Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stripper Countdown

I realized tonight that my time working in the clubs is extremely limited. Like, it is only a matter of time before I will be finished completely.

This is due in part to the recent addition of private dancing to all the clubs. However, I realized tonight that it is also due to the fact that the managers and owners really don't give two fucks about me, and the more I piss them off by expressing an opinion or questioning something on my paycheque, the closer I am getting to my dismissal.

This premise was first presented to me a few weeks ago by the downtown manager. It was on a Sunday, exactly one week after i had run into Baby Momma at the south club and had a complete meltdown, calling in sick ten minutes before my show downtown and then refusing to answer my phone when Manager tried repeatedly to call me. When I saw him the following Sunday, I apologized to him for leaving him in the lurch twice the week before - besides the Sunday mishap with Baby Momma, I had slept in and missed a noon show during the week.

"You better be careful, Kg," he said when I was done groveling. "I don't care, but if you keep going like this, they're just gonna shelf you for good. There are dozens of girls to take your place who won't pull this shit."

I hated him at that moment, because he was right. I am over 30 now, and there really are tons of younger, fresher girls just starting out. I have thought about this incessantly since he said it to me, and tonight it struck home a second time.

I went to the office at the downtown club after my last show tonight, to pick up my paycheque for the week.

"Why do you look so awkwardly happy?" he asked when I smiled at him.

"What?" I asked. I was stunned and hurt by the insinuation. "I'm smiling cuz I'm happy."

"No, it doesn't look real," he said.

"Well that's not a very nice thing to say," I replied. I was careful to articulate each word - I wondered if he was trying to suggest that my happiness was drug-induced.

Which it was, of course. But that's none of his goddamn business.
I took a seat beside a peroxide-blowout blonde in an extremely short, tight mini dress with a black leather jacket over top. She and Manager were reviewing videos of the new Go-Go dancers, timing how long each girl spent on and off stage. Manager got out my contract and pay while continuing his conversation with Go Go Captain, not actually acknowledging me at all.

Now, the way it works at the three clubs in This City is that you sign a sheet that reviews exactly what you are getting paid and what for, and whatever fines or advances you may also have. It also tells you how much money is taken off for Socan, which is something about using copyright music. Then there are two copies of your contract, one for the club and one for you to take for your taxes, which more often than not say something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU JUST SIGNED. After talking with the Business Woman/ Stripper this week, I decided to take a look and write down everything from the first sheet that I sign onto the one that I take home. One of the things BWS discussed this week was Socan, and while doing so I asked what it was each week - $20, $30? BWS said it was around $35 or something.

The point of all this rambling is that when I was copying the info from one sheet to the other, I couldn't help but remark out loud on my Socan fees.

"Holy crap! When did Socan become $91 a week?! That's so expensive!"

Manager was immediately pissed, like he was sick and tired of hearing me bitching. He chucked his pen down on the desk and rubbed his forehead aggressively, like he was about to rip my fucking face off.

"Calm down," I asked pleadingly, "I'm just making a comment." And with that I collected my money and slunk out of the office.

Manager's words reverberated in my ears as I packed up my stuff in the dressing room: "They will shelf you for good." I knew by his reaction to my questioning the Socan that I am already on thin ice - if I was a valued employee, he would have discussed it normally with me. Instead he spazzed, and I knew he wanted to tell me that I am more trouble than I am worth, and if I didn't like it I should fuck off.

I know all this to be true, that I have been more trouble than I am worth lately. I haven't been happy at work lately, which translates into my being late all the time, hardly ever having my make up on, no longer tanning or going to the gym. And yet I seem to think I am bulletproof, like "they'd never fire me", but Manager's reaction tonight, coupled with Douchebag Manager's treatment of me at the south club, confirmed that I am barely hanging on to my job by a thread right now.

I felt resentment burning into the back of my throat like bile. Who the fuck do they think they are? I can't ask a goddamn question about my own fucking paycheque without worrying about losing my fucking job for it? I'm not even allowed to express an opinion in regards to my job, or I am told to shove it. Case in point - Douchebag Manager refusing to pay us for our private dancing until the following day, so even if we aren't even working the next day, we have to go all the way down to the club to get our money. Not only that, but you have to wait until 7 o'clock, and THEN you have to try to get that fucking Doubchebag Grant to stop playing his stupid fucking power games, refusing to pay you cuz he's "too busy right now". And if you try to protest that this is unfair? "Then don't work here" is all you will get in response.

I couldn't believe that these clubs were getting away all this bullshit in this day and age. Given labour laws, tax laws, etc, no other company is able to get away this shit. But because of our unique system - the girls are self employed, contracted by week through the agency to each club - and there is no one to look out for us. We have to look out for ourselves - except if you actually point out to them that they have made a mistake, that they are doing something unfair and totally ripping you off, then YOU WON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE.

The whole thing is so fucking disgusting! And the worst? While I was driving home, I checked my contract to see how much IT said I had paid in Socan fees.

It didn't say $91. It said $45.50.

So where did my other $45.50 go?

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