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The Secret Handshake

Happy Trails: How To Be A Strip Club DJ

by Colin Wolf
Posted // 2011-10-24 - I’ve been to gentlemen’s clubs before, but last Wednesday at Trails Men’s Club everything seemed new to me. You see, for one strange hour I was going to take part in a common and coveted adolescent dream: I was about to learn how to be a strip club DJ. But I wasn’t alone. Luckily, I had a veteran g-sting conductor, Tyler Justice, as my Obi-wan. And as I learned from Tyler, there’s a lot more to strip-club DJing then just saying creepy stuff in the microphone and playing this song every 10 minutes …

When I first got there, Tyler threw me right into it. He quickly showed me how the mixer worked and how to pull up the music. “So, you wanna pick a track?” he asked with a huge smile on his face. I felt like this was the most important question anyone has ever asked me. On the drive over, I went through a mental checklist of all the songs I wanted play. But as I stood in front of a crowded room full of middle-aged boners and pasties I immediately drew a blank. I took a breath and thought to myself, “Okay, what would Too $hort do?” and so I played this bad boy…

Tyler looked over at me in shock, “Damn, you know what you’re doing!” Apparently strippers like songs that talk about money on the floor. This was all coming too easy for me.

Now, this job is more than just playing the perfect track. Essentially, the strip-club DJ acts like an air traffic controller, managing every little detail and maintaining the flow of the night. But instead of radar screens, airplanes and Fred Dalton Thompson, you have sani-wipes, DJ equipment and boobs in your face.

Whenever there’s 30 seconds left on a track, the DJ has to cue up the next dancer by hitting an intercom button in the booth. In almost a Pavlovian response, when the stripper hears the little bell she instinctively appears from a room in the back, gets onstage, takes her clothes off and looks around for money. As a customer, this is your cue to make it rain...

As repetitive as this sounds, the showmanship of the DJ really comes into play. As Tyler explains it, “You have to introduce the stripper twice. Once before she goes onstage, and then after you’re done talking.” Example: “I want to thank everybody for coming out this Wednesday evening here at Trails! Get those dollar bills ready because up next we have the always sexy and always half-naked Forbidden! You mustn’t touch! Don’t forget about our $3 hot 'n' spicy wings, $4 Jager bombs and, of course, our $10 hookahs! Once again, Forbidden!” (Yes, there really was a stripper there named Forbidden).

Having a good arsenal of adjectives is crucial. Also, commenting on the strippers and encouraging them is a plus. At first, I wasn’t sure what Tyler meant by this: “See Camy over there? he said while pointing to a girl sprawled out on the floor. “See how her ankles are around her head? You want to let people in the club know that this is going down.” He picks up the mic, “Check out Camy over here! Damn, you could fit a watermelon in that!”

Tyler is the man, and it goes without question that he's a pro. In the late ’90s, he started out as a regular club DJ, making $50 a night. Then his girlfriend spotted an ad in the paper for an opening as a strip-club DJ. “She told me to do it as a joke. Then when I did it and realized the money was good, I stayed. That relationship was pretty much over after that.”

Though he doesn’t recommend it, Tyler has dated a few strippers in his day, but is currently in a serious relationship … with a stripper. “Yeah, she’s from within the industry; it’s hard otherwise and understandably so. Some people can have a hard time understanding what goes on in here.”

Though the view is good, Tyler claims that there’s a lot of jealousy and bullshit that also comes with the job. “The money is great. I can make up to $1,300 in one night because we get 10% of the stripper’s tips. But this means you have to manage the strippers and keep 'em happy.”

“What happens if a stripper doesn’t like you?“ I asked. “A girl might stiff you on tips because she didn’t like the song you gave her or whatever. When this happens, the next night I’ll give her Macho Man to dance to. Yeah, It’s a delicate balance.’

As the night went on, I pretty much took over. I played tracks like "In Da Club," "Nothin But a G Thang," "Drop It Like It’s Hot" and "Sexy and I Know It." I started getting into my commentating, too, dropping gems like, “Yeah, this is some baby-making music right here!” and “I got some ham and eggs coming up for ya!” I was having an awesome time. But after awhile, I decided it was time to go … well, I started running out of adjectives. Come on, how many different ways can you describe this …

Here’s what I got: saucy, spicy, steamy, savory, tantalizing, titillating, meaty, zesty, sensuous, sizzling, mouth-watering and exotic. I may have just described the perfect steak.

Honestly, I felt like I had just climbed stripper mountain. I had only been there an hour but for some reason I was tired, sweaty and covered in glitter. I was packing up to leave and Tyler turned to me, “ You’re really good man. Damn! Seriously, I thought this newspaper guy was gonna suck. But you have a knack for this. You know, if the writing thing doesn’t work out ... haha!” I shook his hand, ‘Thanks, I had a great time but I don’t know if this job’s for me.”

As I headed towards the door, a stripper stopped me, “So, are you the new DJ? You’re really good!"

“Huh? No. I mean…I, uh, yes…yes, I am.”

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Posted // October 26,2011 at 15:57 Bill, that does include the guy who comes in occasionally for some fun and drinks and leaves as that is the category I fall under. I have be told they are under new management and that the new management has in my opinion ruined the place. My last four visits to the place have been anything but enjoyable. From pills being sold to dancers at a table to the overly intoxicated group of Mexicans looking for trouble. Even one of the dancers complained to me that it has gone to shit and that includes the money she makes. The manager/bouncers are nowhere to be found where as a year ago the bouncers would have an eye on them and at the first sign of problems they would be escorted out. This is the same manager that has to run my card to pull $300 from my credit card and it still took 20 minutes to find him and another 10 for him to actually run the damn thing. The girls that work there these days look like some cast offs from the Southern in Wendover and that was on a Saturday.


Posted // October 27,2011 at 12:24 - The scene I just conjured above was actually my birthday at The Million Dollar a few years back. My buddies thought it would be funny. I ate a salad that glowed in the lights and washed it down with lots of ice cold Jack Daniels. Then, we left to go to a bar to actually try to engage human females, rather than paying them a couple of bucks to debase themselves on a stage. I've been to the old Southern once, hated it, and Northern twice because I was selling the owners advertising years ago. I don't think it matters which "gentleman's club" we're talking about, really. You are in an atmosphere that is based on sex, sexual attraction and paying someone to do something vulgar for you while she's dressed in next to nothing. To watch a woman slink around nearly-naked, no matter how attractive she might be, and then crawl on her hands and knees hurredly picking up dollar bills ought to disturb anyone who sees it. Over the years, it's been dragged into mainstream culture as something to seek, like wisdom or something. Women want to "empower" themselves by acting slutty and even working a pole to excercise. How about going for a hike instead of romanticizing something that turns you into a "thing," an object of gratification for horny men? If women claim that men are pigs for seeking sex, then what do we make of women who strip for money?


Posted // October 25,2011 at 10:53 @ Aly, even weirdo's have to eat, But let me tell you the clubs in town have some preety good food, maybe you need to go into a strip club and have some, Oh and dont forget your Dollar Bills! Just sayin.


Posted // November 2,2011 at 10:16 - Bill, as a Navajo, that was the most offensive and racist comment I have heard in a very long time. What a son your parents raised, They must be proud of you...


Posted // October 24,2011 at 13:06 It's too bad that place has taken a dive over the last 6 months. It had the best atmosphere when it came to strip clubs. Now their talent has went form a "A" to a "C" on the best of days, their menu has changed from steaks, sandwiches and salads to fried food and a burger. The worst is the clientele. Its feels like its on the wrong side of the tracks and the classier crowd has now moved to Southern. Long live the original Trails!


Posted // October 25,2011 at 14:45 - David, the clientele at any strip joint is the only real problem, isn't it? Girls, check! Stage, check! Sound system, check! Blue Cheese dressing that turns lime green under blacklights, check! Now, what's the real variable we can introduce into the mix? The most unpredictable, volatile, immature, brash, lonely, jealous social outcast and down-trodden ingredient? The clientele. And I don't mean the group of guys who run in on a birthday, drink, flirt, laugh and leave. I mean the bottom-trollers who show up in the parking lot at opening time in the morning in a 25 year old car, like Navajo's sitting shoulder-to-shoulder against the liquor store walls in Farmington, NM, waiting and waiting for it to open at 9 am. They are dead, basically, as are the lost male groupies of "Blaze" and "Starr" and "Chastity." They are always right there, offering rides home, offering to fix a stripper's car or kitchen sink and she can barely stand to speak to them. They buy and offer drugs to the girls, week-end trips to Mexico and offer quite uncomfortably to take your fatherless son 4-wheeling next week end. Overly friendly, over-concerned about the welfare of a total stranger in pasties. These guys are emotional loose cannons, druggies, sex addicts, up-all-night-tweakers and recent parolees. Yick!


Posted // October 25,2011 at 09:09 - Whoever goes to a strip club for the food is a weirdo. Just sayin.