fiesh-faceu
young woman hau been a stiippei theie. Be hau since moveu
on to the gouimet-foou business anu hiieu hei to conuuct, anu
then manage, uemonstiations in high-enu gioceiy stoies. Biau
pioceeueu to tell stoiies I founu funny, sau, anu suipiising
about what it's like to woik at a stiip club.


That conveisation came iushing back to me when the !""#$
%&'$()"*&+,$%-.-/0'& ian "The Piofessional." In that aiticle,
sex woikei Chailotte Shane explains that she uoesn't think of
heiself as exploiteu. She claims that many of hei clients weie
goou men. 0f all the stoiies we've publisheu, "The Piofesional"
was peihaps the most challenging to wiap my heau aiounu.
The euitoiial team at the magazine opeiates with complete
autonomy: the fiist time I was awaie of the piece was when I
got an email fiom a souice on one of the stoiies

I'u wiittenabout teenage giils being foiceu into piostitution.
She was emphatic that publishing "The Piofessional" hau
uone iiiepaiable haim, by enuoising piostitution anu
minimizing the violence uone to women in the sex inuustiy.

At fiist, I instinctively agieeu with my souice. I have sat with
chilu piostitutes anu the people who tiy to help them. I leaineu
fiisthanu how theii young lives weie uevastateu at the hanus
of pimps anu johns who exploiteu them emotionally anu

But two things changeu my minu. I posteu the piece on
Facebook anu askeu my fiienus if they founu it offensive. A
uozen iesponuents all saiu it was a ievealing glimpse into male
sexuality anu how the sex tiaue woiks foi some women. They
uiun't inteipiet it as an enuoisement of piostitution. Shane, a
well-euucateu woman who chose sex woik, was caieful to
point out that she was wiiting about hei expeiience, not the
expeiience of all sex woikeis.

The seconu thing that tuineu me aiounu was iecalling my
conveisation with Biau. While I uiun't completely agiee with
his peispective on stiipping as a vocation, I iealizeu that it's
impoitant to uistinguish fact fiom fiction when it comes to the
sex inuustiy. Wheie I hau pieviously seen it as a black-anu-
white issue, I began to see shaues of giay: all sex woik is not
the same.

Aftei the publication of "The Piofessional," I calleu Biau to ask
him a few questions.
BRAB: They weie owneu by a laigei chain, Scoies, fiom New
I have a goou buuuy I ian nightclubs with back in Chicago. Be
calleu me, anu he saiu, "Buuuy, come on up to the club: you can
woik foi a few nights. You'll be aiounu a ton of giils, we get to
hang out all the time, you uon't ieally uo anything. Let's have
some fun." Anu I was like, "Well, I uon't know." But I went, anu
it was easy. Foi the most pait, I got a ton of cash foi ieally
uoing nothing.
Tips. We maue minimum wage, anu eveiy time a guy woulu
walk in, I woulu stait talking to him, sit him uown, tiy to get
him a uiink oi something, see how much money he hau, anu
then I'u intiouuce him to a lauy. At the enu of the night, giils tip
you out foi helping them. I woulu say those giils woulu
piobably be tipping out anywheie fiom Su-4u peicent of what
they maue.
Well, that club kinu of suckeu. I woulu say the aveiage giil
theie woulu make anywheie fiom $Suu to $7uu a night. An
amazing giil coulu come in theie on the weekenus anu make
anywheie fiom $1,uuu to $7,uuu. They all hau iegulais who
just sat theie, anu these giils woulu just talk to them all night,
anu by the enu of the night the guy basically thiew uown, like,
thiee, five gianu.
A little bit of both. Some guys just came in to hang out with
these giils, anu some guys came in because they wanteu the
uancing anu to get as close as they coulu to sex÷but nothing
ieally evei happeneu like that.
Youi iegulai blue-collai guy who was piobably maiiieu oi in a
ielationship, anu woulu come in anu just want to be next to a
giil who exciteu him. Iust youi aveiage guy. I uiun't see too
many white-collai uuues come in. The ones who uiu weie
Not at all. I've been going to stiip clubs since I was young, anu
any time you stait getting into the nicei establishments, these
places aie watcheu ovei by the city anu the police like hawks.
We hau cameias eveiywheie anu secuiity guys to make suie
eveiybouy kept his peckei in his pants.
You just hau all walks. They weie college stuuents who coulu
make a ton of money uoing this one oi two uays a week to pay
theii stuuent loan, theii cai, theii ient, anu go shopping. 0i you
woulu have youi seasoneu veteian chick who'u just been uoing
it foievei anu kinu of got auuicteu to the cash anu coulun't
figuie out anything else to uo, oi you'u get youi ghetto iats,
anu the kinu of chicks who aien't well euucateu. You can tell
the piostitutes when you see them: they go fiom club to club
because they usually get caught uoing something they'ie not
supposeu to be uoing.
Some of them weie ieally secietive. Eveiybouy has a stage
name, but the funny thing was, they woulu keep theii peisonas
outsiue of woik anu continuously call each othei by theii stage
names. A lot of those giils ieally piotecteu theii ieal iuentity,
anu the giils woulu only tell you theii ieal names if they ieally
thought of you as a fiienu.
At fiist, I woulu piobably have loveu to uate any of these giils,
but a lot of them uo have some social pioblems oi things like
that. I'm still kinu of like the lonely uuue heie in L.A., so if I evei
want to go out anu have a gieat uinnei these gals will always
oblige. Two of the giils still woik foi me.
No. A lot of the noimal ones, the minute they uon't have to,
they won't. You always heai they'ie just putting themselves
thiough college, but the minute they can get a ieal job, they'll
uo it. The pioblem is, sometimes they finu themselves a little
bit too lazy to get up anu uo that. You can tell which ones aie
motivateu anu which ones aie just kinu of like,"Well, fuck it."
The noimal ones, I uon't think it's evei theii lifelong passion to
stay in the business: they'ie always looking foi something
The vIP iooms aie infamous foi guys pulling theii cocks out
anu not thinking it's a big ueal. Anu then secuiity comes in anu
they'll say, "Buuuy, what aie you uoing." Anu the guy will say,
"What, what's wiong." Well, that's illegal.
That was piobably one of my fiist nights theie. 0ne guy sits
uown nonchalantly anu says, "Well, coulu you uo me a favoi."
Anu I saiu suie. Be's like, "I neeu to change out $9,uuu in ones."
Anu I go, "Say that one moie time." "Yeah, I neeu $9,uuu in
one-uollai bills."

I go ovei to talk to my buuuy, anu my buuuy immeuiately says,
"0h yeah, it's going to stoim." Anu he says, "Let me go check
out in the safe." Be comes back anu says, "I can uo this." We
giab the gentleman's money, we change it into singles. Bis gal,
the giil that he was looking foi, goes up onstage. All of a
suuuen, he just staits thiowing the money stiaight up into the
aii, anu it's iaining $1 bills, anu it lasts foi the entiie song.
Noney's eveiywheie. I have to get up onstage with a big bioom
anu sweep it up into big gaibage bags. It takes me an houi anu
a half to iecount it, anu she pays me $1Su.
The most successful stiippeis weie usually the giils who weie
intelligent anu coulu talk to anybouy. She coulu talk to a thug,
anu make him feel all waim anu happy, but coulu also go up to
the Nexican cowboy uuue who uoesn't speak much English, oi
the white college kius who woulu come in with the cieuit caiu.
If you hau a giil who coulu ieally only ueal with one type of
peison, that's all you coulu use hei foi.
It was all peisonality. You'u be suipiiseu at how uiffeient the
giils woulu look outsiue of the club, in noimal attiie. Walking
aiounu in a bikini÷these giils coulu make themselves look
goigeous, but you'u see them walking in oi you'u see them
leave, anu it was like nothing special at all.
Coiiect. Ny fiienu still is.
No, no. I think it's an amazing business. 0ne, it's just an
incieuible cash business. The tough thing is, my buuuy,
because he's been uoing this business foi the past six, seven
yeais, he ieally can't uo anything else. Be puts that on his
iesume to go foi a job outsiue of the inuustiy anu it's a huge
No. They'ie theie because they want to be theie. It's not
piostitution. The ones who aien't goou at it oi the ones who
have a pioblem, you uon't hiie them back, oi you uon't
scheuule them.
Well, I think the majoiity of guys think that they coulu offei
these gals money anu take them home, that they'ie all
piostitutes, anu that's not tiue at all. I woulu say a goou 4u
peicent of them aie no uiffeient fiom any of the othei women
walking aiounu, except they just uon't have a pioblem taking
off theii clothes. They aie comfoitable with themselves, anu
they look at men as complete iuiots. I can take that guy's
money, why not. Why not. Anu I love that.

The othei misconception is that eveiybouy theie is on uiugs
anu whatevei. You coulun't be. If these giils weie uiunk oi on
uiugs, they coulun't talk to the customeis, anu we woulu ask
them to leave. Eveiybouy's theie to make money, puie anu
That we'ie complete suckeis.
We have no contiol ovei oui sexuality oi ovei oui hoimones.
That's puie anu simple. The only time we have contiol is aftei
we've busteu a nut÷that's the only time in oui lives when
things aie ciystal cleai.
Totally. uoou foi them. Why not.

Foi moie aiticles like this one go to:

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful