Read Backstage At Chippendales Online

Authors: Greg Raffetto

Backstage At Chippendales (4 page)

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Chapter Nine
Promotion To Waiter…Temporarily?



So I had been doing a great job as a host for several months now, that much was obvious.   In fact, I was doing such a great job at the front door that I found myself in something of a catch-22, because as tremendous a job as I was doing as the door greeter, the Chippendales management still did not want to promote me and thus lose me as their greeter.  I had served in that capacity for some time now, and it was the most difficult job to do as a host, so it would be equally difficult to find an adequate replacement.  Still, I wanted to be a regular host (or even a waiter, if possible), so I could make more money on the inside of the club.  Regardless, much as I deserved to be promoted, the management simply didn’t want to lose me as an asset as their front door greeter,
did they want to break precedent by paying me any more than the regular base pay that they had paid ALL Chippendales for years and years, be they dancers, waiters or hosts.  And so, the ladies kept on asking why couldn’t see me inside, and I kept making peanuts for pay.  You see the good tips came when the ladies had more alcohol in them—inside—and I was missing about half of this time while standing at the front door, even if I did make a few bucks there.

After a few months, I started really pushing to be promoted straight to waiter, and it was indeed agreed that I deserved to be promoted for the



excellent job I had been doing for so many months. However, there was seniority to deal with.  The owner, Steve Bannerjee, explained to me that there were guys at Chippendales who had been hosts for five years and had still not been promoted to waiter. Luckily, the owner of the club, who had personally discovered me, really took a liking to me, and so my lack of seniority as a host was set aside, and I was put into the waitstaff pool.

Finally, it was my first night as a waiter. I showed up early, partly just to coach the new guy, Vince, who would be working the front door (as
had done for me.)  There was trouble from the start. It was obvious that Vince had the bubbly personality, you see, but not the brains—not the brains to remember the women’s names and special occasions as he came back to each of them while they were ‘on deck’ awaiting the next opening at the ticket booth.  I would have put my foot down and stepped back in, but I was anxious to make some of that waiter money, and so I did my best to coach him, and then I let it all slide, and I slunk away, slip slidin’ my way into my new waiter position.

When the waiters saw me appearing with a waiters’ tray, they flipped. I had not the seniority to be a waiter.  I was still a ‘new guy’ to them, so who was I to be a waiter?  And when my place in the rotation on a Thursday night had actually displaced one of their own, well that was it—they were




mad.  I didn’t have the heart to tell any of them that I had absolutely NO table waiting experience on top of that.  Jeez these guys were angry!

As I said, my first night was a Thursday, the slowest day of the week, and I was given the slowest section, so, for all I knew, I wouldn’t have more than one or two tables full of ladies.  It shouldn’t be that difficult. Or so I thought. Waiting tables is tougher work than you’d think, for those of you that haven’t done it. And as it turned out, I was ill-prepared, as well as inept.

So I had to wait just about until the show had started before I got one of my tables filled—as it turned out, the only one that would fill that night.  The occupants turned out to be a party of politicos, led by a high-profile city councilwoman!  I did my best not to show my nervousness or my lack of experience as a waiter, and when the butt-grabbing began, it became apparent that these ladies probably wouldn’t notice. Now you’d think that the city councilwoman would be the one with the most composure, but boy, you’d be wrong.  She was the first one to invite me to sit on her lap! And thankfully she took a liking to me, because not five minutes later, I was busy spilling her first long island iced tea directly into that same lap!  Turns out, I was not a very talented waiter, when it came to the actual drink-serving skills. Now thank God, their first round had been ALL long island iced teas, and so I didn’t have to remember too much, but to spill the first drink of seven right directly into the lap of a high-profile city councilwoman…well, I



was mortified.  At first, her eyes just bulged out in shock, and the table fell silent. But then, God bless her heart, the woman just broke out into laughter, and I was passing out napkin stack after napkin stack to the poor woman, who dabbed up the mess with good humor and aplomb.  One of her cohorts passed her one of the other long island iced teas to help drown the sorrow of a damp lap, and the moment had passed before I knew it.  I scurried back with another long island, this one, on the house.  There goes my tip, I thought.  

Now I was already an
flirt, but to make up for my blunder, I worked this table
.  It was my only table, anyway.  And besides, they were an office group working for a famous councilwoman, and I was going to law school in a year, which was a point which I made sure to come out during our conversation—I’m not sure why, political connections? More tips? Maybe I just wanted these successful politicos to know that I was more than just a pretty face—odd, what your ego will do, isn’t it?  I gave hugs and kisses on the cheek and lips, took pictures, sat reverse style in various laps, grinding my pelvis into each of theirs—I worked it.

So, via my Herculean flirting skills, I got through the evening of groping and fondling, and I only got a few of their drink orders wrong. I didn’t spill anymore cocktails on anyone, but I did have trouble making change, as I had not shown up with the prerequisite stack of fifty dollars in




change (mostly ones, if you’re smart) for my first shift as a waiter, but all in all, I think, I did okay, considering. I still couldn’t get that first spilt drink out of my mind, though. The end of the night came, and I had to run a credit card, which I had never done before, an American Express Gold card, from the councilwoman in charge. The bartender did it for me, it came to one hundred seventy-something dollars, and away I went to bring the slip back for signing…without a pen, like an idiot. Luckily, the city councilwoman had a pen on her, and with that pen, she wrote me out a tip of TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!  More than the cost of the drinks!  I was astonished--nay flabbergasted, and I asked her if this was correct.  She looks up at me and says, “Law school is expensive, Greg.  You save that for books.”  “I will,” I stammered, still in shock at her generosity.  And with that, my first table full of women got up and were on their way.  I came to the bartender, and “cashed out” (got my $200 on the tip) and headed for the men’s room to set about the ritual of counting my tips—I was a waiter now!  I was the first one in there, but I felt the need to let out a ceremonial fart, just to mark my entrance, just like all the other real waiters did.  Squeak!  It wasn’t much of a fart, but it had been a great night just the same. 

Slowly and with deliberation I removed each bill from my fanny pack and spandex pants.  I’d learned that, usually, you left tips in your spandex




pants where the ladies would stuff them, only removing them when out of view from the ladies who put them there, as it would be rude to remove them immediately. But, if you didn’t remove them at some point and put them in your fanny pack, pretty soon your spandex pants would look lumpy and unflattering, and some of the bills would fall down your pantlegs, so a fanny pack was a must.  

Anyway, first I set to the task of uncrumpling, then flattening each on my waiters tray--mostly ones, but there were three FIVES! I was pretty sure I’d
I had seen some fives being waved about and going into my trousers, but I wasn’t sure until now.  These ladies at my table had been good to me indeed.  Just as I had begun to count my trove, two other waiters walked in, talking to each other, still ignoring me as the ‘new guy.’  They’d been in the bathroom some thirty seconds now and just as I caught myself thinking “what, no farts?” one of them, Rick, let out a huge ripper.  The other waiters trailed in, each following suit, the talk centering around what a slow night it had been, AND, of course, how the other waiters had missed Rick’s
huge ripper
.  Puerile bastards, but I was one of them now.  Soon came the announcements of how much each waiter had ‘taken’ that night, the first one being only seventy something dollars, the next ninety something, with only two waiters breaking one hundred dollars.  When they




were done, they all turned to me—finally some acknowledgement that I was there—and yet at the time when I was a bit embarrassed as to how much I had made.  “What’d you make, new guy?” “yeah, how much?” came the clamoring query.

In a timid tone, I replied, “Two-hundred thirty-six dollars?” 

“Oh, bullshit—you had ONE table!” came the retort from John Paul, “let me see.”

“No, really,” I said, “they gave me a two-hundred dollar tip.”

“Aaawwwww @!#%!!!” came the response from the remainder of the waiters, glowering at their lack of luck in not having that particular group of ladies in their section.  Not one of them congratulated me—in fact, they seemed pissed.  It was as if, as far as they were concerned,
had literally taken that two hundred dollar tip
right out of each one of their pockets
.  You’d think I had outright
money from each of them.  What a bunch of nasty, jealous prima donnas!

When I came to work the next day, my name was no longer on the waitstaff schedule. Was it a mistake? Or had the tight-knit clan of waiters jealously nixed me from their group? I decided to go straight to the manager, Mark Aitken, and ask him what was up. After all, there were more tables to be waited on a Fridays than on a Thursday, and hence my presence as a




waiter displaced someone whom was at least further down on the waitstaff totem pole.  Mark’s hemming and hawing told me the real story.  I had been blackballed.  Those prima donna waiters had complained about my promotion and now I was no longer a waiter!

Chapter Ten
Souvenir Sales: My Own Little Money Factory



And so it was that my first run as a waiter was short-lived, then, and yet I had
the financial returns, and I would not be so easily rebuffed.  Luckily for me, by the next weekend, another opening came about that would lead me down the road to even greater financial gain.

The souvenir salesman, David, who was also a bartender, had long thought the position of souvenir sales was beneath him, and so he wanted to quit that portion of his duties.  Being temporarily banned from the waitstaff pool due to my lack of seniority, I leapt at the opportunity.  I knew that that I could do a much better job than David had been doing.  I had held jobs in clothing sales and was quite good at it, and besides, there was much room for improvement in what was currently being done to sell those Chippendales, T-shirts, tank tops, sweat shirts, calendars, mugs, G-strings, etc.  I proposed to the manager that I would take over as merchandise sales manager (that’s how I put it, rather than just ‘souvenir sales’) and I bet the club manager that I could
the usual sales figures
inside of a month
, if they would just give me the center rear bar area for sales, which was vacant at that time.  They gave me the job, and the center bar sales nook to display the merchandise.  It was a cinch, I figured.  Previously, there was a point only
a show where David had come up at the front of the ballroom and




held his wares, each rolled up tight and placed in a big wooden tray, huckster style, like peanuts at a baseball game.  The rest of the show, he was tough to find.  I was going to be available all night long.  More importantly, I knew enough about merchandising to actually DISPLAY my wares upon the wall behind me, so that women could see what they wanted, THEN decide to buy it, mostly on impulse.  Well, as it turns out, I didn’t just double the sales within the first month,
I more than
sales on my
first night!
  At 20 percent commission on each item I sold, I was making as much as the waiters were making.  I had spent only two days ‘down’ making little money as a host, and already, I was on top again.   What’s more, I learned that if I stayed behind my sales bar all night, the women who wanted to talk to me would HAVE to come up and buy something.  When they did come up, I would flirt with them like crazy, take pictures, etc.  Because I was the only surfer-looking Chippendale (blonde hair, blue eyes, thin and tan), if
was the type of guy you were attracted to, you had to come up to
and my booth and buy something just to take pictures with me. I was a Chippendale sales machine.

One day, a few months into my Chippendales merchandise sales career, I was unceremoniously audited by the wife, Irene, of the club owner simply because my sales figures were so high.  She made me give her my




whole fanny pack, and she just started ripping through it, as though I was stealing or something. Now the Chippendales method of accounting was quite lax, and probably did leave room for stealing for those so inclined, but it always left me incensed that the mere opportunity for shenanigans was thought to mean that
just that
going on.  No ‘thanks for doing such a great job, Greg, just a suspicious scowl the whole time. Not even a ‘sorry’ at the end of it all when everything checked out.  Maybe it was because there’s just a lot of theft that goes on in nightclubs, maybe it was because they didn’t like writing me those huge commission checks, I don’t know, but I’ll tell you, that lady was one hellacious bitch. No one liked her, but everyone was super nice to her because everyone was afraid of her, and now I knew why. That was one big bad bitch.  I always steered clear of her from that point onward. Yikes.

One night, while conducting my usual sales empire, I was approached by a very pretty, well dressed, inebriated woman.  This was nothing new.  What was new, was that she tried to purchase my
on her American Express Platinum Card…for two thousand dollars no less! I turned down her offer out of principle, but I did not turn down her advances. Lindsay was a beautiful woman, 34, a purchasing executive at a well-known fashion merchandiser. Just after the show found us on the top balcony,




making out.  We were a mass of arms and legs atop one another in the dark booth.  Before I knew it, Lindsay was giving me a wicked handi
, that is, until some cock-blocker turned the lights on and it was time for everyone to go home.
Interruptus!  I walked her to her car, and we exchanged telephone numbers.  She wanted me to go home with her, and I would have, were it not for the fact that she had tried to prostitute me not two hours earlier.  As I walked back up the stairs into the club, I became aware that I’d lost my fanny pack with all my money in it!  I remembered taking it off when I was making out with Lindsay on the balcony, so I booked upstairs to go retrieve it.  The cleaning staff had already been through there though, and wouldn’t you know it, “nobody had found anything” was the story.  Luckily, I’d already turned in my cash from sales, but I still had over three hundred dollars left in that pack!  So, the woman who tried to “buy” my services as a stud, had in fact cost me my whole night’s pay plus what I’d brought in with me for change.  I went down to the manager’s office to complain, because I knew the cleaning staff had my fannypack, but to no avail.  I was shit out of luck.

I had to buy a new fannypack the next day, and withdraw two-hundred dollars from my own bank account just to have adequate change for





the next work day.  What a total loss.  But it was a good hand-job, I have to say.  

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