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  1. #1
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    This evening, I had the the crappiest gig yet! I know a lot of you all have BTDT, but I guess I've been lucky that most of my 3 years of pro gigs have been good experiences more often than not. This one, due to a combination of factors, just plain sucked. The gig was a BellyGram for a birthday party, which I have done many of at this point. Anecdotally, for the first time, it was for a ME client instead of the GP, who has informed me that there will be lots of tipping because they "know how a dancer is supposed to be appreciated". The client's home is also located in a very well-heeled part of town, so I'm feeling optimistic.

    Here's the rundown:

    -I'm supposed to be there at 7pm. At 6:20, when I'm getting in my car, they call and ask me where I am. I tell them I'm on my way and will be there a little before 7pm, which is the start time on the contract.

    -I get there at 6:50, and despite insinuating that I was late 40 minutes ago, they make me wait 20 minutes before going on because everyone is finishing up eating. I am asked several times if I would like beer, wine or a shot ..c:: while I'm waiting (but never water). I politely decline.

    -The client (an Egyptian woman about my own age) says to me upon seeing my costume, "I've never seen a Belly Dancer with such tiny tits before!" This is a person who hired me through my website, and anyone with eyes can see that I am not terribly well endowed in that area.

    -Throughout the BellyGram, an older male guest consistently yells "Hey, sexy lady! Come and shake that over here!" at me. He also at one point grabs my hand and tells me I need to sit in the GOH's lap. I grab my arm away, stop dancing momentarily, and give him the glare of death. Another guest tells him to stop being such an ass, but he continues to yell "Sexy lady!" at the top of his lungs.

    -Upon the end of my 2 song BellyGram set, they clamor for more dancing. I take the client aside and let them know that I can do an additional 3 songs if they pay the price of a Full Set. At this point, the client tells me that "someone on the phone" told her that I would dance for AN HOUR AND 15 MINUTES at the 10 minute rate. Ummmm...I was the person she spoke to on the phone, and I sure didn't promise anything of the sort. At this point, I'm pissed and just want to get paid and go home.


  2. #2
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    -The client walks into another room with a younger woman (I think maybe her sister?) and slams the door loudly. The younger woman emerges with my pay and reiterates that the client was told I would dance for over an hour. I show her the contract where is specifically states 10 minutes of dancing. She thrusts the money at me and tells me the client must have been confused. I escape with my pay, which is $5 in excess of what they owe me. None of the guests tipped at all.

    -...only to find that my car is blocked in by a late arriving guest. It takes them another 15 minutes or so to track down the owner (there were about 20 people total there!) and have them move their car. The clients have hardly plowed their extremely long driveway at all, and it takes me several tries to back my minivan down the long, twisty driveway.

    I was pissed as hell when I got home, but now I'm finding it all somewhat of a comedy of errors. Of course, the wine may be helping with that. At the very least, I feel like I've earned some more bellydance stripes.


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant



    Poor sweetie. Some gigs are like that, and of course you did nothing wrong - but I know it helps to hear it, so I'm saying it anyway. You did nothing wrong.

    Luckily you did have a contract, so at least YOU know you communicated clearly and can't have any doubt in your mind.

    Though with Sexy Lady guy trying to throw you in the GOH's lap, you might have left early even if you DID agree to dance longer. ..c::

    I've had a few gigs that were about this bad. Just remember that ALL jobs have crappy days. Your old job probably had days that made you feel at least this used, misunderstood, and crappy, and those days lasted for 8 hours or more!!! ..l;,


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Oh. my. God. That's pretty sucky!


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer angelique2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    So sorry you had to go though that.
    Sending good vibes your way.

    Good thing you had your contract with you.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Thanks guys!

    Honestly, my ick-o-meter went off a little bit during the call when I was booked. She asked if I was Middle Eastern, and expressed surprise (likely not heartfelt) that I was not based on my video clips. I told her that this was my full time job and that I had studied the art form intensely, to which she replied, "Oh I see. Not like us, we are born KNOWING how to dance like that." Mmmmmmkay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I've had a few gigs that were about this bad. Just remember that ALL jobs have crappy days. Your old job probably had days that made you feel at least this used, misunderstood, and crappy, and those days lasted for 8 hours or more!!! ..l;,
    Lauren, you are 10000000% right. I would have to be screwed over for a lot more years, and a hell of a lot harder to ever equal some of the crap I put up with back then!


  7. #7
    Master BHUZzer Lilladancer's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Oh, yes - this is a great case in point about the usefulness of having a contract, and good for you for taking along a copy! It could have been so much worse if you hadn't. I have to say, in my 10+ years of doing private gigs, that sounds like the worst of the worst. My sympathies! But yeah, the more gigs you do, the higher the odds that you'll hit one of these crappy experiences. Eventually, they do become great material for coffeeshop conversation with fellow dancers and you'll find yourself rolling on the floor recounting things that at the time, were far from funny!

    Fortunately, most gigs are perfectly pleasant, so chances are you've paid your dues for at least a year, perhaps five, and it's unlikely you'll have one of these nightmare gigs for some time to come. Let's hope, anyway!


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by laura 2 View Post
    Thanks guys!

    Honestly, my ick-o-meter went off a little bit during the call when I was booked. She asked if I was Middle Eastern, and expressed surprise (likely not heartfelt) that I was not based on my video clips. I told her that this was my full time job and that I had studied the art form intensely, to which she replied, "Oh I see. Not like us, we are born KNOWING how to dance like that." Mmmmmmkay.



    Lauren, you are 10000000% right. I would have to be screwed over for a lot more years, and a hell of a lot harder to ever equal some of the crap I put up with back then!
    yes we've all seen how some of 'em dance and all!..g.:

    That's a nasty reality check...probably how a lot of folks from over there view belly dancers and yet the opposite can happen : a friend of mine was treated like a princess at an Egyptian wedding and she took her husband along and he was treated like a guest! You win some you lose some.


  9. #9
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. TanyaLV's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Sorry this happened to you...I don't work alot of house parties..but when I do, I notice a big difference when I don't go alone. I certainly am capable..but I think you face less hassle when you have someone with you. And I can't believe you didn't know that ALL Middle Eastern woman are BORN dancers! haha! Love that one...and have heard it many times! Big kisses..the next job will be perfect!!


  10. #10
    Mega BHUZzer gothique's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    I agree with Tanya, I think you face less hassle when you have someone with you.

    And it seems, if they brag that you'll be tipped well.....
    they don't.

    I think she might have hoped you remembered this comment, and would have danced longer, thinking you'll get more $$$ (smart thing you brought the contract)!


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by laura 2 View Post
    who has informed me that there will be lots of tipping
    Whenever somebody tells me that, you can be SURE that not a single person that night will tip.
    It's my rule of thumb: the more you expect to be tipped, the less you will get.
    I usually get tips when I don't even think about them.

    MEISSOUN


  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer deelybopper's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    I'm so sorry this happened to you! It sounds like a complete nightmare. Stick a couple of stripes on your bedlah and have a big and a


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Oh yes, I always bring the signed copy of the contract. This is the first time I've ever had to take it out and use it as proof of what was agreed to, but I knew it was likely only a matter of time. I doubt the client even read it, and I actually don't doubt that in her version of reality, I was expected to dance all night long. Neither of those things are my problem, though. And Lauren was correct - I was actually relieved that they didn't want to pay for the extra set, because at that point I just wanted the Hell out of there.

    It's also the first time I've ever really been hassled or made to feel uncomfortable by a client or guest at a private party. I've had the occasional inappropriate comment tossed my way, of course, but in general I've been treated quite respectfully. The ironic thing is that these were some very wealthy people in a beautifully appointed home. I've done BellyGrams in working class bars, for clients who really had to stretch the budget to hire me, and was treated 100% better than I was by these classless buffoons. I did one BellyGram in the tiniest, smokiest townie bar you can imagine, and the client not only tipped me herself, but ran around with a basket collecting tips for me and dressing down anyone who wouldn't cough up at least a couple of bucks.

    Incidentally, this is also the first time that I have not sent a follow up email thanking the client for the booking.

    When I took the gig, I have to admit I felt bad about assuming there would be problems with a ME client. But I couldn't help but have Bhuz horror stories about restaurant owners and such running around in the back of my mind, so it didn't shock me there were some issues. It was just the number of things that went wrong that threw me - what my hubby delicately refers to as a clusterfck. I know we have a lot of threads about how the GP doesn't understand or respect what we do, but in my own experience I've found that to be the exception rather than the rule.

    I've definitely sewn a few virtual stripes onto my red Yasser for sure after this one!


  14. #14
    Advanced BHUZzer Nepenthe's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    This has seriously made me think about needing to have signed contracts (apparently you do!). I haven't done any bellygrams on my own yet so I haven't needed one, but I'll make sure I research some contracts so that I can have one when it's time.

    That sounds awful! Although I admit I laughed out loud because "Sexy Lady" guy reminded me of Long Duck dong in Sixteen Candles. :-)


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer Adishakti's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Sorry to hear you had to go through that, Laura. What an experience... good on you for being well prepared and sticking to your guns!


  16. #16
    Established BHUZzer Andrea2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    That sounds awful! Although I admit I laughed out loud because "Sexy Lady" guy reminded me of Long Duck dong in Sixteen Candles. :-)
    Yes! I kept thinking, "No more yanky my wanky." .w.:

    Laura, I'm sorry you were treated so poorly. I have to admit, though, that I got a bit of a chuckle out of it. So many things happened on this one gig that it's almost like a party game where you go around and add another thing onto the list. I took a look at the gallery on your web site, and you should be arrested for false advertising. The pictures online CLEARLY make you look like you are at least an E cup. Sorry you had to experience this!


  17. #17
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea2 View Post
    Yes! I kept thinking, "No more yanky my wanky." .w.:

    Laura, I'm sorry you were treated so poorly. I have to admit, though, that I got a bit of a chuckle out of it. So many things happened on this one gig that it's almost like a party game where you go around and add another thing onto the list. I took a look at the gallery on your web site, and you should be arrested for false advertising. The pictures online CLEARLY make you look like you are at least an E cup. Sorry you had to experience this!
    They were totally not worthy of the red Yasser that I bought from you and wore last night! ,m:: Maybe the client saw my NikkiJ portrait and thought I really had those boobs, despite the other 50 pictures that were, you know, not drawn? ..g.:

    LOL to you and Nepenthe for the Long Duck Dong reference! My hubby was going the Jerry Lewis "Nice LADY!!!!" route and cracking me up with it, but your take is funnier. ..l;,

    I really do see the humor in it, believe me. It just kept snowballing, like The Powers That Be were trying to save time and instead of sending me 3 bad gigs, they just decided to roll them all up into one. I know from experience that in a few days the anger will be pretty much gone, but I'll always have a great story to tell!


  18. #18
    Established BHUZzer rachelw's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    That's awful.

    Hmm...if they are dancers from birth, why would they need to hire someone else? Shouldn't they be able to provide their own entertainment?


  19. #19
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    That is just terrible. All it takes is a gig like this to make you feel burned out and forget all the happy, successful ones that make you love what you do. Take what you can from this gig, and look ahead to the future.

    You may want to consider adding a clause about sexual harassment to your contract, to cover your butt in the future. Several dancers have it in writing that, in instances like this, they reserve the right to leave the gig without refunding payment. You may want to make sure the client pays you BEFORE you perform, to ensure that they don't make a huge fuss or stiff you. I definitely plan on instituting this policy.

    It is disheartening that some clients are still so clueless to believe that 1. we're second-class entertainers who fly by the seat of our pants and don't abide by our very own contracts, 2. we give lapdances and relish in catcalls, and 3. all it takes to succeed in the dance is to be (or look) Middle Eastern and to have ample cleavage. I guess it all comes with the territory of the GP seeing bellydance strictly as "entertainment," and their reluctance to view it as an "art."

    Thank goodness there are still people out there who appreciate all of our hard work, dedication, professionalism and class. If it weren't for them, I totally would have thrown in the bedlah by now.

    Keep your chin up, Laura!

    Lisa


  20. #20
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    As an aside, I've noticed that I usually get the least tips when dancing for the most outwardly affluent clients. The working-class people I gig for almost always are more generous tippers than the wealthy, and usually express less shock at my prices, too, and treat me better when I get to the gig.


  21. #21
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by SatinWorship19 View Post
    You may want to consider adding a clause about sexual harassment to your contract, to cover your butt in the future. Several dancers have it in writing that, in instances like this, they reserve the right to leave the gig without refunding payment. You may want to make sure the client pays you BEFORE you perform, to ensure that they don't make a huge fuss or stiff you. I definitely plan on instituting this policy.
    I do have this policy in my contract, and I had made up my mind that if sexy lady guy had so much as moved in my direction again I'd have left. After the hand grabbing incident, a couple of the other guests seemed to pick up on this and were sticking close to him lest he get itchy feet again.

    I know I should have them pay in advance, and used to do this in the beginning, but I fell out of the habit after having so many good experiences. I also found that I was more likely to get extra money added onto my fee if they paid me at the end. But I'm going to start instituting that again, at least for any gig that seems hinky.

    I guess it all comes with the territory of the GP seeing bellydance strictly as "entertainment," and their reluctance to view it as an "art."
    But they weren't the GP, they were Egyptian (unless by GP you mean non-dancers?). I've never been as openly disrespected by the GP as I was by these people. Give me a BellyGram for Uncle Bob in the local bowling alley any day over crap like last night. If it was just the non-ME guest heckling me, that would be one thing. But the "tiny tits" comment (and right before I went on, to add insult to injury) was just as offensive, IMO.


  22. #22
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Yeah, that's just rude. Let's come up with a great one-liner response. Hmmm . . . how about "I had a reduction to keep 'em perky." Something like that. ..g.:

    Quote Originally Posted by laura 2 View Post
    But the "tiny tits" comment (and right before I went on, to add insult to injury) was just as offensive, IMO.


  23. #23
    Mega BHUZzer Samira_dncr's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by kiyaana View Post
    Yeah, that's just rude. Let's come up with a great one-liner response. Hmmm . . . how about "I had a reduction to keep 'em perky." Something like that. ..g.:
    Hahahaha. Thats a good one.


  24. #24
    Ultimate BHUZzer SatinWorship19's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by kiyaana View Post
    Yeah, that's just rude. Let's come up with a great one-liner response. Hmmm . . . how about "I had a reduction to keep 'em perky." Something like that. ..g.:
    LOVE it ..l;, ..l;, ..l;,


  25. #25
    Mega BHUZzer Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    It is SO important that dancers start asking for payment upfront...and not only when the vibe from the client contact seems 'hinky'.
    A 50% non-refundable deposit will protect you against cancelation and will also weed out creeps...like your most recent client, who would have ASSUREDLY balked at having to pay upfront. Those clients never get the benefit of my services...period.
    My contract requires the 50% non-refundable deposit PLUS CASH payment upon my arrival and BEFORE I commence dancing. This way, if someone makes a comment about my top, middle or bottom, makes a grab for me...I'm outa there and I'm paid!
    REALLY sorry you had to endure this...but...change your tactics regarding contracts...not 'some of the time'...ALL of the time...get paid!
    Gia


  26. #26
    Advanced BHUZzer jetgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Just thought I'd say I'm sorry about your gig. One of my very first gigs I had to fend off a very drunk guy who looked like a quarterback who insisted on dancing with me (and getting closer, and closer...) WHILE I was dancing with my partner and AFTER he had shouting catcalls at us. I stopped dancing got right up to him and said very sternly, "You need to sit down NOW" and he did. I finished the set but it left me with an icky feeling.
    Just because you have money doesn't mean you have any class. It makes me happy for all the appreciative audiences.


  27. #27
    Master BHUZzer Lilladancer's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Just want to mention that my very favorite gigs of all time have been for Egyptian and other Middle Eastern families, so don't let this experience jade you for the future. I really think you can hit klunkers with clients of any nationality. Somehow the insults can hit the hardest when they are coming from people who are of M.E. descent because we expect them to really understand the dance, but really, there are bozos in every country of the world, and these people sound like they are just that.

    And yeah, I've had the experience many times where I'm hired by clients with a very elaborate mansion and the tips are non-existent. But I've also had wealthy clients who were very generous. Likewise, I've had non-wealthy clients who were very generous, and also those who were cheap. I think we just tend to notice the ironies when wealthy people are cheap and non-wealthy people are generous....especially when wealthy people are cheap!


  28. #28
    Ultimate BHUZzer sumayasaahir's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Ok im a horrible bff, im ROTFLMAO. How awful!!! Wipes tears. Ill have to buy you a drink or two to make you feel better next time we meet :)


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer MahiraRaqs's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    OMG!!! I wish I could say I don't believe it, but I can't. They may have been born to dance (yeah right) but they sure weren't born with class. I'm so sorry you went through this. Just shrug it off and laugh about it. You know the next one will be better. :-)


  30. #30
    Advanced BHUZzer donnadiva's Avatar
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    Re: Crappiest Gig Yet Rant

    Print out this thread and save it for the book, girlfriend!! I swore, after 15 years of good and bad and absolutely sucky gigs, that I would put it all together and write the bellygram guidebook.

    Here's one that'll hopefully make you laugh. Repeat client, called me for her best friend's husband's birthday party. I get there and GOH is not exactly falling down drunk, but he's has a tipple or two of Jose Cuervo. His wife asks if I'll stand next to him when he blows out the candles on his cake, and help her dunk his face in it. Which I do. He bends to blow out the candles, we reach for his head to dunk -- and the jerk beats us to the punch and BOTH of our faces go in the cake instead. ..cr.: Normally, I wouldn't have cared, but I had two more parties to do after this one, and all of my makeup was left on the frosting, not to mention the buttercream on my cleavage. Trust me, that is the LAST time I got anywhere near a cake again. Oh, and did I get a tip? Yes, don't go near the cake. ,m::

    And yes, the richer they are, they more they treat you like the hired help. Don't expect to eat off the buffet, bring your own water, and what $ you contracted for is exactly what you'll get! ..c::


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