FLIP Burger Boutique on Howell Mill Rd.

“You know you want this”

Illustration by Evan Stamps

“You have to sell the idea that his fantasy is being fulfilled and payment isn’t the reason why it’s happening,” Poseidon said, “Do I play the ‘I need help’ role? Or do I play the ‘choke him in the throat while holding his hand behind his back’ role?”

These work-related questions circle in some Georgia State student’s heads.

Their occupation: stripping.

POSEIDON

Poseidon, who wished to be referred to by his stage name for privacy, hails from the oily traps of the service industry. After highschool, he served and worked as a bartender. One night, he got fired for standing next to someone smoking a joint on a smoke break. His friends joked that he should strip.

“Where do I go for that? Do I submit a CV? Do I shave my butt?” Poseidon said.

Poseidon’s years in the service industry paved way to the clubs. A coworker from a restaurant referred him to a guy who worked at Bliss Atlanta, a former gay strip club in Atlanta.

“I wanted to do this because of the money,” he said.

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He danced at Bliss Atlanta and Swinging Richards while attending Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and quickly learned how to rake in cash at Atlanta’s premier gay strip clubs, and thus Poseidon was born.

“Specifically, being a straight guy, I didn’t want to have to dance the whole f—— two hours,” Poseidon said.

To maintain enthusiasm, Poseidon would sometimes request female customers to flash her breasts while dancing for male customers.

Swinging Richards doesn’t permit erections, but the dancers work around it.

“It’s a weird grey area. If [erections] happen you try to contain it. It’s like a Perpendicular-To-Your-Body rule.”

However, Poseidon pooled most of his money from conversation.

“It wasn’t just me being naked,” Poseidon said. “I would hang out with one guy and make two thousand dollars and all I did was do cocaine and talk with him.”

He even ran into former schoolmates. One, a former Mill Creek high school football player, who said he had always fantasized about Poseidon.

“In highschool, I was never really a popular kid. I was one of the weird weightlifting guys.”

However, some clients don’t keep it so casual.

“I walked up to some guy swaying at the bar and he’s taking a pain pill and drinking straight bourbon. So, I’m thinking, dude, this guy is about to f—— pass out. Does he do this a lot?”

The customer bought a three hundred dollar VIP with him for thirty minutes and said, “I really, really like to be peed on.”

Poseidon almost declined when the customer requested a red-headed bodybuilder dancer named Holden, who carried a gallon of water, to join them. Holden agreed.

“Are you okay with, like, peeing on him?”

“F— yeah, dude! I pee all the time for free.”

Poseidon described the amount of pee as “ungodly.” The urine went down the customer’s face, down his shirt, down his pants.

The customer wiped his mouth, turned to Poseidon and said, “Your turn.”

And then, knock-knock.

“Want to do another three hundred?” Poseidon said.

“No, that was a lot.” the customer said.

The dancers would tag team each other, but industry problems often arose — coworkers tying their penis to constrict blood flow, increasing size.

“Stop tying your dick off,” Management said.

Coworkers ignoring regulations often hurt Poseidon’s money.

“I go up there with a little f—— noodle and I’m up against Gigantoid, but I see his cockring and I’m like, ‘Dude, we just had a meeting, we literally just walked out of that meeting.”

Transitioning from the club to college life took some adjusting.

“I actually felt less than everybody. I knew these kids were getting school paid for and a lot of people had their real jobs lined up already and all I was, was a male stripper.”

From clubs to business graduate, Poseidon has reinterpreted his experiences.

“If you can sell your personality and body and take people’s money out of their pockets then you can sell any product on the whole market,” he said.

EVE

Eve, who requested to go by her stage name for privacy purposes, a reserved only child, started dancing to pay her own tuition at Georgia State, though she didn’t want to attend Georgia State.

“Not trying to be funny. Most girls in the club have daddy issues. Like me and my mom are cool, but my dad is my favorite. If I had issues, it would be mommy issues.”

Eve was a band geek, playing clarinet from 4th until 12th grade. She liked science — enough to major in biology.

She dreamed of going to Berklee for music, but her mom persuaded her to attend Georgia State.

“I’m not happy with this major, I’m not happy that I am dancing to live here.” Eve said. “But, I’m trying to finish it and pursue what I really want to do after that.”

Ironically, her reserved nature brought her attention in some of Atlanta’s more popular clubs: Onyx, Club Platinum and Pin-Ups.

“That’s the downside. The less open you are, the more people want to know about you,” Eve said.

On a Tuesday night, a notoriously dead night, the club owner texted Eve, “Just come in.”

50 Cent made it rain on Eve while she danced alone on the stage.

“It’s not about if people are naked anymore, it’s about how you carry yourself. Guys don’t care if you’re naked,” Eve said. “Even though I dance, that’s for money. I’m not thirsty for attention.”

Yet, a genuine demeanor often blurs the lines between transaction and connection for customers.

“I feel like I do tend to emotionally finesse people sometimes. I don’t do it on purpose, but I realize, compared to most girls, I’m sweeter and nicer,” Eve said. “I hate seeing that I made someone upset.”

“Your job is to sell a fantasy. If you have to, make them think you’re going home with them right now after the club,” Eve said the managers say.

And it works. One night, a guy alone dropped two thousand dollars on her, but it didn’t come without ‘locker-room talk.’

“Oh, I had sex with him and he likes a finger in his ass,” one of the other dancers said.

Eve said she had no intention of sleeping with him.

“They’ll get upset because they’re sleeping with that guy, but he came in and spent two thousand on me,” Eve said.

Sometimes fantasies in the club get cut short to make an extra buck.

“Some girls will wear tampons and cut the string and stick it up there really far, but I don’t work on my period,” Eve said. “It happens a lot at Onyx. I would say, ‘Hey, I can see your tampon. You need to chill out with the bending over.’”

Instances of looking out for your coworker in clubs is limited — things turn physical real fast between supposed friends when money’s involved.

“If you touch me, I will sue you. I’m not going to hit you, I’m going to hit your pockets.”

Customer relations with women offset Eve as well.

“They’ll feel insecure and sometimes overcompensate by smacking your ass. Even men won’t do this. I feel like they do it to show dominance. It’s like, ‘Bitch, I’m making you dance,’” Eve said.

Eve is friends with Instagram models at Georgia State but has a difficult time identifying with them.

“People are naked for free — for likes. You’re on Instagram in a thong and are still taking out loans to pay your tuition, and I’m paying for everything out of pocket. Which would you choose?” she said.

Despite Eve’s ability to make others open up, she often feels disconnected from them.

“There isn’t one particular person I feel connected to. The only person I feel truly, truly connected to is myself,” Eve said.