With the experience I've had up to this point in my life I still cannot wrap my head around the appeal of the strip club. Oh, right. Naked women. Women whom you are forbidden to touch —unless of course you pay a premium. Well that sounds simply dandy now, doesn't it? Makes even more sense if you’re in a loving relationship in which you are permitted to not only look at your companion’s naked body in all its glory —you’re allowed to grope, fondle, and even penetrate! And it’s all for free! Too graphic? Too bad. I’m making a point and it’s getting driven home harder than a stake in a vampire’s chest. I mean, come on! Let's all pile into an establishment with a bunch of other unabashedly brazen, slobbering men who have no problem sitting next to another man they've never once met while getting a set of fun bags dangled in his face! And those of you willing scoundrels actually give away your hard-earned dollars for the “experience”! Apples and bananas, but mostly bananas.
Strip clubs are unarguably fucking disgusting. Calling your business a “gentlemen’s” club is even more heinous. If we were to go by Webster’s definition of a gentlemen these hyena dens would all be empty. Want a real life clip? Here ya go!
Gentleman: a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior
Strikes one, two, and they all go down swinging on three! The correct behavior would be to burn all of these places to the ground. Hell, I’m not even making an attempt at a pro-women, #metoo angle here, although all such movements are positively supported. No, I’m scratching my head wondering how a man can get more satisfaction from googling Cinnamon up on stage in lieu of making a goddamn effort and forging out into the world to find someone who cares enough about him (or is drunk enough) to willingly do the same shit for nary a shiny Abe Lincoln. That’s a penny, and I feel as though I must explain that because the crowd I’m harping on walks the earth with their pockets stuffed full of only one dollar bills.
Now here I am, falling into a familiar trap of berating and generalizing a population to a pulp, when some of these very souls are friends who are near and dear to my heart. They definitely don’t chock up any brownie points for this particular life decision, but who am I to judge? One man’s strip club is another man’s pleasure over a finger in the heinie. To each his own I reckon. No matter you vices, let’s “strip” down my two (and only) experiences in the clubs where “gentlemen” like to congregate.
As mentioned, I've only been to two such open casket visitations during my 35 years of existence on this planet. I won't say that I regret both adventures, if only because I found the events that transpired utterly hilarious; however one was a bit more whimsical than the other.
The first was your typical bachelor party bear trap. Let's take our buddy out before his life is "over". The closest you can get to doing a bachelor party in Vegas without actually going to Vegas. Which, by the way, how many assholes today do you think try and compare their bachelor party experience to The Hangover? “No bro! I’m totally Bradley Cooper this weekend! You can be Ed Helms.” You damn well know that verbal exchange happened at one point in time, if not multiple. OK, let’s get back at it. And by back at it I mean I’m going to continue weaving a blanket of stereotypical fiction! Why not start with a dinner consisting of wings and beers because for a bunch of guys heading out together for a night on the town it's the same as cops scarfing down donuts before hitting the streets. After you all polish off a basket of sparrow legs you head to a few more watering holes making sure you're all nice and lubricated for the sleazy decisions you're primed to make. I'd wager that at some point throughout the early evening you're all presenting your poor friend with the "pleasant surprise" of a trip to the dirtiest “gentlemen's” club in town (are any of them actually clean?).
Our particular brick and mortar mistake was truly the dingiest of clubs in the city of Milwaukee, if not the entire state of Wisconsin. The Arts Performing Center. Affectionately named after the prior tenant's business objectives tanked. The naming convention might very well have been the only life raft in an angry sea of bewilderment. We had women climbing poles starting at the floor and ending with their lips touching the ceiling. Yes, you know which lips I speak of. The carpet actually looked dirtier than what I can only imagine the carpet of a Greyhound bus station lobby looking like. I shit you not, there were strippers dangling from the rafters. It was the grossest rendition of Cirque du Soleil I’ll ever see. If Willy Wonka was rated ‘R’ well then we were smack dab in the middle of his factory; although our chocolate was much more animated and flexible, if you catch my drift. Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so memory isn’t a strong suit, however I’m fairly certain I threw every single fabric I was wearing that night directly into Lake Michigan. I wouldn’t even bring that shit to Goodwill.
We all took precautions with our drink choices as well. Bottles of Bud flowed freely that night. No one was courageous enough to give the gargoyle behind the bar a stab at mixing up a drink. Have you ever willingly taken a sip of potion from a witch’s cauldron? Being turned into a black cat is not high on my wish list. I hate cats. In any event, what we WERE willing to do was throw in enough couch cushion change to get our buddy a "private" lap dance. I never uncovered the actual happenings behind the Wizard's curtain because I purposely did not want to know. Does anyone ever really want to know how crabs get transferred from one human to the next? Just locate the nearest convenience store that carries your special shampoo, slugger, and scrub 'em out.
We also without a doubt had the one buddy WAY too ecstatic to be going to a strip club. Even with my limited experience, I feel as though this is an integral member of the gang; for someone has to give the sales pitch to the rest of us who are just apprehensive enough to politely decline until we cave to the adolescent pressure. Come on! It’ll be fun! Right guys? WRONG. Now I’ll applaud anyone’s enthusiasm towards anything worth being enlivened over, but this is not one of those things. This guy’s acting like a kid walking up to the house on the block who dishes out king sized Snickers during Halloween every year. Now THAT’S something worth break-dancing over. But we’re not break-dancing; we’re in a darker world.
And with the conclusion of the aforementioned private lap dance we took our cue to get the hell outta there. Nothing left to see there and if there were I wasn’t going to be around to bare witness. And with that, we’re done with Milwaukee. On to the next firemen’s pole!
Good news! We didn’t have too far to travel. Occasion numero dos also happened in the great state of Wisconsin. I cannot recall the exact location and that hardly matters. What matters is that this second cast of characters included my then girlfriend and her MOTHER. Yup. And here’s where I admit to a few of life’s many mistakes. At one time I dated a girl who’s idea of the “perfect” birthday was a field trip to the strip club….with her mother in tow. I have to fight the urge to imagine this might be normal behavior or some quirky shit women like to do to throw their men off the scent. This was darker than The Crucible. Having said that, when I find myself in situations where I’m arguing —or emphatically believing my point of view— I try to flip the script and see things from the other party’s perspective. So let’s say it was my birthday and I decided that when I blew out my cake candles the only wish I prayed might come true was a trip to a strip club with my father. I’m physically shuddering at the thought. Even still, the entire journey might last ten minutes. First he’d tell me I’m out of my fucking mind or perhaps he’d ask me if I thought he didn’t love me enough as a kid; but he’d go, because he’s my dad and he DOES love me. We’d walk in and we might sit down, or we might just stand there and glance around for a few moments, after which he’d turn to me and say, “So, those are naked women. And they’re pretty gross.” And then I’d say, “Yes they are, to both observations. You ready to leave?” And we’d leave.
So I’ve now tried placing myself in the other corner of the ring and I still think I’ve got the undisputed heavyweight champ in my corner. Taking one of your parents to a strip club is like being asked to observe a child’s birth. I know it happens all over the place but that doesn’t mean I need to see it. And I 100% don’t need to see that shit with my mother or father standing next to me.
Which reminds me! True story: I had to watch a sex ed video WITH MY PARENTS when I was growing up. Oh yes, friends. See, we grew up going to Catholic school and if you know anything about those crazy Catholics it’s how much we love awkward situations. Anyway, as part of our curriculum in elementary school, we were expected to watch how life is created. Pretty fascinating stuff, unless you’re twelve and still trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do with a boner. In any event, before playing the video, our teacher asked any of us if we were too uncomfortable to stay and watch. Mind you, we were warned that if we laughed or goofed around at all during the movie we’d have a wicked old nun on our ass. I didn’t take any chances. I sat out for the festivities, which at the time I thought was a great move. I knew my friends. Someone was going to crack but it wouldn’t be me. Suckers! Haha! Oh how the mighty fell that day, for what I wasn’t told was because of my decision to forego watching a penis enter a vagina for the first time, I’d have the distinct pleasure of watching the entire film at home with my folks. Guys, I’m not going to take this video down to a granular level but I WILL tell you that at one point I was subjected to seeing an actual penis dive right into an actual vagina……..from an interior camera’s point of view! Oh yes. Technology had advanced far enough in the late 90’s to give me nightmares for years to come. Not only because it’s the one and only time I’ll see things from the inside of a clam, but because I had to do so while my parents asked me if I had any questions. Any questions?! Where the fuck do I begin?! Anyway, there’s a fun little sidetrack for y’all.
So my second strip club adventure was remarkable due solely to the company I was forced to keep that night. Needless to say the damsel in question and I didn’t make it too much longer after that. A line was drawn in the stage confetti. I wasn’t willing to cross it.
Strip clubs are filthy. The public doesn’t need them and the girls earning their money to pay for college tuition can find other means of financing their aspirations through much more modest endeavors. And for all you barbarians throwing up your arms in protest? Let’s see YOU do it. You get up there, come up with a catchy stage name, shake your man boobs and see just how many dollars you can stuff in that banana hammock you’re wearing. Bet you don’t get squat. You might get enough to pay for that ding-dong from the vending machine, or more likely your ass is getting boo’ed offstage. Remember that shit and then go find something better to do with your time.
Hell of a way to usher in the weekend! Don’t you dare go strip-clubbing this weekend. Water your garden, buy a yo-yo, or learn how to iron your clothes. Hell I don’t know, just enjoy the fact that work is almost close to not existing for a few days!