How To Pick Up Strippers - Thurs - Dec 25th - 2003

How To Pick Up StrippersThursday, 25th December
Merry X-mas Gang. Enjoy… 

When you live the life of a comic, you must accept that your life is going to be a little different. The way you react to normal everyday occurrences will be different, the people you hang out with are going to be different, and what you do in your free time will be different.

So for a while, a tiny little strip club in the heart of Times Square became my hangout spot.

I don’t know how I ever got into a habit of doing this. I’ve never been a stripper type of guy. But I did perform stand-up comedy at Grammercy Comedy/Strip Club in New York City. I would do comedy there for people who really had no idea why they were watching comedy, and then hang out with strippers.

I learned the dancers names, I learned their real names, but most importantly I learned that strippers are like comics. Sure, they smile and let you stuff a dollar bill in their g-strings but ultimately we are both performers who have to be on stage no matter how we feel and make people happy. One way they’re not like us is that strippers are incredibly hard to pick-up.

At this point, I’d like to introduce a friend who usually accompanied me after hours, Adam. Adam is a good comedian, but he’s even better at picking up strippers. And I’m not talking about the 45-year old who’s on her way out to the stripper retirement home. He’s gotten the best: Rica, Lana, Katrina. A-List strippers who don’t mess around with losers.

I remember my first time out. We got a table off to the side. I was incredibly embarrassed to make eye contact with the naked girls who danced before me, and I felt bad for them because of the predicament they were in. Adam, however, was incredibly outgoing, and made an effort to make conversation. Even more surprising was that he left with a stripper’s phone number.

A freak occurrence? I saw this happen again, again and again and quickly learned the five golden rules.

Strippers are people.
When a stripper approaches be personable but not desperate.
Don’t be cheap.
Make eye contact when they dance. (They’re performers too!)

And the most important rule…


I stress the last rule because in a roomful of guys it’s the only thing that differentiates you from being another customer. I became good. Not the best, but I was certainly more relaxed and was getting closer to picking up a stripper.

Judgment day came in late August. We had wrapped up a comedy show and got our usual table. The club was dead, and a young Persian girl named Hessa sat down beside us. She was an ok looking girl with amazing features. I pretended not to notice.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

I calmly answered “Tarun,” sipped my Corona and looked the other way.

From that point on, Hessa was mine. We mostly talked about the rigors of a performer’s life. How much she hated nights like this where she couldn’t make money, trying to make ends meet and support her family and I did my best to enlighten her about the harsh world of comedy. I couldn’t get over her intelligence. She was like some sort of erotic superhero: Columbia graduate student by day, stripper by night. I thought I made a new friend.

It wasn’t until she grabbed me at 3:00 in the morning and whispered in my ear, “I get off at 4. We’re going to have a good time tonight.” It was on.

I had a date with a stripper. The next hour was probably the toughest of my life and this is where the Indian part of me kicks in, ultimately driving me one-step closer to insanity.

Do I take her home? No, I don’t do one-night stands. Do I take her out for food? By ‘good time’ I don’t think she meant eating omelets.

A two-front war broke out in my head: the hormones vs. the code of ethics.

I’m 25. Have fun... No. Having sex with a stripper underlies every good deed I’ve done in my life… I live for one purpose and one purpose alone… No. I live by my own decisions, not some values delegated by some eight-armed elephant.

Hessa saw me sitting in the corner struggling with my demons and put her hand on my shoulder. “Wanna dance?” I looked up and saw a pretty, half-naked Persian stripper standing before me.

I don’t know what possessed me to get that dance. I think it was a compilation of confusion, anxiety and curiosity. To tell you the truth, she wasn’t even that good.

3:58 am. Hessa stepped off stage, and I approached wearing my coat. “Listen, I –“

She cut me off. ”I’m really tired. Come back again. You know my name.” Any chance I had was gone. I was a customer.

4:30 am. I walked down Broadway with Adam at my side. The night’s peacefulness quelled any leftover tension and washed away the hormones and morals which lay dead on the battlefield.

Adam gave me the chide/make you feel better lecture, “You never get a lap dance, never… she was a dog anyway.”

It was ok. There are few things men can only dream of doing in their lifetimes. Climbing the Swiss Alps, seeing Michealangelo’s Sistene Chapel and for a brief moment I came close to picking up a stripper. 
Tarun ShettyComment