Once again, being the expert mind-reader that I am, I know what you’re thinking:
1. “Silly Katharine, ladies don’t go to strip clubs.”
2. “How is this a ‘failure’?”
3. “Is Katharine going to reveal a whole bunch of freaky sexual fetishes that I probably shouldn’t read while I’m at work?”
4. “I know where I’m taking Katharine for her birthday.”
How much of what you look at on the internet is honestly safe for work? Especially when your company probably frowns upon you spending any time on the internet while you’re on their time (and computers). Also, your boss is standing behind you right now.
I’m sorry that I won’t be able to titillate you with ribald tales of near encounters with professional nude dancers. In fact, to my conscious knowledge, I have had zero encounters with dancers in any state of undress. What happens in my unconscious state stays in my unconscious state. To further disappoint you, I have no fascinating stories of how I’ve managed to avoid nudie bars. I do have some theories, though, if you’re interested.
The obvious theory as to why I have never visited a strip club is simply unavailability. Assuming, of course, that it is naked gentlemen I’d like to see wriggling about and not naked ladies. Gender inequality still reigns in the sex industry as even in the 21st century, strip clubs catering to women are rarities. In Alabama, male strip clubs must not exist at all. Surely, if there was one in the 1990s, my sexually-curious gal pals and I would’ve sought this out, procured fake IDs and gone on an adventure. Y’know, for “research purposes.” Instead we were left with the notion that if you want to see a naked boy, you just ask him to take off his clothes. Occasionally, the Chippendales tour would roll into town. My sister went to one of their shows once and returned home with a souvenir thong and a photo of a dancer. I was fascinated…until I saw the dancer’s picture—a greasy orange man with a blonde mullet and sleazy grin.
Which brings me to my next theory: I do not like the same boys that other girls like. Or possibly more accurate is that I do not like the boys the sex industry expects women to like. Hairless, oiled-up beefcakes have no arousing impact on me except arousing the desire to go to Boston Market for some rotisserie chicken. But then I want to come home and watch my Boston Legal DVDs and giggle over Alan Shore-Denny Crane sleepovers. While other girls may be content to swoon over men who spend more time at the gym than the library, I prefer my men a little more endowed upstairs. I prefer substance over style, brains over brawn, and wit over width. Sadly, if girls like me want to see nude clever, intelligent men we have to settle for archival photos of naked Monty Python on Tumblr. Or just ask our clever, intelligent boyfriends. It would not be the same experience as watching a professional pelvic-gyrator because smart men don’t wear shiny underpants.
Everything I know about strip clubs was learned from television and movies. No one ever looks happy in a gentlemen’s club. The dancers are disengaged with fixed, vacant stares. The men are borderline creepy and lewd. It all seems like some puritanical attempt to dissuade people from visiting such places. But I’m curious to find out if strip clubs really are as depressing as the buildings seem in daylight. My mother and I took many roads trips to Florida and would see all of the We Bare All billboards dotted along I-75. I was always a little intrigued to go to the Risque Cafe and see if it warranted all the signage. My mother would just giggle and keep driving. But imagine the kind of story I would have of my mother and I going to a strip club, seated amongst sweating truckers and shifty-eyed locals. What gems would I have from the woman who—while I was purchasing some new pants—once turned to me as the cash register rang up my trousers as ‘Active Bottoms’ and exclaimed “No, no!” Apparently bottoms should remain inert. Dirty jokes abound.
Surprisingly, none of my heterosexual boyfriends insisted on taking me to a nudie bar. There were discussions. Jokes were made. I never entirely rejected the idea. But we never even ventured into a strip club parking lot. Nerdy boys talk a very good game of how they only like “real girls” and are put off by silicone and latex undergarments. It’s just as well they never took me. I would only mock and judge. While at a karaoke bar, I spent most of the evening mocking the graphics and font choices. Analysis of a dancer’s song and costume choices does not make for sexy times.
Do we even need strip clubs anymore? Who needs to risk embarrassment at exotic dance clubs when we’ve got the internet? Through the magic of technology, anyone can do a Google image search for their scantily clad gender of choice and have plenty of objects to ogle without a midnight trip to the bank machine. I suppose some things must be experienced in the flesh.
Will curiosity eventually get the better of me? Will I muster up the courage to experience an exotic establishment and risk being viewed as a lady pervert? Probably not. More likely is that I will find a documentary exposing all the worst bits of stripping and the dangers of exotic dancing and post a mildly outraged Facebook status about it afterward. And then inadvertently look at more pictures of naked Eric Idle (Seriously, was he contractually obligated to strip regularly? Did he need to remind people that he was not a lady? How does this account for Splitting Heirs?). Look out, your boss is back!