I spent the summer of 2016 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Without a doubt, it was one of the best summers of my life. While the town might not be as quaint as it was in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, it still has that small, beach town charm. Not to mention that incredible feeling of walking down the street holding hands with the man you love, not worrying what other people might be thinking. What’s more, being surrounded by other gay men, all of whom are on vacation, is a beautiful and empowering experience.
While I was there, I wanted to become a part of the community by getting a job in town. Since all of the bartending gigs were full, I became a go-go dancer. I had never danced professionally before (though I lied to the bar owner about my vast experience).
A week later I stripped down to my jock, got up on a box and started earning coins while shaking my hairy booty.
As you might imagine, I experienced quite a few things as a go-go dancer in Provincetown. The majority were great, and some were less than ideal. I also learned a few things about how to treat half-naked performers who are up on stage for your viewing pleasure.
Here are some things all gay men should know about how to treat a go-go dancer:
Tip your go-go dancer.
We’re not doing this out of the goodness of our heart. Many of us love what we do and have fun doing it, but we can’t pay rent with all the fun we had. We pay with coins. If you find yourself watching and appreciating a go-go boy, tip him. It’s that simple.
No, don’t offer to buy your go-go dancer a drink.
I was surprised by the number of guys who offered to buy me a drink. Dancers get drinks for free. We’d rather take your nine dollars instead of you giving it to the bar, thankyouverymuch. If you really want to be helpful (and flirty), go to the bar and say you’re grabbing a bottle of water for the dancer. They’re not going to charge you. If you surprise a go-go dancer with a bottle of water, that’ll really catch his attention.
You can touch us (respectfully).
It’s usually OK to touch respectfully. Often, if you get close, the go-go dancer will either present his front or behind for you to touch. That said, don’t grab him forcefully. Don’t try to finger his butthole. (Seriously, don’t. That’s neither what he wants nor what he signed up for.) And don’t squeeze his balls so hard they feel like they’re going to pop.
I can’t tell you the number of drunk guys who have done that. It’s like, I told you it was OK to touch, but let’s not take a mile when I gave you an inch … or eight. And, as you might suspect, if you’re touching a go-go dancer, you know what you should do? You guessed it: tip. (Sensing a theme here?)
Yes, we can hear you.
This one I find truly perplexing. We can hear what you say. We love it when we hear you say, “Oh my god, he’s so hot.” We don’t love it when we hear you say, “He’s not even that cute. Why is he up there?” While we might not be speaking to you, that doesn’t mean we can’t hear you. Now you know.
We don’t bite … unless you want us to.
We enjoy what we’re doing up there. We’re dancing around in our underwear and getting paid for it! While working in Ptown, there was always at least one group of guys each night who were off in the distance, too afraid to engage or approach me. They were too embarrassed to tip (or put the cash in my jock). They were too embarrassed to even look. Honey, we’re there to be looked at. Go ahead and talk to us.
Most of us are just normal gay and bi men.
By this, I mean that after work we may be down to hang. We may even be down to hook up. Often that’s not the case because we’re exhausted from dancing, but some nights — especially if we don’t have work the next day — we could be down to hang out, have some fun, hookup, live a little. We’re not always flirting with you just for tips.
So go out and have some fun. Tip your dancers. Flirt a little. Treat us with respect, and we’ll keep shaking our bubble butts right in your pretty little faces.
What do you think of these tips from a go-go dancer? Have any stories of your own to share?
This story was originally published on Dec. 11, 2017