For a lot of the guys, it’s a game... they’re always looking to test our boundaries, see what we’re willing to do.
"So there are different kinds of hostess clubs. There are ones where you do karaoke and things like that, but the one I work at is just a regular club with a dance floor and couches everywhere. Our job is to hang out with these guys — we don’t serve them alcohol. We just hang out for however long they want us to hang out, and then they tip us.
"The way it works is, when you first walk in there’s a main room that we’re all waiting in, with a bar on one side and couches where the girls are sitting. The clients will come over to us and ask us to dance, and we’ll go tell our bosses to clock us in. Then we go into a separate room that has a dance floor and other couches to sit down. We’ll slow dance for a bit to get to know each other and break the ice. If they like me and they want to keep hanging out, we’ll go sit down and talk, or we’ll keep dancing for however long they want to dance.
"I’ve danced with some guys for 15 minutes and others for 3 hours. The house rate is $44 an hour to dance with a girl, and the way tips work is that they need to match how much they pay the house for us; most of them match, but oftentimes they’ll pay more. So I make around $4,000 a month, just from hostessing. I work three days a week for six hour shifts, and we’re paid hourly, minimum wage — that’s roughly $100 a week for me. Everything else is tips. I can make anywhere from $900 a week to $2,000, which was the most I’ve made in 7 days."
Who are the types of people who go to these clubs?
"To be honest, most people wouldn’t go to these clubs. The girls, we go there because it’s work. But the guys, I’ve talked to a lot of them, and their ages range from guys my age — I’m 27 — to guys in their 70s. And the guys say that it’s just easier than going out to a bar, because they don’t have to do any work. They can just walk up to us and say, do you want to dance? And we won’t say no."
What do you mean by dancing, specifically?
"Turns out, it’s mostly slow dancing. You know how in middle school you walk into the gym, and it’s all couples and they’re all slow dancing with their arms stretched out in front of them? That’s what it’s like.
"There are some guys who, as soon as they’re dancing with you, they'll have you against the wall and grind into you. Then it’s either, I’m going to deal with this guy, or take him back immediately and hope I can dance with someone else. I’ve had nights where it’s all guys who are like that, and it’s hard to want to go back after that. It’s hard to sit there and be like, they’re not all terrible, they’re not all awful."
"I’ve learned that for a lot of the guys, it’s a game. There are a lot of regulars who have been coming for years and years and years, and since the girls are constantly rotating, they’re always looking to test our boundaries, see what we’re willing to do. Especially with new girls, they think that new girls will put up with anything and not have any boundaries because they don’t know better."
I don’t do any kissing at the club. They can touch my butt but that’s it — they can’t go up any higher.
"I mean it depends on the person. If they’re not immediately trying to grind up against me, I’ll see where it goes. If we have a good time and we’re laughing and everything is cool, and then they want to grind, then sure, why not. But I don’t do any kissing at the club. They can touch my butt but that’s it — they can’t go up any higher.
"I learned through a lot of trial and error. There are some guys where even if you tell them no, or take their hand away because they’re being too aggressive, they’ll still keep doing it. So you have to learn to stand up for yourself right away. It’s a lot of dealing with whatever until finally it goes too far. I didn’t even start standing up for myself until a couple months in; they know we need to dance with someone to make money, so they’ll try to get away with anything. And they don’t really want us to be the ones who say no and take them back into the other room; no one really likes rejection, and they’re the ones paying, so in their mind, they get to choose when we go back. But one time, this guy, he was awful. He tried to put his hand completely up my dress when I was sitting with my legs crossed the entire time, my hands over my vagina. I was so uncomfortable. He had his arm around my shoulder but every time his hand would go down there I’d be like, Okay we need to stop now. It was the worst."
"The thing is, this club is actually really great about protecting the hostesses. There’s a security team and they walk around and check the room every 15 minutes and if we look uncomfortable, they’ll be like, Hey you gotta move. They don’t throw anyone out, but they protect us as much as they can, or as much as we need it."
What are the rules of the club?
"We do not take our clothes off, and we’re prohibited from doing anything sexual in the club, anything like that. We aren’t supposed to give them our number, go out with them, or go home with them. That’s prostitution and we could get arrested and fired, but most of us just take the chance anyway."
What do you mean, most of you take the chance?
"For me, I’ll give them my number, that is not an issue because if they’re going to come and see me and make appointments to see me at the club, it’s better if they have my number, so they know if I'm working or not. But a lot of the guys think they’re just going to take us home. They want to meet a girl and take them out on dates. There are some girls who are okay with immediately going out with them and sleeping with them, but some of us are more reserved.
"As far as going out, I’ve only done that once."
I have a rule where the men I see have to be over 45, have at least two kids, and at least one divorce.
"There was one guy in particular, where it got serious and it was a relationship. The first time we met, he came into the club and we danced one time and really hit it off.
"He would come to the club every night to see me when I worked, and then we would see each other outside the club. But I have a rule where the men I see have to be over 45, have at least two kids, and at least one divorce, before I would consider seeing them outside the club. Having met so many men, I found that those guys are the most respectful ones towards women, or at least towards me. They’ve been there, they’ve done it all, they’ve got kids, they’re patient, they’re nicer to be around. This guy, he told me he was 37, no kids, and divorced. I wasn't sure if I want to break my rule for him, but then around Valentine’s Day, he came into the club with a Tiffany’s necklace. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.
"He came to see me every night the week before Valentine’s Day, and I thought it was strange that he wasn’t asking me out, since everyone else, as soon as you have a connection, they want to take you out on a date. He wasn’t like that at all — he didn’t even have my number when he gave me the necklace. So I was like, well, do you want my phone number? So we made these plans for Valentine’s Day."
What did you guys do?
"We got a hotel room. The anticipation built up and I really liked him and I was really excited to sleep with him and do all of that, and he filled the room with roses and bought me another necklace and all this other stuff. It was like something out of a movie."
What happened after?
"Well, from the beginning he stated very clearly that he was only looking for something casual, not an actual relationship, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that I liked him, and because he saw me every night at work, and I didn’t ask for money outside of work on the dates we went on. So I was expecting a relationship, boyfriend-type thing. But I don’t know. He wanted to see as many people as he wanted to see, and even though I said it was okay, I wanted something more exclusive. So we broke up, and I took some time off work and cut communication with everyone.
"Now that I’m back, he still does come in and I see him at work, but it’s a little bit difficult. He’s changed how he feels about things. He tells me that he wants to have a relationship, and now I don’t want one. Now I’m like, eh."
How did you feel right after the breakup?
"Kind of sad. I felt very stupid. The girls who have been here five to ten years, they’re like, you don’t catch feelings for anyone. It doesn’t end well for anyone. So I just felt really stupid. Like, Where was it going to go? What, we’re going to move in together and be together and be happily married? Yeah, no."
You mentioned earlier that you wanted to try sugar dating. How did that pan out?
"I got on a sugar baby website and I went on a couple dates, but I didn’t like it. It’s easier for me to meet them at the club rather than sifting through all those profiles, even though some of them aren’t even true sugar daddies. They just want a girlfriend, not a real sugar baby situation, which I think is strange. That’s the wrong website for them to be on.
"At the club it’s way more up front. If we’re going to go out, you have to come in here three times so I know that you’re not a complete psycho. Then you can take me out. But I haven’t been seeing anyone outside the club regularly, and I don’t know if I should now that I’m back. Some regulars I’ll see outside of the club, and they’ll pay me for lunch, dinner, and give me money, like $100 or $300 depending on how much time we spent together. But I’m hesitant to jump right back into that. I’m trying not to catch feelings again."
I can get along with guys my age, but they’re still immature. There’s a level of babying that they need, and I’m not here for that.
"I don’t know about regular dating. I really don’t want to date anyone my age or younger than 45. I’ve gone out with guys my age and it’s fine; I can get along with guys my age, but they’re still immature. There’s a level of babying that they need, and I’m not here for that. I want to be taken care of. When I started dating these older men, I was like, finally, someone else is going to take care of me."
What's your long term plan?
"I'm starting to get stressed out working at the club, so I’ve started to save as much as possible so I don’t have to work there anymore. I’m trying to pay off the little amount of debt I do have with my credit card from when I first moved here and the job fell through. That first month was just terrible. It was just this terrifying feeling of, Oh my god, what am I going to do? But I do have a couple months of an emergency fund saved up now, so if I’m unemployed tomorrow, or if I have to leave this apartment and go somewhere else, I’ll be okay. It’s about $6,000, which isn’t a lot, but it’s a good start.
"I definitely don’t want to be doing this forever, or even longer than the next 2 or 3 years. I just haven’t figured out what it is I want to do yet. It’s a lot harder because I didn’t go to college, and I don’t have any degrees, so I don’t have another career to jump into. I'm just starting from square one and trying to build something."