Authors: Greg Raffetto
Why would anyone in their right mind ever quit a cherry job like working for Chippendales? Well, I didn’t.
A good friend of mine, Steve Gears, as I’ve said, was the guy a lot of Chippendales bought their steroids from. Well, I had given Steve a ride to work that day, and when we got to Chippendales, we parked, and Steve left one of his bags in my car…I didn’t think anything of it at the time. We headed up the creaky back stairs and went inside the club to report for work.
Once inside, Steve and I headed right downstairs to the dressing room. I set down my bag and began to change, and Steve went off to talk to one of the dancers first. No sooner had I gotten into my spandexes, collar and cuffs, when down the stairs stormed four uniformed officers!
“STEVEN GEARS!” they shouted out, two of them with guns drawn!
Everybody froze, and Steve slowly stepped out of the shadows, stammering “I’m Steve Gears.”
“WE HAVE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST!”
Steve looked dumbfounded, and his usually-tanned face went white. “What for?” Steve queried.
“FOR ILLEGAL DRUG POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE!”
Suddenly, everybody got a little squirmy, because they figured this was about steroids and could well affect the lives of a number of dancers.
“WHERE’S YOUR BAG?!?” asked one of the officers to Steve.
“It’s right there—the blue one,” said Steve.
The officer picked up the bag and began to search it. From within, the officer pulled out a handful of baggie bindles with white powder inside, holding them up triumphantly in the dim light. “ANYBODY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THESE?!?” the cop asked to the whole room.
Every single dancer and host in the room stood silent, except me, who exclaimed, “What the fuck, Steve?!?”
The cop turned to me and asked, “ARE YOU GREGORY KEITH RAFFETTO?!? IS THAT YOUR SILVER 1989 NISSAN OUT THERE?!? DID YOU GIVE THIS MAN A RIDE TO WORK?!?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
“WELL, THIS WARRANT COVERS YOUR CAR TOO, SON.” I was flabbergasted to be included in this surprising fiasco, and I knew I was
in for some trouble as the manager, Mark Aitkin, glowered at me as I ascended the stairs with the officers.
I accompanied the officers out to my car, and opened it. They were particularly interested in Steve’s other bag, which turned out to have more bindles of what proved to be cocaine in them, along with some illegal steroids, about which the cops also made a big deal about finding. Now I knew that Steve did a little blow here and there, but that hadn’t affected our friendship. I must say I was a bit surprised that he was selling it to some of the guys at Chippendales, and what really pissed me off beyond belief, though, was that he was carrying any of this shit
in my car
After a thorough search of my car, Steve’s entire second bag was confiscated as evidence, as well. I was questioned for awhile outside, by my car, but in the end I was let go. As I walked back up toward the stairs into the club, I saw Steve being led away in handcuffs. He looked at me for a moment, but then his head sunk down and he looked straight at the ground. He looked sullen…sad even. His days at Chippendales were over. Even his usually-ripped muscles looked saggy as he was led away in shame.
Holy Crap, what a clusterfuck this was! I looked up those stairs that led into the back of the club, and wondered what awaited me when I got inside. Would I still have a job? I began to slowly ascend the rickety
stairwell, and, I don’t know why, but I noticed for a moment that it hadn’t been painted in years. I guess just so I could think about something else—anything else--if only for a moment. I knew I was going up it now for what might very well be the last time. I opened the creaky rear door, and then nervously eased my way down the staircase back into the dank dressing room. Nobody spoke to me--nobody even looked at me. As I approached my bag, which looked as though it had been searched, I felt a tap on my left shoulder. It was the manager, Mark. All he said was, “Get your shit and go…you’re gone!” I quickly retorted, “But I had no idea that Steve had that shit with him…I only gave him a ride to work!” “I don’t care,” said Mark, “you’re fired!” And with that, Mark stared me down for a moment…stared me down until I finally averted my own eyes to the ground in the undeserved but palpable shame. I guess when you give a ride to a guy like Steve, you never know what he might be carrying. Was I partially to blame for this? My head spun momentarily in confusion over the issue of culpability, but I quickly came to the conclusion that, no, I was not to blame here! I raised my head to give another shot to arguing for my job back, but when I looked up, Mark was gone. I looked around the room, but again, everybody averted their gaze from me. I was a pariah.
It was clear to me that no amount of begging or pleading would get my job back. I was through. And I was. Not just there at the club, but for promotional work as well.
And thus endeth my days as a Chippendale.
As I reflect back on my career at Chippendales, a few things come to mind.
Firstly, I am glad that I was always nice to everybody equally. There’s nothing worse for women coming to Chippendales to have a good time and see a bunch of hosts crowding around only the pretty young girls. Everybody needs love—women of all shapes, sizes, ages and races. This was always the
at Chippendales, but unfortunately, not everybody followed it.
Secondly, I do regret not taking more pictures to keep for myself, and I regret not inviting more of my high school and college chums to come see me. I especially regret not inviting my mom
to come and see me. I regret not taking down notes at the time I was working there—I think on some level I always knew that I was going to write a book.
I do regret having sex with that married lady, Jeannette, because of that whole “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” commandment and all. I mean, I’m sure I’ve had sex with other married women in my lifetime and not known it, but this lady, well…I
she was married.
I regret using steroids, because they messed up my hormonal system, the effects of which I still suffer today. Plus, the steroids changed my body type from being a slim, surfer type into a more muscular body-builder type, and now its harder to keep the weight off.
regret being friends with Steve Gears, he was a good friend…
and he is still a good friend to this day and a good human being. He is no longer involved with drugs. He is a consummate father and a hard working man whom I am proud to call my friend.
I regret not pursuing Ma
rlo as a long-term relationship at the time, but not so much these days as I am in a great relationship with a wonderful gal these days. Her name is Diane and I intend to marry her.
I do regret not listening closer to God when he spoke to me along the Kailua Bay beach in Hawaii, or at least not implementing sooner what I was told—quality not quantity. If I’d looked for that sooner in my life, maybe I’d be happily married today
with a family. As it is, I am 44
years old, single and still looking, and I’ve passed up the few “keepers” that I’ve met in my life. Some other men who were wiser than me snapped them up and are now happily married to these women.
not fighting my dismissal with a “wrongful termination” lawsuit. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have won. Matter of
fact, if I had it to do over again, I think I might very well have bailed on law school entirely
(or at least postponed it)
and continued working with Chippendales on the tour groups and just saved my money. I guess I am, and will always be…a Chippendale at heart.
I also have some words of caution to any young men (and women) interested in getting involved in the seemingly glorified world of exotic dancing, and, frankly, for all young people who think that this book glorifies the notion of casual sex and many sex partners. Beware of de-personalizing sex. Beware of having sex without intimacy. You will find yourself in your 30s or even 40s (like me) with no family, no kids, and feeling like the world has passed you by. All the “keepers”
(upon reflection, there will be
least a handful of them
if you’re really lucky
) that you met during your casual dating career will now be married with kids and you will be left behind, single and lonely. You have to wake up and realize that sex without intimacy is a road that leads to nowhere. I am speaking from wisdom and experience here. Take it to heart
, any of you would-be Chippendales dancers! As you should all take it to heart. Love is the answer, not just sex.