Dawn Green Interview
(Mgr. of Diamond Dolls)

You've seen the dancers at Diamond Dolls; but have you ever wondered what it's like to manage such an establishment?

Dawn Green knows.

She's the manager of Diamond Dolls.

We talked with her recently about her job and the business of Exotic Dancing in Syracuse.

Q. Dawn, Syracuse is at an interesting point now. Many businesses have closed down, and people have moved out. Yet, for some strange reason, we're seeing more Adult Entertainment Clubs opening. What's going on here? Are people just discovering nude dancing in Syracuse?
A. I don't think so. I think Syracuse is very happy with what they've got, but, now they're coming up with quality. We, here at Diamond Dolls, wrap the neighborhood bar, restaurant, with adult entertainment all into one, and I think more clubs are beginning to do that, across the country. When you have everything, people don't have to leave. If you have an atmosphere that's friendly; so many of the strip clubs I've worked in have just been strip clubs. The girls just danced. You just make money. You don't learn the guys’ names. You don't know who they are. I think a lot of the businesses are going towards that, a more personal approach. Knowing people personally. You're not just another face. Everybody knows everybody. Syracuse went from a swing of a few topless clubs to nude clubs. Having managed a nude club in Syracuse, I think Syracuse is beginning to swing back. The fascination is lost.

Q. With totally nude dancers?
A. Yes. You've seen it. You see the same people. I think men in general, like to use their imagination a little bit more.

Q. I'm sure you have your regulars here at Diamond Dolls. But, really, what keeps people coming back for more? It's my idea, that the guys think the dancers will one day become their girlfriends.
A. They do, and that's what keeps us in business. As long as that fantasy is there, that' what keep us in business. When they first walk through the door that's maybe what they come in for. But, here, between my waitresses, my barmaids, d.j.'s, everybody's very friendly. We want people to come back. You know, you're nice to people, and you know something about them, and you can sit down and converse with them, they'll come back. I like the idea of having people come in that I know. How was your day? How are your kids? That's what ultimately brings people back. Yeah, there's a new girl this week, and a new girl next week and we all have our fantasies, and she may be back, and I might have a chance, but, they come back ultimately to see everybody.

Q. Diamond Dolls is not a bottomless bar. It's a topless bar. Why topless?
A. Alcohol. You cannot serve alcohol in a bottomless bar. It's against New York State Law.

Q. What's the reasoning behind that? Is there a fear that if a guy has a few drinks and sees a nude woman on stage, hell get rowdy?
A. Possibly. I don't know what New York State's reasoning was. Nude clubs don't run under the Liquor Authority. They run under Entertainment Licenses. Technically, they're not called Strip Clubs or Strip Bars, they're Show Clubs. Different titles fall under different laws. I don't have a problem with the underage here. Everybody's 21. My customers are 21 and over. That's one of the problems with a Nude Club. You get a lot of the younger crowd. Let's face it; I make more money than a Nude Club, because I sell alcohol. Bottom line. To trade off the alcohol for a nude club, just isn't worth it.

Q. Are the bottomless clubs competition for you in any way?
A. No.

Q. So, besides the liquor, what are you offering that the bottomless clubs are not offering? I see that you have a full service kitchen.
A. Yeah. You get to eat. We offer the alcohol. The girls don't make most of their money onstage. So, when they do come offstage, they mingle with the customers. The nude clubs I've worked in, you make your money onstage, and you don't necessarily have to sit down and talk to anybody. You don't get to know anybody. There isn't the personal contact, of saying 'Hello, how are you doing? How are the kids? How was your vacation last week?' The customer that come into this establishment first come in for the women. Then, they might come in for the food and beer. But, they want the conversation. They want to know if somebody's here. They just want to talk.

Q. They're lonely, then.
A. Lonely and looking for entertainment. But, you make friends.

Q. And it probably makes your job easier to have the regulars come back.
A. Yeah. Most of the people start out at one time, but they come back.

Q. What's your background? You were a dancer at Looker's?
A. Yes.

Q. Looker's is topless and bottomless?
A. Yes.

Q. How long did you dance there?
A. Four months. I went from a waitress to a dancer to a secretary to management. So, I didn't start out as a dancer. I had danced before.

Q. Before you were a waitress?
A. Yes. Never bottomless. I had danced topless.

Q. In Syracuse?
A. No.

Q. Why did you want to get into management? Was it your idea?
A. It was my idea. I pushed for it. I was getting older. I wanted to build other skills. I wanted to work on the other end of this. I wanted to learn the business from the other side. After 6 years of dancing, I knew that. I can sympathize with the girls. I know what they go through. I know where they stand. Now, I wanted to learn the other side; to grow as a person, and have the experience.

Q. So, what's involved in your job? What do you have to do?
A. It's more like what I don't have to do. (Laughs).

Q. You don't have to dance onstage. We know that.
A. No, I don't dance and I don't D.J. I bartend. I cook. I waitress. I purchase. I schedule. Some accounting. Some book keeping. Trouble-shoot anything that's going on. Wherever I'm needed, is the space I have to fill.

Q. "Life Without Shame" have they approached you?
A. No.

Q. You don't like them? They don't like you? What's the deal?
A. I'm not really impressed with the show that they do. The material they use is fine. Their commentary is obnoxious and vulgar. I wouldn't want an employee that works for this company to be abused in that manner. They're people. They deserve to be treated like people. And, they are ladies. That's out of line. These people don't deserve that. They've worked too hard to get what they have. I wouldn't allow them to come in here. It's just not right. It's not right to treat somebody like that.

Q. Just a few years age the Navy had to deal with this Tailhook Scandal, in which women were being sexually harassed. After that incident, the men were told you're not to look upon women as being sex objects. You're in a business where, let's face it, these women are sex objects. Are you comfortable with the mixed message that working in a place like this sends out?
A. Well, there's a time and a place for everything. If I was in the Armed Forces, and I was approached, that's not the correct time or place, to be treated in that manner; to be seen completely as a sexual being and not as a person. Here, especially because of the conversation, they see these women as people, not as much as sex objects, especially after their first visit. They're still beautiful women and everybody likes to look at a beautiful woman, but, the grabbing doesn't go on. That stuff just doesn't happen. That's what happened. It was in the context of where that wasn't proper behavior. In each social experience or relationship, there's certain things that have their place, and that's where the place is. You have to be able to read the situations. This is a bar. I see behavior more outrageous at a dance club in the city than I see going on here. So, how you react, the cause and effect is different in each situation.

Q. You maintain that Feature Dancers don't do well in Syracuse. Why is that?
A. I worked with three Feature Dancers and I didn't have any more business with them than I did without them. None of them seemed to do all that great. They were phenomenal performers. Women who have a chest as big as I'm tall...it's nice to see once, but you don't come back. We may pop one in every now and again, but it's not something we're going to consistently do, 'cause it's not going to bring any more people in, most likely than I usually have in here. With having the extra staff on to run the door, I'm not gaining a whole lot. But, we're kicking the idea around still.

Q. Can we really consider what the women do onstage here and so many other places as dancing? It would appear more sexually suggestive than anything else. It sure doesn't look like the traditional burlesque show.
A. It depends on the dancer. Everybody's different. I have one girl here who's worked at some of the largest clubs in the world, and she dances completely different than some of the local girls. I've got some girls who started about the same time I started and when I started it was still a show. Ten years ago, they had everything. And so it all depends on what era, or where they've come in, in the last ten years as to how they dance, and where they worked before.

Q. Since you're talking with these women all the time, what is it that they'd eventually like to do? Do they want to go into the management end like you?
A. There are a couple who want to move up, who want to learn, and stay in the business. There are others, the majority of 'em are in school. I have nurses. This is what they're going to school for. Five bucks at a Burger King or flipping burgers, it takes 'em a week to make what they make in 3 hours, 4 hours. They can come in one night a week, and live very well and go to school. And that's their main ambition.

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