“You wanna dance?” NO I DO NOT.
So. Let’s talk about strip clubs.
(And that’s how Threat Quality became a popular website!)
This was never a hard-line decision I made out of ideology or anything. Though I was always a little concerned that I’d end up making friends with the strippers and suggesting courses they could take at the community college (much like Tracy Morgan’s “30 Rock” character likes to proselytize to transvestite hookers to enroll them in data entry classes).
And I have seen topless women dancing in a bar-atmosphere. But at the Dolphin in South Philadelphia (where they serve Bud, Miller, straight shots and THAT IS ALL), it’s not so much “dancing” as “listless shuffling.” You tend to put money into those ladies’ g-strings more out of despair and the sense that they’ve probably got a kid napping in the dressing room than any sense of arousal.
So my trip to Club Risque was…informative, at least. Not “fun,” by any stretch. But informative. Mostly, I came away with two key lessons:
1. There’s not a lot of exoticism, or dancing, in “exotic dancing.” I had, perhaps stupidly, been under the impression that stripping involved, on a conceptual level at least, some type of seduction or eroticism. Maybe this still exists at some other, higher-end clubs, but not here.
While you can’t help but admire the acrobatics involved with flipping upside down onto a brass pole, it’s not quite “sexy.” But more alarming is a move I can only call “butt-vibration,” wherein the stripper thrusts out her ass and jiggles it well past any point of sensuousness and into a strange area that I imagine would cause rear-end nerve damage if done too often (occupational hazard, to be sure).
Then there is the unfortunate display when a patron is put on stage with a couple of the dancers, and they combine the pole-flipping and ass-flapping into a horrific game, the goal of which appears to be to throttle the guy to within an inch of his life. With their crotches.
2. It takes an astonishing amount of imagination to make a strip-club work for you. While my friends and I folded our arms crankily and bunched into what I like to call The Huddle Formation of Bitterness (formed out of anger that we could not leave the place until both the bachelor AND our shuttle-bus driver – AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE EVENING – were done with their lap-dances), I glanced around the room a few times, and saw something quite astonishing.
Guys were chatting up the strippers who worked the room in their sexy-dresses, fishing for lap-dance customers. Some had their arms draped around the girls. Some even had their hands firmly planted on their butts. And for a moment I thought, “Maybe they’ve got some quality patter down to lure men in. After all, these are Professional Erotic Women! A stripper must have some hypnotic, seductive tricks of the trade.”
This is about the point when one stripper attempted to break into our Huddle Formation of Bitterness to ask, without any real build-up, if any of us wanted a private dance. When we kindly turned her down, she held out her hands and, in a Fran Drescher-esque tone, told us – APROPOS OF NOTHING – “I did my nails MYSELF! Heh-haaaa!” before wandering off.
That’s when I realized the spectacular amount of brainpower required to really enjoy a strip-club. The guys hanging onto these girls, laughing and grinning and groping, are able to trick their brains into ignoring that this is a fleeting transaction of flesh for cash – to pretend, if only for a few moments, that These Chicks Are Totally Into Them.
Now and again, I write fiction. Sometimes I write ridiculous fiction where I don’t even know where my brain went to get the story that came out on the other side. But damned if I can come up with the level of imagination that could cast the illusion these guys were happy to create for themselves.
So if I were to try to impart a lesson from my experience, it would be this: don’t assume that a bachelor party requires a trip to a strip-club. Honestly, the best bachelor parties I’ve been to involved go-carts and a cabin full of video games.
Also, if ever anyone plans a party for me, note the following: I like barbeques, poker, and martinis. Please note the absence of “butt-vibration” on that list.