girl versus strip club
I am writing this with a very powerful hangover. My best friend is getting married in three weeks and last night we celebrated her love and commitment with plastic penis paraphernalia and tequila shots – because nothing symbolises love and commitment like plastic penis paraphernalia and tequila shots.
As a traditional Hen’s night, the programme started with champagne, cucumber sandwiches and party games and progressed to tapas, cocktails and a very noisy minibus into the city. This was the part I’d been kind of dreading: the all-male strip club.
Before last night, I’d never been to a strip club. This particular revue sits on the main strip next to a shisha parlour, with posters in its blacked-out windows advertising shirtless, muscly men with names like ‘Dante’. The place is always teeming with Hen’s nights, so I assumed we’d see a couple of guys of Dante’s ilk taking off their clothes and throwing lurid g-strings into the crowd. Yeah, no, I wish.
The first thing I saw when we walked in was another Hen receiving a lap dance. The stripper was naked and he was thrusting his junk into her face and holding her hands onto his butt. It was less of a lap dance and more of a turkey slap that you pay for. The show itself was another level of weird/terrifying. The stripper, dressed in military get-up or a fireman’s costume, came onstage and called on Hens to join him, where they were pressured by the MC to touch, undress and even lick his body.
The “no touching” rule that applies to female strippers clearly didn’t apply here. Or maybe it did—but in reverse. The male strippers weren’t allowed to touch the female patrons. One of the girls at our table observed that this rule was a kick in the face to the way female strippers are exploited, but I disagreed: how is getting a drunk girl in the spotlight and then intimidating her into touching a strange guy’s naked body, cupping his bits and licking his nipples anything short of sexual harassment?
We left the strip club during the interval. I’m pretty sure all of us felt more than a little uncomfortable with what we’d seen. After a few drinks and a dance at the next bar, the awkwardness of the strip club was mostly forgotten, but I still feel a bit weird about the fact that the girls were all so willing to accept that being forced to touch some guy’s dick in the drunken semi-darkness was actually progress.