Thursday, March 12, 2009

You'll Find Me In The [Strip] Club

...Or rather, you won't.

I've been to strip clubs; "both kinds" (that is, for het guys and for het ladies)... I was younger, I was dumber, I was curious, I was invited along.
And most of what I can remember is... it's weird.
"Regular" strip clubs (where women get naked for men) are... disturbing. These women looked so naked- I mean, more naked than usual, stalking around in nothing but torture-high heels. And I felt very out of place there. This did not turn me on. Even though I appreciate nudity on both genders (having only seen cis-men and cis-women naked, and not any other gender), this was... different. They weren't naked because they wanted to be, and it seemed unfair and wrong. As one woman headed on to the stage for her dance, I saw her coworker come down the stairs, look sympathetically at her, and remind her to "smile!". Smile, because it was her job to be on display and to look like it was fun. I can remember that image, because that's when I knew I would not be going back to that place.

I've been to a 'naked-men' strip club, too- even worse, I swear. I went to a friend-of-a-friend's bachelorette party. What was really amusing was that while women in strip clubs (in Florida, anyway) can get fully nude, men apparently don't. These guys took their clothes off down to a pair of black speedos, and some of them put... socks? a roll of quarters? a small dildo? in there to be more, um, impressive. And while the guy onstage was dancing, other guys would stand around the edge of the stage which ran the length of the club and just... um, pelvic-thrust. And women would put money in their speedos. Seriously. I could not imagine a sane reason for it, but there it was. I was torn between laughter and nausea. Eventually nausea won and I asked my friend if we could leave early.
These guys all looked like they were, really, having fun. And why not? I could feel the calculated performance, the condescension, and the lack of vulnerability that I'd seen in the women strippers. Hey, I thought, in my next life, I wanna be a Chippendale's dancer!
On my way out, a girl popped up out of nowhere and started talking to us. She told us that "she was good friends with lots of the performers" and that "all of them are single and all of them straight". This, I reflected, was either some highly draconian hiring principles or the biggest pile of bullshit I'd encountered all month. Didn't matter, anyway. We wished her good night and got the hell out.

The objectification of women as a sex class aside, strip clubs creep me out. And that's why.

Whatever fundamental difference there is in the thought processes of men and women, that's part of it. Many men go to these places and spend all their money and have a good time. And I... felt a queasiness in the pit of my stomach the whole time: the kind that says, you should leave. you are doing something wrong.
Sigh. IBTP