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Kevin Smith on strip clubs
August 8, 2009 11:16 PM   Subscribe

Kevin Smith on patronizing a strip club

This story is an apt description of the "stripper myth" and how a lot of guys who frequent strip clubs think about the dancers.
posted by reenum (158 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's Jersey Girl, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 11:33 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously? It's a decent article if you read it, but it doesn't look like either you've done that. I know it may take away from your "snark snark snark first!" time but go ahead and try it. Because it shouldn't take until about the sixth comment to get to get to an actual comment...

Personally, I've always kind of been fascinated by strip clubs in the same sense he has written about. It's an odd exchange that takes place in an odd atmosphere. Interesting twist at the end.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:39 PM on August 8, 2009 [11 favorites]


I read the whole post, because I like his conversational style of writing.

But it's bullshit. He never got to get close to a stripper and get into the inner sanctum so because he got played by one, he decided to stop going to the club.

It's called "if you want to get close or emotionally intimate with a stripper, get to know her in her non-work life, doofus".

I know several ex-working-girls who did sex work in various industry niches. It's true that to get to know a person, you do approach her as a human, not a piece of meat.

But generally to become trusted and a good conversation partner, you do so in a context where you can actually convincingly not be a mark/john. Trying to forge this link with a stripper IN a strip club while the stripper is on shift? Not a wise way to go about it. Not likely to be productive.

Not unlike most of his set-ups in his scripts. Maybe he's playing me, who knows. That's sort of his M.O. anyway. He could know all of what I'm saying and be writing it that way because it's more of a draw to the reader.
posted by kalessin at 11:41 PM on August 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have yet to visit a strip club. Just stumbling into a strip-o-gram at work made me feel uncomfortable. Am I missing something wonderful and magical in the strip club experience? Is it something I should do once to have it checked off in that mystery list of things you "ought" to try at least once? Or is it just going to be like when my friends drag me to Hooters: my first thought is, "She looks cold and miserable," and goes from there to depressing me in a number of different directions?

Based on the article, I'm going to say that the only winning move is not to pay.
posted by adipocere at 11:46 PM on August 8, 2009 [11 favorites]


This reminded me of a Five Eight song. I forget the name. It's about falling in love with a stripper and writing her poetry on cocktail napkins. "I was the poet in the bar, do you remember me? She said no..." Good song.

Titty bars are depressing. Except when they're not. It's fun to be surrounded by pretty nekkid wimmin. It's depressing when you check your bank balance the following day.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:47 PM on August 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'll admit I was starting to roll my eyes before he got to the reveal at the end. I guess I shouldn't have figured he'd be so naive in the first place, but I think we've all known people like that, or we have been those people, at some point. I suppose the interesting conversation is whether it's more demeaning to treat a lady like a piece of meat to be ogled at or a helpless damsel in distress waiting for a nice guy to save her.
posted by palidor at 11:48 PM on August 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's called "if you want to get close or emotionally intimate with a stripper, get to know her in her non-work life, doofus".

Hay wait, the point is over THERE! You missed it! see? NO, no, there! THERE!!

Wait, come back!
posted by longsleeves at 11:49 PM on August 8, 2009 [16 favorites]


I'm going to say that the only winning move is not to pay.

Exactly. From what I've heard, the minute you pay, you are just a customer/ATM at that point. The story kind of went off the rails the minute he mentioned his friend payed while they had a "real" conversation with the stripper.

By the way, don't waste your time going to a strip club unless you are genuinely interested.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:51 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Family Guy. Stewie and the poptart who wants cookies.
posted by Clave at 11:53 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I used to go to strip clubs in El Paso quite frequently.

I was not at all interested in the girls. Heavens no. Tits and slits make my dick soft. But I had a good friend who LOVED strip joints, and he HATED going to them with his straight friends, because it seems that, within most strip clubs, the same rule applies as does in public toilets -- you don't talk to the other guys, EVER.

So, my friend, he would take me along with him for his forays into flesh. He had to pay my cover and pay for my drinks. I'd often sit on the side of the table which wasn't directly facing the stage, and he and I would laugh and hoot and drink and have a great, social time, while he got to watch a cooz or two over my shoulder, and I got to stare around into the semi-darkness at all the blue-collar bearded furry types who, as Kevin points out, would never even notice me looking at THEM, because they were too busy looking at the Ladies.

We continued that ritual for about 18 months before our lives pulled us in different directions, but it was one of those truly odd friendships. He wanted the companionship, I was happy to have someone pay for my booze and to sit in a sexualized atmosphere, but wasn't interested in the kind of sex they were selling. The two of us often had strippers some and sit with us and just talk, without the constant stream of $20s which Kevin talks about; they were just happy to see men who were acting comfortable and non-creepy in their workplace. I never once saw my friend buy a lapdance, but he always overtipped the bartender and would buy a table dance once in a while. I don't remember him ever doing the "dollar in the g-string" thing with the girls on the stage (because we never sat at the stage), but I got the impression that he had something worked out where he contributed to a general pool which was split between all the girls each night.

They were strange years, but instructive. I haven't been into a strip club since. But then, why would I?
posted by hippybear at 11:54 PM on August 8, 2009 [16 favorites]


Interesting twist at the end.

Ya.. He leaves me thinking I've been played, because I don't really believe he ever had that experience. Talk about Meta.
posted by Chuckles at 11:55 PM on August 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


I know of a guy whose got this stock line about how he'd really like to go to a prostitute and pay for time not do anything and just talk to her and understand her, like his conversation and understanding was some profound gift. I always thought that sounded way more creepy and invasive than just the paid sex would be.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on August 8, 2009 [39 favorites]


Strip bars are pretty gay, if you think about it. You pay all this money with your guy friends to get boners together, then you go home.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by bardic at 12:04 AM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


...and then someone gets married.

Well, that's my experience.
posted by Artw at 12:05 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


But generally to become trusted and a good conversation partner, you do so in a context where you can actually convincingly not be a mark/john.

A friend of mine dated several strippers who he met in his (almost daily) visits to strip clubs. He'd go each day after teaching school. Apparently they girls had lots of issues. (Not that my friend didn't have his own.)
posted by orthogonality at 12:10 AM on August 9, 2009


Er, whom he met. Sorry, I was out at a (non-strip) club tonight.
posted by orthogonality at 12:11 AM on August 9, 2009


Has "get your kit off" always been US English or has it crossed the Atlantic recently? Think that's the first time I've read it used by an American.
Which is obviously the salient point of the article...
posted by Abiezer at 12:15 AM on August 9, 2009


That was kind of the thing that turned me off about The Wrestler. It dove into this trope that you can never get truly close to a stripper when she's on the clock and for the most part I thought it was was going to stick to the conventional line but (SPOILER WARNING) towards the end the stripper seems to admit to having genuine feelings and much eye rolling commences. I didn't really see why that movie got so much critical acclaim, aside from the physical aspect of Rourke's physique and the old "sad sack of a man is sad" cliche storyline. But there it is with 98% at rottentomatoes and #109 all-time IMDB.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:25 AM on August 9, 2009


It's not difficult to date a stripper. I know. It is difficult to escape the relationship with a sound mind. I know.

You pay all this money with your guy friends to get boners together, then you go home.

You're doing it wrong, unless you are gay.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:35 AM on August 9, 2009


There's no sex in the Champagne Room?
posted by bardic at 12:36 AM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, would I be missing the point if I said, "Kevin Smith sure likes his racist comments about Indians!"?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:43 AM on August 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


I liked that one time he told the story about Superman and giant spider.
posted by basicchannel at 12:48 AM on August 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, I love when he says chick or broad like he's Keepin' It Carlin.
posted by basicchannel at 12:51 AM on August 9, 2009


Kevin Smith on making a good film.........ERROR MESSAGE DOES NOT EXIST
posted by GavinR at 12:55 AM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm still pissed off that Reaper got cancelled.
posted by Artw at 12:57 AM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Feh, Reaper. I'm still pissed off that Brimstone got cancelled.
posted by maqsarian at 1:02 AM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


He leaves me thinking I've been played, because I don't really believe he ever had that experience.

His reactions to being in the strip club sound fairly genuine. If people-watching is a hobby of yours, a strip club is probably a good place to do it. There are certain emotionally charged contexts in which people will unconsciously adopt one of a limited set of behavioral poses.

When I meet friends for coffee in the city, I usually try to pick a cafe that is across the road either from a cinema or an adult theater. It's fun watching people walk dreamily out of a cinema complex and trying to guess which movie they've just seen. It's even more fun watching men approach the adult theater in a nonchalant saunter, as if the thought of entering had never crossed their minds, and then suddenly shift direction and accelerate, as though caught in an unexpected gravity well.

I personally find the hyper-sexualized strip clubs to be just totally overwhelming. I like nudity, but it's just too much for me. So I stay away from them.
posted by Ritchie at 1:04 AM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hmm. Not... bad, per se.

But the denoument left a bit to be desired.

Allow me to suggest that the lesson Mr. Smith and his buddy could've learned wasn't simply that they'd "been played," been conned into thinking they were better than everyone else. It was that they'd been conned into thinking they were learning something, whereas, at least given the story, they still seem to talk and think in these same tired junior-high-school ways:

... the guys who bought into the myth, and seemed to seriously believe they had a shot with these women... you’d look at the parties involved - a tanning-bed frequenting, twenty-something gorgeous Goddess, decked out in fuck-me pumps and clothes that’d do the Emperor proud, and a thirty year old Indian-American in thick specs, thinning, black-matted hair matching that of his Father, who, incidentally, was seated beside him, also macking on the stripper with a grin that’d make Mola Ram in “Temple of Doom” look like Ghandi... we learned that it was possible for the insanely beautiful to find a pair of trolls interesting. I mean, here was this heavenly creature, engaged in a conversation with us...

Good god, "gorgeous Goddess?" "Heavenly creature?" I know the phrase "objectification of women" might seem to have gotten a little tired over the last decade or so, but Kevin Smith talks like he's never heard it before. And that doesn't even really bother me so much - he's not exactly out there blasting sexism in peoples' faces, at least not directly - what bothers me is the odd sort of dichotomy that that leads to which goes completely unquestioned. He says that he's a troll. To me, that's the most offensive thing in this article; the guy thinks that he's a troll, and that a bunch of women who have fake boobs (no offense to them, seriously, I think a lot of them would back me here) are goddesses. Is there not something just slightly weird about that? Like he's so conditioned by the body-image-based social constructs all around us that it doesn't even notice when he's falling into those old categories?

People, man. Naked people. In a bar. That's what's always seemed weirdest about strippers and strip clubs to me, and it will seem weird to me until the day I die: they are naked people in a bar. Why should that be objectionable on the one hand or a titillating and highly charged experience on the other? I have a sneaking suspicion that both the objections and the titillation are perpetuating this weird, artificial world where women with unnaturally large breasts or unnaturally small waists are seen as something above and beyond nature.

When I am president, I promise that within my first week I will sign into law legislation requiring that if anybody gets naked in a strip club then everybody gets naked in the strip club. 'Anarchy!' people will say. Fine. Nobody ever said having a just society would be easy. This ridiculous situation in which fully-clothed guys who are in actuality deeply insecure and ashamed of their bodies step into clubs to worship the equivalent female form, thus effectively celebrating their own self-perceived inferiority... well, the sooner we get rid of that, the better.
posted by koeselitz at 1:08 AM on August 9, 2009 [16 favorites]


Interesting twist at the end.

I see what you did there.
posted by rokusan at 1:27 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has "get your kit off" always been US English or has it crossed the Atlantic recently?

It's still a Britishism.

He's being cutesy, using The Queen's English as euphemism. He does that.
posted by rokusan at 1:28 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: This ridiculous situation in which fully-clothed guys who are in actuality deeply insecure and ashamed of their bodies step into clubs to worship the equivalent female form

To be fair, we're not really talking about them worshiping equivalent female forms. The strippers are generally much more attractive, relative to their gender, than they are. That's probably part of the problem.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:39 AM on August 9, 2009


This ridiculous situation in which fully-clothed guys who are in actuality deeply insecure and ashamed of their bodies step into clubs to worship the equivalent female form, thus effectively celebrating their own self-perceived inferiority... well, the sooner we get rid of that, the better.

I think Smith is deliberately setting himself up as being wrong-headed and patronizing in the paragraph you quoted, in order to undercut himself a moment later. He is telling us about a moment of false enlightenment in order to give weight to the real enlightenment that follows, which results in him no longer frequenting strip clubs.
posted by Ritchie at 1:41 AM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


... also, since I know everybody here is just aching to know exactly what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would think of strip clubs, I will quote here one of my favorite passages from the writings of the Saints. St Symeon, The New Theologian, wrote the following section of The Fifteenth Hymn Of Divine Love in the early years of the eleventh century (probably between 990 and 1020 AD) and I think that it is fitting here:
Hear things that strike us dumb with awe: we become members of Christ, and Christ becomes our members. Christ is in my hand and my lowly foot, and I am His own foot and hand. I move my hand, and Christ is all my hand, for God is indivisible in His Divinity. I move my foot, and behold it shines like Him.

Do not accuse me of blasphemy, but welcome these things and adore Christ, fulfilling Him in yourself. If you so wish, you will become a member of Christ, and so all of our members individually will become members of Christ and Christ our members, and all that is dishonorable in us He will make honorable by adorning it with His Divine beauty and glory. Living with God, we shall become gods, no longer seeing the shamefulness of our bodies at all, but made completely like Christ.

Well, you recognized Christ in my hand and my foot, but in this other organ - did you not shudder and blush? God was not ashamed to become like you; are you ashamed to be like Him? "No," you reply, "I am not ashamed to be like Him, but when you said that He became like a shameful member, I feared that you were uttering blasphemy." Well, you were wrong to fear, for there is nothing shameful. The hidden members of Christ, because one covers them, are for that reason more worthy of honor than the others, for they are the hidden members, invisible to all, of the One who is hidden, of the One who sows the seed in Divine union...

When I utter these formidable words about holy members and with an enlightened mind consider all of their glory, I am filled with joy, without thinking of anything sensual. But you consider your own flesh, all soiled, and you run over your infamous actions where your mind ever crawls like a worm; that is why you project your shame on Christ and on me, saying: "Do you not blush at these shameful words, disparaging Christ by associating him with shameful members?" But I say in my turn: "See Christ in the womb of His mother; picture to yourself the interior of the womb and Him escaping from it, and whence my God had to pass to come out of it." You will find there much more than what I have spoken about. He accepted all for our glory, so that no one would blush to imitate him, or to say or to suffer what He suffered...

So there was, even now in these latter days, Symeon the saint [my teacher], the pious one, the Studite. He did not blush before the members of anyone, neither to see other men naked, nor to show himself naked, for he possessed Christ completely, and he was completely Christ, and all his own members and the members of everyone else, all and each one, were always like Christ in his eyes: he remained motionless, unhurt, and impassive; he was all Christ himself, and as Christ he considered all the baptized, clothed with the whole of Christ. But you, if you are naked and your flesh touches flesh, you are in heat like a donkey or a horse. How do you dare then to speak against the saint and to blaspheme Christ, the One who united Himself with us and has given impassiveness to His holy servants? For he becomes a spouse - do you hear? - each day, and all the souls with whom the Creator unites Himself become spouses, and they in turn are united with Him in a wholly spiritual marriage. And even if He takes them dishonored, by uniting Himself with them He at once restores their integrity, and what was formerly soiled by corruption in their eyes is no longer anything but sanctity and incorruption, perfectly healed. They glorify the merciful One; they are in love with the most beautiful One. They are entirely united to His total love; or rather, by receiving His holy seed into themselves, they completely possess God, who has taken the form of man.
In other words: the teaching of Christ, according to St Symeon, is that strip clubs are fine and dandy as far as nakedness goes. However, this implication that seems to hang about them that certain peoples' nakedness is worth more (quite literally) than other peoples' nakedness is something of a perversion, since Jesus is in every penis, every vagina, every nipple and mole and hairy back and grungy knee and stinky foot.

Jesus would've wanted us all to be naked in the strip club.
posted by koeselitz at 1:48 AM on August 9, 2009 [35 favorites]


I wish Kevin Smith's podcast was this sober.
posted by device55 at 1:48 AM on August 9, 2009


"So we go into a bar, where we ingest sedatives to feel good. Normal human stuff, booze separates us from the animals, you know? Well, that's just fine, but we can't stop there. We've got clothes on the whole time. You live up in New Jersey in the winter, this makes sense. We don't have the thick coats of body hair to protect us from the cold winter, unless maybe you're Mediterranean or something, somewhere you don't really need that anyway. Well, we're wearing clothes, the women are wearing clothes, everybody is wearing clothes. Texas in the middle of summer, we still wear clothes. Except, in here, the women take their clothes off. That's a pretty good idea, taking clothes off. It's hot in the bar and there's walls to keep out things like snow and wind. Except, this is somehow a big deal. We're sitting around in a bar, sedating the fuck out of ourselves until we're incoherent, and we're making a big deal out of a few women taking their clothes off. Some of it is about taking the clothes off, some of it is just about being naked. We're born naked, we shower naked, most of us fuck naked, and as for me, if I am lucky, I'll die naked. Except, I can't get naked. If I tried, they'd kick me out, call me a sick perverted bastard. I'm sitting in a strip club, men are paying enough money to feed a family for a week, all to see some woman the age of their daughters take their clothes off and be naked, and I'm the sick perverted bastard for following along with a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing attractive women take their clothes off. In the right situation, it means they want to have sex with me. I like sex. Almost everybody does. It's why we're here. It's not about having sex here. That middle aged guy over there who looks like a manatee that fought a lawnmower? Yeah, he's not getting any sex either. He's still throwing around enough money to put these women through two colleges. Not because he's going to get sex, just because these women are taking their clothes off. Maybe he thinks he just might get to have sex with these women. Probably not, it's not like he can't go hire a prostitute. No, he just wants to see these women take their clothes off, but he doesn't want to pay money for sex. That's wrong, it would make him some sort of sicko. The law would cart him off because he can't get his dick wet, so he just watches. Paying money for sex, that I can understand. Work your ass off, pay a few bucks, do the nasty like we were born to do. Except, wear a condom so we don't have any kids. That would be inconvenient, this is just to feel good. Just like watching women take their clothes off makes us feel good. I'm still better than that guy over there though, I get sex without paying for it. Sure, it's with only one woman, and she's not that young anymore, I have to go to Thanksgiving dinner with her parents who are real assholes, and I'm going to spend two hours of my day tomorrow apologizing for being here. This guy is paying money to watch women thrust their pelvis in his face, the only money I'm spending is on more of these sedatives. These women are decent people, but that jackass over there has no redeeming value. I'm just that much better than him. Thanks for listening, ma'am. Here's twenty bucks for your time.

Oh shit. I just realized. I'm a jackass too. I'll quit coming here, escaping this social construct will make me a better person. At least, better than that ethnic guy who has a thing for foreign women."



Well, that's how I read it. That's okay. We're better than Kevin Smith, with his over-analyzing a plate of naked women.
posted by Saydur at 1:52 AM on August 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


This ridiculous situation in which fully-clothed guys who are in actuality deeply insecure and ashamed of their bodies step into clubs to worship the equivalent female form.

Why the weird sexism there?

Have you never seen middle-aged women at male-stripper night?

(I still get flashback shivers. I need a drink.)
posted by rokusan at 1:53 AM on August 9, 2009


koeselitz, does that mean that at an orgy, Jesus is totally inside everybody there, man or woman, gay or straight?
posted by Saydur at 2:00 AM on August 9, 2009


He says that he's a troll.

That's a Kevin Smith thing also. The self deprecating thing gets to be a bit much after awhile when you listen to him speak. I've seen it commented that it's a ruse of sorts that he runs as part of a "golly gee, I suck" shtick. I don't know if it is or not but I've always considered that one way or the other at least he's self aware.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 AM on August 9, 2009


If Kevin Smith could accurately be described as a hipster, we would have the perfect singularity of MeFi hate.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:15 AM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I went a couple of strip clubs when I was a young man a total of half a dozen times, and I found them fascinating--mainly, how non-sexual they were to me. Lots of attractive young women in the altogether, but the context just made it bizarre.

Plus my eyes are still watering from the astonishing quantity of cheap perfume, 25 years later.
posted by maxwelton at 3:15 AM on August 9, 2009


Patronizing a strip club: "Nice little bar you have here; I like how it's always amateur night"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:18 AM on August 9, 2009 [25 favorites]


they are naked people in a bar. Why should that be objectionable on the one hand or a titillating and highly charged experience on the other? I have a sneaking suspicion that both the objections and the titillation are perpetuating this weird, artificial world where women with unnaturally large breasts or unnaturally small waists are seen as something above and beyond nature.

I hate to point out the obvious, but the appeal is the taboo. The US still has pretty regressive sexuality, and this is just a symptom. Because it's a show, everything's exaggerated, hence all the plastic surgery, but the hyper-sexualized baseline today is quite a long way from Marylin Monroe.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:19 AM on August 9, 2009


MEN!

writing things about

MEN!

for the benefit of

MEN!

who dig readin' things all about the sublimated desires of

MEN!

Manmanman. Masculinemasculinemasculine. Stripclubtittydancegirlsgonewild.
posted by ford and the prefects at 3:26 AM on August 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


Well this guy had a successful relationship with a stripper... but the he was zillionaire Enron executive
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:34 AM on August 9, 2009


I'm so glad Smith makes movies...'cuz his writing style sucks in so many ways...

The most amusing thing about this post was that the article ended with... "The Self-Righteous Retards." after we just did this. Somewhere there is an irony..
posted by HuronBob at 3:35 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


does that mean that at an orgy, Jesus is totally inside everybody there, man or woman, gay or straight?

Well, like he said, "This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me"

Although, that all might depend on whether or not the people at the orgy partook of the guacamole & wafers on the stand near the crusty lounge.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:38 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have yet to visit a strip club. Just stumbling into a strip-o-gram at work made me feel uncomfortable.

Well, I'm guessing expecting to see ladies take their clothes off is very different then walking in on a lady stripping. Just a thought, but context does matter. Like seeing someone open porn at work versus you doing it at home on your own.
posted by piratebowling at 4:04 AM on August 9, 2009


We're better than Kevin Smith, with his over-analyzing a plate of naked women.

You're also better than him, with your ability to write.

I made it through about five graphs before reaching my limit for crappy prose. Too bad; it sounds like there might be some ideas worth getting from the article - or maybe not. Kevin Smith should either stick to something he does well, or work on being able to write better.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:21 AM on August 9, 2009


Strip clubs (excepting the juice bars) are just another distraction in the act of getting drunk when you've already heard every story your buddy has to tell and there are no games worth watching on the TV.
posted by digsrus at 4:50 AM on August 9, 2009


I made it through about five graphs before reaching my limit for crappy prose.

Graphs? Pot, meet kettle.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:03 AM on August 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


You can't walk more than a few blocks in Montreal without tripping over a strip club, and regardless of the ideal of the female form that gets pushed, the only people who conform to body type are the bouncers at the door, who are invariably six feet tall and broad enough in the beam to flatten whomever they fall on. Actual strippers typically look like normal women, and can be seen outside the clubs smoking in a long t-shirt (over the work outfit). The fact that these guys call the women 'Goddess', says a lot more about clichés than the presence of the mythical ideal. It's all wrinkly, saggy and baggy, with bulgy bits, with small waists as evenly distributed there as in the grocery store. (Of course I've never been inside one, so maybe the Barbie clones are hiding in the back, but talking to people who've been, I doubt it)

Though if you want to see funny, there's a fetish nightclub upstairs from one strip club in the city and late Friday night you'll see patrons streaming in, the people who as koeselitz's naked club idea, are all there to look at each other in highly sexualized outfits and get slightly playful with leashes and other symbols of bondage and control, and downstairs there's the regular club. From time to time a lost bachelor party will stumble upstairs and clop back down or a couple of women wearing latex mini-dresses will walk in downstairs, do a double take and change doors. Outside it's a blend of guys in PVC catsuits and plain clothes, both getting some air. My only snark moment is wondering who’s having more fun. That and if you want to see women on stage in skimpy outfits, you get more bang for your buck in the fetish club (and a pretty good professional grade dance troop does stuff too). Also maybe lounging at the door and guessing who is going in where. Strip club patrons don't like to be watched, but long haired guys in corsets are likely to throw you up a big smile for noticing.
posted by Phalene at 5:25 AM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Kevin Smith tells stories well when he's talking, but his writing style is, like his movies, just pointlessly crude at every turn. We-like-to-see-brown-and-pink-eyes... is a terrible phrase; who the fuck calls a vagina a "pink eye"? And it's not just the crudity that's pointless, but every single stylistic embellishment. Like: "But then you’d look at the parties involved - a tanning-bed frequenting, twenty-something gorgeous Goddess, decked out in fuck-me pumps and clothes that’d do the Emperor proud..." Clothes that would do the emperor proud? Which emperor, exactly, would be proud to dress like a Jersey stripper? And this sentence is just too long: "Both of us knew that, in the real world, none of these foin, foin ladies would take a leak on us if we were on fire at their feet in a public toilet after their water pill just kicked in, so we couldn’t pretend that the furtive glances and come-hither eye contact was anything more than role-playing." What exactly is the difference between "furtive glances" and "come-hither eye contact"? That's just one of the things he could've cut. He writes like he's trying to show off his vocabulary but lacks any actual vocabulary, so he just takes ordinary phrases like "she wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire" and sticks on five random embellishments to make it look original.
posted by creasy boy at 5:28 AM on August 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Have you never seen middle-aged women at male-stripper night?

Aren't male strippers for men too? In portland the male strip clubs look down on women observers, but it might be partially due to the fact that most of the dancers are straight.

Also you can practically tuck a dollar bill under male stripper's balls (I was drunk, it was an accident) but you're not allowed to tuck money in a woman's g-string.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 5:32 AM on August 9, 2009


[late to the draw but... "few comments removed early thread-shitting considered harmful and lame, please reconsider for next time"]
posted by jessamyn at 5:36 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll say it. I liked this article. I've been pulled into a few strip clubs, and I feel almost exactly the way Kevin Smith does. I'd much rather just 'hang out' than watch girls walk around naked, knowing I have zero chance. Some of them do make pretty decent bars, once you get past the annoyingly loud music. I've seen girls pull the same lines on multiple patrons, and it makes me laugh. Strip clubs / bars are great places to people watch. There's the guy hoping nobody notices him. There's always a few who think the girls are really into him. And, every once in a while you spot a couple where the girl is more into the dancers then her boyfriend. Kevin Smiths works always seem somewhat close to my own life, with an extra dose of satire. His stuff may not be high brow, but it's definitely funny.

PS : creasy boy- I'm pretty sure the emperor is the one from 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.
posted by K5 at 6:00 AM on August 9, 2009


I'm in college. I'm already surrounded by attractive people who don't want to fuck me. And I should pay for the privilege?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:23 AM on August 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


Sigh... I have been most of those guys. Sadly, I'm also one of those guys who Fell In Love With A Stripper (and ended up moving in together). News flash: It's a terrible, terrible idea in most cases.
posted by autodidact at 6:26 AM on August 9, 2009


Also, creasy boy, he embellishes the 'piss on you if on fire' statement to show that under circumstances where it would be even easier for her to piss on you, she still wouldn't. Plus, furtive glances and come hither eye contact are different - furtive glances are by definition brief and unsustained - as opposed to come hither, which one assumes would be drawn out eye contact.

Not that I have any problem with someone not liking his writing style, as it is very... Him.

I enjoyed it, what with the twist. Oh, and Saxon Kane, would it not be more racist if he changed the race of the punter/s he noticed behaving that way, so as to not make them non-white? I can't say I thought anything based on how he described them, except for how to picture them... Seems like over sensitivity to me.

Sigh... Though not to say I didn't expect half these responses...
posted by opsin at 6:48 AM on August 9, 2009


One business acquaintance of mine liked to take groups of us out to dinner and then to a strip club, stuffing $20 strip-club-currency into our hands. I pocketed mine as a souvenir, then ended up giving them to my nephew on his twenty first birthday, sending him over there (across the street from my apartment.) He called to say he'd be back in the morning, and went home with a stripper.

Another time I was dragged in with some friends, I happened to have in my pocket a bunch of LED illuminated pens. I had a vision of a stripper keeping a journal of her experiences, writing it on her break, crouched in the dark, with an illuminated pen. I gave out one pen, then it seemed that they were really in demand, girls were kind of clamoring for them. I thought, wow, there must be a lot of untapped literary ambitions out there. Then I realized that most probably they were just greedy for whatever loot was being given out, and the next morning they probably felt something like some of their patrons might have, looking at this useless bauble and wandering why they wanted it to begin with.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, this makes me wonder about The Stripper Factory in the next world. Maybe not such a good idea?

A Pastafarian with crisis of faith? That's just sad. At least there will be a Beer Volcano.
posted by Xoebe at 6:55 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would certainly piss on Kevin Smith, flaming or not.

Then I would yell "that's for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!!" and run away.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:58 AM on August 9, 2009


To be fair, I think "Clerks" is a genuinely great film, and it's amazing he made something that good completely independently. But the lowbrow there was coupled with genuine intelligence and heart.

At some point along the way he turned into a less original Howard Stern.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:02 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had a similar experience to hippybear's mentioned above. I was caught up in a crowd that made themselves regulars at a "juice bar" (thanks for the term, Kevin, I never knew!) in Tribeca in the early 90's. What was a little unusual about our group was that there were about 10-15 of us a night -- and about half of us were women.

But this was a pretty unusual club. It was run by a German expatriate (and former sex worker there, it was rumored) named Uta, who encouraged creativity in performance rather than just having it be a boobie bar. There were strip acts, sure -- one woman started in a long black evening gown and did this slow, almost graceful act to this Edith Piaf song -- but we also had the male fire eater with the very unusual piercings, the 60-year-old Ukranian magician who spoke almost no English and who was irretrievably bad, and the performer who called herself "Sue Doe" whose acts were usually performance-art inspired pieces critical of things like religious patriarchy or....well, we didn't always know, and involved things like flinging cooked spaghetti at the audience to the tune of NIN's "Hey Pig." I've told people that going there was the closest I will ever come to visiting Weimar Germany without actually having access to a time machine.

And what Kevin Smith says he and his buddy paid for and got suckered into, we got for free. Somehow my gang became favorites of some of the performers -- maybe because we were there every Friday night (we even had a regular table), or maybe because half of us were women. Or maybe because the guys in our group sort of....were in on the joke. They understood the whole idea of stripping or nudity in that context was kind of an artificial situation anyway -- the pretty lady taking her clothes off and looking you in the eye isn't doing it because you're special, she's doing it because it's an act, and your part in the act is to watch and dig it. The guys at our table seemed to kind of Get This, and they reserved their appreciation not for who had the prettiest boobs or the perkiest ass, they saluted Cleverness. LITERALLY saluted -- one night, when one of the dancers took off her top and the guys saw she'd just gotten the Mattel logo tatooted onto her back, basically turning herself into a giant Barbie doll, they stood up at our table and saluted, all of them hummning the Battle Hymn of the Republic. For her part, when she turned back to us and saw the guys all saluting, she burst out laughing in the middle of her act and said, "I LOVE you guys!"

And after a while, a couple of the dancers would start wandering over to our table to hang out for a bit in between sets. They'd ask "who the heck are you guys, anyway, we see you here every Friday?..." or they'd ask what we were drinking (the place was BYOB) or they'd grumble about one of the other customers, or just...hang out. A couple of them told us their real names, and we invited a couple of them to a party we all threw one night and they showed up. Somehow a lot of us ingratiated ourselves to them, to the point that one of us was even invited to be the M.C. one night (a few of you have heard the story about how I saw Drew Barrymore perform at this club one night -- that was the same night).

I think, though, that the reason why the dancers felt comfortable with us -- and why I felt comfortable there as a woman -- is that we all understood just how silly and how much of an act a strip act IS, and the guys understood that it was all a big silly game rather than "Oh Wow Girls Are Taking Their Clothes off For That Means Something!" Plus we also were more often watching the crowd anyway (when we saw a crowd of frat boys come in, we'd often take bets on whether they'd leave during the naked male fire eater act or the spaghetti-flinging act). It was all just pretend.

We only all stopped going when people moved away, started grad school, or started getting caught up in a lot of more involved life stuff, and then the club closed in '96 and that was that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on August 9, 2009 [31 favorites]


I've been to one strip club in my life, for a friend's bachelor party. We kept buying him lap dances and alcohol. It was a good night.

Another friend of mine's father married a stripper after he god divorced from said friends mother. She (the stripper) was in her forties at the time of the marriage and you could tell, but she still looked fairly good. So there are and can be permanent relationships that come out of strip clubs, although I was under the impression that the guy's dad (was was in his fifties at the time) had been a regular at that club for years upon years, so of course he got to know the strippers fairly well.

From everything I've seen, going over to their house a couple of times right before and after the marriage it's a normal, functional relationship.
posted by Hactar at 7:24 AM on August 9, 2009


creasy boy: "Clothes that would do the emperor proud? Which emperor, exactly, would be proud to dress like a Jersey stripper?"

The Emperor that wasn't wearing any clothes...you know, the fable?

I took a lot of the crudities to color (in the sports-announcing sense) - they represent the his crude mindset back then.
posted by notsnot at 7:27 AM on August 9, 2009


Graphs? Pot, meet kettle.

I don't have a blog where I write articles in my lousy prose for other people to read. So I am neither a pot nor a kettle.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:28 AM on August 9, 2009


No, I'm pretty sure I did not miss the point.
posted by kalessin at 7:28 AM on August 9, 2009


i used to work at a motel and later a convenience store all night - the one thing i got from what the strippers would tell me and others in casual conversation was that there's an atmosphere of danger and anger just under the "fun" - some of the customers were real creeps - they'd attempt to follow the strippers home, they'd hang out in the parking lot after hours, they'd even go so far as to find the cars of the strippers and key them or slash the tires - and even if that didn't happen, many of the women would talk about their audiences with utter contempt and disgust

some of them were working their way through college - a small minority were whores with "managers" - and some were just single mothers trying to make their way

it's a strange business with a lot of sublimated hostility on both sides
posted by pyramid termite at 7:36 AM on August 9, 2009


not sublimated - hell, i'm half awake this morning - oh well ... call it repressed hostility, i guess
posted by pyramid termite at 7:40 AM on August 9, 2009


With Kevin Smith, if you've missed the point, it's probably to your benefit.

Wait, what was his point? THAT? THAT'S THE POINT HE WAS MAKING? ARRGGGH.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:43 AM on August 9, 2009


This reminded me of a Five Eight song. I forget the name. It's about falling in love with a stripper and writing her poetry on cocktail napkins. "I was the poet in the bar, do you remember me? She said no..." Good song.

"She's Dropping The Bomb"
posted by spilon at 7:51 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about the strip club experience are those fucking announcers. Yes, the mercenary motivations of the dancers can seem ugly, but you can still have fun within the bounds of the business transaction. But those announcers, holy fuck.
posted by fleacircus at 8:02 AM on August 9, 2009


The worst thing about the strip club experience are those fucking announcers.

Actually, a bad DJ can be even worse. Once, a really attractive stripper took the stage at my local jiggleroom and what did the Johnny fever wannabe throw on the turntable? "Father Of Mine" by Everclear. Buzzkill moment. Or perhaps, hamfisted social commentary. We just don't know.
posted by jonmc at 8:19 AM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I was a young man I thought strip clubs would be a fun naughty raucous good time. Turns out they are not for me any of those things. I like sin as much as the next guy but I like my sin a little less exploitive.
posted by nola at 8:35 AM on August 9, 2009


I've not seen the term "labia dangling naked" before.
posted by bz at 8:41 AM on August 9, 2009


Spelling/grammatical mistake in first sentence... ugh.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:41 AM on August 9, 2009


Of all people, Kevin Smith oughta realize that the patrons of any given shit job have nothing on the insights of the poor souls doomed to work there.

I don't go to strip clubs because the year after I graduated the Class Freak showed up at a high school social event and mentioned to my mother that she was a stripper now, woo!
posted by carsonb at 8:50 AM on August 9, 2009


(But didn't say where...)
posted by carsonb at 8:50 AM on August 9, 2009


The first time I ever went to a strip club, a real dump of an establishment in my hometown, the second girl who got on stage looked...a little familiar. I elbowed my buddy and asked him who she was. Turned out it was a girl we'd gone to public school with. Not only that, but it was a girl who had showed up on my parents' doorstep on the way to the first dance of the year in grade nine to ask if I was going. I wasn't interested in her, so I had, panicked, lied and said no. Shortly after that she'd moved and I hadn't seen her in five years. I doubt she recognized me, but I spent the rest of her routine trying to disappear into my drink. You might say strip clubs and I got off on the wrong foot and never really recovered.

> But those announcers, holy fuck.

Eight or so years ago, my wife helped to organize a bachelorette party and picked out a strip club she'd been to not long before that had male strippers once a week. A couple of the girls attending the party were on the religious side and didn't want to go to the strip club, so the plan was they'd drop the rest of the party off at the club and then pick them up a couple of hours later. So they were dropped off, walked in the front door and were dismayed to learn that Ladies Night was no more. Neither of the girls who had dropped them off had cell phones, and the club was in the middle of nowhere, so they were kind of stuck there. They made the best of the situation, and the waitresses took pity on them and gave them a bunch of free drinks, but the whole time they were there the announcer kept trying to coax them onstage; "I see we have some LADIEEZ in DA HOUSE! C'mon, LADIEEZ, how about some AMATEUR ACTION?", etc.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:59 AM on August 9, 2009


> I went a couple of strip clubs when I was a young man a total of half a dozen times, and I found them fascinating--mainly, how non-sexual they were to me. Lots of attractive young women in the altogether, but the context just made it bizarre.

Seconding that. My wife once asked me "Isn't it weird sitting there, getting all worked up while surrounded by a bunch of your friends?" And yes, it is.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:02 AM on August 9, 2009


I've always hated strip clubs, but not for any feminist reason or anything like that. What bothers me is how the girls have to pretend they're having a good time. I don't know why, but something about that really bothers me.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:05 AM on August 9, 2009


Tits and slits make my dick soft.

Too bad, with talk like that you could be a real ladies man.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:11 AM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


fleacircus/jonmc: Dancers usually bring their own mix CDs or create a specific playlist for the DJ. For stories from the other side of the pole, Tales from the Boobie Bar was pretty great.

Anyway, I liked this piece, as over-the-top as it was. I'd say the only thing I'd add is that this is not an experience limited to the strip club: most of our favorite bartenders, cashiers, karaoke MCs, and high school teachers don't remember us, no matter what deep connections we thought we'd established.
posted by eamondaly at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


adipocere: "I have yet to visit a strip club... Based on the article, I'm going to say that the only winning move is not to pay."

P.o.B.: "Exactly. From what I've heard, the minute you pay, you are just a customer/ATM at that point. The story kind of went off the rails the minute he mentioned his friend payed while they had a "real" conversation with the stripper."

YSMV but from what I've read and heard from Real Live Strippers, this is not a winning move at all. This signifies to the dancer that you are there on the blag ONLY, and that you do not respect the fact that, while you are spending time with her, in her club, she is working. Not paying says "I'm trying to get something for free, and therefore I'm even creepier than the rest of the guys here." Time spent with you while you refuse to spend money is money out of her pocket.

You can certainly have a "real conversation" with a stripper; you just can't do it for free. If you want to sit and talk to a stripper, dance or not, you better either be paying her directly or buying her expensive drinks from the bar (she will order an actual cocktail, and you will be charged the high-$ cocktail price, but the waitress will bring her a club soda with lime or a cranberry juice with a splash of tonic, something that looks like the cocktail she ordered but was free to make. Everyone but the dude is in on this: the dancer, the waitress, the bartender. Or she will order a Red Bull that you will be charged $15 for.). One way or the other, you will be paying for her time. That's how the system is set up. And even then, the strippers have an uncanny sense for who is looking to "just talk" at the moment because he will be buying more dances later, and who is looking to "just talk" because he fantasizes that they will make a love connection, or that he can get a foot in the door to invite her home and tell all his friends the next morning.

I would wager that once you actually go to a strip club, you will have a better feel for the actual attitude of the working girls inside. The atmosphere is not one of sex and passion at all, but one of sex and commerce. The customers might be there to see boobies, but the employees are there to make money -- not to find boyfriends, not to chat you up for a date, not to find a caring guy who just really wants to listen and understand her as a person, but to make money. Separating a patron from his folding money is Job #1. Anyone who walks in under any other impression is going to be disappointed.

I believe the finger-in-the-ass story could be true (ie that Smith and his friend got played), but he basically just admitted that they were embarrassingly naïve the first time. A customer who touched a dancer that way would be thrown out in milliseconds, even in the sleaziest strip club. Had the assault actually happened, the dancer would be too busy screaming for the manager and security staff, to wander around dejected and talking to other customers looking for sympathy in the form of cash.

Disclaimer: I have never worked in a strip club or in the industry, but I did bartend for a couple years alongside a woman who had danced for a decade -- working her way down from the high-production-value, Vegas-style clubs in her 20's, to the businessmen's-lunch joints that advertise in the back of the weekly, to the truck-stop-style shacks with a peep show in the back in her late 30's (and then finally to cocktail waitressing with her clothes on at regular bars). Her first-hand experiences aligned totally with what I saw for myself on the occasions that I have been into a strip club as a patron. Again, YSMV.
posted by pineapple at 9:15 AM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't like being upsold at a movie theater, Twenty five more cents for a large? How about you just give me what I ordered and not try to squeeze every last penny out of me?

Strip clubs are a place where upselling is like a fetish. Every step of the way is designed to jump you up another level, another upsell, another $20, or $100, or $1000. It seems to me that the only way to enjoy it if you're a patron is to have some sexual kink in which you get turned on by spending money.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:18 AM on August 9, 2009


He lost me at "meat curtains." I mean, I read the whole article, but at that point it was like reading it whilst simultaneously sticking my fingers in my ears going "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU."

That one's really my least favorite euphemism for the noble vagina. I'll even take "pink taco" over "meat curtains." I hear the latter and I can smell what an actual curtain made of actual meat would be like and then I have to reach for my in-flight airsickness bag.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:21 AM on August 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


I've been to a strip club exactly twice, both times for other people's stag nights. My primary recollection is one of profound embarrassment for everyone involved.

I'm so sensitive!
posted by Sparx at 9:24 AM on August 9, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, that was the Blue Angel, yes? I think my friend Otter used to do a fire show there.
posted by elizardbits at 9:27 AM on August 9, 2009


It seems that strip clubs capitalize on multiple illusions: that the women are personally interested in the patrons, that the women are somehow available, that attraction can be purchased, but also that a man can elevate himself above the crude, trashy fools who frequent such places by making genuine contact with the women as people. Like EmpressCallipygos said, it's really all a big, silly act, but the patrons do the actual work of deluding themselves into believing whatever fantasy appeals to them about the nature of the interactions.
posted by clockzero at 9:35 AM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Spelling/grammatical mistake in first sentence... ugh.

Since the second paragraph contains "she's" correctly spelled, I'm assuming that the multiple instances of "shes" in the first paragraph are misspelled either out of laziness, inattentiveness, or "I'm writing a blog so who cares"ness, all of which are almost more annoying than simple mistakes.
posted by blucevalo at 9:39 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was not at all interested in the girls. Heavens no. Tits and slits make my dick soft.

Such a poetic way to just say that... you're gay. So easy to phrase as a positive, rather than a negative!

Otherwise, really interesting comments in this thread, thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 10:23 AM on August 9, 2009


There used to be a club that hosted male strippers one night a week, with ladies only allowed in the audience. I found out quite by accident that a guy I worked with (in the advertising department of a large company) was one of the dancers. He was a bit embarrassed about being caught and begged my silence while at the office. (He was in it for the money; he'd easily make a couple hundred dollars in tips alone in one night.) My younger brother was working at a local pizza place part time, and Richard (the stripper) stopped by once. Seeing my brother's name tag, he asked if he was Oriole's brother, told him that we worked together, blah blah. My brother told me about this after the fact and then commented that Richard had paid the entire tab all in singles, which he thought was odd. When I told my brother that those dollar bills had once been housed in a sweaty G-string, the look on his face was priceless.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:24 AM on August 9, 2009


Also, on further reflection, there's a physiological question here as well. To react to something by having one's dick become soft implies that its regular state is tumescent/erect, no? You might want to get that checked out; sounds like it could eventually become quite painful.
posted by jokeefe at 10:26 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess I must have just finished reading something written by Kevin Smith before I wrote that comment. Did you read it? Just keeping in tone with the required reading for the thread...
posted by hippybear at 10:45 AM on August 9, 2009


Holy bajoley. Y'all need to come down south, where strip joints are still fun.

We have a couple of joints, on major thoroughfares, just across bridges on the Inland Waterway towards the Beaches, from boat yards on the west banks of the IW. In the flush days of pre-crash 2007, when boats were still selling like hot cakes, the boat salesmen and the strippers were always massively cooperating to separate big boat buyers from money in a whole pyramid of happy, fun, often noisy transactions, in and out of the clubs.

First, you've got to understand that boats are a hole in the water you throw money into, and, thus from a financial standpoint, are not unlike strip clubs. If you can afford big boats, you can afford strip clubs. You may even need the boats and clubs as venues to show off your roll. After all, what's the point of having a roll, if you just keep it in your pocket?

Second, you need to understand that big boats seem to have a kind of allure for strippers that few other possessions can provide. Intrinsically, big boats are party places, where minimally attired people can enjoy a number of activities, or at least the promise thereof, at some future date. Sometimes, they are temporary shelter for lost souls, too.

Third, you need to understand that Big Boat Salesman are a special breed, when it comes to stroking the egos of men with large bank rolls, and that on many levels, they intrinsically think like strippers. So, working alliances between Big Boat Salesman and strippers are a lot more common than you might think, around here.

Often, it all starts when a Big Boat Prospect meets a Big Boat Salesman at a boatyard. The BBS shows the BBP a few models, while the Credit Manager runs the BBP's numbers in the office. If the BBS gets a high sign from his Credit Manager, the BBS is going to find out whether the BBP is a Playa, or at least a wannabe Playa, in the next few minutes, by means of a few questions about the possible uses of the vessels under consideration, as entertainment venues. If the BBP lights up at the prospect of hosting big, fun parties on his new boat, the BBS obliquely inquires as to who might be on such guest lists, and whether they might need to be augmented, from time to time. As soon as he gets a yes, the BBS works the BBP out to his Lexus, for a trip to an "alternate mooring site," to see more "models."

And yep, that alternate mooring site is quite often, one of the nearby strip clubs, and the models are the girls working there. At that point, the BBS becomes some kind of Custom Cruiser Social Director, who happens to be "real" friends with just about every girl in the place. It turns out, that through his vast network of pretty women and boat owners, he's able to consistently spark up any boat party that needs help, on an hour's notice. The girls work in teams, attending boat parties under various scholarship contribution plans, and often feed back new prospects they meet there to the BBS, as another source of future income. It's all Part of the Service a new Big Boat Owner can access, at the right boatyards, for enough $$$. And hey, some of those shindigs, in and out of the clubs, are legendary in the local culture!

Sadly, the serious drop in the leisure boat economy of the last 18 months around here, has really put a crimp in all that, to the point that these clubs have started offering lunch specials again. But, if y'all are lookin' for a good deal on a boat, and/or a party to have on it, can I put you in touch with a Big Boat Salesman, or two...

Or, we could just stop by the clubs, directly, if you're buyin'. It ain't hard to find a ton of Boat Salesman there, these days, any hour of the afternoon.
posted by paulsc at 10:51 AM on August 9, 2009 [21 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the emperor is the one from 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.

I suppose I should be embarassed that I missed that reference, but I'm in a foul mood as a result of a bad piece of mail from my insurance company, so I'm going to blame that on Kevin Smith as well. I missed it because the fable of the emperor's new clothes has absolutely nothing to do with anything in that article. It is more pointless embellishment.
posted by creasy boy at 10:52 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


jokeefe, that's assuming the defualt state is totally flaccid.
posted by spaltavian at 10:59 AM on August 9, 2009


To react to something by having one's dick become soft implies that its regular state is tumescent/erect, no? You might want to get that checked out;

On the other hand, it's always nice to have a hatrack around.
posted by jonmc at 11:17 AM on August 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm already surrounded by attractive people who don't want to fuck me. And I should pay for the privilege?

PopeGuilty is great all on his own, but he's even better when you read him in Zoidberg's voice.

(Go ahead, read that again. I'll wait.)
posted by rokusan at 11:29 AM on August 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


Gosh, paulsc, that does sound like --

-- a nightmare, actually. The idea of spending the evening on a boat with salesmen, some regional "high rollers," and their strippers-on-retainer makes me wonder how cold that water really would feel.
posted by palliser at 11:30 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Kevin Smith could accurately be described as a hipster, we would have the perfect singularity of MeFi hate.

God DAMN it, Joey Michaels, now I'm wondering whether or not Kevin Smith is circumcised. This was not on my to-do list when I woke up this morning.
posted by rosebuddy at 11:35 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In college, I worked with one of my teachers in the Anthropology department on a project about drug use in women. It involved extensive 3-hour interviews of female drug users (primarily crack, cocaine, and heroin) including how they financed their habit. One of the girls I interviewed was a student at a college in town, who financed her coke habit by stripping. She was beautiful, so she danced at a pretty nice club. As a goody-two-shoes girl, I had no experience at all with strip clubs. I was genuinely interested in her experiences, so we had a long conversation during the interview about her life as a stripper. The two things that I remember vividly still were:

1. Her description of getting ready to go on stage. She said it's basically like putting on a different persona - an invisible mask of sorts - that gave her the confidence and mindset to deal with the sort of sexualized energy in the club, while maintaining her perky always-interested-in-you persona. It involved very specific make up and putting on specific items of clothing, all while shedding her normal self for the persona. She had a name for her character, a sob-story back story all ready for if patrons would go the "chat" route, and a fake life-outlook that was all positive all the time.

2. Her talking about the pressure they felt about making money. Everything she did was all about maximizing her take-home pay, as well as to make money for the club. Pinapple is exactly right, it is all about sex-as-commerce, rather than anything about passion or love or even mutual attraction.

Upshot is that I think the Kevin Smith story rings perfectly true. They were naive and self centered to think that they were somehow "saving" this girl by talking to her instead of getting lap dances, and they were brought down to earth hard when she tried to pull the same thing with them a second time. It seems to me that the post was to explain how he recognizes that the original impulse - "saving" the girl - says more about him and his friend than it does about the stripper.
posted by gemmy at 11:46 AM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Gosh, paulsc, that does sound like --

-- a nightmare, actually. ..."

posted by palliser at 2:30 PM on August 9

Have you ever seen a flying bridge by moonlight? How do you feel about a matched pair of 400 horsepower marine diesels, churning up a flourescent wake, under a sky of stars?

Can I freshen up your Cuba Libre? Re-rig your fishing line? Bring you a fried dorado sandwich?

Maybe you're not boat party material... Today, the sea surface temperature is a balmy 82°, with a light chop. Perfect swimming weather!
posted by paulsc at 11:52 AM on August 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Manmanman. Masculinemasculinemasculine. Stripclubtittydancegirlsgonewild.
posted by ford and the prefects.


I agree. Men should just go to strip bars, empty their wallet and shut the fuck up. Reflection or thinking about anything is only allowed for women, who always have a particular womanly perspective that will be different from the man's.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:58 AM on August 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


koeselitz: Jesus would've wanted us all to be naked in the strip club.

Symeon probably had Gnosticism in mind when he was writing that. More accurately, Jesus would be kosher with nude beaches. The sexualization and exploitation of strip clubs are still big no-nos in Christian theology.

(NOT-GNOSTICIST)
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:09 PM on August 9, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, that was the Blue Angel, yes? I think my friend Otter used to do a fire show there.

Yep, The Blue Angel. I remember a couple of different fire acts coming through...the "naked male fire eater" I mention was named Keith, if memory serves (unless it was Otter...um, did Otter have....unusual piercings that he also worked into the act?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:29 PM on August 9, 2009


Notice that in this thread most references are to 'girls' and 'strippers.' Both terms that carry a lot of social baggage in terms of gender, sexuality, patriarchy, exploitation, etc. Do the relevant issues here become more or less clear if we refer to 'performers'? I've no answer in mind, just opening a fresh can of worms . . .
posted by barrett caulk at 12:44 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also also, Kevin Smith must be spending too much time shooting stuff in Canada, because no one south of the US/Canada border says 'peeler' for 'stripper,' no?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:58 PM on August 9, 2009


no one south of the US/Canada border says 'peeler' for 'stripper,' no?

anecdata: I had never heard the term "peeler" before dating a Canadian.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:06 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can certainly have a "real conversation" with a stripper; you just can't do it for free.

I bonded with a dancer in Vegas once while winding down a meth binge in a strip club. We spent her entire shift talking about who knows what before she gave me her email and asked me to drop her a line. I tried to offer her money because we just wasted her whole shift with tweeker babble but she wouldn't take it. We kept in touch after that for a while until we were both too wasted to really keep up the correspondence. She looked me up on Facebook a while back and I was sincerely glad to hear from her again. She eventually quit dancing and went back to college and got an English degree, she forwarded me some writing she did about her stripping days and it was actually quite good. I was trying to help her pitch it to her local alt-weekly because I thought it would make a great feature piece. I never propositioned her sexually in anyway, it was strictly pen-pals from the start. I understand that this is highly unusual but it does happen, just not to dipshits like Kevin Smith.

I haven't been in a strip club since I quit drinking and getting high and I hope I never find myself in one again.
posted by The Straightener at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was kind of the thing that turned me off about The Wrestler.

The thing that turned me off about The Wrestler (which I otherwise enjoyed)? When the stripper character goes "Yeah! Def Lep!" Such a bad line.
posted by limeonaire at 1:51 PM on August 9, 2009


the "naked male fire eater" I mention was named Keith, if memory serves

Otter is actually female, and while (IIRC) nonpierced, has an extremely bright-colored fire tattoo covering her entire, shall we say, bikini area, front and back, as well as bright pink hair (on her head). All in all, a most visually memorable person.
posted by elizardbits at 1:57 PM on August 9, 2009


Can I freshen up your Cuba Libre? Re-rig your fishing line? Bring you a fried dorado sandwich?

Well, you sound nice. I'm just not so sure about all those other people you said were going to be there.
posted by palliser at 2:01 PM on August 9, 2009


(and sometimes you just prefer a good homestyle grilled cheese sandwich, anyway)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:46 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back when I worked the early morning shift and would take the Friday afternoon Greyhound bus to visit my parents in the country, I'd head downtown, pick up my ticket, and walk a few blocks up to this place and sit and read and have a beer. At 1 PM, it was certainly a better place to read than the bus depot: quieter, smoke friendly, and no people hassling you for money - aside from the peelers, who would try to ply the meager afternoon crowd of Shelley Levene clones, construction workers who cut out early, VLT addicts, and me with 3 for $2 tickets to win a lap dance.

Good times. Good, profoundly depressing, times.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:52 PM on August 9, 2009


The very first time I went to a strip joint I was 17, with a fake ID. My football team just won a very high national ranking and we needed to celebrate. I bought one lap dance from the hottest girl I'd ever seen to that point. She had just done a very sensual stage show (not the gynecological exam that was my impression from the girls preceeding her) to "Everybody Hurts" by REM. I accepted her offer for a "lap dance" ($5!.. they had just been legalized that week in Ontario). I spent the entire time looking straight into her eyes because I didn't want to offend her. She said it creeped her out and stopped dancing.

I slep with her that night ;D

That was about 16 years ago (holy shit I'm old). She died of a heroin overdose in 2005.

/Being 17 is a whole different world, isn't it?
posted by autodidact at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2009


Well...I've worked in strip clubs. (Why yes, I *was* working my way through college. heh.) It was the rah-rah big oil money days of the 80's...and I made freaking boatloads of cash. Boatloads. It was a ridiculous amount of money for a teenager. (Back when the drinking age was 18, doncha know.) And I wasn't even a dancer, I was the VIP bartender.

I had lots of friends that were dancers. I still have friends that were dancers back then.

Truth? Dancers hate you. I mean, not you personally...but there's something that changes about people when they walk in the door of a gentleman's club. They don't think of the girls as humans, and the girls don't think of them as anything but walking ATMs. Most dancers, when away from customers, are astounded at the stupid amounts of money that men will spend. The odds of a customer going home with a dancer from a reputable club is almost nil. The girls make too much money to fuck it up by getting a prostitution rap, which disqualifies them from being able to work anywhere with a cabaret license.

Also, while I think Kevin is a funny guy, his verbiage in this essay was revolting.

Also, I don't know how stupid you'd have to be to spend even 5 minutes in a club and then believe the "some guy stuck his finger in me" story. Because seriously, nobody touches the girls in these clubs without getting hurt. If someone took liberties with a dancer that actually involved penetration...well, let's just say that there would probably be an ambulance involved. Dancers do not, do not, DO NOT suffer indignity quietly. Nor should they.

All that said; and even knowing the inherent issues around those clubs, if I were going to open a nightclub...I would probably open a gentleman's club. They are a license to print money, and when run by a woman who knows the trade*, they're a pretty fun place to work.

*Women owned clubs tend to have much nicer dressing rooms, significantly better perqs like massages and showers and time off the floor between stage sets, no table dance requirements, etc.
posted by dejah420 at 3:18 PM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


He lost me at "meat curtains." I mean, I read the whole article, but at that point it was like reading it whilst simultaneously sticking my fingers in my ears going "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
That one's really my least favorite euphemism for the noble vagina. I'll even take "pink taco" over "meat curtains."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:21 AM on August 9

I prefer "Little Boy in a Boat".
posted by 445supermag at 5:04 PM on August 9, 2009


Kalessin: "[I]t's bullshit. He never got to get close to a stripper and get into the inner sanctum so because he got played by one, he decided to stop going to the club.

But generally to become trusted and a good conversation partner, you do so in a context where you can actually convincingly not be a mark/john. Trying to forge this link with a stripper IN a strip club while the stripper is on shift? Not a wise way to go about it. Not likely to be productive."


Actually, he starts out by pointing out that he has got close to a stripper, but it was outside the strip bar environment. Then he tells an anecdote about how you can't get to know a stripper inside a club. And your conclusion is "that's bullshit, because you can only get to know strippers outside the strip bar environment, and you can't get to know a stripper in a club"?
posted by Bugbread at 5:06 PM on August 9, 2009


I would never use the expression "meat curtain", but I like it just because of the enormous gulf between the expression and the speaker. It's a revolting term, used almost entirely by people who *really like* vaginas. That gap makes me somehow appreciate the word.
posted by Bugbread at 5:08 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been in a (male) strip club exactly once.

It was a few summers ago. I was Montreal with my BF and things were not going well. Things were going pretty fucking awful actually, which was why I was wandering the streets mid-day in the middle of a god damned heat wave thinking that This Was It and It Was Over. My french is terrible, I have no idea where I am, my legs ache from walking, and it's like a billion fucking degrees out and I'm drenched in sweat. I need to cool down. I need to think. I need a drink.

I scanned the block for a place to sit down and really simmer in my misery when I saw that the large gay strip club was open. I walk in.

In order to understand the profoundly affecting mises en scène you have to understand that this is a pretty famous place. It's big and shiny and glossy. The inside is like a red-velvet cave with tasteful up-lighting. The bar is stylishly designed, the stage is big andl drapped heavy curtains and the bartenders are wearing what amounts to formal skin-tight swimwear.

All very flashy and gay and fabulous, of course, except it's the middle of the fucking day and I'm the only one there. The place can comfortably hold hundreds and I'm literally the only customer. The music isn't even on. The A/C is blasting and the barmen look cold and uncomfortable in their tights. Their pneumatic, plastic-molded injection bodies make me sit up straighter. I am suddenly very aware of my gut and I feel like the fattest person in existance and start to worry or if I smell or look as crazy as I feel. Maybe it was my sweaty crazyface but I felt like the naked one. Anyway, I ordered a beer and tried my best not to think about anything.

Just then some incomprehensible French blasts out of the speakers announcing some new dancer named Jaque of Jami or something. Out comes an insanely muscled latino boy in thug drag. He drops pants but doesn't dance, he just kinda..shuffles around, pants around his ankles, his dick half-heartly swinging around in premise-thin underpants. It's not even a semblance of a dance or performance or anything. It's embarrassing.

Then the kicker. The DJ remembers that dancers need music and cues up a song at full volume.

It's David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World."

I don't even remember if I saw another act or had another beer or what.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on August 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


What a load of balderdash. The girls hate you, the guys are this, the girls are like this.

The players involved are not some generic stand-in character, they are individuals, the guys and the girls, and the situation varies drastically from club to club and night to night at the same club. The ones that I enjoy don't have the dont' talk to other men vibe in them.

I've been going to strip clubs since I was 20, when my ex-girlfriend drug me in. I have two friends pick up strippers while there, but I bet one will never do it again....but thats another story.

Sometimes, its nice to get titillated by a willing participant and not have to worry about all the emotional entanglements. I don't see any difference between this and any other sort of live performance, except the sexual aspect is overt. It is also more intimate because for a moments at a time the performer is giving you their their attention.

I guess my take is that these girls are performers like any other and if they are skilled then they deserve some cash. I don't think it is an easy job, but nothing that involves direct interaction with members of the public is.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 5:15 PM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Damn, The Whelk, that as a hilarious story. I'm dying over here.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2009


I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: dejah420 is most definitely one of the Mefites I'd most like to meet.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 PM on August 9, 2009


hippybear, just to note that you've you've used the expression before in a comment (something to do with a yard sale?), which is why I mentioned it.
posted by jokeefe at 6:22 PM on August 9, 2009


^^ I have no idea why that is in bold.
posted by jokeefe at 6:23 PM on August 9, 2009


I've never been that into strip clubs. I kind of found the men who go regularly to be rather pathetic, dysfunctional, and desperate and the scene up in Seattle is kinda creepy becuase of no booze being allowed and the criminally exploitative element running many of the clubs.

But I've had lots of exposure. Friends who have worked in clubs, etc. I had one friend who was a DJ for about six years in various clubs. He is now regular and recognizable NPR personality (I'll never tell). And due to training in martial arts I've had a couple of friends who were bouncers. Including one who was a capable female bouncer. A very rare thing indeed. And of course I've had many friends who dated dancers.

And. I'll admit it. I briefly dated a dancer back in the day. And yes I met her IN a club. Though a friend was dating another dancer. So this idea they universally are utterly unapproachable and some hold epic proportions of disgust and disdain for men is bullshit. They are unapproachable if you are fucking asshole or a desperate douche bag. I found most dancers eventually develop a rather mixed set of feelings for their customers. And if they stick around long enough I can imagine that will turn pretty negative. But good dancers know what the deal is and if they are smart and not totally exploited they detach themselves and are every bit as professional as any other performer.

Most people don't fully appreciate what a dancer does. Really. A good dancer. They provide the fantasy of desire. Projected out. It's not about YOU desiring them. And they do it while simultaneously projecting a quiet boundary. The tension (hence tease), when done well, is like being pulled int by a rip tide but not deep enough to drown. You have to KNOW it's a fantasy. And believe it none the less. That's a tricky balancing act for the performer to pull off. And paying for it is all part of it.

Some people don't get it. Men and women. Many men either think they are truly desired by the performer. Or worse. They they should not have to pay for the illusion. Like paying for it means the performer is somehow less... that they are also somehow less. Which is a sickening shame. And. Many women see it as either demeaning or threatening. Like their mates are being unfaithful. Which is also a shame. Some of the hotest nights of my life have been when my wife and I have gone to a club together. You're missing out if you haven't tried that.

The way I look at it is it's no different than any other fantasy entertainment. You know the Lord of the Rings isn't real. Right? It's all fantasy. And's the most fun when you allow your self to be submerged in it for a time. It seems the only fantasy people seem to get uptight about is when the fantasy involves parts from the waste down. And strip clubs, like LOTR, when people who cross the line and think that elves are real or try to dress like Orcs 24/7... well, that's when you get problems.
posted by tkchrist at 6:36 PM on August 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


What a load of balderdash. The girls hate you, the guys are this, the girls are like this.

Word. The exoticization of women who work in strip clubs in this thread is surprisingly regressive for mefi. If all the men involved are creeps then all the women involved are being disrespectful to themselves.

Am I missing something if I think the immunity has to go both ways?
posted by Non Prosequitur at 6:40 PM on August 9, 2009


Whoa, paulsc, that was fascinating. I asked this question about boating on AskMe almost a year ago, and I'm giving you a belated best answer.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 6:55 PM on August 9, 2009


Boy, a lot of too-cool-to-be-too-cool-for-the-room hipster hate going on in this thread. How badly will I be excoriated for saying that I think he's pretty funny, and even occasionally insightful?
posted by Aversion Therapy at 8:45 PM on August 9, 2009


Boy, a lot of too-cool-to-be-too-cool-for-the-room hipster hate going on in this thread.

Wait! Do you mean the people who are hating on Kevin Smith are hipsters or that people are hating on Kevin Smith because he is the hipster?

This would help answer Joey Michaels.
posted by Iax at 10:27 PM on August 9, 2009


If Kevin Smith could accurately be described as a hipster, we would have the perfect singularity of MeFi hate.

I dunno. Maybe if he could be described as a libertarian hipster.
posted by blenderfish at 12:41 AM on August 10, 2009


Kevin Smith pees in the shower. Your shower.
posted by rokusan at 1:38 AM on August 10, 2009


It's been a dog's age since I'm been in a boobies bar, but I've known dancers, and while I'm not sure "they hate you" is quite the brush I would pick, I get where it's coming from: Customers are definitely not real people to them, they're just... customers. And that's fine.

I don't get why this is shocking or insulting, myself. If you're a barista, you make and serve coffee to a thousand people one day. You look at them, you talk to them, you smile, and you give them what they pay for... but nobody would expect you to remember them all, or treat them as more than customers. Sure, you're friendly (especially if you want tips), but if one of them touches you or hits on you... that would be the customer crossing the line implicit in the business relationship.

Same deal with dancers. The fact (some) men can't seem to differentiate between a performer paid to entertain them and a possible date/girlfriend/hookup probably does say something about how many emotionally-misadjusted men are out there.
posted by rokusan at 2:56 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The forums at Stripperweb provide a counterpoint (or maybe a confirmation) of Smith's essay.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 5:00 AM on August 10, 2009


I know the phrase "objectification of women" might seem to have gotten a little tired over the last decade or so, but Kevin Smith talks like he's never heard it before.

I don't think that objectification of women is completely unheard of in strip clubs.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:50 AM on August 10, 2009


Non Prosequitur: Word. The exoticization of women who work in strip clubs in this thread is surprisingly regressive for mefi. If all the men involved are creeps then all the women involved are being disrespectful to themselves.

Am I missing something if I think the immunity has to go both ways?


You're missing something, I think.

Maybe you can point out the bit in this thread where anybody exoticized women in strip clubs. I'm having a hard time knowing what it is you're talking about.

If anything, it seemed to me that the argument was that it has to go both ways - that it's silly and that it reinforces particularly harmful stereotypes when only certain people of particular body types are deemed worthy of compensation for the mere act of being naked. And I seem to recall more than one of us resenting not the fact that the "men are creeps" but that the man in question, the author of the article, doesn't respect himself enough, and that he's so self-disparaging.

But maybe you were reading a different thread than I was; or maybe strip clubs themselves aren't as regressive as we've all been arguing.
posted by koeselitz at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2009


What is the main consensus amongst guys though? Do MOST guys like strip clubs? I feel like some guys just feel like it's boring.
posted by YukaBot 8000 at 11:14 AM on August 10, 2009


The last time I went to a Bachelor thing, down in Portland, a bunch of the guys wanted to go to strip clubs the next morning. I ended up going to Powells instead.

Note that I'm not implying that there isn't anything sick, lustful or perverted about my relationship with Powells.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blucevalo - "shes". I hear ya.

Sheesh.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2009


I doubt that it is boring.. I just prefer my pornography in private.
posted by Chuckles at 12:16 PM on August 10, 2009


psycho-alchemy : Sometimes, its nice to get titillated by a willing participant and not have to worry about all the emotional entanglements.

See, this was my mistake. Fifteen or so years ago, I was a back up DJ in one of the nicer clubs in my area (nicer in the sense that about once every two weeks, they'd get a Playboy Playmate or a Hustler centerfold to be a featured act on the side stage, rather than just relying on area talent.) The primary DJ was a locally famous jockey at the local rock station, and because of concerts and other appearances, he'd need a couple of weekend nights a month off, so I would fill in.

Being a college student with a need for cash and a healthy libido, I said 'hell yeah' and took over every chance I could. I mean, naked chicks paying me money to play music for them? Yeah, it seemed a no-brainer.

It didn't take long for me to start seeing the seams though; going down to the dressing room to get a girl's music and finding them snorting last nights pay in coke off of the make up table is a fast way to cut through the mysterious allure.

Still, it was a job, and many of the girls were actually very sweet. And that was the undoing for me.

I was in school and I had to write a paper, something about perspective or something, so I got it in my head to interview a bunch of the dancers and get a look at their point of view. Over a couple of weeks, I took them one by one out to dinner and asked them questions about their backgrounds, families, beliefs, all the standard stuff.

The paper came out reasonably well, mainly, I think, because it didn't cater to the belief that all dancers are damaged goods; most of the girls I interviewed were actually really happy doing what they were doing; as one pointed out "Guys pay me hundreds of dollars for walking around in my underwear for four hours a night. And I've got the rest of the day to do whatever I want..." (I had to admit, viewing it from this perspective, I was a bit jealous.)

One of them was actually living the cliche; she was saving up to go to a prestigious ballet school, which she accomplished while I was still there. She was one of the most successful dancers I've ever seen; apparently incorporating actual dance into your routine is the path to the real money.

And one was living the other cliche in that she had become unbelievably cynical and hateful of the world in general, and men in particular, which she attributed directly to her job.

The problem was, that once I got to know them as friends, I was really bothered by everything else I saw; the afore mentioned drugs and other substance abuse problems, the abusive boyfriends, the people who came in and leered and them... It was easier when they were just pretty nameless faces, because seeing them as people with everyone else viewing them as meat really started to aggravate me. Not long after I had to quit.

But I will say this; stripper Halloween parties, with just the bar-staff and friends and no customers, without a doubt, are one of the greatest activities in the world.
posted by quin at 1:00 PM on August 10, 2009


I know of a guy whose got this stock line about how he'd really like to go to a prostitute and pay for time not do anything and just talk to her and understand her, like his conversation and understanding was some profound gift. I always thought that sounded way more creepy and invasive than just the paid sex would be.

How come nobody has this fantasy for the woman with the lazy eye down at the DMV? Doesn't she need understanding? Doesn't she need a hero to rescue her?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"What is the main consensus amongst guys though? Do MOST guys like strip clubs? I feel like some guys just feel like it's boring."
posted by YukaBot 8000 at 2:14 PM on August 10

It's boring if you don't like girls, don't have a ton of disposable income, or are self-conscious. I can't answer for "MOST" guys, but if you have some serious flash, like to flirt, like to drink, like to be touched, and give back some decent, honest energy to people trying to make you happy, strip joints can be fun.

There is something sad about a shy, quiet guy sitting by himself near a runway, nursing draft beers, and rising every 10 minutes to tuck a one dollar bill in every cupcake's garter belt, while averting his eyes to avoid possible embarrassment. There's some hearty animal energy that emanates from a lucky guy pounding back Cristal or Johnnie Walker Blue with a table full of his buddies, getting lap dances, whooping it up at appropriate moments, and tipping girls Andy Jacksons or Ben Franklins with sincerity and appreciation for great pole or floor work.

In my opinion, the shy guy isn't noble because he can barely bring himself to peek, and the lucky guy isn't a pig for enjoying what the club is trying to sell. In my experience, the staff and the management of most clubs far prefer catering to the lucky guy, than a room full of shy guys, but that's because everybody likes to have customers that appreciate and enjoy efforts made to serve them, as much as because high rollers are a revenue stream. I live in an NFL town, and when a jock high roller hits the door of a club, there is a palpable rise in the energy of the whole place, as you'd expect. Celebrity, money, charisma, and style brought in by customers - it all adds to the party in a good club. The gold-chained boat guys that can still afford to be there, are valued customers. The party animals that drag in 20 of their closest free spending friends on payday are found a place, without a pout or called ahead reservations. In most clubs, even if your budget is just beer, but you know when to clap, and don't hog stage seats, you're welcome to gawk, and put in your George Washingtons as appropriate. It's about sharing and enjoying your money by intentionally conspicuous consumption, in recognition that this is a short life, and you can't take it with you.

If you're there to make sociological observations, you're a mis-directed dimwit, and a lot sadder than the shy guy. If you're there for the romance, you've probably missed a lot of other things in life, through sheer obtuseness, too. If you're there to feel superior to young women who make their living in the buff, shame on you, not them. If you're just there for the music, you need a taste transplant. If you're just there for the lunch special - riiiiiiiiight...
posted by paulsc at 2:25 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


How come nobody has this fantasy for the woman with the lazy eye down at the DMV? Doesn't she need understanding? Doesn't she need a hero to rescue her?

If she's pretty I'm not sure that that thought is all that uncommon. And men have their being-saved fantasies though (think Manic Pixie Dream Girl characters). So the idea is not all that fundamentally greasy is it?

Prostitutes and phone sex spend ages talking to men randomly about them--or rather, the men talk to the girls about themselves--but that's neither here nor there. I do get the point that asking someone to tell you about themselves for money (especially if in your mind they're some sort of ostracized species) is creepier than just giving the money in exchange for what they've committed to doing.

Maybe you can point out the bit in this thread where anybody exoticized women in strip clubs. I'm having a hard time knowing what it is you're talking about.

Saying "women who work in strip clubs are like X" is exoticism the same way saying they're all barely-together heroine junkies is exoticism, or saying Arabs are like X is exoticism.

I once heard this interview with Dita von Teese where she was asked whether as an international burlesque artist she thought she was doing something different than performers in more common clubs—and she was like, no, I don't really count myself above them, we're doing the same thing at different levels.

There just seems to be a lot of arbitrariness at play here, where sex clubs or bellydancers are okay but if someone pays money to see tits then it's like "whoa!"

I seem to recall more than one of us resenting not the fact that the "men are creeps" but that the man in question, the author of the article, doesn't respect himself enough, and that he's so self-disparaging.

I don't even get this bit. Very little political discourse about how men relate to beautiful men is focused on making men feel better about themselves or whatever. And I don't follow the issue. Is it wrong for a woman to think a fit man is hot?

And again with the symmetry issue: if he's self-disparaging, what is she? Superficially taking advantage of that? I guess that works.

or maybe strip clubs themselves aren't as regressive as we've all been arguing.

To be honest, I get skeeved out by strip clubs. It's not so much an intellectual problem for me (I have few problems with porn for example) but I guess it's just an aesthetic or class-related turn-off. (I also agree with the "why would I pay someone money just to be titillated and frustrated?" issue but I think unless I go to one I can't really tell what it's about.) To be candid I also get weirded out at "booth babes" or the way we have representation agencies for models who go out and become ad-hoc event staff or hang out at bars to up the oomph factor and so on. I guess it beats the company draping their own women employees onto their cars in a highly sexualized way though. Heck I haven't even totally wrapped my head around cheerleading yet, it just seems bizarre to me ("strip down and jiggle for the sporting men!") Now I know people across the spectrum who do the stuff--not stripping but modeling/cheerleading--and I know they're just normal people who not just have no problem with their jobs but also worked really really hard to get there, in an incredibly fickle professional scene.

I just guess I want to be able to refuse to ever go to a strip club without being called repressed/strange or flip the switch and go without become one of the stereotypes we've expounded upon herein. Why should that be so hard? I suppose I'm just getting to a point where I think everything is so much more complex than we give it credit for.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:25 PM on August 10, 2009


If you're there to make sociological observations, you're a mis-directed dimwit

Unless you have a nice grant from the National Science Foundation, which probably wouldn't allow lapdance purchase under federal grant rules.
posted by raysmj at 6:35 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, great, now I'm getting an angry lap dance.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:32 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


What is the main consensus amongst guys though? Do MOST guys like strip clubs? I feel like some guys just feel like it's boring.

My home a few years back used to be equally far from a rather bland renovated pub & a downmarket stripper bar, so for a while I used to alternate between the two when I felt like going out locally for a drink.

And yeah, I found it to be quite boring. Or, better yet, it was simply asexual; not erotic in the slightest. Sure, there's some titillation about semi- or completely naked young women dancing around onstage, but their moves looked more like stylised aerobics or cheerleader routines, only with a few 'sexy' poses thrown into the mix, and performed with a generally robotic & highly transparently falsified 'sexiness' that would make a 14yo boy seem incredibly sexually sophisticated in comparison.

Once I'd seen one stripper, I felt like I'd seen them all, so I mostly used to spend my time playing pool & chatting with guys who seemed to be bending over double to affirm their macho sexuality by commenting constantly on what they'd like to do to the girls - never with, always to.

So yeah, a great big yawn from me - interesting enough for the entire scene*, but not the tiniest bit erotic.

* OK, so apparently I'm a mis-directed dimwit, and a lot sadder than the shy guy, because I honestly find the sociological observations more interesting. meh, they're sure more engaging than pneumaticised plastic glossymagrotica.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:32 PM on August 10, 2009


I know of a guy whose got this stock line about how he'd really like to go to a prostitute and pay for time not do anything and just talk to her and understand her, like his conversation and understanding was some profound gift. I always thought that sounded way more creepy and invasive than just the paid sex would be.

Apparently, it's not uncommon for prostitutes to have a number of regular clients who do exactly that - they're not the kinds of guys who can get regular girlfriends for whatever reason, and pay the woman just to sit around & talk, letting them feel like they have some kind of pseudo-girlfriend for a while.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:36 PM on August 10, 2009


I've been into a strip club a total of once in my life, way the hell back in 1999 or 2000 I guess it was, at a place in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. It felt a little like how I'd imagine it would feel to have your toes sucked at knifepoint. By which I mean, unpleasant and misguided. One of the girls started firing things off the stage and I was tempted to peg something back.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:36 PM on August 10, 2009


...letting them feel like they have some kind of pseudo-girlfriend for a while...

How does one talk dirty to a prostitute that you are paying to pretend to be your girlfriend? "Ooh, you like that, don't you, you...adorable muffinpants."
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:42 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I expect they just bicker pointlessly over trivial matters.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is the thread where I point out how, for all the regular reasons stated here, I don't enjoy strip clubs. But after being dragged into a well known LA bikini bar a few times, I've found that I can actually enjoy it.

There's no DJ - the dancers choose their own music. There's actually a variety of body types on display. Lap dances appear to be available, but are not pedaled. I've certainly never seen one offered. And women really do not seem to be rarity in the audience. Even though I'm pretty sure most of them prefer the company of women (as does the female friend who drags me there most often), it still seems to de-creep the place quite a bit.

And I think the presence of a minimum set of clothing also helps de-creep the place, as well as, IMO , making it a lot more attractive in general. A bit of imagination is a good thing.

I maintain my objection to ever going to strip bars, but I'm okay with this place. Once in a while.
posted by flaterik at 10:14 PM on August 10, 2009


What is the main consensus amongst guys though? Do MOST guys like strip clubs? I feel like some guys just feel like it's boring.

The whole thing is like a kind of raucous theater without an audience - the punters are also part of the act. I feel like it's the kind of thing I could enjoy if I was capable of putting on the right clothes, saying the right lines, remembering the right cues, and all the other things actors do. The people who seem to enjoy it the most are capable of doing all that: just forgetting about the inauthenticity of it and throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the role-play, and good for them. The fact that I can't or won't play the required role is a limitation in me, not the club, which is after all doing everything it can to help me. So no, I don't think the clubs are boring. Possibly I become tense and miserable inside them because I'm boring.

Also, I'm really cheap. Do you know what they charge for beer in there? It's completely nuts.
posted by Ritchie at 4:01 AM on August 11, 2009


"There's no DJ - the dancers choose their own music."

My understanding is that that isn't an either/or proposition. Usually, dancers choose their own music, and the DJs play that music.
posted by Bugbread at 4:31 AM on August 11, 2009


I know of a guy whose got this stock line about how he'd really like to go to a prostitute and pay for time not do anything and just talk to her and understand her...

Apparently, it's not uncommon for prostitutes to have a number of regular clients who do exactly that


People pay for that? I've had a lot of fascinating 3am conversations with idle hookers in various hotel bars, coffeeshops and streetcorners. Like strippers, surprise: they're real people too!

(Hey, when you're wandering around at 3am because you can't sleep, you take whatever conversational pickings you can get. I have also learned to speak fluent taxi driver, cop and hobo.)
posted by rokusan at 7:21 AM on August 11, 2009


How does one talk dirty to a prostitute that you are paying to pretend to be your girlfriend?

"Oh, baby, tell me your mother likes me. Tell me again."
posted by rokusan at 7:22 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Usually, dancers choose their own music, and the DJs play that music.

interesting. Well, the dancers at this place certainly choose much different - and mostly much more interesting - music than at the few other strips clubs I've been to.
posted by flaterik at 11:57 AM on August 11, 2009


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