Sex + Dating

The Worst Mistakes Guys Make in New Orleans Strip Clubs, According to a New Orleans Stripper

strip club new orleans
Melody Thick | Hunter Thomas
Melody Thick | Hunter Thomas

Most cities like to keep their sexier sides relegated to shady side streets, where tourists won’t spot them unless they’re looking super hard. That’s never been true for New Orleans, a city that’s reveled in sensuality for over 200 years. New Orleans’ sexual openness is part of its appeal; this city is the burlesque capital of the US, after all... and even in the midst of some terrible scandals, there are still several amazing strip clubs in The Crescent City. However, contrary to what some might believe, New Orleans strip clubs are not an anything-goes free-for-all. Here are some of the most offensive things strip club patrons can do, according to Melody Thick, who’s danced at Lipstixx, Hustler, Deja Vu, and Scores... so it’s safe to say that she knows a thing or two about club etiquette.  

Melody Thick
Melody Thick | Hunter Thomas

Being a looky-loo

If it’s your first time in The Quarter, you’ve probably never seen anything like it, but that’s no excuse for being a club lurker. "It happens everywhere, but most especially in New Orleans," Thick says. "I have danced in Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, and New Orleans. The frequency of voyeurs in the clubs on Bourbon are exponentially higher. People come in and just sit down for a while and then leave. Never tip a girl or even a bartender. Because of the tourism-driven economy of The Quarter in particular, they see it as not only acceptable, but even expected to get a free show, and it’s frankly insulting."

Acting like the "Anti-Strip Club Guy"

Guys who come in a big group usually contain that one guy who’s just not into the experience, Thick says. If that’s you, there’s no need to take it out on the entertainers, who are literally just trying to make sure everyone has fun. "So many times, a group comes in, and there’s that one miserable ‘anti-strip club’ guy, who will be a complete jerk to any girl who attempts to talk to him," Thick says. "There is never any reason to be rude when we initially approach you. We want to talk and spend time with customers, to help make sure everyone is having a good time. When you try to say ‘Hi’ to someone and they immediately throw a hand in your face, interrupt you mid-introduction, or literally tell you to go away before you have the chance to finish your sentence, it's infuriating."

Forgetting that consent exists in clubs, too

Most men would never just grab on girl on the street, but once they get into a strip club, way too many forget that consent still exists. "Don't assume you can put your hand around my shoulder or waist. Don't assume you can touch me in any way without asking me," Thick says. "We are fantasy for hire, but if your fantasy is being demeaning, rude, and vulgar, and expecting me to play along, I'm gonna need to see some serious cash first. Don't be rapey. I can't believe I even have to say that, but consent is sexy."

Expecting a make-out session

Furthermore, most entertainers are simply not going to kiss you. "Stop trying to make out with us. Men, stop and think. Yes, it's flattering you’re that into it. But if a dancer kissed every guy in the room, we would all be in urgent care with some sort of kissing disease, like tonsillitis or strep. We don't have company-offered medical, so I'd prefer not to spend half a night’s pay in doctor bills."

Lying on the stage

Bourbon St is a haven for rowdy groups looking for a place to party, but treating a strip club stage like it’s your own person Scorsese set just isn’t going to cut it. "A lot of college and frat guys who come into the club in packs will just line the stage with dollars in their mouths and try to lay on stage. It's rude and inconsiderate to the dancer, who is trying to maneuver in seven inch heels." This behavior, she notes, is not only demeaning, but also dangerous for the customer. "A lot of girls are extremely skilled and athletic and will not mind you taking a stiletto to the temple if you disrespect her personal space during her stage time. Put your money on the stage or in the g-string, politely say ‘Thank you,’ and let us do our jobs. Personal attention is happily given after we exit the stage."

Bringing along a jealous girlfriend

Melody Thick actually loves girls who come to the club to have a good time, but the ones who seem to come simply to nag a partner for enjoying him or herself are the worst. "Some dancers aren't fond of the ladies in the club, but not me! I love the ladies! There are some women who no one wants to see in a club though," she warns. "Don't be the jealous and insecure girlfriend who hates strippers and thinks we are whores who wanna take your man to the back and blow him, but come with him to the club anyway. If you are that chick, seriously reevaluate your relationship, especially if he dragged you in there in protest."

Coming to the club to show off your pole skills

Unfortunately, after a few drinks, some women get a little too bold in the club. Pole dancing is awesome, but unless you’re looking to change careers, let the entertainers dance, and save your routine for your Wednesday night pole class. "Don't come to the club to be catty, judgmental, and competitive. Sit your ass down. I don't care how many cosmos you had. You wanna get on the stage and twerk? Go sign a contract."

But if women want to be part of the fun, it’s no problem, as long as they tip like everyone else, Melody says. "We love to see a woman who comes to party in a strip club. Get into it! Gimme a dollar, and I'll rub on you and put my boobs on your face before I do it to any man. Ladies are soft and fun, and I love entertaining couples. I'll talk to a woman all night while her man buys us drinks and buys her dances. I'll even let him watch me give her a dance."

Sitting at the stage without tipping

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to be a good patron, but you should prepare to spend a little, especially if you’re taking up prime real estate by the stage. "There is a simple way to have a good time and not spend a lot of money," Melody says. "Come in, buy a beer or well drink, get $20 in one dollar bills, and give every girl who comes on stage one or two dollars. That's it. If you don't wanna buy dances, or can't afford it, the least you can do is tip each girl. Otherwise, go to a regular bar. Never sit at the stage unless you plan to tip, continuously. If you don't have cash, back away and let someone else enjoy the show."

Confusing strippers with a personal harem

Strippers aren’t prostitutes, and they’re paid for their time. Don’t get angry at them for refusing sex or expecting to be paid for their attention. "You want attention, buy a drink and express your interest in our conversation. Tip a girl $5, $10, $20 or more, depending on how much time you take with her when you aren't buying dances or rooms. It's common etiquette and completely reasonable to pay us for our time. That's how we support ourselves. Please stop soliciting us, and don't get upset and whiny when we refuse to be prostitutes. You know that you can order an escort straight to your door or a hotel. That's not our industry, and continuing to push the expectation is extremely insulting and offensive."

Don’t assume you know the strippers’ pasts or futures

Remember that respect matters, Melody says. "Please remember that we are people. We are mothers and daughters, sisters and wives, nurses, daycare teachers, doctors, lawyers, chefs, scientists, everything you can imagine, all in addition to being entertainers. Please do not come in assuming we are wounded or abused women with daddy issues and drug habits, forced to dance because we have ‘no economical or employable value,’ as I have unfortunately been told before.”

“Most of us have second jobs. Most of us have degrees or are pursuing them. Lots of us have families. We chose to be entertainers because we enjoy it, and because it allows us the freedom and flexibility to enjoy our lives and support our families. Come into our clubs ready to have a memorable night, and we will make sure we don't disappoint. Just don't come in with a false superiority or morality complex. Our industry exists on supply and demand. You can't point with one hand and jerk off with the other."

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Emily Alford is a looky-loo but tips really well too. You can catch her tweeting @AlfordAlice.