Given the fact that seven out of the 10 spots are taken by naked women (eight if you acknowledge the main reason why I like Roger Corman movies so much), it would make sense if I spent my every waking, non-working hour in their company.
Turns out, I could easily do this, as there just happens to be a naked woman emporium a few blocks from where I live. But I don’t. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to such places.
As much as I love naked women, I am just not a strip club dude.
A part of me wishes I were. There’s something very appealing about the idea of entering a building and seeing ladies a-peelin’. (See what I did there?) But the few times I’ve tried have only left me feeling sad and bad about myself, which are sensations some guys pay a lot of money to enjoy, but I personally prefer to avoid.
Part of the problem is that I’m inherently uncomfortable in any situation where an attractive woman is forced to be nice to me. For example, cursed as I am with the painful blight of constant self-awareness, I am even incapable of enjoying the little flirtatious things female servers do at restaurants to augment their tips.
A frequent diner, I’ve grown accustomed to the lean-ins, crouch-downs, insincere smiles and compliments (I seem to have the magical ability to always order their favorite cocktail from the menu) that come with the experience, but the obvious theatre of it always makes me feel like the credulous mark in a confidence game.
Chances are, unless I actually SEE them spitting in my food, I’m going to give my standard 25% tip, so the supposedly harmless flirtation is completely unnecessary and only serves to remind me how -- in all likelihood -- this same woman would be annoyed and uncomfortable if I approached her in almost any other situation. So, if having a fully dressed woman being nice to me for her paycheck bugs me, you can imagine how weird it is when they’re nekkid.
It doesn’t help that in Alberta several factors combine to make our strip clubs extraordinarily depressing. The law requires that customers must stay a minimum of three feet away from the dancers in any club that serves alcohol. Unable to get close to the dancers, customers instead have to throw their money at them from a distance. This is bad enough, but in Canada, the lowest denomination of paper currency is the $5 bill, which means the majority of what gets thrown on stage is in coin form.
Think about that for a second. In Albertan strip clubs you actually have to watch as naked women have fucking coins throw at them.
But that’s not the worse part. Not by a long shot. The worse part comes when the song ends and the dancers have to pick up the coins they’ve earned for their performance. The first time I went, most of the dancers had little magnet devices that swung down on long chains that allowed them to quickly collect their money without sacrificing too much of their dignity. But I’ll never forget the one poor dancer who had a magnet, but no chain, and who had to bend over and pick up all of her coins. Watching this made me wonder if I’d ever be able to have a boner again.
Speaking of boners, is there anything more frustrating than having one and not being able to do a damn thing about it? I’m guessing the majority of you lack the experience and equipment to properly answer this question, so let me assure you that there isn’t.
This seems to be the inherent flaw in the strip club experience, as it’s all build up and no release (at least legally -- I’m not so naïve to not know that shenanigans are often afoot in such places). Though I could never do the whole brothel thing (if I don’t like it when a waitress fakes being nice to me, do you think I could stand it when a hooker did it?), at least that experience has some sort of legitimate conclusion.
Some would argue that I’m missing the point of the whole strip club experience, that it’s all about the male bonding that ensues and I could appreciate that if male bonding didn’t totally creep me out. I mean, there’s a reason why I don’t like sports or cars or tools or all the other stuff that guys are supposed to care about -- because caring about them means spending a lot of time with other dudes. Gross.
That said, I’d be lying if I claimed I hadn’t had a few positive exotic dancer experiences -- all of which have occurred outside the strip club setting. The first occurred when I was dining at a Greek restaurant I used to work at. I was there to celebrate my birthday with my family, but I was more preoccupied by the terror that came from knowing that at any minute our dinner was going to be invaded by a veiled, bejeweled middle-eastern dancer with bounteous cleavage, an exposed midriff and finger cymbals that went clackity-clack-clack.
That minute came and -- to my great horror -- she focused in on me like a laser shot from space. As hard as I tried to ignore her gyrations by staring deeply into my rack of lamb, she wouldn’t leave me alone, until finally the first song ended and she bent over and whispered, “Allan, we went to junior high school together.”
Turned out it was Donna, the goth girl who I had a crush on all throughout ninth grade.
The second incident took place at my brother’s stag party. As the best man, I was technically supposed to be responsible for the wild night of debauchery, but everyone acknowledged this really wasn’t in my wheelhouse, so another groomsman took on the job instead.
What I did do was bring a large bottle of tequila and what I thought was a shot glass. Turned out that this shot glass actually was large enough to hold three shots worth of booze, which means the three shots my brother and I did, were actually nine. Drunker than I’d ever been before -- or would be since -- I was lost in a corner in my own private haze when I suddenly became dimly aware that my name was being chanted.
I felt someone soft take my hand and lead me to a chair in the center of the room. I sat there, still not sure what was happening. Then, suddenly and without any warning, my face was inundated with two enormous breasts, which banged against my flesh with a series of audible WHAMs. In that instant I went from being completely drunk to utterly and profoundly sober. Such are the power of magnificent boobies.
A part of me wishes I could sometimes just turn my brain off and enjoy the things that bring other people pleasure. It’s the same reason why I can’t go into a casino, where all I can do is wonder if someone is going to commit suicide after losing all their money that night.
Taking the opportunity to stare at naked women shouldn’t be this complicated, and -- fortunately -- sometimes it isn’t. In this case, I’m talking about burlesque, where the art of naked ladies matters more than the commerce.
Unlike strip clubs, where a significant amount of the performers clearly would prefer to be somewhere else, burlesque is most often performed by effervescent, natural exhibitionists who would seemingly prefer to go their whole lives naked if they could. There’s a sense of life-affirming joy in the experience that seems wholly absent in a strip club, where everyone -- dancer and customer -- is caught up in an eternal cycle of mutual exploitation.
Sadly, though, there isn’t a burlesque club just a few blocks from my house, so I just have to enjoy my naked ladies by watching Roger Corman movies instead. I get by.