So, Forbes found out that a bunch of Silicon Valley types have picked up the habit of taking their lunch at a San Francisco mammary mecca called the Gold Club.
On a warm Friday afternoon in April, eight men line up outside of a vault-like door in San Francisco’s South of Market district for lunch. Dressed casually in t-shirts and hoodies, they avert their eyes from passersby, shuffling their feet as they approach an affable bouncer in a suit, who makes light conversation and checks their IDs.
After gaining entry, the men are greeted by the unmistakable electronic notes of Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter” and pay a cashier their $5 cover fees. They make their way into a dark main room, but before heading to the rice pilaf and fried chicken buffet, they stop to watch the stage where a topless woman in a neon yellow G-string slings herself around a pole and is subsequently showered with green bills.
Wow! Rice pilaf?
While the old "lunch at the strip club" routine is nothing too out of the ordinary in the cultures of finance or sales, the idea of nerds shoveling spiced rice into their gaping maws while a woman undulates topless is apparently still quite novel in the tech world.
Like most things in tech, they also seem to be adorably under the impression that they invented it.
“People are stuck in offices all day staring at computer screens,” said another worker from a fast-growing tech firm who began going to the Gold Club in 2012. He also declined to be named because of the club’s taboo reputation. “Why not go eat at a buffet and see some girls with their clothes off at the same time?”
Yup. That's pretty much the deal right there.
The insular and hyper-self aware culture of tech is particularly smothering in Silicon Valley. Accusations of this trend being another symptom of Tech's misogynist culture are apparently flying all over the place, making the whole thing a little bit... touchy.
Business deals are happening every day at the Gold Club every day said [Gold Club Manager] Prime, who noted that he frequently has CEO visitors and hosts events where companies will rent out the whole venue. “Several [tech companies] have gone public now that can’t come here anymore,” said Prime.
But on the flip side, it makes some sense that people want to get away from the overwhelming drumbeat of their professional lives and indulge in some illicit midday behavior. In San Francisco, where the tech world infuses everything, that's not easy, so techies are looking for refuge in the cozy confines of a strip club.
How's that working out for them?
Pay can vary day-to-day, said Tiffany, a former dancer who declined to give her real name because she may go back to work at the Gold Club. Tiffany was a former head of media sales at a prominent Bay Area tech firm who gave up her steady nine-to-five to strip because she said it looked fun and less stressful than her desk job. Prior to working at the Gold Club she took sales clients there for business meetings.
“I was able to regularly get a higher number of dances and I would attribute that not to my dancing skills but my ability to talk technology,” she said. “I threw guys for a loop because I knew the difference between multi-tenant SAAS and cloud computing.”
Hmm, maybe these guys should try lunch in the park?