Career girl by day, stripper by night!

Venus Theater stripper by night

Stripper by night; Dozens of professional women are earning more than $1,000 a week lap dancing for finance guys in secret city venues. Is this liberation — or the seediest new way for men to get their rocks off?

Stripper by night; It’s Thursday night at the dimly lit Financial District club Quest, and a 29-year-old male investment banker and a 22-year-old gallery girl in a short, tight sweater dress exchange flirtatious banter.

Her favorite artist is Picasso. He’s always had a fondness for the Midwest, where she grew up.

“You’re a good egg,” the banker says.

“You’re a good egg, too,” she responds with a coy smile.

They get another round while dudes in crew-neck sweaters awkwardly linger by the bar, shelling out $18 a drink, and a group of girls dance by themselves in a circle to Rihanna’s “S&M,” some with plates of baked ziti in hand.

Fifteen minutes later, the young man finally musters the courage to ask her for a dance.

“Sure,” she says. “It’s $20 a song.”

He nods assent, and she grabs his hand and leads him to a back room. There, dozens of guys are seated thigh-to-thigh on three long rows of red banquettes, while nearly nude girls in their early 20s gyrate atop them, the men groping with wild abandon.

Welcome to Saint Venus Theater — a roving amateur strip club that caters mainly to young finance guys looking for a less tacky, more girl-next-door stripping experience, being a stripper by night.

Venus Theater stripper by nightLaunched in 2009 by a man known to his employees as “Rob S.,” a mysterious character who favors a top hat and long ponytail, Saint Venus started off as a members-only, application-based strip den for a small group of Rob’s financier friends. Since then, it has grown, largely by word-of-mouth among its high-spending and attractive clientele, as a much-whispered-about alternative to the typically trashy strip club.

“You go to a regular strip club, and it’s like a f – – king factory,” says Josh, a 24-year-old who works at a digital marketing company and went to Saint Venus for the first time in November. (All patrons and strippers in this story asked to withhold their real names to protect their day jobs.)

“Those girls are there to make money . . . if you try to talk to them and not get a dance, they’ll say, ‘This guy is a waste of my time,’ in some weird foreign accent and walk away.

“The thing at Saint Venus is I could’ve gone to high school or college with any of these chicks,” adds Josh, who’s now been to the club 10 times.

And for all he knows, he did.

Most of the girls at last Thursday’s event — all between the ages of 18 and 26 — have “normal” jobs, but they have always dreamt about being a stripper by night. Among the dozens who work at Saint Venus, one is a baby sitter, another is an intern at a fashion start-up and a third is an assistant at a Chelsea gallery. Yet all are willing to titillate customers with a lap dance for $20 a song (There’s a $50 entry fee, none of which goes to the girls.)

While Saint Venus issues a mailing list for approved subscribers, anyone can find out party details through the club’s MySpace blog, which lists the rotating roster of venues for the thrice-weekly events held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (the password: “Saint Venus Theater”). The legality of the club is unclear, but thorny municipal issues such as cabaret licenses don’t seem to have stopped Rob S. for the last four years.

Events can last until 3 a.m., and a girl can expect to make up to $1,000 a night in lap-dance money, before spilling back out into the street and her normal professional life. It’s a merry-go-round that, from the outside at least, seems exhausting, demeaning and potentially damaging to one’s reputation.

So why would these “good girls,” some of whom have college degrees, risk all that to moonlight as strippers?

“The art gallery doesn’t pay my bills,” says Christine, a 22-year-old who works full time Monday to Friday downtown.

Venus Theater stripper by night“I just want to have more money,” says Lisa, a 22-year-old graduate of a top design school who works unpaid at a fashion start-up. “I want to go shopping.”

As for demeaning and reputation destroying?  Far from it. Lisa says she’s even told her start-up company that she “dances” at night (but didn’t want her name used in this story in case it jeopardizes her job at Saint Venus).

“I’ve always been interested in the sex-worker industry,” Lisa adds. “I just had a feeling that this was something I was going to aspire to.”

In fact, hundreds of girls apply to be strippers at Saint Venus every day via Craigslist, according to Lisa.To get a meeting with Rob S., a girl first must send her photo. She needs to be young, limber and have a fresh, untampered look (fake boobs and professional stripping experience are frowned upon). In October, Christine went in for a first-round test — performing at the club while Rob S. watched — and she passed. Now, she makes anywhere from $400 to $1,000 a night, from which she tips $120 to $140 to the owner and staff.

Last Thursday, Frank, a 31-year-old lawyer, had Christine perform four lap dances for him, but she was “so smart and attractive, it made me a little reluctant to have her strip for me.

“But I still enjoyed it — thoroughly,” he says.

The real-girl appeal — the dancers have occasionally been paid by customers to merely converse — sets Saint Venus apart from its seedy counterparts.

“The guys like it better because they feel like they’re getting a more intimate experience talking to us,” says Alice, a recent college grad in her early 20s from Orange County, Calif., who rakes in $80,000 a year working at Saint Venus.

They’re also getting a more tactile experience when it comes to the lap dances. While it’s forbidden for customers to publicly touch a stripper at a professional club, here clients can fondle or kiss a woman on her mouth, face, even her breasts in full view of other patrons.

“Basically at a regular strip club, you would have to spend probably a minimum of $300 to go upstairs to the Champagne room to do the same sort of thing you can just do whenever you’re at Saint Venus for $20 a song,” says Josh.

Even Saint Venus’ main rule — no below-the-belt touching — is flouted.

“I’ve gotten yelled at before for guys putting my hand on their crotch and me not moving it right away,” says Lisa, a stunning blonde with cascading locks who lives in Brooklyn and has worked regularly at Saint Venus since September. She says she pockets $1,000 dancing two nights weekly. “It’s definitely not as black-and-white as it is at a strip club . . . girls won’t dance with guys that they’re not attracted to, which is kind of cool. You can kind of feel it out and find a guy that you’re interested in, and then approach them or wait for them to talk to you,” she adds.

Unsurprisingly, the customers often ask the strippers out on dates.

“Most guys will ask me to see them outside the club,” says Lisa. “A lot of guys just open with that — ‘Why can’t I meet you outside of here?’ Because I am a stripper by night and a normal girl at day.

But while she admits she has dated patrons, she doesn’t think the club is the place to find love.

“There are more and more good-looking guys every time. I swear. I don’t understand why they come,” says Lisa. “They should be out meeting real girls.”

But one customer says the last thing he’s looking for at Saint Venus is a girlfriend. “If I’m going to a place that is objectifying women, I don’t really care what their day job is,” says Linus, a 34-year-old commercial real estate professional who has been to the club about three times over the years.

“Their job is to shake their ass for me.”

The club has a web site .

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.