Its a long night when you get home and the morning paper has already been delivered.
Friday night and I DJ at the club. The night before I had given some thought to the tipping out procedure. The tip-out that the girls give to the DJ is part of my pay, and yet I find it hard to reconciliate the tipping on one hand and the managerial aspects on the other. Added that I was told that I’d be assuming even more duties as the owner needs to concentrate more on his other business for a bit. So while laying in bed and after having read a environmental essay (wonderful, absolutely wonderful insight) and several pages of Ivanhoe, I laid in my bed and thought of what I could do. An idea dawned on me.
The next day I bought a metal box, the type favored by several of the dancers to keep their cash in, which has images of the posters promoting women during WW2, the most famous of which is the “Rosie” picture barring her bicep. I brought this into work and put a note on the board that I wanted feedback from the girls, either verbal or written on a slip of paper, of who they thought the best, nicest, sweetest, whatever, girl was and that in a week I’d give the box to her. It isn’t much, the box only cost me $8, but it is just a small token.
Another note I posted was that I was going to put a big coffee can with a slitted lid on it on the shelf when I DJ. I let it be known that I did not want to know the amount that the girls tipped-out into the can, that I fel that this would help preserve some sense of integrity in my position as manager. I also said that I know that on some nights girls will not make any money at all (and we don’t pay them a wage anyway) and that if they felt that they did not make any money, then to not tip me out at all. This isn’t new to me, for I’ve always given back tipout from my cocktail staff to me (when I bartend) when I knew that they made less than $50. One girl told me in private that she hoped the plan worked, because she didnt’ want to see me get taken advantage of. Yet I wrote on the note in the dressing room that I was seeking to preserve the integrity of my position, and that I was expressing the same trust in them that I hoped to earn from them toward me. If there is to be any trust at all in a relationship both sides must come to the table, you can’t always wait for the other to move first.
On another note. I have been asked a half dozen times this past week by different girls if I had a girlfriend. One girl tonight told me that there were several “secret admirers”. I’ve been truthful with my answers. No, I do not have a girlfriend, no, I do not date co-workers (especially if I have a managerial job), and no, I don’t want a girlfriend for the sake of having one but instead I want a passionate love affair that lasts a lifetime. This last answer isn’t probably the smartest thing to say, as it probably fuels the fire. And the love letter that I wrote to life a few days ago, I made a copy and brought it in and posted it in the dressing room for the girls to read. Such expressions of poetry and philosophy are old hat for me at other work environments, I am always trying to get “my troops” rallied (and I try to rally them to more meaningful things in their own lives). I am the complete opposite of the manager before me, who bullied money out of the girls and played games with them. Not me. Plus I am aware of the psychological trends of people becoming attracted to those they work with, and how I might stick out, a poetry spouting male who pauses for moment to see how they feel and tries to help them in their day, amidst a sea of horny males that enter the door and want to only see their clothes off. Inside the building I am probably the best looking thing around. Outside the building though my luster would fade quickly! I’d probably bore most of the girls to death if I were to actually consider dating one (which I do not). I don’t like to go to bars, I don’t party, and regular sex is so unknown to me (since my sexually involved girlfriends are very few and far between). I’d be best to marry a librarian!
Tonight I went into work two hours early to start on the schedule, and I stayed an hour and a half late to finish it. Some girls came out winners, some came out losers. It is the hard part of my job that I have finite resources to offer the girls that I have. There are some that I have that whatever shift they wanted they are likely to get it barring an act of god, and others with whom I use to fill whatever slots I couldn’t fill up otherwise. As a result of this, a dancer from a club in a city south of Eugen (Roseburg) came in and told me that she was interested in working a few nights in Eugene, but that she was a dancer at said club out of town and she was trying to recruit dancers who didn’t mind travelling. I gave her my blessing to go into the dressing room and talk to the girls. I don’t want to keep opportunity from anyone. Especially in this recession.
There are two girls who have been absent for a few weeks and when they start working again they are habitually late. I hear from friends in other bars that have worked with them in yet other clubs that they are generally dependable and reliable. So it is surprising that they are always late. They are always together, your typical twinkies that must work the same shifts together, follow each other in rotation, sit together, drive and leave to work together, and ask to get off early together. If one is in a mood, the other is also. I have found out that one is overcoming a medical condition or surgery or something and as such I’ve quelled any rumors by the other girls about any “special treatment” citing that there is a reason, that the reason is personal, and enogh said. Yet one of the girls has always seemed to give me the eye, the sort that wishes a heart attack on me. But since I’ve never exuded anything even close to malice toward either of them, have gone out of my way to find out their tastes in music to play for them, have asked them what they hate so that I can avoid it, and have tried to keep the rumor mill from circling about them, I figured that it was my imagination and her very dark eyes. Yet today, as usual, they came in late, 40 minutes late. This is unacceptable. Yet it didn’t change my actions toward them. So it came as a surprise when business had picked up at a decent level for a Friday night and they came up to me asking to get off early, a full 30 to 40 minutes early. I asked why. The communication here is pretty confusing because I got an answer “didn’t Darrell talk to you about it?” No, he didn’t. I know you have a medical condition, nobody else knows, but is it this? Or do you want to go to a party? Is this condition so personal that you cannot tell me? Okay, or is it something else? But no answer on these questions, instead I got the answe that the other girls would make more money. Whenever you hear a stripper give you this reason, toss it aside. Yes, the girls will tip each other out, get on stage with each other to draw attention to the stage for a girl, and drag guys physically up to a stage for a girl, but leave a busy night so that the other girls can make money? Nope. It simply does not happen. When I said that this was not a reason, that if it was the medical thing, that it didn’t seem to hamper their move (yes, their, because both wanted to leave) movements any, and that I found it disappointing that they were late as they were and asking to go home early. Was the medical condition bad enough that they could dance on stage and yet come to work late? One made the comment “and you’ve been here how long?” as if to insinuate that I have no notion of what I am doing. I looked at her and told her that this was by no means my first rodeo, that I’ve been managing people for longer than she’s been away from her mom. I tried keeping this conversation up with them while DJing and one had to get on stage. The other stayed with me and kept asking. Personally I believe it had absolutely nothing to do with the medical condition, but that in the increased business one of the customers wanted the two of them to perform at a private party for them. This sort of thing is not that uncommon in this town. But the girl kept saying that 8 girls left would be enough, and when I said that it would actually be 7 girls, on a busy Friday night, with two stage running, she shrugged her shoulders and asked to go home. I gave up. She didn’t give a shit about the other girls, the money she was going to make at the private dance or whatever she was going to do was more than what she was going to get here. I said fine, if they wanted to come in late and leave early, go ahead. Later, when the other one got off of the stage she asked to speak to me alone and then she asked, in quite an irritated and condescending tone, what was my problem with her, and why did I (and the bartender, how she got mixed up in this is a mystery) say things about them? What? I had no problem with her, I treated her with the same respect and courtesy that I treated everyone else, but the problem that I did have was with her behavior, not her. But I couldn’t dilly dally, I had DJ work to do and I left it at that. Later, I asked the bartender, alone, point blank, what have you been saying about so and so? I tried three different questions. The bartender was utterly clueless as to what I was speaking about. There was no hesitancy in choosing words, no twirling of mental gears to find the right politics, nothing but total shock that she was now implicated in spreading a rumor. I put the two girls on the schedule, but I will have a talk with them. Why? I don’t care if they do not like me, though it would make my job easier (and theirs) if we all got along. But as long as we are professional toward each other they can go along hating me for all it matters. Yet they left without tipping me out in my anonymous can, and they tipped out everyone else quite well. So the question for them is, did they not tip out the DJ (which happens to be me) because they were mad at me (because they are projecting their awareness of being unscrupulous onto me)? If so, would they find it fair if I changed their schedules because I didn’t like them? Are they going to not tip out the bartender or other DJ if that person gets on their bad side? It is one thing to try and keep integrity between my position and the tip-out which is a large part of my pay at the club, but it is another thing to accept treatment of such from two girls who just turned 21 and feel that they should get whatever they want in the world. Nope. Sorry, I don’t play those games. I tell you what is expected and you are to follow that. If there is disagreement we can discuss the matter and come to a mutual agreement as to what is expected of all parties. Yet games and such I do not play. If it comes to that I will remove a person from employment at the club, period. It might be a recession, there might be no jobs available, but I will not accept being lied to. I am going to go talk to her on Tuesday night (my night off but I’m making a special trip just to talk to her) and try to come to an understanding.
Now it is 6:00 am and I am pooped. In 8 hours I’ll be watching The Princess Bride on the big screen!