Okay, maybe that's a little hyperbolic, but I think I understand now why certain men love strip joints. Before actually even having gone to one, I thought it would be a place where I would feel uncomfortable, trying to discern exactly whether each and every girl was happy, exploited, or somewhere in between. And to be honest, I sort of did do that to a certain degree last weekend. I suppose it depends on what strip club you go to, but I patronized a pretty representative random sample, which were (in ascending order according to prices): The Pussycat Lounge, NYC Dolls, and The Hustler Club. The price to service ratio is pretty much what you would expect- the more expensive things got, the nicer the venue, and the closer the women resembled a mainstream ideal of beauty. But then, most of you have probably been to strip clubs, so that's no surprise.
The Pussycat Lounge is a dive, but I have friends who work there, so was hoping to maybe see one of them. We paid ten bucks to get in, and sat ourselves down in front of a woman with a terrific ass. The women do not come close to you at this club, but dance on a stage behind the bar. They have to compete with the ubiquitous televisions, not to mention they don't have a pole. There is something disheartening about being in a place where people seem disinterested even by the sight of a half-naked woman. I gave the girl with the ass some money, which made her smile, but I didn't spot any of my friends, and can watch the Mets lose for free at home, so we moved on to...
NYC Dolls. I didn't have my glasses on when I walked in, so all I could see was a sea of writhing bodies, which I mistook as a giant orgy. Readjusting, I saw that it was simply a sea of women giving lap dances, which I had never seen before in the flesh. A blonde Russian woman came up to me, so I agreed to take a dance. She was like, "Open your legs!", so I did, and she did her thing for me, which seemed a little mechanical, but was still fun. It was my first dance ever, and I couldn't wipe the shit-eating grin off my face, so I would say she earned her keep. It was fun there, and they serve strong drinks, but ultimately, what got to me were the annoying patrons- one of whom almost sat right on my purse in his drunken idiocy.
After sitting in the Hustler Club for a damned half hour, waiting for a woman to come up to me (having done everything short of waving cash at them) I finally caught the attention of an older stripper (who was gorgeous) calling herself "Tiffany". I shouted at her, "Can I give you some money?" You can't really ignore a proposition like that, so she gave me a few lap dances. I didn't really want three of them, but she was nice and I would take anything at that point. I asked her why none of the girls would come up to us (me and my male friend), and she said that a lot of couples on first dates come there, and the men are usually reluctant to spend a lot of cash. Oh, and also, the women tend to get jealous and upset. This floored me. First of all, that first dates in a strip club are that common, and second of all, that you would agree to go to a strip club and then proceed to get jealous. I had an inkling that a woman who was not "working" could throw off the vibe, but now I knew why (or part of the reason why). She told me not to be shy, to go up to the girl who I wanted a lap dance from, and ask her.
I have to say, all in all, the whole experience is terrifically boring *UNTIL* you find a woman who will come up to you who genuinely seems like she wants to fuck you. Now, I'm not a sucker. At least, I flatter myself that I'm not. I know these girls are trying to make money (the "hustler" in Hustler Club, I assure you, is not referring to the men). But the "art" of stripping is not in how someone looks, or even necessarily how they dance. It's something else. So- after "Tiffany", doing some seat-adjusting, getting another drink, and staring at the woman on stage... I spotted a girl at the foot of it who went right up and kissed her, waving dollar bills and cheering her on. I was like, wow, she's hot, and before I knew it, she was standing above me, between my legs. And then, before I knew it, she was asking me where I'm from, and I was giving her money, and she was grinding on me- not in an "I'm just doing my job" sort of way- but in an engaged, focused way that made me feel kinda funny (in a Wayne's World sort of way). Now, I'm not a lonely person, I'm not looking to talk to a pretty girl (a la The Tubes), in general, I'm indifferent to women's bodies- but now I finally understand. She was touching me, grinding on me, whispering in my ear and almost kissing me, but then she did kinda kiss me, but then she was flipping her hair, and then she touched my breasts... I don't know how many dances there were, but my friend tapped my hand, waking me out of my stupor. We left the club (before I spent more of his dwindling wad of cash) and I floated down the street, grasping his hand, staring wistfully up at the sky. I was like, "Does she like me? Don't you think she really wanted to fuck me?" He shook his head, smiling, "Maybe, sure." But really, she totally did.
Whatever notions I had about these women having little agency or control have completely dissipated. Does the club probably take a larger cut than they should? Yes. Are all of the girls there because it's an empowering environment and they love doing it? Probably not. But regardless, the women do have a lot of power. It was like watching a bunch of Dommes sessioning in the same room, engaged with different clients. I was a client. And it was great.
Also- I need to give a shout out to Jack for giving me tickets to the Stooges concert last weekend. It was the perfect beginning to an awesome vacation.