For the most part, dancers pretend like the waitresses do not exist. This changed one night when Hubert* came in.
Hubert was a thin man with a long, skinny white beard who was delighted by my perfect timing when, the minute he drank the last sip of his beer, I showed up and offered to get him another. He was apparently unaware that this is an eagle-eyed trick a waitress develops quickly when she’s only getting tipped two bucks per beer.
If you’re a cash-only customer, any waitress can serve you. For the rest of the evening, however, Hubert would only place orders with me. I served Hubert all night long until I lost track of him, only to find him again a few hours later fuming in a corner with a dancer huddled on his lap.
I’m still uncertain of exactly what happened, but it was clear that Hubert was furious at the VIP Manager, whom he felt had disrespected him. The dancer in his lap, Leila*, looked up at me, her eyes pleading for help. I climbed up into Hubert’s lap as well. Leila pretended as though she and I were besties, and together, we did our best to soothe him.
(There are many ways, ladies and gents, in which the ladies of the strip club provide a valuable service to society: in this case, doling out a shit ton of emotional labor.)
Our collective effort was wildly unsuccessful. Hubert flatly refused our efforts to subdue him, instead making threat after threat to kill the VIP Manager after the club closed. Caesar*, the VIP Manager, is easily the size of three average men, and when I pointed this out to Hubert, he informed me that he (Hubert) was former military and trained to kill a man with his bare hands. He then proceeded to detail exactly how he would do this, a description that included much yanking and twisting of the crotch. His plans seemed better suited for aggravation than successful murder. At this point, I was in genuine fear for Hubert’s safety.
(Shortly after I left Hubert’s lap, I informed Caesar of Hubert’s murderous intentions towards him. Caesar’s only response was to laugh uproariously.)
The evening wore on. At one point, Leila commanded Hubert to tip me, and he dutifully complied, handing me a fistful of crumpled bills. When I went to put them in my wallet, I realized I was holding four twenties. I’ve observed that the drunker the man, the bigger the tip, and I have very mixed feelings about this. Is non-consensual tipping a thing?
For longer than I care to admit, I wavered between being a decent person and a greedy bitch. Greedy Bitch screamed in protest as I gently asked Hubert if he meant to tip me eighty dollars. Behind him, a dumbfounded Leila furiously mouthed, “Shut up! Shut up!” Hubert nodded, so I shrugged and stuck the money in my bag. Greedy Bitch broke out the Moët.
Later, I split the tip with Leila. She still pretends like I don’t exist, but she has badass ink, so I forgive her.
Caesar is still alive and unharmed.
I don’t know about Hubert. I haven’t seen him since.
*Names changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Obvs.