Below is an excerpt from my book — a mostly true story about my days as a strip club bartender in Austin, Texas where I mostly broke shit, drank a ton of booze, sometimes poured drinks, and always hit on my favorite manager.
“Top of the mornin’ to ya!” I greeted the lads at the bar.
“Wow, you’re beautiful,” one of them remarked. “I bet you get that all the time, though.”
The three of them were dressed in button-down shirts with slacks. I figured they worked together or something. Maybe they were in town on business and staying at one of the hotels within walking distance to the club. We got a lot of those guys. I wondered if men from out of town who were allegedly on a business trip intentionally picked a hotel so close to a strip club or if it was a pleasant surprise to them upon arrival.
“Why thank you sir. What are y’all up to today?”
Their names were allegedly Garrett, John, and Austin but I made the decision to just call all of them Chad.
I learned that they were in town on business like I had suspected. They worked “in real estate” is all they said and I didn’t press the subject any further. After the one guy’s first remark, telling me how beautiful I was and all, I figured they would be annoying. However, they were surprisingly fun to hang out with and in no time, I was shooting the shit with them as if I had known them for years.
A couple of other people trickled into the club but the majority of my attention remained with the Chads.
Even Maddog and Pistol were put somewhat on the back burner but they always understood and respected the hustle. Those two weren’t demanding of my attention when they could see I was making money. Regulars who understood this concept were at the top of my favorites list.
The guys and I talked about sports and I fended off this one dancer who’s notorious for running up a customer’s tab. It’s not that it was messed up for a dancer to ask someone to buy them a drink. That’s their icebreaker yo! It’s basically the equivalent of saying hello. But this dancer in particular always ordered double Patron shots and other expensive shit. She can do that shit all she wants with a customer out on the floor but not when the tab is my responsibility. I don’t let my bar customers get played.
“Hi!” Stella chirped at me, taking a seat at the bar next to Maddog who immediately bought her a shot and a beer. Hell, he bought everyone at the bar a shot.
“To titties!” I raised my glass and everyone at the bar followed suit.
“To titties!” The group loudly toasted before everyone took their shots. Several people surrounding the bar stopped to watch us and inched closer, wanting to be a part of the fun. Hey, the more the merrier. As in more money motha fuckas!
Maddog buying the bar a round of shots was the catalyst needed to really get the party going. Once someone bought a round of shots for the bar, another guy would step up for the next round and the cycle repeated itself. I even bought a round for people every now and then. And yes, I actually did pay for the shots with my own money.
I excused myself from the bar and headed outside for a smoke break. Excused is a nice word to describe me literally running away from the bar and yelling behind me at everyone not to steal shit.
A few people from inside trailed out behind me onto the patio and one of the Chads held up his lighter and lit my cigarette for me. He was the one who had told me I was beautiful earlier.
“You know, you’re too pretty to smoke.” He remarked as he lit up his own cigarette.
“How can you say that as you literally light a cigarette?”
“Cause I ain’t pretty.” I politely laughed with him at his joke and then a somewhat awkward silence ensued because I was technically on break and had zero interest in flirting with this dude. Chad’s weren’t my type.
Besides, even if just for a few moments, I needed a minute to recharge from all the socializing I was doing inside. In real life, I didn’t talk so much. At work, I had to. It’s not so much that I’m not myself with customers, it’s that I wouldn’t talk to most of them if they weren’t paying me.
“Tell you what,” Chad fumbled through his wallet and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. “Put out that cigarette and I’ll give you this.” His cigarette hung loosely out of his mouth while he talked.
“Are you trying to make me quit smoking?”
“I don’t know, is it working?” He gave me a big toothy smile.
I put out the cigarette, grabbed the $20, and lingered for a moment to chit-chat with Chad.
Back at the bar, everyone was pretty drunk. So I did what any responsible bartender would do and poured everyone another round of shots.
“Hey,” Chad motioned for me to come over to him. “I didn’t offend you did I? Outside just now?”
“Naw man, you’re all good!” I assured him and gave him a high five. He ordered the next round of shots for the bar which apparently put him past his limit.
He got all sloppy and started slurring and shit. I handed him a water bottle and then leaned over the bar to talk to Stella. She looked around the bar and giggled, asking how many shots we had all had as she put her dress back on. Her and one of the Chads had departed from the bar a little bit ago for some dances.
“No fuckin’ clue but here’s one for you, sista.” I laughed and slid her a shot and she told me about how Chad tipped her $300.
“I danced for two songs and then he just wanted to hang out and talk. He’s really nice,” she added and I told her about my experience with Chad on the patio.
We both relished at how easy it was to make money in this place. Even though my $20 was chump change to her, it was still $20 for putting out a fucking cigarette. I’ll take it.
“Chad!” I smiled at Chad as he stumbled into the bar. “We were just talking about how great you are.”
“No.” He furrowed his brow and swayed a little bit. He looked like he was thinking very intently. That, or he had to poop. “You guyssss — GIRLS!” He corrected himself, pointing at the two of us. “You girlssss are seriously the shit. Sersly.” He kept pointing at us. “Out of all the places we could go. We’re here!” He slammed his fist down on the bar and then began to cackle. Stella and I looked at each other and tried not to bust out laughing. “Do you guys — girls, GIRLS! Wanna drink?” he slurred.
“Yep,” I said without hesitation. “Thanks, Chad.” I smiled and poured two shots for Stella and myself. If he noticed that I left him out from that round, he didn’t act like it.
It could get a little uncomfortable sometimes when somebody was cut off and, as long as I had anything to do with it, Chad was respectfully cut off for the moment.
Perhaps he could redeem himself after finishing that untouched water bottle or eating some food. He didn’t protest, though. I think at this point, he didn’t even realize he wasn’t drinking anymore.
“Is he bothering you guys?” The Chad we knew the least about asked.
“Not at all! You guys are awesome,” I reassured him.
“Alright. Just let me know if he gets to be too much and we will go.”
“Not necessary, Chad.” I waved my hand at him. “You guys are all good.”
Half an hour later, the Chads were ready to close out their tab. Their exit took at least another half an hour, involving two more rounds of shots. Cut Off Chad was included in one of the rounds because the remaining Chads promised me that he wasn’t driving and they were going straight to their hotel.
Like I said before, “responsible bartender.”
“Bye, Chad!” I bid them all their final farewell. Their tab was over $300 and they left a cool $200 tip along with a scribbled phone number on the receipt.