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10 shocking truth about strippers and strip clubs in Lagos

08 August 2015, 20:46 Jessica Umudje

My cousin and some friends were throwing a bachelors party for one of their colleagues and he told me of their surprise party. Pretty soon after hearing this I was going along for the experience.

The mention of a strip club awakened all my journalistic instincts. “Dafe abeg make I tag along now, ehheen. E don tay wey I won do story about strip club but shame no gree only me go investigate. shey I fit follow”?  I asked trying to look like a warri puppy drenched in the rain.

“Oooohh who send me to open my big mouth sef?  Sis, no vex, babes no fit follow us go that kind place, shuooo; na strictly men affair,” Odafe replied.

After much pleading, bribing and blackmailing (threatening to tell his girlfriend if he doesn’t allow me) Dafe finally agreed that I could come along as long as I keep my ‘aproko’ views to myself.

Seven hours later, I was standing at the entrance of Cave strip club in Ikeja. As the boys negotiated and paid for the gate fee of N5000 (five thousand naira) each, I braced myself for what the night holds. Will I find a stripper with an 80MMM mammoth floppers in a bra, dancing skillfully on a brass rail? I felt like I was doing something wrong just by being there. This is what I found from the experience:

(1)    My first impression was flooded with admiration for the strippers

Okay, I wasn’t expecting this to happen. But I couldn’t help the ‘Na wa OOO” look that stuck to my face at the sight of the beautiful, naked young ladies. When I said naked; am simply saying ‘Nash and boobs with self-esteem’ perfectly sculptured body parts and skin that looks like butter and milo.
With this impression cemented in my head, some ironclad certainties about strip clubs finally came to light. A strip club concerns itself not with fantastical burlesque; it’s a place you literally get mobbed with girls trying to sell you N1000 lap dances.

(2)    Not all strippers hate their jobs: many are educated and from rich homes

People just assume most ladies become strippers out of frustration, lack of money, family issues and so on. Well, not all strippers hate their jobs, although money is a major factor why ladies do this job, according to Stacy (not her real name). She strips for the money and the experience. Now, Stacy didn’t just leave her job to talk to me, no way “Time na money”.  I had to pay for a lap dance and cook up a lie why I wanted a chat for a few minutes. I also promised I would put in a good word for her with my cousin so she could entertain his friends. With a few Naira notes in hand and a ‘lifetime’ of 15 minutes, Stacy watered my curiosity with more salacious information.  

“Me I dey school, my mama and papa dey do well, but dem no know say I dey do dis kind job. Me I just like am. Some girls strip here for the money, some for the fun, some get pinkin for house and no money, some get family issue.
“So na different reason dey make girls strip but many of us are educated at least to OND/HND level. Some ladies have skills and are stylists, makeup artists and tailors and they come to strip for the extra money. Whatever their reason, na dem body and their choice because money dey this work pass ashewo,” Stacy added.

(3)    It is a fast money job, but they lie about how much they really make

A popular strip club owner in Ikeja once said in an interview.  “In a strip club all you have to do is simply do a lap dance for a guy or sit on him. When you sit on him, you whine and he gives you money, some can give you N5000, some can give you N10, 000, some can even give you N20, 000. And you can make N150, 000 to N250, 000 in a day or week.”

 “No b lie say big boys dey come here spend serious money oh, we have a lot of rich clients who come here often. We also have the average guys who don’t have too much money to spend, they start their night by going to a cheap club where their drinks are not expensive like Cave. When they have had enough drinks with their boys, the come to Cave, pay the entrance fee, get a few lap dances and then go home. Some Lagos big boys knows how to spend money. So yes, we make plenty money; but I never make 150k in a night or week before OO. Beside the competition here is stiff and serious,” said one stripper.

 With up to a 100 girls working at a time; the strip club is a war zone with only one motto - “survivor of the smartest and nastiest”. Dancers are forced to be bold and competitive.   Every girl is trying to outsmart the next girl. It is fairly easy to make money. Where else can you go without any skills, knowledge, and earn thousands of naira a week??All you need to do is get a skimpy outfit, drink some shots, get your butt aka’ Ikebe super, medium or tiny ‘on stage, and do lap dances.

While this isn’t emotionally or physically easy and does require courage, you don’t need a resume, an interview, or even a high school degree to make money. Everything is cash. When you run out of money, all you have to do is go back to the club. So life becomes a chase of fast earning and faster spending. There are some smart strippers who use the job strategically to save money, but that is not the norm.

(4) All kinds of men go to these clubs (even pastors!)

What motivates men to go to strip clubs varies across generations. By talking to the young men I came with, I learned that for them watching nude women dance is a rite of passage as common as a first kiss.

Most men venture into strip clubs to fulfil the same basic needs. "Stimulation, relaxation, escape, human touch. Men don't think like a feminist. They go where the staff treat them like kings and they compensate them for that. They liked to be entertained to keep their minds off their troubles. What these stripers go through in their life is none of their concern.

Ladies, you assume that men go to strip clubs purely to get laid, am I right? I'm not saying this doesn't happen; sometimes it does. Most of the time however, a stripper really functions as a cheap therapist with little clothing. Sometimes, strip club patrons just need someone to talk to, someone who won't judge them. What I'm trying to say is that you can't just blanket a whole gender and activity and say "men do this because…".

(5) There are no strip club rules in Lagos: aside from sex and kissing

From Hollywood movies where I first saw a stripper, my idea of a stripper is a dancer who teases you in pants and a bra and the customer doesn’t have the right to touch you. If he breaks this rule; a scary-looking bouncer throws him out of the strip club. But this is not the case with strip clubs in Lagos. As I sit around and watch the activities at the strip club I was confused; I felt like rushing out of the place in disgust. Everywhere are men cupping boobs as these girl twist on their thighs? I had to permanently fix my eyes on a TV set and pretend I didn’t just saw a creepy look on a man’s face as he touches a stripper.

I wonder how men watch a stripper take their clothes off and gyrate seductively, and get provocatively naked only to leave without pursuing the matter further. They are never satisfied; they are blown to and fro by the products of their own desires, forever unfulfilled. And in the end they will pay N1000-N20000 for the show, Na wa oo; which kind sexual ‘suffer head long throat’ be that?

(6) Women and couples are fast become frequent visitors at strip clubs

I saw a total of four ladies and a pair of lesbians seated at different tables. They also requested lap dances.  A couple was seated on my right laugh and both were comfortable touching the strippers. Jane, the bar girl, said this is normal as couples believe they need to explore their sexuality. “Some girls don’t really like to come to strip club with their boyfriend but because the guy likes clubbing, she just comes along so another girl won’t snatch him away from her.”

(7) Strippers prize their physical appearance over and above their other qualities and abilities

Strippers seemed to be dissatisfied with their bodies and were more likely to scrutinize their physical appearance. The reasons for these are obvious – no hot body, no fast money.

(8) Many girls get stuck in the lifestyle because of the fast money and when they try to go work in the real world-they find difficult if not impossible to survive.

They strip for years and forget what they wanted to do with their lives. The lifestyle can give you a false sense of security and if you don’t plan, you can easily be locked into the business. They also make bad relationship decisions. But this might not be the case for some serious few, who desperately want to leave the life of stripping.

(9) Strippers pay club owners a lot, they don’t make 100% profit

From each lap dance to stag dance, the dancer has to pay a percentage to the club. Strippers only keep 60-66% of their actual earnings; depending on their contract with the club owner.

(10) Being a stripper is not as easy as it sounds, it’s depressing and harder than most professions

It's not easy being a stripper. There's more to it than meets the eye. It is hard on your body, but you also have to sell the idea of sex, and project "sexy" even when you're not feeling it.

My thoughts

I saw ladies who have done everything but given up, they think they have found a new model for success. But it’s time to change.  A strip club is an exhibition of a low-grade sexual frustration counteracted by a low-grade erotic satisfaction. Even though people say you will have fun when you go to a strip club; please bear in mind it could be an uncomfortable and awkward experience. Brace yourself.  

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