If you polled the non-DJ contingent of folks who patron a strip club, the overwhelming opinion of them is that they're sub-human, walking STD's, whos larynxs have been cloned from Casey Kasem's crack addicted bizarro-world doppleganger, destined for an arguably classier career move operating the tilt-a-whirl at county fairs and town anniversaries BFE-wide after they've overstayed their scrotum in every booth within commuting range of the Toyota Celica of Theseus they double park in the "rock star" spaces nearest to the door of your favorite wife and familial obligation avoidance establishment. Which is a humorously try-hard manner of saying practically anyone who likes strip clubs HATES strip club DJ's, or at least barely tolerates them, or has evolved a psychological means of tuning them out of their strip club experience.
For the record, our opinion of the majority of you isn't exactly cupcakes and rainbows, but your Bed and Bathworks drenched, swan origami dollars pay our share of the bills, so whatever foregone "attitude" you perceive when we're asking you not to place liquid in the vicinity of the electrical cage in which we're ensconced is an order of magnitude less than we'd like to express, if it weren't for the fact that the overwhelming majority of us are one overblown, entitled complaint away from seeing our names on even fewer days of the schedule than we're already capable of affording. What can I say? Toyota Celica catalytic converters aren't cheap.
To be fair, the lion's share of DJ's in the industry haven't exactly Dougie'd their way off the pages of Esquire, so the first world umbrage you've developed for your local silicon jockey probably isn't entirely unjustified, but make like Ripley and believe it (or not) when I say that there are a quantifiable number of us who take the job seriously and operate as ethically and business-minded as a body can in an industry fueled by Coor's Light and a Henny Youngman shaped experience of marriage where your sacred commitment should be (don't worry, single guys and self-styled "players," you're probably fundamentally flawed in functionally identical manners, just so it's clear we're not discriminating married men disproportionately.)
Those of us who take the job seriously enjoy the work on the whole, and no, we don't simply hate every warm body that steps through the door. However, one can only stand to have the phrase, "Man, you've got the best job in the world," lobbed at you like an errant popcorn sliver from a dentally questionable mouth so many times before you scream "WHAT THE F$&* AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY TO THAT?" instead of pretending there's any kind of reasonable response to vapidly observing things out loud to someone at their place of employment.
And I get it, believe me, I do. Especially with the advent of digital audio playback, it very much seems as if we're standing behind a poorly carpentered cube of rope lights and glossy spray paint rehearsing semi-believable excuses for the condom falling off while we deafen everyone in earshot with an uneven playlist of songs you're vaguely familiar with, but we do indeed have duties, many mandated by ownership and management. For starters, there's an art to playing the kind of music the dancers want to hear (ostensibly and alternatively the most annoying or the slowest music ever assembled by an anthropomorphic flat billed hat, or the saw player in a neo-vaudevillian dubstep cover octet), the kind of music management wants to hear (the old "totally not racist" "no hip hop or R&B" mandate, flimsily buoyed by the eternal "gang hang out inevitability" fear that playing music created by black people will draw them out of the woodwork and create a crips HQ, meanwhile the local biker gang's cuts are somehow magically not "gang attire," and half the playlist is rap and R&B by proxy of the Billboard top 100), and fielding off the wall requests older than the mean age of our dancers, disguised as attempts to seem either musically literate or representative of "what everyone in the club really wants to hear," amidst the fifth "clever" request for A Lap Dance is Always Better When the Stripper's Crying, as I reach for every DJ booth's secret stash of sick bags, and borrow another pair of tampons from the nearest dancer to stem the omnipresent flow of blood from my long suffering auditory cavities.
"So, boohoo buttboy, you have to play some songs you don't like, Mr. 'Scott 4 is the Best Scott Walker Album.' No one gives a shit about the 'brilliant' Crime and the City Solution song you want to play for the one dancer who likes Nick Cave that you told she'd 'totally dig.' Here's a playlist for you... Pour Some Sugar On Me, Girls Girls Girls, Cherry Pie, Wanted - Dead or Alive, Candy Shop, and I'm Too Sexy (ironically, of course). Just play those on repeat and sprinkle in any Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down and Disturbed songs everyone knows, and quit your whining."
Even in the "best job in the world," there are parts of it you're bound to dislike. That's not the source of our ire, nor the 9,001 carat jadedness we exude like department store cologne. Honestly, the main gripe of any strip club DJ worth their salt is the entitled attitude of some co-workers and customers alike, but that's not likely to change any time soon, so we pick our battles. It just so happens those battles manifest in a deeply rooted reluctance to play Lady Gaga like she's still relevant, or whatever smash hit storming the nation everyone wants to hear ten times a day, (nevermind the fact that Porche has "claimed" that song as "hers" and will legitimately throw a temper tantrum if I play it for your favorite dancer, who, inevitably isn't Porche because strip club Dj's don't have that kind of luck... our luck is more like the "found a lighter with enough fluid to light our offbrand cigarette during the three and a half minutes we have to smoke one 3/4ths of the way into our shift" kind of luck.)
Additional duties include, but are not limited to; managing stage rotation (providing the dancers are on time to both shift and stage), coordinating revised lineups and potential rotation changes due to VIP dances and other activities that might cause a dancer to not make stage, communicating with absentees, no calls no shows, and possibly scheduling dancers weekly shift requests (less common), advertising specials, events, and non-stage activities, as well as reminders to, erm, absent-minded customers to tip dancers and bartenders alike, being an extra pair of eyes (I do not care what anyone says, a building full of drunk men and naked women is a powder keg waiting to explode, it may do so at any moment, and in many situations there are more patrons than there are able bodied staff capable of controlling a violent or angry crowd,) bussing tables and taking care of stray litter and clutter, supplemental barbacking, and generally being the "voice" of the club," keeping the atmosphere appropriate to owner or management specified themes, dancer costume themes, general customer interests, etc., while possessing a comprehensive knowledge of musical styles and trends, as well as audio engineering tasks, such as maintaining a loudspeaker sound system and associated equipment, etc. Hell, I've worked for clubs where, at the end of the night, I helped clean the lobby, video lottery room, kitchen and bathroom, and I ran our drops to the bank. Additionally, I had a food handlers card and made food in a pinch, and if anything ever happened to a bartender, I also had a license to dispense liquor.
It's effectively a co/assistant management position, and anyone who takes the job seriously and wants to do a good job walks a fine line between the eventual jadedness the industry instills in even the most happy-go-lucky of people, but due to the nature of the industry, it attracts all manner of irresponsible and personally odious people, essentially committed only to compiling a pool of "loose" women to sleep with. I'd rather make money and friends with my coworkers and help provide a safe environment for others to conduct a business traditionally associated with risks and issues not found in other occupations. I deal with more rude, entitled, obnoxiously inebriated people than polite, generous, casually intoxicated folk who fail to understand that they are in mine and my co-workers house, and not a service that unconditionally waits on them hand and foot, so if I seem a little... brisk up front, its because myself and my coworkers are harassed, abused, stereotyped, misrepresented and imposed upon in numerous ways basically every day of our professional lives. It does things to your brain.
I'm sure this won't change anyone's opinion of people, especially DJ's in the industry. In fact I thoroughly expect a barrage of people who only read the first paragraph, skim the rest and cherry pick things to object in order to continue their lazy prejudice of people in an already maligned industry, but if you take away nothing else from this, know that there are some of us who may come across like the embodiment of everything you "already know" about strip club DJ's, but last night we had to clean up cocaine vomit in the dressing room and had exactly 4 people call us "faggot" for playing a song that somehow threatened their masculinity, and finished up the night walking to our car with our keys between our fingers because a club full of drunks routinely awake at 2:30AM saw us leave the building for a darkened parking lot with at least $100 in mixed bills. Most of us are just trying to do what's expected of us and get home without another bar fight story (though, to be fair, they are kinda cool to tell). The general assumptions made by both sides contribute to an unnecessary climate of hostility in an industry whose primary purpose is the promotion of fantasy, so maybe both sides could do with a little less animosity towards each other. Amidst a sea of douchebags, consider that we've got a job to do, and maybe we'll try to remember what it was like to walk into a club to have a good time, and not just to be there for 8 hours at a time and leave with a paycheck.
DJ's Were People Once Too, or Last Night a DJ Banged Your Wife
April 2, 2019April 20, 2019 (jackel0001)