By: Laura C. Anderson
In Southern California there’s a private gentleman’s club, which might as well be nameless because only the members and workers know its true identity. This club is only accessible by word of mouth or referral, meaning you cannot Google it, GPS it, or call the club directly. The outside of the establishment isn’t even recognizable as a club, but underground it surely is.
The interior is what you'd expect if the circus had sex with the porn industry. There’s dark red and black curtains draped over the walls, three stages, six stripper poles, two bars, four hanging cages for women to presumably dance in, and over two-dozen round tables. In the back, near the restrooms, there’s a long narrow hallway, which leads to eight private suits. The corridors are all black with the kind of mood lighting you’d expect from a sketchy nightclub.
Most of the clientele are married and use the club as a secret escape. Being that the club thrives off its confidentiality and discretion, it’s an element that won’t soon be changing. Prices for this privacy doesn’t come cheap, either. On average a member pays roughly $100,000 a year, and this doesn’t include liquor charges.
The men must follow two strict rules; No. 1: They cannot touch any of the girls unless they have paid for private time with them. No. 2: No currency is to be exchanged on the floor; tipping is not allowed under any circumstance.
The girls are to follow rules as well; No. 1: She must be in lingerie and heels at all times while on the floor. Topless is also permitted and encouraged. No. 2: She cannot accept money for any service provided. No. 3: She must behave professionally; sloppiness is grounds for being fired.
The fixed pay for the girls is $25 an hour but for the girls who choose to offer other services, this pay raises. Services include massages, which 9/10 times end in a happy ending – this earns her $75 an hour; oral sex, which earns her $125 an hour; and sex, which earns her $150 an hour.
Alongside bi-weekly paychecks, the girls are also given an allowance of $400 a week for lingerie and sexy outfits. “It’s a pretty sweet deal,” says Anna* who’s been waitressing at this club for over five months. Via Skype she and I sat down and talked all the dirty details of what it’s like to work at this club.
11:00 a.m. – “I usually wake up around this time since I go to bed so late. I’ll head to a Barre class down the road from my apartment. If I’m not up for the intensity of Barre, I’ll opt for Pilates or hot yoga – anything to sweat out last night’s toxins and get me in the kind of shape to be – well – naked.”
Toxins? Are you allowed to drink at work?
“As long as none of us get too drunk or sloppy. There’s a strict rule against sloppiness. A lot of the men will buy us drinks and shots, we’re allowed to drink if we want to.”
12:00 p.m. – “Class is over and I’m back home to shower.”
12:30 p.m. – “I’ll swing by The Coffee Bean for a latte – anything to wake me up. I’ll also grab something quick for brunch. I typically eat salads, soups, or light sandwiches. I don’t perform well with a heavy stomach.”
“There’s stripper poles on the stages. I’ve been taking classes in my free time so that I can perform on them. The club hires dancers specifically for the poles but we’re all encouraged to ‘reach our full potential’.”
12:45 p.m. – “I’ve finished brunch and I’ll head out to the mall. With my weekly allowances I’m able to buy pretty much any sexual outfit you could dream up. My curiosities have led me to buy some pretty weird shit. I don’t even shop in Victoria’s Secret anymore.”
Do you get time to just be…normal?
“Of course! Between shopping and when my shift starts at 4 p.m. I’ll run errands, meet up with friends, call my family, etc. Once it’s time for work my life does a complete 180. I don’t even go by the same name.”
What do you go by?
“My clients know me as Penny. When I first chose it I thought it was cute but the amount of times some guy (who thinks he’s being funny) has asked me if I work for pennies makes me almost regret it. Almost.”
4:00 p.m. – “I’m pulling into the parking lot at the club.”
4:15 p.m. – “I’m in the dressing room changing into whatever outfit I’ve chosen for the night. A lot of the girls go topless – obviously the men prefer this. I like to keep things a little classier. I usually buy the four-piece outfits: bra, garter belt, thong, and thigh-highs.”
So there’s no uniform?
“Not in terms of the lingerie itself but we do get outfit checks on the new things we buy. I don’t think anyone has ever been told they couldn’t wear something they picked out though. Lingerie is lingerie. But we all have to wear 6-inch heels; there isn’t much negotiation on the footwear. It took months until I got used to it, now it's almost uncomfortable for me to be in flats for long periods of time.”
4:30 p.m. - “I have until 5 before I need to be out on the floor so I use this time to fix and perfect my makeup. I love dark lipstick and fake eyelashes. Our manager requires we look “dolled up” at all times. Basically, we must have our hair and makeup done so that it doesn’t look like we just rolled out of bed. Though, I think a lot of men would find that sexier.”
4:45 p.m. – “I’ve made a lot of friends at the club over the months and we don’t get much time to talk. Once work is over it’s too late for any of us to do anything but want to sleep so I’ll use this time to talk to the girls. We compare funny stories from time to time but mostly we talk about anything outside of work. This job can sometimes feel claustrophobic; it's nice to feel like we are all just normal girls with normal jobs.”
5:00 p.m. – “Right before I hit the floor I’ll check the schedule to see who’s made appointments with me.”
What’s an appointment?
“An appointment refers to reserved time with me in a private suite in the back. I’ll also have to see which kind of appointment it is; they range from massages to full blown sex.”
Where do you draw your limit?
“Any kind of sex. Our manager pays us more per hour to perform sex. So instead of $25 per hour, I’m making $75 per hour for massages.”
5:15 p.m. - “I tend to have a few regulars depending on the day of the week. If it’s a weekday I’ll expect certain clients. I know their names, where they’ll be sitting, and their drink order.”
6 p.m. – “By now I’ve served about ten to twelve men. It tends to pick up after dinner time.”
That doesn’t seem like a lot of men?
“It’s not like regular waitressing in that there’s a quick turnover. Plus, we’re expected to hang out with the men, make them comfortable, and provide a ‘sexual experience.’”
What qualifies as a sexual experience if they can’t touch you?
“Basically…get them close to busting without even touching them. They come see us because they’re used to us and we’re familiar for them. It’s kind of like they have a separate, secretive relationship with us.”
7:00 p.m. – “I’m with a regular in one of the private suits in the back. I give him a massage every week. About 50 minutes of the allotted 60 minutes is a normal massage. The last ten are reserved for his happy ending.”
You said you have an allotted amount of time in the suite; will another girl need it? Do you clean it before each client?
“You know how restaurants have busboys? Well – we have something similar. There are a few girls on the floor who are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the suites. It’s not as gross as you’re probably picturing. We have a pretty sanitary system and we’re very clean, very professional.”
How many of you are working at once?
“Each girl knows her section and on average there’s close to fifteen girls on the floor at once. That’s not counting the hostess or bartenders, just the girls floating around, waitressing and delivering cocktails.”
8:00 p.m. – 11 p.m. – “I don’t schedule too many appointments in one night because it’s exhausting and I’d rather just cocktail waitress, which is what I’m doing for the majority of the time anyways.”
11:00 p.m. – “Anywhere between now and 12 a.m. I’ll have another regular in a separate suit in the back.”
12 a.m. - 2 a.m. – “When that appointment ends I’ll continue waitressing until the club closes. Last call is at 2 a.m.”
2:30 a.m. – “Time to close out.”
2:45 a.m. – “I’m in the back peeling off my fake lashes and tying my hair up. My favorite part of the night: changing out of my lingerie into sweatpants and sneakers.”
3:00 a.m. – “Typically by this time we’re all out. The bouncer will walk us to our cars just in case something sketchy was to happen. They’re very protective of us and honestly I’ve never really felt unsafe while at work.”
3:30 a.m. – “Ahh, home sweet home.”
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