Authors: Greg Raffetto
was gonna be in charge from here on out. I made up my mind of it. No bullshit. And you know what happened? I was! No more amateur hour for me—once I put my mind to it, I was a born shmoozer almost from the start (well, after I got through my initial bungling, anyway). I tell you, once I got the hang of it, I was born for this job. With an endless stream of ‘hi how are ya,’ ‘my don’t you look beautiful,’ and ‘whatcha ladies celebrating this evening,’ ...I was a hit. I could talk up a whole group while making each individual woman feel beautiful and appreciated. This became more and more of a task as the stairwell filled up and there were more and more groups to single-handedly entertain and at the same time hold at bay. It was truly an art, and I quickly became its master. I even made money at it, and greeters weren’t supposed to make money, but these ladies came equipped with purses full of ones, and by the time they were finally let into the club, I, being their only Chippendale for the first half hour or so, had collected quite a few of them.
Apparently, no other greeter before me had done nearly so well—previously, they’d chosen to just stand there, arms crossed, stoic, with little crowd interaction. I figured that I was doing all the waiters and dancers inside a favor by ‘whooping up’ the crowd a bit, and I was, really, even if they went in a few dollars lighter.
By the time the club was ready to officially open, I had been single-handedly entertaining no less than thirty women all by myself for some forty-five minutes. It was a Herculean task that I had accomplished, with little to no instruction, all on my first night, and I was beginning to feel the strain. Then I got the nod from Geneva to start letting the ladies in, one party at a time. My job wasn’t over then, not by a long-shot. While each group of ladies was paying at the window, I had another one-on-one flirt session with the ‘on-deck’ group, trying as best I could to remember names and what they’d told me as to their special occasion for visiting Chippendales that night. Frankly, this was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole night for me—it was like taking a final exam remembering all those names and information! As the ladies trickled in their focus was not all upon me, however—a few of the smarter waiters would peek back at the ladies in line and try to entice them to sit in their section. Thursdays were a slow night, and we rarely filled up all the way, so a full section meant more money for a good waiter. A lot of the ladies in line asked me if I were going to wait on them when they got in, and I was genuinely flattered at their evident disappointment to learn that I was merely a host and not a waiter. I promised them that I would come in and visit them as they sat, though, not knowing whether I was really supposed to do this or not. My job
description, as I’d been told, was just simply to “talk to the ladies,” so I figured that I was in the clear on that.
After awhile the line at the front had cleared, but still, I couldn’t head in to the club right away. My job, Geneva said, was to stay at the front of the nightclub, greeting ladies as they came in, including the late stragglers. I was only permitted to go inside and chat with the ladies right around the time the show was about to start, give or take half an hour, or basically,
IF AND WHEN
me I could go.
As showtime approached, the pre-show music played, and intermittent cheers could be heard from the main showroom. I became more and more curious, and anxious to go and at least peek into the main ballroom where all of these glorious goings-on were taking place. I could only imagine what was happening in the darkly-lit auditorium, music blaring, drinks being drunk, and twenty or so Chippendales men scampering about amidst all these ladies who’d already acted outrageously some 30 minutes ago in the presence of only one Chippendale, (and with
alcohol, crammed together at the top of a lit staircase.) Surely these ladies were going bonkers by now!
Finally, Geneva gave me the go-ahead, and I was released from greeter service, and my job description immediately changed to generic “host,” of which it was my understanding that there were perhaps ten more inside. But as much as I cared about doing a good job, for this first few
minutes, I cared not about doing my job, but rather, I was just going to watch and listen. I could only imagine what was around that corner. I turned to Geneva one last time, and asked, “Any last words of advice?” “No honey, you’re doing a good job so far. You just go on out there and keep on doin’ what you’re doin’ and talk to those ladies. Make ‘em feel special. Go on now.”
And with that, I turned and approached the corner to the ballroom, the music growing in intensity with every step, the cheers and chatter ever louder.
And then, I stepped out into the thick of it all, and I saw it. I saw it all, in its spectacle, its glory—Chippendales—and it was truly a sight to behold. The first thing that strikes you is, that it couldn’t be anything like a women’s strip club, where I’d heard there are very specific rules for touching and decorum and what not. It wasn’t at all like that. Here’s about 20 or so guys, all in spandex pants and no shirts, all walking around, standing, sitting in laps, and all generally being, for lack of a better word, MANhandled, by groups of voracious, out-of-control, cheering women! It was as if an orgy was about to break out! Nay, not an orgy, more like a roomful of mass women-on-man gang-rapes or something! And what really stuck out was that, all the while, each Chippendale was holding his composure, just acting as if all this were normal—each of them acting as if the only thing that was going between himself and the group of women was a regular clothes-on, non-groped, highbrow type conversation! Jeez, and I thought it was difficult dealing with these women when they were SOBER! Was I ready to dive into the trenches again? I didn’t think so, but my job required it…and so you know what I did? Hell, I’m no glutton for punishment--I sat there and
for about another twenty minutes!
By the time I finally got around to joining the crowd, the show was starting, the music changed and “
Ladies, ladies, ladies…!!!
” could be heard on the intercom…the introduction, I supposed. The showroom arose with a giant cheer, and the big velvet curtain began to open. I was about to see the Chippendales show, live in concert, for the first time. I noticed that, as the show was starting, a lot of the hosts took positions sitting on laps of or next to ladies in the audience. I figured it was probably about time I set forth and started flirting with some ladies again, so I selected a table near me, and attempted to do the same. My buttocks were immediately greeted by grabs and gropes, even before the ladies realized who I was. When they did, they said hello to their former line greeter, and then they promptly set about fighting over whose lap I would sit in, which was gratifying, I must say. OOOH,
gratifying--some girl was grabbing my man-package again! It was the birthday girl, Heather. I scooted over between her and her friend, and you’d think that would deter the gal, but no—some 30 seconds later, Heather just slides her hand right back down my trousers and starts to knead my dough! Just then, their waiter returned with another tray of drinks. I took the opportunity to move and so I stood up, and moved to the other side of the table, to where the birthday girl’s
was. Yes, the birthday girl had been trying to give me a handjob with her
sitting directly across the table from her!
I must have hopped to and from about ten different tables that night, and I made a fair amount of tips in the process. I wasn’t sure just how much at the time, but it was enough that I was glad that my spandex trousers were tucked into my boots, lest I lose some. I hadn’t yet bought a fanny pack, as I saw that most of the other Chippendales wore.
As the show bore onward, I was pulled aside twice by two different waiters for a stern talking to. Turns out, I caught a little bit of flak on my first night for talking to the ladies
in certain sections. Certain waiters wanted to be the recipient of ALL the tips that their group of ladies had brought that night, and did not want hosts to be “chatting up” their tables too much, lest they lose out on some of that often too-finite tip money. “Hey, I’m just trying to do my job,” I offered as an excuse, but they would have none of it. I was told that I needn’t flirt so much with the ladies in
sections—these waiters were, in their own UN-humble opinion, apparently, all the Chippendale “their” ladies needed. Yes, they spoke of “their” ladies in the possessive. The whole thing reminded me of those specials you see on TV of the mating habits of hyenas or silverbacked gorillas. These guys might as well have grunted emphatically and
hurled their poo
at me, whilst
on the ladies in their section just to ‘mark’ them!
By the time the show was over, I was exhausted. The ladies in the audience did not leave right away, at least not all of them. There was significant ‘digit exchange,’ I noticed. I wondered how many phone numbers a waiter got in the space of one evening. I was soon to find out as I entered the men’s bathroom to take a leak.
There was one thing that first struck me in that men’s bathroom—farts! Some of these guys must’ve been holding ‘em in all night. And it was as if there were a gold medal going to the loudest and longest. One waiter who walked in just after me stopped, set down his tray, and ceremoniously lifted his left leg and let out a ripper of behemoth proportions! I was just there to use the urinal, but I lingered a bit to take in the ‘afterglow’ of the show. After I got used to the rancid aroma of the gaseous clouds, here were roughly ten waiters counting out stacks and stacks of bills, each announcing their totals in obvious competition with one another. Their totals ran anywhere from one-twenty something on up to the winner’s tally of two-hundred six! It was John-Paul. No wonder he was so protective of ‘his’ ladies. I walked out. Nobody had asked my name; nobody had even acknowledged my presence there, and I didn’t really feel much like piping up and saying “HI” like some sort of a boob. They’d get to know me as time
went on, I figured. I was low guy on the totem pole, at this point, and I knew it, and they knew it, and if for some reason I had forgotten my position for a moment, I’m sure they’d have found some other way to remind me of it—besides the obvious current tactic of ignoring me, of course. I exited the bathroom without being noticed or spoken to by a single soul.
As the last few groups of ladies trickled out, the lights came on and it was clear that it was time to go for everyone. The birthday girl, Heather, stuffed one last bill into my spandex pants and kissed me on the cheek. “Goodbye, Greg. You were my favorite!” As she passed forth, her mother thanked me graciously, and handed me a bill—a TEN! I was grateful for her generosity, and gave her my best bear hug, ending it with a kiss on the cheek. The mother’s face had turned beet red as I let her go on her way. As she rounded the corner, she looked back and stole one last glimpse at me, turning all the redder as she did. Well, that settled it for sure, I thought. I was definitely a Chippendale now. I had survived my first night at the show, and was not too much the worse for wear. I went and thanked Geneva for getting me through the night, and collected that all-important first Chippendale dollar, stuffing it down my right boot for safekeeping. As the first few of the hosts began to trail out of the nightclub, I, exhausted, grabbed my bag, and trailed out with them. Not one of them said ‘hello’ or even nodded in my direction for acknowledgement. I got into my car, and
drove home. Though I had not drank any alcohol, I felt oddly buzzed, so I was extra careful.
When I arrived home, my roommate Dave was waiting anxiously for news of my new dream job.
“So how was it? Did you get laid? How much money did you make?” he asked, pelting me in rapid succession with queries.
I replied, “It was interesting,” (though surreal would have been a better word), “No, I did not get laid, but I sure got groped a lot. I practically got a handjob.”
“No WAY!” says Dave, excited like a schoolboy on the day before summer vacation. “How much did you make?”
“Well, not counting eight fifty an hour in my paycheck, let’s see,” at which I pulled down my spandex trousers, revealing a cascade of crumpled bills, all falling to the floor in a glorious patter.
“HA!” Dave laughs, “Let’s count ‘em!” he blurts out, eager as much as I was. Now it wasn’t the counting that was difficult—it was the smoothing out of the bills that took time. All in all, I had made thirty-seven dollars in tips on my first night as a Chippendales host—not a bad haul, it turns out. Thirty eight, when you count my “First Chippendale Dollar,” which I would never spend. I have held on to that dollar to this day, and, as
per Geneva’s instructions, I do intend on showing it to my little spandex-clad grandkids!