Working at a corporate club took all the luster away
At Backstage Bill’s, dancers could wear what we wanted. I had a particularly bad night on Thanksgiving dressed up in a pilgrim costume, but no one told me not to wear it. But at Diamonds, management dictated what we wore, how we talked to customers, and how we danced: no pelvic thrusts, no shimmies, and no bumping or grinding.
Stripteases are associated with sex. But unlike the raw sexuality of much of the movement at Backstage Bill’s, the dancing at Diamonds catered to a capitalist fantasy of delightfully clean, uniformed women who could be purchased and consumed.
One of the most striking demands of working at Diamonds was the ritual of selling calendars on weekend shifts. Five times a night the DJ would play Mötley Crüe’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” a signal for all the dancers to stop whatever they were doing and rush to the dressing room. There we were given copies of the club’s calendar, which we were meant to hawk to the audience.