This isn’t a moral argument. This isn’t about whether the pole demeans women, sends the wrong message, or sets our nation back a century. That’s a legitimate question, but it’s not the one I’m asking.
And this isn’t a “cheating” argument. This isn’t about whether the pole crosses a line, betrays your girlfriend, or sets your marriage back a decade. That’s also a legitimate question, but it’s not the one I’m asking. (Aside: we answer it here.)
Nope. I’m not on a crusade. I’m no moralist. This is simply about raw, physical, selfish pleasure. And here’s my problem with strip clubs: I’m bored.
You wouldn’t think that’s the case. I like nipples, especially when they’re on women, and especially when they’re twirling in my face. I like watching naked women dance. And, yes, I like it when toned, glistening, slinky blondes grind into my crotch. In the ledger of life’s activities, these all fall in the “Pro” column.
Strip clubs have plenty more that I should enjoy. I like attention. I like classic rock. I like places that are open 24 hours (except laundromats and prisons.) I like free bowls of pretzels. I like spending money in unwise, unfulfilling, unbecoming ways. (See also: gambling, alcohol, tapas restaurants.)
But I don’t like strip clubs. This puzzles me. This even angers me. What’s wrong with me?
After a gauntlet of bachelor parties that have spanned two countries, three time zones, nine cities, forty friends, and a small ocean of liquor, I think I’ve finally cracked my issue: she’s not into me.
I don’t buy the act. I know that when Destiny is dancing, she’s scanning the crowd for the dude with the largest stack of bills. When Destiny gives me a lap dance, she looks deep in my eyes and hopes that I will give her $100 for a trip to the VIP room. (I never do.) When Destiny spread-eagles down the pole, she’s calculating how many tips she needs in the next four hours to guarantee her next month’s rent. And I don’t blame Destiny. If I’m her I do the same thing.
Call me a prude, but for me, any sexual activity needs to have at least one basic precondition: reciprocal interest. If I know the woman isn’t into me–faking a smile while tucking twenties into her bra–it shatters the illusion, it breaks the spell. I overthink it. And it’s a deal-breaker.
How is this different from porn? When you read magazines or watch DVDs, generally, the girls in the tv aren’t secretly in love with you, but it’s still (sometimes) kinda hot. How can I like one but not the other? I don’t know. But it just feels different. With porn, it’s clear that she’s in a LA trailer, you’re in your office cubicle bedroom. With porn, the acting is explicit. With porn, the lie is understood. With a stripper? It’s an awkward no-man’s land. She’s acting like she’s interested in me–me!–but she’s not, at all, which neuters the tease.
(Note to anyone thinking about getting me this as a birthday present: for all these reasons, I don’t think I’d be into a hooker.)
Why bring this up? Two reasons.
One: In a Plunge poll, 61%–over half!–of guys say that their bachelor parties wouldn’t involve strippers. 61%. These guys all have their reasons, too. And now I wonder if I’m not just the singular weirdo, but part of some secret silent majority.
Two: The reason that I don’t like strip clubs is, paradoxically, precisely the reason why brides can feel safe(ish) about their grooms visiting Destiny. It’s all fake. It’s boring. It’s less like meeting real women and more like seeing a movie.
Wait. I’m leaving out the one thing that I do like about strip clubs: the male camaraderie. Seriously. Yes, yes, I know this sounds like the preposterous “I read it for the articles!” cop-out, and you’re right to be skeptical, but it’s true. You’d think it’d be a little creepy when you awkwardly watch your buddy get his face slapped by a pair of DDs, but, oddly, it’s more funny than creepy or even sexy. So there you have it. The main upside: comic relief.
I’ll go to more bachelor parties, I’ll go to more strip clubs, and I’m sure I’ll get more lap dances. I won’t dread the experience but I won’t relish it, either.
And I suspect I’m not alone.