I’ve never actually been to a strip club before. I have watched strippers when they came and performed at a bar here in town once, which wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it would be. I certainly wasn’t going to pay a girl $20 to rub up against my crotch for 3 minutes while all my buddies hooted and hollered their encouragement. The allure of strip clubs continues to mystify me.

I am interested in what attracts guys to strip clubs. You’ve probably already figured out the obvious answer- there are naked girls there. And, for a small fee, a guy can pay them to grind up against his junk. Since most guys spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about their junk, the idea of pleasing it with only a minimum of effort must be appealing.  There is zero risk of an STD or pregnancy, plus the girl is usually attractive and maybe surgically enhanced.

As I dig deeper into this though, I realize everything to do with the strip club is designed to separate a horny dude from his cash. Let’s take a deeper look:

(Info is taken from this excellent paper on the business of stripping. Go check it out.)

The Dancers

What type of girl is most likely to work at a strip club? Ultimately, economic motivations are the most important. Not surprisingly, most strippers are after the money.

This makes sense. For an attractive girl with little ability or incentive to further her education, the amount she can earn stripping easily surpasses most traditional jobs for someone with her skill set. Because so much of the income is in the form of tips, she can also pad her income by underreporting her tips.

I’m sure there are girls out there who are stripping to put themselves through college. For the most part though, those girls are few and far between.

Since so many of the women come from lower income backgrounds, prostitution becomes a natural way for a dancer to supplement her income. When a girl works a bachelor party or any other event outside the club, she has the ability to upsell various sexual favors. Since she already knows the guy is aroused, this can be an easy (but very risky) way to make a few hundred bucks extra.

I cannot believe guys would be so stupid to have sex with a stripper.

The Club

If pop culture has tried to teach us anything, it’s that adding alcohol to an activity is the key to making  that activity automatically much more fun. Strip clubs are the masters of this.

Selling a patron overpriced drinks serves two purposes. First of all, the club makes money on the booze. By adding a drink minimum, the club ensures they get a profit even from guys who don’t bother to pay for lap dances. The second reason is, of course, to loosen everyone up. If a guy has a decent buzz going on, he’s much more likely to blow all his money.

The club always makes sure there’s easy access to money. ATMs are always around, and every one will accept your credit card as a payment, often taking the prudent step of making sure the charge looks much more innocent on a card statement. Like any good business should, they make paying as easy as possible.

The Customers

Customers can be divided into two groups- the regulars and the party animals.

The party animals are a bunch of guys which usually set out to get as drunk and rowdy as possible. Often, they’re out celebrating some guy’s last few days of bachelorhood before he gets married. Many lap dances are purchased, all sorts of money is spent, and a good time is had by everyone- at least until they sober up the next morning and realize how much they spent.

The second group are the guys who show up at the club every week, guys who consistently pay a particular dancer or two. These guys are more after the companionship that the stripper offers. These lonely souls seek out the attention and admiration of the dancers, who are happy to oblige in exchange for money.

The Pitch

The visit to the strip club starts with the guy(s) sitting down and ordering a drink, just like a normal bar.

As they sit and watch the act going up on stage, the girls will begin to approach them, usually asking if they can sit down and talk. They chat with the guys, laugh at anything they say that resembles a joke, and generally do a good job getting the guys to like them. After a few minutes, they offer either a lap dance right there or a lap dance in the VIP room. Naturally, privacy comes at a price. Prices vary, but a lap dance out in the open usually runs $20, while one in the VIP room starts at $100, but generally lasts longer. These fees don’t include tips.

All the while, there is a main stage, where a feature dancer will be putting on a performance for tips. She is trying to be sexy enough that guys will want her to give them lap dances when she’s patrolling the floor later.

The Sell

As mentioned above, a stripper is much more in the business of being friendly than they are being sexy.

Obviously a stripper has to be attractive. But the best strippers are the ones that are friendliest and create the best experience for their customers. Like in any industry, the best make the most money.

The girls view customers as patsies, often ridiculing them privately because they’re willing to give them money for simply looking good and being friendly. If a guy is regularly going to a strip club, it’s probably an indication of either loneliness or depression, and he seeing going to the club as the easiest way to rectify that.

Conclusion

Unlike a lot of people, I don’t believe strip clubs demean women. I think if men are stupid enough to pay, then women should be willing to take their money. Even though I don’t care for them (which is interesting, considering how much I like boobs) I don’t think their popularity will go down anytime soon.

Maybe the next time you go to a strip joint your brain will be so interested in the economics behind it that you’ll barely notice the girls. Just give it a try, your wallet will thank you.

Tell everyone, yo!