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The author during her career as a dancer.
The author during her career as a dancer.

7 stereotypes about strip clubs and strippers

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Absolut, Avion, Fireball, Pama, Red Stag and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

As Downtown Milwaukee considers its first new strip club in a long time, I thought it would be fun to clear the air about some of the stereotypes strip clubs and strippers tend to have. Granted, there are stereotypes for a reason, right?

Of course, but stereotypes are nothing other than elements of a subculture. Every large society has different cultures, every culture has subcultures and so on. There are good and bad elements in every subculture. Strip clubs and strippers are no different, but people should not shun them as a whole. Especially considering how much we as a society let slide by that is much more damaging to our morale.

But I digress; in this blog I will only be dissecting the leading stereotypes about strip clubs and strippers. I was a dancer in Milwaukee and nationally for six years – I think it’s important for the general public to have some understanding of the strip club culture if they’re going to be neighbors. It’s also important for people to take a look at the big picture before jumping on the judgmental train. Which is another thing, we as a society enjoy doing.

1. Strip clubs promote sex, drugs and crime

This is always something I found humorous. Similar to how every Italian is in the mob, or every Middle Eastern Indian owns a 7-11. To say strip clubs don’t promote sex would be ridiculous, but they don’t do the type of "promotion" that many pissed off housewives and girlfriends seem to visualize. Strippers promote the idea of sensuality. If they were screwing every guy in there they wouldn’t make any money. It’s basic economics, really. And lets face it, there’s more oral sex happening in the Oval Office than a dance booth.

As for promoting drugs and crime, this is just dead wrong. Many clubs steer clear of drugs and have very strict rules for their employees using drugs. Strip club owners have enough to deal with keeping up with health codes, liquor licensees, the multiple employees, and not getting fined for all of the above to try to do anything but run a law-abiding establishment. How many congressmen got busted for cocaine last year, again? Isn’t J.P. Morgan Chase paying billions of dollars in fines for being apart of a classic Ponzi scheme? How many prescription drug commercials are on in a day? Assuming strip clubs promote more sex, drugs and crime than the people we elected, the people we entrust our money with, and our media to uphold a higher standard of integrity would just be hypocritical.

2. All strip club owners are sleazy

Of course, strip club owners are sleazy! They own a business where they’re profiting off of watching pretty girls dance around half (of fully) naked. But, are they really any different or less creepy than male plastic surgeon or a gynecologist? Most people tend to think of these professions as respectable. I am not saying they are not respectable professions, but it is something for the ladies to think about the next time they are getting sized for a breast enhancement, or have their legs spread open to a man they’re paying to look inside of them.

3. All strippers are "broken"

There are many reasons why a female would turn to adult entertainment as a source of income. One of these reasons is it is somewhat recession proof. For an uneducated female, dancing is one of the very few jobs they can have where they can make a substantial amount more than minimum wage. Some females chose to dance because it’s the only job that can keep up with the bills of having children. In today’s tough job market with the cost of living rising all of the time, dancing is a very economically sound job. Many females (myself included) pay for college and use what we’ve learned (e.g. communication and sales skills) and apply them to the real business world.

Yes, there are some girls that may have turned to dancing because of mental disorders created by abuse or some social or economic downfall. Some females may have drug problems or "daddy issues," but there are drugs, mentally disturbed people, and criminals everywhere. How many people reading this are on some type of prescription drug? Antidepressants, anti-anxiety, pain pills, restless-leg syndrome or whatever, the general public is more mentally disturbed and on more drugs than most dancers.

4. All strip club patrons are sex addicts

I believe this to be one of the tallest tales when it comes to strips clubs, and so ridiculous it makes me giggle. Lets look at some basic science. We as humans are not only built, but also mentally wired over millions of years of natural selection to breed. We as humans are also a sexual deprived species due to our own religions, governments and social expectations. Women have been sexually entertaining men since the beginning of time. It’s a form of survival. Strip clubs are nothing but healthy (ish) outlets for humans to act out what their ancestors have wired into their DNA.

I categorize strip club patrons into six groups:

  • The Married Guy: This guy got caught hooked on the love drug our bodies create. He got married and had a family. Scientifically speaking, our brains slow down the production of that love drug. It lasts about four years, or for as long as it takes to raise a baby to a toddler. Most humans were not meant to be monogamous; if they are it is by choice. If you don’t believe me, why is the divorce rate so dang high? And why is right around the four year mark? Strip clubs provide married men an outlet for flirting and attention from other females while keeping them faithful. The same can be said about porn, but that is for another article.
  • They Lonely Guy: This can be the business traveler, or the guy that just broke up with his girlfriend. These are the type of guys that can be insecure in the way interact with females outside of a strip club. They like that they don’t have to work for the attention of a female. To some men, just having someone to talk to is worth more than a lap dance.
  • The Bachelor: The poor soul that is hooked on that love drug. Normally too wasted to remember anything because his friends have an IV of tequila attached to him. His friends tend to enjoy the party more because they have control. From a dancer’s point of view, they’re the second most annoying patrons.
  • The Rock Star: This is normally the trust fund baby, or the guy that just won some money at the casino. They like to flash their money around to make the girls think they’re important. Sometimes they can be, and they can be quite generous. Other times they can be douche bags, trying to compensate for something that is missing in their lives. (Mommy issues?)
  • The Regular: This is normally the divorced guy, or the guy that is friends with some of the employees at the club. These guys know how the system works and will either partake or stay out of the way. Either way, they’re normally OK, and many dancers find them good to take a break by from the other patrons.
  • The Pervert: Of course, there are a few creepy, grabby guys that can’t control their animal instincts. These guys are not tolerated in most strip clubs (some clubs in other states allow patrons to touch the dancers). These are normally unattractive, creepers. They’ll wear sweatpants with no underwear and get lap dances. These are the guys that are normally socially awkward. Obviously, the most annoying patrons.

5. Strip club food will kill you

Many strip clubs serve food. Some have frozen pizzas and vending machines, others have free lunch buffets and some have full-service kitchens. Many clubs see the restaurant business as another way to make a lot of money (if done correctly), so they are mirroring the Las Vegas-style strip club with full service five-star restaurant type food. This is an area common sense would be helpful, and I can’t help you with that. If the strip club is some dive bar off of a highway with a pole in it, and the sign says "Free Lunch Buffet," that is your choice as a grown person to eat it.

6. Everyone is trying to rip you off

The adult entertainment industry survives most economic downfalls for a reason. If you still don’t believe that reason has to do with the science of breeding, you’re an idiot. With saying that, customers that come into strip clubs know EXACTLY what they’re doing there, what it is going to cost them, and how much time they have. It’s like going to Las Vegas, and everyone knows you have to tip everyone in Las Vegas (unless you’re a cheap, worthless bastard). We live in a country where many incomes rely on the ‘tips’ of others; strip clubs are one of these businesses. Dancers provide a specialized type of entertainment; the customers pay for that entertainment.

Of course, there are some people that can take advantage, or even steal from customers or other employees. Again, theft happens everywhere and at any time. Assuming it happens more in a strip club compared to a regular bar kind of proves how ignorant you really are.

7. Strip clubs are bad for the neighborhood

I’m not quite sure how a revenue building, tax paying, job creating business is bad for a neighborhood, but I bet I can think of few. For example, and probably the only really sound concern is that it’s bad for the children. Then again, I’m not quite sure how the outside of the building is going to offend and corrupt the young sheltered minds of the youth as pointed out in a New York Post article. Well, unless the parents and public shout and point at it like a witch in Salem. The chances of the downtown club resembling the red light district in Amsterdam, with half dressed woman in windows specifically trying to lure your children, are real flippin’ slim. If people make it such a big deal, it will become a big deal. Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus are perfect examples of this.

When the strip club is upscale, there is a process to get in. A person just doesn’t open the door and then BAM! Boobies everywhere. Most clubs have a foyer, and they must pass the gauntlet before a patron even gets close to the actual club. One out of the three or four doormen will check their ID, they will have their wardrobe inspected because they have strict dress codes, and sometimes they will be searched or scanned over by a metal detector. Then they will have to pay the cover charge, and finally they can enter the glorious wonders of the strip club. So, if people are worried about Milwaukee’s reputation as being a great place for families to visit, please remember that every single one of those cities ALSO have strip clubs located in their downtown area.

I know there are many other stereotypes about strippers and strip clubs, but I wanted to point out the more predominant ones because these seem to be what most people are concerned about. It’s important as a society (and as an individual) to look at things from every point of view, even if they don’t agree.

Having a basic understanding of something before making a concrete decision on how you feel about it is much better than throwing judgment toward a business and its employees before it even opens. What kind of person would that make you? What type of society would you be pushing to create?

Talkbacks

AliaJanine | Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:46 p.m. (report)

Well, Swoakes, did you ever think about how much it costs to open up and run a strip club? How much the building (or land and new construction of a building) costs? How much the licenses, the electric, the water, the interior and exterior decorations costs? What about insurance? In some instances, opening a strip club can cost MORE than a gynecologist's degree. For example, the Silk club in Juneau, WI. cost around 1.3Million to build.

So, to answer your question, no, I was not joking when I compared a gynecologist to a strip club owner.

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swoakes | Feb. 11, 2014 at 9:39 a.m. (report)

Comparing a strip club owner to a plastic surgeon and gynecologist is one of the most mind-blowing things I've ever read. That was a joke, right? For some reason I doubt that those doctors sacrifice years of their lives, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in tuition, and countless hours studying just so they can stare at vaginas all day. Isn't that what the strip club is for?

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TosaJim | Feb. 4, 2014 at 8:02 a.m. (report)

Alia...you're retired? Dang....I have not been to a strip club in 30 years...but I would go to see you. :) Be well.

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