Here in the Village, we gay men are served by no less than 4 male strip clubs. This blog is entitled Hunting for Sex, and at a strip club, it’s more like shooting fish in a barrel. Sex gods everywhere, all contained under one roof. Up until this week, I’d always gone to strip clubs by myself – to observe and give my attention fully to the experience and to how it made me feel. Narcissistically, I want to look as good as I possibly can when I go to a strip club. This means wearing a tank, to show off the muscles, as if to say that I could almost, possibly, if we stretched it, be a stripper myself. And sometimes I can even pull it off. There have been a few occasions where I’ve been cruised by the other customers, and even asked if I work there. For someone else, being mistaken for a stripper would be embarrassing. For me, the kindest thing you could say. The other compliment comes when a stripper asks if you’d like a private dance in the back, and when you decline politely, they stick around and chat anyway. And some of the chats I’ve had with strippers have been amazing, wherein they seemed comfortable to tell me tidbits about their work, whether they were really gay or straight, and some of their own sexual turns ons. Were they being this open hoping that it would convince me to go for a lap dance, or did they just feel like chatting? Probably the former, I wish the latter, and in the end, I will never know.
But Jason, didn’t you ever go for a lap dance, you ask? I sure as hell did! A handful of times. But at $20 a song, it’s cost prohibitive, and there are limits to how far you can go. Lick their pits, feel their chest, touch the cock, but no sucking. And awkward moments can ensue. My very first time, I zeroed in on who I thought was the hottest stripper in the bar – muscled, tattooed, shirtless (as they all are). He came my way, I made sure our eyes connected so he could sense my desire, he did, and asked if I’d like a dance. Hell yeah, and off we went. But walking behind him towards the lap-dance area, it already felt false. This was about my desire and his wallet. Paying for it already felt like a mood killer and we hadn’t even started. He was friendly and led me into a booth and closed the curtain. I sat down and he began to dance suggestively, and encouraged me to touch his torso. My hands moved up to his nipples which I grabbed and squeezed lightly and he winced. I let go and he explained he’d just had surgery on his nipples and they were still tender. What kind of surgery? I asked. He replied that he had felt his nipples were too large and had had them reduced. I bit my tongue, since the truth is, I actually prefer large nipples on a man. To each his own.
But just this week, I went to a strip club with three others. My sister, newly single, wanted to go for the first time, and so we went on a ladies night, along with my sister’s best friend (who had been on numerous occasions), and my gay friend Don (who’d also never been).
Here’s how things on the stage go: The stripper comes out, dances and undresses a bit, teasing the crowd, then leaves the stage. Five minutes later he returns, but with a full hard-on. And to this, my sister said: “Is that it? It’s so tame. But I like the music.” And tame it is. But it’s all relative. In 1950, it would be shocking no doubt, but now, when you can go to a bath house and watch a roomful of guys fisting each other, a mere hard-on by a bored looking, yet gorgeous, man doesn’t pack a lot of punch. A camera videotaped what was happening on stage and was broadcast in real time on screens around the club, and it appeared that the dancers were watching themselves rather than connecting with the crowd. My sister’s friend gave my neophyte buddy Don a play-by-play: “Now he’s going to twirl around the pole three times...now he’s going to lift his arm above his head....now he’s going to slowly caress his crotch...” She was right everytime. It was a routine that they all had down, without deviation from said routine. And Don and I were underserved. We generally like our men hairy – pits, chest, face, and for me, even the pubes. But dammit, these men were waxed within an inch of their lives. Don, never one to keep his mouth shut, would alternately say, at full volume, “This is boring,” followed five minutes later with “God, I need to get laid!” At first this frustrated me. I thought, which one is it Don, do you like what you see or don’t you? Because in spite of it all, I was transfixed. “Earth to Jason,” I would hear my friends say. I felt they were missing the one reason why strip clubs exist.
Strip clubs are where you go to worship the beauty of the human male.
These are men who will have surgery on their nipples to look perfect for you. Beauty is a powerful thing. The face of Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships. But I couldn’t help but feel second-class amongst all that beauty. I could never compete with these gods. I could never have one of these gods, and if I could, would I even know what to do with him? Like my friend Don, I vacillated between loving every man who stepped onto the stage, and resenting that he was not really within reach. Loving his beauty, and wishing it were my own.
On this particular night, the strippers uncharacteristically chatted amongst themselves more than they seemed to chat with the patrons. My only personal moment with a stripper happened on the way to the bathroom. The men’s room door was adjacent to the door to the strippers’ backstage area, and as I passed, a stripper exited from backstage with a loud belch. He then saw me and uttered a quick “Excuse me...”
I wonder if Helen of Troy also burped on occasion?