So, this is going to be a somewhat explicit post. I’ve always held that this journal should be a place where my inner thoughts have a voice, and in this case I’d like to comment on my very first strip club experience. If that’s not something you’d like to hear about, please do not read further.
Ahem… the day started tamely enough. My friend is getting married next weekend, and I knew today was the day for the bachelor’s party. Somewhere in the back of my head I had this vague idea that strippers might be involved, although I know that’s sort of a stereotypical trope and we might not be the kind of crowd to go for that. The first event was at a bowling alley… just for bowling (I am no professional: I had a mediocre 94 and a terrible 66). Why must public places be full of such loud music? All the noise, noise, noise, noise! Anyway, that was okay I guess. We met up with a bunch of his coworkers and stuff, so I only knew a handful of people there.
Originally I had heard we would go over to another guy’s house for games like Cards Against Humanity and whatnot, but apparently the plans shifted and suddenly the group was scaling back to those who were willing or able to venture to Platinum Plus in Lexington. More than half of us had never been to a strip club before, and that’s out of the ones that were willing to go in the spirit of the event. An awkward car ride later, and we approached the low dark building with a glowing neon purple light making a subdued line around the outside. They checked our IDs of course, charged us $7 for the privilege of entering and we made our way to a table.
So, was it what I expected? Yes and no. Some naïve part of my brain had this distant hope of some classy anachronistic establishment that only played music specifically for each dancer with breaks in-between (in my head the band is live too) and had the smoky feel of a speakeasy. No, the music was loud and in-your-face much like a bar or a club, although the bowling alley earlier had conditioned me to it a little. There were bars along the edges of the room, seating in the main area, a smallish circular dance platform near the entrance to greet you with a girl who is halfway “cage-dancing” except the bars are spaced apart and made for mini-pole-dancing. A main stage further back had a bit more runway to it and, of course, the central pole (always comes back to the pole eh? Perhaps I should deconstruct the phallic and yonic imagery… just kidding). There were dark passages leading off from here to more private dance areas in the corners. All of the appearance pretty well matched my expectations.
We settled uneasily into our seats as a scantily-clad server took our drink orders (I got a White Russian for a whopping $7.50, and later some of the guys used some coupon to get an ice bucket full of Budweisers). There was a palpable sensation of self-consciousness among us; what is the protocol here? How much do you tip, and in which situations? No one ever taught me the savoir-faire and etiquette of strip clubs! The music was too loud for much commentary, so with an occasional half-shouted exchange I took in the show. Some of the girls… women… ladies… strippers… exotic dancers… *performers* duly impressed me with their athleticism. Seriously, I would not be very confident in my ability to hang upside-down from a pole, sit my torso up perpendicular to it and do much of anything sexy-looking in the process, even if I had training. It must take some pretty serious leg and core/torso strength to do all that. They weren’t all that athletic of course, and the less energetic/talented ones were a bit less mesmerizing to watch (this might just be individual performers, but I found that the more full-figured curvaceous girls had a lot more pole dancing skill and strength than their boyishly-thin counterparts). They would migrate from the main stage over to the little “cage” stage, and that was right next to our table so we spent more time watching those performances. In the meantime, sometimes a girl would come by and sit on a guy’s lap to tempt him off for a private dance. This didn’t happen to me for the first main stretch of time I was there, so I was left with my thoughts and half-shouted conversation.
As an aside, I didn’t have a boner during all this. Between the public setting and the uncertainty of my nearby peers I just wasn’t turned on in that way; it was more of a mental titillation. That all changed when one of the ladies picked my lap to cozy up on. I had been half-dreading the moment (although I would have been disappointed if everyone passed me over): I was worried the experience would come across like some professional porn I have seen, with flat or dead-eyed acting and a plain or lurking suspicion that she didn’t want to be around me. Instead, I could find no trace of disinterest in her tone, she was flirtatious, easy-going, intoxicatingly seductive and her smile and eyes seemed wholly genuine. She commented on how cute my shyness was and what a gentleman I was being, and well… if it was an act I ate it up. I had already halfway decided before I arrived that if the moment seemed right I would get a lap dance just to have the whole strip club experience, but this promised to be more than I was expecting in terms of feeling intimate. She talked with me a little first, harmless questions and giggles mixed in with innuendo, kisses on my neck and a flash of her breasts. It might have been her job, but I realized she might just be enjoying it too, she might actually like me well enough for the duration of our encounter. I really wish I could remember the stage name she gave me, but I only heard it once and that isn’t enough for my memory… I was also a bit distracted at the time between a few drinks and her intoxicating proximity. She made her offer for a lap dance, we ironed out the details of how to pay, and I had her lead me to the ATM to get some cash. It had a charge of $10 to use, but I knew it would be awful and price-gouging in that way and I didn’t care. You win this one, strip club business model.
She led me back to a dimly-lit adjoining room with lots of couch-type seating, where I could see a few other people getting lap dances. I put away my wallet, she had me take off her panties and then the show really started. She was intense, smiling with mischievous eyes and seeming genuinely turned on by me (I know it was working on this end). It wasn’t distant, and it didn’t feel overly routine or artsy (although I’m sure a great degree of craft goes into it); she was *right there* leaning against me, putting my hands on her, coming in for tease-kisses (she said, “I’m sorry, we can’t,” in reference to a real kiss, and her tone seemed to imply she would have preferred otherwise; she came in close for several of those, with me just barely kissing her bottom lip). If it was all acting, she had me fooled; is it really so strange to accept that she liked me well enough, that she enjoys her job? The lap dance was so much nicer and more personal than I ever imagined it being.
So, here is my other personal myth of strip clubs disproven: I always thought the experience of having a lap dance would leave me feeling frustrated since I didn’t get off, so my thought was, “What’s the point?” I can honestly say that’s not how it felt afterwards though. I felt euphoric and wonderful, it gave me the sort of endorphin rush that *real sex* does, I was lightheaded with pleasure and I felt satisfied. While a few of the peripherals of the atmosphere felt a little iffy, I can honestly say that *she* did not come across as “dirty” or “fake” or whatever, it felt like she went out of her way to give me a great experience and had fun herself. Mmm, I can still smell her perfume on my shirt… ahh well, I know it’s a one-time thing and I will probably never encounter her again. It’s been a dry spell for several years since I have been with a woman, and this little break from reality (or is it? It’s real, it happened…) …okay scratch that, this lovely vacation from routine made for such a wonderful comforting moment. I felt good about myself, I felt sexy and desired, and the majority of my brain is disagreeing with the little negative voice saying that it was meaningless because money changed hands. I have no illusions of love, but that doesn’t mean nothing positive transpired.
After the moment ended (it was a three-dance-long lap dance, she had me hooked), the rest of our bachelor party mobilized to leave not long afterwards. I am left with my thoughts, the scent of her perfume, and silence replaces the half-shouted conversation.
In a moment of anxiety,
through a field of the unfamiliar
and hazily half-sexy haunts,
an angel descended,
arriving on my lap
and offered me the very thing
I could not ask for.
She took me into her embrace, smiling
to see such shyness
and unguarded candor
juxtaposed with manners
and sweet desire.
She informed me that heaven
from $25 all the way to $600,
and I choose an option somewhere between
Puritan and Mormon
as I learn not all price tags
invalidate the experience.