One day, as a kid, I was dancing around to music and my mom said, "You look like you’re going to be a LaBare dancer.” I didn’t understand at the time that LaBare was a famous male strip club in Houston. I pictured a team mascot in a bear costume jumping around on a football field.
The next time I heard about LaBare was in high school. I lived in a small Texas town and had already started working out to try to impress girls. Like any teenager, that's all I cared about. A guy who was graduating had gotten a job in the big city at a club called LaBare. All the girls swooned over him when he would cruise through town at 3 am in his sports car with a fat wad of cash he had just made.
Then it hit me ... LaBare. That's what my mom was talking about! I knew I wanted to go there. More importantly, I knew I wanted to drive a fast car and attract attention from girls and have a lot of cash. So when I turned 16 and got a license I went straight to LaBare. It was amateur night and I thought I was ready. I signed up and won that night -- but not cause I was good. The homeless guys in the neighborhood saw the cash prize sign and became my competition. As the only guy who wasn't a bum, I won first place! I went to the manager and asked for a job. He looked at me and said, “Kid, you’re too young to be in here. Come back when you’re legal.”
After that I blew off the idea of working as a dancer. Truthfully, I didn't think I could ever compete with the guys I saw working that night. Two years and several dead-end construction jobs later, I met a guy at the gym who would become like a brother to me. He said I should try getting a job where he worked. I asked him where and he said at a male dance club. He said he could get me on, and the next day I started the most exciting roller coaster ride of my life. I’m still on it, and I still love the thrill of it all.
Of course, working as a stripper also puts you in some interesting situations. Once, we were getting ready for a strip-o-gram and had parked down the street to put the finishing touches on our cop outfits. As we were doing this, a squad car pulled up. The cops made us put up our hands, frisked us at gunpoint, and threatened to arrest us for impersonating police officers. They didn’t believe us when we told them that we were preparing for a stripper gram. We pleaded with them and gave them the address of the place we were supposed to appear.
Two more squad cars pulled up and surrounded our car, and the original two cops went to the address we gave them to check out our story. After about 20 minutes they came back with their uniforms crooked and askew. They were laughing and said the women at the party had thought they were the strippers. They let us go and told us to have a good time.
Another time, we got a call for a one-day movie shoot in which they needed eight guys dressed as gladiators to carry a queen's chariot. The pay was $675 each for the day, refreshments and costumes provided.
When we arrived, the streets were packed with people who we figured must be extras. We were led inside and given our costumes: extra small neon spandex banana hammocks. We explained that there must be a mistake and that we were the gladiators who were there to carry the queen in the movie they were shooting. The costume person told us it was a parade -- not a movie -- but that we were supposed to carry the queen and wear these costumes.
We were a little annoyed, but we were already there and it still seemed like easy money. We walked outside in our ridiculously tight man panties and the crowd started to scream enthusiastically. That’s when we realized that the crowd was almost all men, and they were waving rainbow flags. It was a gay pride parade and ‘The Queen" was a 6’2”, 265-pound drag queen who looked like he should be an offensive lineman in the NFL. We had to carry him two miles. No wonder they needed eight guys.
For me, one of the best parts of being a male exotic dancer is the love and affection that is thrown at you. The feeling is like a drug and can be addictive. All you want to do is try a little bit harder, dance a little bit smoother, get a couple more screams from the crowd. It's been 15 years since I started, and the feeling is exactly the same.
Our culture tends to focus on making women sexy, but in my world the guys get to be sexy and feel sexy -- and we are happy to spread that feeling around. I’ve learned that when a man is getting attention and admiration from women, he feels motivated to give it back tenfold.
Of course, I’ve also picked up a few tricks along the way. Seducing a woman with only your eyes is a skill that is not easily learned, but it really helps on stage. Most women will sit in the chair forever before getting up to tip. Eye contact and a warm smile are the best lures. They make a big, muscular, good-looking man seem down to earth and approachable. Most women feel that the guys are out of their league so you have to help for them loosen up and feel more confident.
Most importantly, each woman needs to feel as if she’s the only girl out of all the girls in the room, better yet the only girl in the world. She will be nervous at first, but if you break your attention from the crowd for even a couple of seconds and focus it on her she will feel welcome to approach you. Sometimes during my performance, I will look at a girl I'm attracted to and say "Hi." She can't hear me over the crowd but she will be able to read my lips. I follow that with a quick smile, and she knows that out of that packed crowd of women, I chose her.
She will probably come to my stage and tip me, maybe run her hand down my chest and abs. If I see that look of wow in her eyes, I will pull her in close and compliment her -- something quick and to the point. Like, “You’re so pretty,” or “Come find me later.” After I'm done on stage, I will usually write my personal number on my business card and secretly give it to her as I walk by her table.
A woman once told me, “You guys get even more attractive after you start talking.” The trick is, I never talk about myself. I always keep the focus on the woman. Everyone wants to think they can capture your interest. I say something like, “So what do you do for fun?” or “Tell me something interesting about yourself.” Honesty has always worked best for me if I want to date a woman I meet at the club.
But if I’m just working for tips, I can’t always be completely honest. If I’m dating a girl and a customer asks if I’m single, I have to lie. If she knows I’m seeing someone else, the spell is broken. It’s all about making a woman feel sexy and special and creating a sexual charge for her. Nothing kills that faster for a woman than telling her you are in love with another woman.
Overall, dancing has been a great experience. I’ve gotten to see the world, make a lot of great friends, hang out with famous people and do things that would never have been possible otherwise. I’ve even appeared on reality TV and signed an exclusive modeling contract with Ellora’s Cave, a great group of women who publish erotic romance novels.
But it hasn’t all been easy. Being a good male dancer has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. There were many times I thought I wasn't good enough and should quit. It’s challenging physically and even more so mentally. Even when I wanted to quit, I kept on chugging along because I wanted success so badly. And now after all these years I'm so glad I did.
It might be hard for someone to understand who hasn't been in the business. It might seem cheesy or meaningless. But for a young shy boy from a small town, it's like scoring the winning touchdown during the Super Bowl. I still get so excited on Saturday night when I'm about to walk out on stage. I step out and the roar from the girls is music to my ears. Every time I look into the white glare of the spotlight and feel its warmth on my face and hear the cheers, I’m home.
Taylor Cole has been a male dancer for more than 15 years. He is also a cover model for Ellora's Cave, an erotic romance publisher with an international following. Cole and colleague Justin Whitfield are currently working on their tell-all book entitled Take It Off: Confessions of a Male Stripper. For more information, visit www.ellorascave.com.