Jarvis, a 23-year-old in New York, has a secret. Only his friends and a few other guys in his hometown know it. That secret? The bountiful paradise of his local strip club on a Monday night.
“The beer is cheap, there are fewer people, the music isn’t as loud and the girls and bouncers are mad chill when they’re not busy,” Jarvis tells MEL. “It’s like a little secret between us and the other 10 or so guys you see there.”
I can count my own visits to a strip club on one hand. They were weekend bachelor parties with a very awkward group of dudes. That said, I remember stepping into those clubs and realizing they were open at all outside of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends. Who’s going to strip clubs on a Monday night?
Jarvis, that’s who.
Once a week for about a year now, Jarvis has hit up the strip clubs in his hometown on weekdays. He knows the dancers, the bouncers and the bartenders — and they know him.
He knows the unwritten rules: “Everything is more obvious on the weekdays because there are fewer people around,” he explains. “This is especially true if someone rejects a dance from one girl and then immediately accepts one from another — that’s a big no-no where I attend.”
He knows the inside jokes: “In my favorite club, one of the dancers I’ve gotten to know a bit will call out guys who get a stiffy during a lapdance if they do not tip well,” he laughs. “Happens more often than I would have thought! … Then everyone roasts the shit out of them until they fork over two times what they should.”
And most of all, he knows the beer specials — which is what got him into the strip club on a Monday in the first place. “We heard about Mondays being garbage beer nights: $2 pitchers after 8 p.m., which is a deal we couldn’t refuse,” he says. “So we decided to give it a shot: ‘Let’s see how the deals are, and if it’s shit we’ll go somewhere else.’ We all got piss drunk for like $7 each, and that pretty much sealed the deal… so now we do it rather often.”
Now, Jarvis is reaping the benefits of being a regular. “Getting to know the staff comes with a bunch of perks. If they see you tipping on Mondays, you’ll get free drinks. I once even got a free dance on the weekend — like, she literally didn’t accept my money because I knew her from shooting the shit a few days before. It was like her form of advertising, and it definitely worked. They are pretty savvy.”
So who are the other 10 guys throwing bills on the stage on a Monday night? Well, Jarvis can start with who they’re not.
The Guys Who Like to Avoid Crowds (Or: The Sad)
“The stereotypical strip club guys come in on the weekends,” Jarvis says. “There are some fuckin’ whackjobs, too, but you’ll get guys who drop hundreds of dollars on a Friday at 2 a.m. for a couple bottles and a dance for their friends. They also throw hundreds, which is wild because these are not high-end places at all.” He laughs. “You won’t see this on a Monday.”
“During my heavy strip-clubbing days, I tried hard to avoid both those crowds, so a nice midweek venture would satisfy my desire for female attention and the desire to not compete with the dregs of the male species,” says Jay, another weekday strip-club warrior, who’s based in South Carolina. According to Jay, this is why “the ‘A’ team [of dancers] only works at night and on the weekends.”
“That’s when either gassed-up horny frat boys or wannabe-macho rednecks come through — both equally ready to let their hormones toss their financial cares aside,” he explains.
Jarvis says he and the other regulars have a good time observing such parties. “Most of them are club virgins, either extremely awkward or belligerently wasted,” he adds. “I have seen a guy puke on a dancer during his bachelor party… did not go over so well.”
So Jay and Jarvis steer clear of the clubs on weekends; they enjoy a quieter, less-intense strip club. During the week, Jay says, the clubs aren’t trying so hard to siphon money from your wallet. “They know if you’re coming in during the week there’s nothing they can do to make that better for you,” he says. In other words, “you are either a discerning customer or life is in the toilet for you. Either way, the club owner has you right where he wants you.”
“Saturday night at a strip club is a crowd of other guys and aggressive dancers in a rush to find the big spenders and loud-ass techno music,” says weekday clubgoer Zak K., a 38-year-old in Los Angeles. On weekday afternoons, Zak says, the strip club “is a ghost town, a sad little hangout with a cute-enough girl in her underwear and nobody in a hurry. Nobody cares if I want to sit and nurse a diet coke in peace, nodding my head to some maybe decent non-electronic music, and enjoying this dark, sad cave on a sunny day.”
According to Sarah, a 27-year-old dancer in Colorado, the guys who like a quiet strip club range from the lonely and depressed to the occasional businessman away from his family.
“You can expect a calmer atmosphere and softer music,” she tells MEL. “It’s slower than the weekend, but some of my best money came from a Monday night.”
As Zak puts it, “I don’t want to go and party with my entourage and shout to the party gods. I’m not there to pretend that I’m cool or that the women are interested in me. What I want is my sad, dark hole where I can embrace my daytime depression with some boob sweat and velvet chairs. I prefer my dancer to be bored and surly than for her to try to convince me that I’m such an awesome guy, and there’s something about the honesty of my exchanging $50 for a good honest leer with no pretense that makes feel calm and true inside,” he continues. “And when I look to the left, I don’t want to see a bro trying to convince the world that it’s awesome to be paying for tits. I want to see an 80-year-old man who can barely stay awake and is probably my dark future.”
“I have found guys that come in on Mondays are usually a little bored. They’re single dudes who have nothing better to do, don’t really want to go to a regular bar and have empty conversations with the bartenders there. They find it’s easier to have a conversation with a dancer, or even to get lucky,” she tells MEL. “It’s the product of being lonely and boredom.”
Consider Jerin Dobson, a 47-year-old who’s been driving semi-trucks off and on for 20 years. Dobson tells me that life in general as a trucker has gotten only more isolated. “I remember truck drivers being a lot more social after a long day on the road back when I was a young fella,” he says. “Loneliness is a real issue, and you’re just not striking up conversations in line at the Arby’s.” So Dobson will pop into a strip club on a Monday just to have some social interaction, even if it’s a bit manufactured.
“If I have a day off on the road, I wanna have some beers and hang out with pretty girls,” he says. “Small-town strip clubs are great. Usually they have cheap drinks and you don’t pay crazy cover charges.”
Dobson says he’s been in strip clubs from Butte, Montana, to Janesville, Wisconsin. “I went to a tittie bar in Wyoming years ago and there was a dude wearing buckskins with a raccoon hat and a big gun on his belt! He wasn’t getting lap dances.”
“At that club in Janesville, I had $100 in my pocket. I had a fun night and got smacked in the face with titties all night. Tinder doesn’t give results like that on short notice. Plus they often have cheaper beer than the cheesy chain restaurants.”
So why Mondays? Dobson says you get more attention from the dancers “for less money if the place is slow. A lot of [other truckers] just eat fast food and watch Fox News in their truck, but I don’t mind walking places or taking a $15 Uber to a club to kick the loneliness,” he says.
“Monday brought in some truckers during the day, but not many in Colorado,” Sarah, the dancer, says. “I danced in North Carolina for a bit of time, and it was right off a main highway; that’s when I got a lot of truckers.”
The Business Boys
Monday nights bring in older business professionals who are away from their wives, Sarah explains. Often, they treat the entertainment as a business expense. “It’s still a business trip, and when they use a company card, it doesn’t matter: They talk for three minutes about what they want to do with the flooring in their office, so they spend what they can.”
“We get engineers, soldiers, lawyers, construction business[men] and real estate agents. … They’ll either be super-respectful or the type to sell you a lemon car from a buy-here-pay-here place,” she adds.
Jay is familiar with these guys as well. “Most of the weekday crowd is kinda quiet,” he explains. “They’re just taking it all in. Like the business guy who might be in there for a song or two, then he has to go home and deal with his wife and kids. Those guys pop in for a drink and skedaddle. It’s their medicine to continue fighting the war on the home front.”
Despite the lower music and relaxed atmosphere of the strip club on a Monday night, there are still real jerks who come in.
“Ultimately, I don’t think the days of the week apply to what kind of shit person blows in for the day. Men can be pigs, no matter how old or how young or what day of the week they come in,” Sarah says.
However, on Mondays, lots of assholic tendencies get nipped in the bud, Jay says. Assholes may beget more assholes during testosterone-fueled weekend bachelor parties, but the quieter crowd wins out in the beginning of the week.
“There’d be one jerk in there [on Mondays] being loud for the sake of stroking his own ego,” Jay explains. “You know the type: the ‘I’m gonna fuck something’ brightly colored Polo shirt with the tight khakis. He’s at the rail trying to tell the dancer a complicated story about how he ‘fucked somebody up.’”
“But get a few quiet, brooding long-haul truckers having some down time in there and that guy clams up real quick. … Until he gets the hint that he’s harshing the room’s mellow, he’s gonna yell and be a prick.”
“I look at it like this,” Jay concludes. “Treating the ladies like ladies — not like they’re janitors in the porn shop theater — will get you far, and ultimately the goal should be to have a good story and leave with a smile.
“If you’re going to a strip club just to see the hottest, sexiest women in your area, you’re probably fucked in the head anyway. Being nice is the only currency in the club that moves the needle — outside of cold, hard cash.”
Sarah notes that not all Monday strip club aficionados can be categorized.
“I’ve met lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, trans people, soldiers, police officers, the homeless, gangbangers, porn stars and celebrities,” she says. “Some of the nicest, most well-rounded people are not who you expect, and I can’t judge anyone unless I talk to them. I never expect anything from anyone.”
Like who? “The last Monday day shift I worked, a guy who was going to be incarcerated within the week [was having] his last hoorah before turning himself in,” Sarah says. “He said he had only wanted to talk to pretty women with great tits before the only thing he saw were ugly men with saggy balls for a couple years.”
“Sometimes guys will let their guard down, thinking I’m only a dancer and they’ll never see me again, and invite me to [hear] extremely personal life experiences they’ve gone through,” she continues. “There are people who are seeking refuge from breakups, deaths or failures. It’s very humbling when I meet these people. I don’t believe all dancers have this mentality, but I hope everyone learns something from speaking to other people.”
Sarah tells me the story of another “stray” who came in on a Monday. “A beautiful example of loneliness and Monday nights,” she says. A young man named Mike came into her club and sat in the back, not talking to anyone or asking for dances. “He’s scruffy, scraggly beard… wearing a hoodie he could have found in an old dumpster. He smells like stale cigarettes and could pass as a homeless dude off the corner begging for money. Every girl in there walks past him,” she continues.
Eventually her best friend, “stage name Kitty,” went over and sat down with Mike. The two ended up talking for two hours, but he hadn’t given her any money. “Just talking,” Sarah says.
“Then they both get up, and go to the back for dances. They’re gone, for at least an hour. They come back and they sit with me and Kitty introduces me to Mike. Mike leaves the club, and comes back after about 30 minutes. He wants dances from both of us now. We dance for him, taking turns, dancing together, etc. Just lap dances. No extras. He hands us both $1,000 and leave. We do this same routine, always on Mondays or Tuesdays, for the next month.”
One day, “Kitty is now talking to him about getting a boob job. The next day, he walks in, gets dances from both of us, hands me $1,800 and hands Kitty a little black box. She opens the box and sees brand-new $100 bills, stacked in 6 piles. He handed her $6,000. In cash. Because she had mentioned once that’s what she wanted. He just wanted her to be happy. He wanted me to be happy with her. So that’s what he did. He was a broken guy, wanting someone else to be happy because he had the means to do it with money. He kept coming around for a couple weeks after that, but eventually faded out. He wanted to talk. He wanted companionship. That’s it.”