By: Mark Fitzgerald
On her frequent stops to check documents at the city’s police headquarters, The Atlanta Journal Constitution police reporter Megan Matteucci began to notice a constant line of women in the next room.
“It’s like a doctor’s office, a large room with chairs all around it and it was always filled,” Matteucci recalled in phone interview Wednesday. “I’d got by there at lunchtime and you’d see 20 or 30 women. That was a peak time.”
The women, Matteucci discovered, were all there to get $350 adult-entertainment permits — to dance in Atlanta’s many strip clubs.
In economic hard times, more women from many walks of life were turning to stripping to make a buck. Matteucci and Journal Constitution busienss reporter Tammy Joyner paired up to report the story of how the recession was swelling the numbers of women strippers in a city that is a major hub of strip clubs.
“You have to have a job offer from a club to get a permit,” Matteucci said. “And you would see some women with their hair done and with makeup, wearing sweatpants. You knew they were just coming back from an audition.”
Matteucci also saw women with their young children, or studying a college textbook while they waited their turn.
“The people at the permit window told us it’s been insane,” she said. “They told us, we used to get two or three (applicants) a day, and now there’s a line all day long.”
Reporting on the story, the pair were turned away from many clubs, but welcomed at some, including Magic City where they spent two nights talking with strippers in their locker room and with club managers.
With the slow economy, the money is stripping is down. The days when a stripper could gross $100,000 in a year are over. But, as the women repeatedly told Matteucci and Joyner, the tips add up to much more than they would make working at a Wal-Mart.
“These girls are telling me they’re making more money than I am,” Matteucci said.
Check out the Journal-Consitution’s story, here.