Trolls: The etiquette of tipping
On the way home from D.C. today I had an extended conversation with a very friendly, intelligent, handsome, and curious patron who was interested in knowing more about “the biz.” He expressed the concern that he was often shy of tipping dancers, because doing so would mean he was a “troll” (because only “trolls” tip). He thus often refrained from tipping, even when he wanted to, for fear that others would think him desperate or disgusting. The following is a re-cap of what I then explained to him:
There are many types of people in clubs. Some are very well-mannered and kind, regardless of their appearance. Others are not. I think the reason the “trolls” stand out in people’s minds so much is because of the way these types of people carry themselves: They are people (often older men, but not always) who make no effort to mask their aggressive sexual energy. This being the case, they draw attention to themselves. They tend to hover and lasciviously rake a dancer over the coals for a dollar. This, however, is the very smallest minority of people who tip. They are the most visible, but the least common.
All sorts of people tip. Last night alone I was tipped by three young women, an Asian twink, several upper middle class White men in their mid- to late-thirties, a reserved but kindly White gentleman who has generously offered to let me use some of his frequent flier miles, many Black men of various dispositions ranging in age from about 25 to about 50, at least five or so Latinos (one of whom was a “troll”), and also by two affluent Lebanese college students. Those are just the ones I can think of at a moment’s notice. Now that I remember it more clearly, last night there were also several older gentlemen who tipped me repeatedly; however, they were so polite, well-groomed, and gracious that they could hardly be categorized as trolls. Of that entire list of people, only ONE was a troll.
This particular Latino of about 40 years of age was a sloppy drunk who tried to finger me several times. He followed me around the bar harrassing me for my phone number. He said, “I’ve given you so much money. Why won’t you just come home with me?” He’d tipped me a dollar about four times. THIS is a troll, and it has little to do with his age/race/appearance, and far more to do with his attitude/behavior. He was scaring me.
The point is this: Tipping doesn’t make you desparate. It doesn’t make you disgusting. Being an asshole makes you a troll. I asked this person on the phone if he’d noticed, out of the approximately 500 patrons last night, anyone he thought was normal, polite, and/or attractive. He said he definitely had. I then asked if he saw any of these people tipping dancers. He said yes. He went on to say that he didn’t think less of them for tipping. He answered his own questions.
Don’t be afraid to tip, but do approach it with some modicum of respect for the working boy who has fired up your fantasies.