Peelers and Peelees

A fellow blogger recently posted about her hurt and outrage at her husband for going to a strip club and buying himself a lap dance. There was a lot of discussion from other women on how they don’t much like it when their guys go to strip clubs, but they’ll allow[1] it for bachelor parties or how their husbands are allowed to go to strip clubs, but not have lap dances, etc., etc.

Nobody addressed the whole notion of strip clubs in the first place: the exploitation and humiliation of women and why anyone would someone want to partcipate in the degradation of another human being like that?

I confess I’ve been to both male and female strip clubs — out of curiousity and when I was much, much younger.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.

We all go with a “this-will-be good-for-a-laugh” attitude. But I felt to feel really sorry for the people on stage – all naked and vulnerable and exposed, no shred of privacy or dignity left with people staring at them, mocking them, making rude remarks, laughing at their bodies, their flaws, judging them on numerical scales like prize heifers.  Then there was the perv in the corner working himself into his happy place….

Sure, strippers get paid for what they do. Some make pretty good money. Some even have some sort of choice about doing this for a living – but how desperate would your circumstances have to be for you to end up in a job like this?

What’s the attraction of the strip club? You’re a guy and you go with a bunch of other guys to have some poor, sad, naked woman rub her breasts in your face and her genitals over your crotch while your friends guffaw and cheer you on.

Then what?

I guess there’s always the VIP room. Or the washroom. Or rushing home to wake up “the wife” whilst reeking of Eau Danser Exotique.

Is this something guys tend to grow out of as they get older? Do you go? Does your partner go? How do you feel about strip clubs/lap dancing in general? And specifically, how do you feel about your partner going to them?  (Feel free to post anonymously if you have a point to make, but don’t necessarily want to be identified with it). 

[1] I don’t even want to get into why grown men have to ask permission to do stuff they really want to do and/or why women think they have the power to allow or not allow a man to do stuff he really wants to do


45 responses to “Peelers and Peelees

  1. Mr. Jazz used to go once in a while when he was younger, but he did grow out of it – before lap dances were even an issue (yeah, that’s how old we are)…

    Like you, I’ve been to strip clubs both male and female and I share your thoughts on the whole “prize heifer” thing. Strip clubs make me feel sort of “cringe-y”.

    Somehow for me, strip clubs are the worst (magazines and movies don’t really bug me that much) probably because these are “real” people as opposed to paper or celluloid (ok, 21st century now… digital).

    This being said, I knew a girl in University who paid for her schooling by being a stripper. But again, this was in the days of yore when strippers just stripped….

    As for the whole “permission” thing – that one always has me wondering too. Mr. Jazz and I are both adults, who are we to give each other “permission” to do stuff.

  2. In my younger, firmer incarnation, I stripped on occasion. Not for the money, though the money was good. The first time, it was for a lark… could I really do it? After that, it was because I loved it.

    You hold a certain power. Thou shalt look, and pay handsomely for the privilege, but thou shalt not touch and thou shall never possess the likes of me. It’s a heady drug, to be worshiped thus.

    Yes, there’s the perverts and weirdos… but they’re everywhere. They just take their masks off when in the strip joint ; they’re easier to recognize.

    Now, what I don’t understand is why men go and pay for things they’ll never have. This is perplexing to me. But God bless ’em for doing it.

  3. Some men have a pathological need to go. Once I went freelance as a director and started doing corporate video I realised that many of my male clients would expect to be shown round the lapdancing clubs when visiting to do business. And they weren’t shy about it. Me or a member of my crew would give them directions to their club of choice but politely excuse myself from accompanying them. My crew could do what they liked, but I don’t ever remember any of them going along. This happened on quite a few occasions.

    I found it pathetic. And bewildering.

  4. I’d say the majority of men grow out of it as they grow older. There’s always that one guy in the office that goes. When I worked for UPS, one of my fellow programmers would go once a week, even after he got married (months after) and while his wife was pregnant. I found that rather distasteful. But for the most part, you grow out of it. My advice to the younger guys is to sow your oats before getting married; you don’t want to be married and frequenting strip clubs (or hookers, or secret VHS tape stashes).

  5. The first time I saw a stripper it was at the Victory Burlesque in Toronto. The women worked on a theater like stage and got all the way down to pasties and panties.
    I was 16 and the experience was exceptionally exciting. Of course at 16 a warm breeze or nearly anything else was exciting.
    Over the next few years I actually got a girlfriend and found out there were other exciting things in the world and stopped going to strip shows for the most part.
    At the age of about 35 we were at a meeting in Hamilton and a bunch of us went to the local strip bar where I saw the first lap dance in my life.
    I left the bar certain that the stripping was merely a front for full on prostitution and wondering about just how low our society could go in publicly demeaning and commercializing sex and women.
    Some day I may get the answer to that but I don’t think we have hit bottom yet.

  6. Recently in the strip club world there has been an evolution of the dancers for “burlesque” to fronts for prostitution.
    In my younger days I frequented them quite a bit and spoke to many of the girls.
    Quite a few of them told me that they weren’t really comfortable showing their “bits” but they hadn’t any better idea on how to make money – Some were gorgeous but dumb as posts. Others recognized the job as just that and was a way to make ends meet for the moment. But at least they weren’t being touched.
    Part of the evolution was led by the french canadian girls who were leaving the enviroments of the “touche” bars of quebec, who moved into the ontario market and offered the same services.
    Then all of a sudden almost all the girls in the clubs began offering more in the way of service. It hit the fan with a couple of clubs here finally being charged under “bawdy house” laws. Strip clubs here are now very quiet.
    To tell you how far it went – one evening I was in such a place with a bunch of buddies and a girl walked up and came right out and offered to felate me for a thousand dollars. (Think of how Bunny Lebowski said it in the movie) I laughed.
    And no…. I never have paid for it.
    You have to remember that alot of what the guys who frequent those bars for that purpose are of the type who can’t get it at home OR can’t seem to ever get it at all.

  7. For some reason none of my husbands have been attendees of these places. Maybe I am not attracted to men that are attracted to strip clubs? The last time I went was with my brother “just for fun” like you say and we were having a good time and then they rotated girls and “our girl” looked like she was 14 and weighed 85 pounds. My brother and I just looked at each other and signaled for the check. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

  8. I don’t care much for asking why people do it: some people enjoy stripping, some people enjoy visiting strip joints, and members of both groups are (or should be) adults capable of making their own decisions.

    My fear is that the attitude that ‘stripping is inherently degrading’ (even though one commenter above found it to be empowering) only serves to prevent sex trade workers from fighting for suitable working conditions and thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I believe the newly-established group “POWER” works for this kind of honest discussion. (Sex workers seek decriminalization pledge,

    – RG>

  9. Jazz – I agree about the porn. In fact, I would say somehow a strip club is even seedier than a bordello..

    Anonymous – I personally think you’re grossly over-glamourizing something that has no glamour. And the only ones with power are the people making money off your body (club owners) and the bar patrons who wave a little cash at you so you’ll expose yourself. You were lucky to work in the days before lap dances and VIP lounges apparantly.

    MisssyM – Some guys, when they’re away on business seem to think it’s mandatory to do something sleezy. I’m appalled that they think this should actually be part of their business meeting, though.

    Brad – Good advice. And it’s good to hear some men mature enough to find it all as distasteful as most women do.

    Bandobras – In light of your take on strip clubs/lap dancing, I wonder what you’d say to the woman who claims being a stripper gives her power?

    Lebowski – Thank you for that comprehensive history. Your extensive research is appreciated. I suspect most women who find themselves in such a job are there for the same reasons some women find themselves soliciting on street corners – lack of education, poverty, drug addiction, being forced to by some man. I think the days of college girls doing a little semi-nude dancing way up on stage for tuition money are long over.

    Geewits – Ya, like I’ve been saying to the other commenters, this isn’t a glamorous profession and given the chance I’m sure most strippers would not want to be there.

    RealGrouchy – I get your point about encouraging sex trade workers to fight for better working conditions. The nature of strip clubs today as well as the other sex trades does the make professions degrading. I seriously doubt that most people in the profession are there because they made a conscious, informed decision to take this up as a career. People are there because they think they don’t have enough education to do anything else; because they see no other way out of poverty; because they are addicted to drugs/alcohol and need to pay for it; because they don’t know anything else because they were abused and exploited as children/young adults. The onous should not rest on these people to make their professions safer – we, as a society should first address the issues that drives people in the sex trade, then decriminalize it, then do whatever it takes to improve the working conditions for those who are still willing to be part of it. So, in short, I think asking why people are in the sex trade industry is a very important question. It’s naive to assume they’re all there because this is their chosen profession and they love it.

  10. I’d say that I can see how she might feel powerful but that if the way she uses men revolves around her body she is in for a disappointing old age.
    I knew a university student who was stripping in 1968 for $200 dollars a weekend while I was working at Sears for $1.50 per hour.
    Even with what was then a large chunk of money she was not proud of it and couldn’t wait to get away from the business.
    Now with the way it is controlled by gangs, women working for tips and lap dance fees only a most clubs and what they have to do to garner those extra dollars I’m afraid it ca’t be empowering very many dancers.
    I have nothing against sex workers but it’s a bit like glamourizing my work at GM. There aint no glamour or power on the assembly line just a way to earn a few bucks.
    Making cars or supplying gynecology education to strangers you’re still doing what someone else wants to earn your pay.

  11. I played in a rock band, which – I know – has been my answer for all questions regarding things somewhat seedy in nature. However, in this case it’s for good reason.
    In Halifax, many years ago, there was a large cabaret-style bar known as The Lobster Trap. I kid you not. Its name later changed in a management flip to the 2021 Club, a nod to its street address. Under either name, they brought in a new stripper every week (female), but they split their stage time with a live band. Well, guess what? In my very first band, I spent two weeks over a Christmas and New Years playing in that bar. I made more money than I knew what to do with (I was 18 or 19 at the time), everybody got great Christmas gifts that year, and I saw the strip business from the other side.
    This place was absolutely beautiful, which I understand is NOT the case with most strip clubs. Strippers were NOT allowed to mingle with the band, and vise-versa. Strippers could have a drink at the bar between their sets, and could speak with members of the audience who approached them, but that was it.
    However, at the end of Week One, our lead guitarist drove that week’s stripper, a petite French woman, to the airport to catch her flight back to Montreal. Her name was Lola (I kid you not…and the owner of the bar was named Rico, and yes – he wore a diamond. Again, I’m NOT KIDDING. How the Hell does stuff like this happen? Sorry if you don’t get the WAY obvious Barry Manilow song reference) By the way – I have no idea if anything happened on the way to the airport between the two of them, so don’t ask.
    Week Two, the stripper (Sheree North was her ‘stage name’) took a liking to me, and she took me home to the room in which the bar provided, which was actually a house. It was obvious the bar was making serious coin. (By the way, my wife knows all this stuff, just in case you were wondering. I’ve told her everything.) After a few drinks and a lot of conversation, I just felt sorry for how lonely and confused about life this stripper girl seemed, and I just went home. That’s that. Her self-esteem was non-existent, and made her rather unattractive to ‘rock star boy’.

    I also have a male friend who used to strip for a living. He’s Russian/Jamaican. His mom’s Jamaican, and his dad a Russian sailor whom he’s never known. I don’t look at guys to compare, but I have to say he’s one of the best looking guys I know. Stays in great shape, and now models for a living, plus gets the occasional acting gig…and about ten years ago, he married a lovely female stripper. They’re still together, very happy, and have a beautiful little boy. Neither of them seem the worse for wear.

    Depends on the individual, I guess – in both how it affects the stripper, as well as who’s into watching. I’ve personally never understood the attraction to watching stripping.
    I much prefer my titillation to be somewhat more tactile.

  12. It’s true that I wasn’t there for a long time… I passed into and out of the trade briefly, so perhaps my opinion doesn’t matter for much.

    Perhaps the opinion of the career strippers might be taken to be more authoritative. Go read Hobo Stripper ( Go read Davka ( Go read any number of stripper blogs (there’s a lot of them!) before you categorically summarize the lives of every stripper as being poor, sad, vulnerable and desperate. I think there’s joy and freedom that can be had, by some, if not by all (or even most.)

    I don’t think anyone can stand on one side of any kind of fence and speculate with any accuracy how someone on the other side lives and feels and what motivates them. There’s always so much more to the story that you will never know unless you have walked that mile yourself.

  13. I have to admit, part of the whole stripper thing is a bit of a turn on for me. I’ve been to the “nicer” establishments only, and these women are quite beautiful and I do find the female body very sexy. I also rather enjoy seeing my husband turned on by them. I would not want him touching them or them touching him though And, these women who have been blessed with beauty and great bodies are making the choice to bank in on it – if they have a solid sense of self, I don’t see it as degrading – I think it would be rather empowering actually to be admired (and maybe I’m naive in thinking that most audience members are admiring the human body?) I think I’ve had very positive experiences thus far with this whole matter.
    That being said, it saddens me to no end to think of a woman who feels degraded, humiliated, or feeling like this is the only way she can make ends meet and she has no choice, and that a man might take advantage of her in this situation.

  14. Raino – Thanks for thinking of me. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve done this meme before and I may do it again in a different format. For sure I won’t be tagging anyone though, because I swore off memes about a year ago.

    Bandobras – And you got to keep most of the money you earned.

    A&J – Do you know people your age that go?

    JB – I’m sure there are many reasons a woman would end up in a job like that and I doubt any of the reasons are happy ones. Things have definitely changed in the trade in 30 years, too. You should really get a blog of your own where you can tell all these zany stories.

    Anonymous #1 – I’ve checked out these blogs you mention. Hobo Stripper has quit the life and is living happily on some remote farm or something. The other one is incredibly, incredibly sad. I saw no joy or sense of freedom here. I’ve also been following a couple of other blogs of women in the sex trade and they are full of bravado and pathos and are always heartwrenching to me. They ARE sad. Sex trade bloggers, I would think, are only representative of a small cross-section of the sex trade. What about the ones who aren’t/can’t blog about their experiences?

    Anonymous #2 – Thank you. That’s a very interesting perspective. I don’t think strip club patrons are there to admire the artistic merits of a beautiful human body so much as they are imagining what they’d like to be doing to that body (note I did not say: what they’d like to be doing with that person). Basically, you and your husband are using these women’s bodies to add a little spice to your sex lives. Why there is no touching allowed? I find that curious. If you’ve gone so far as to invite their images into your bedroom, why not their touch, their scent or even the women themselves? You admit to being turned on by these women yourself. Do you speak to these women? Buy them a drink; invite them to sit at your table? Don’t get me wrong, I’m really, really interested in your comment and its implications and I want to know more. You are in a good position to find out if they really have a “solid sense of self”. I don’t believe for an instant that a woman with a solid sense of self would choose to do this for a living, but I’m willing to be persuaded.

  15. I have been to both! Had to see for myself what it was all about.

    I actually enjoyed the women more than the men. I ended up talking to the women in their changing room as that was the only place that there was a female washroom.

  16. Helen – Annnnndddddd? What impression did you get of the women? What did they say? How did you feel about the whole experience?

  17. I have been to female strip-clubs with my hubby on numerous occasions in the past. He will go with his brother if his brother is in town, but he doesn’t go as much as he used to.

    Come to think of it, I haven’t been to a strip club in a long time!

    I honestly don’t have a problem with them. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been in clubs that were very well-kept and the girls were nice. When we’d go with our friends, our friends would put dollars down in front of me, because they got a real kick out of watching the dancers dance for me.

    These guys were very visual and had a great time. We were all close friends, so I didn’t have a problem with it.

    The dancers would talk to me, which the guys found to be odd…they never talked to them. HA.

    To me, it’s just a job. Sometimes I feel more pity for someone who has to work at Wal-Mart. LOL! Just kidding. Kinda.

    If the girls enjoy it, and it’s something they’re good at, and they’re making ends meet, more power to them. People can take the money they earn from any job and use it toward different vices…it’s all a matter of priorities.

    Just my opinion.

    XUP, I trust that you’ll keep my identity hidden. My mother pokes around on the internet, so I don’t want to make her up her heart medication. 😉

    ~Ann O.

  18. I just skimmed through some other comments, and have to add…there is no touching allowed at the clubs where we’ve frequented. The dancers can dance really close to you and may rub up against you, but there is no touching allowed….and it is strictly enforced. The Bouncers will boot out any guy (or woman?) who touches a dancer.

  19. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to strip clubs. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    But, I have an issue with people who “allow” their mates to do things or “don’t allow” them to do things. Just what kind of relationship is that?? But, I suppose it’s along the same line as my pet peeve regarding fathers who say they have to babysit.

    Unless you’re watching someone else’s kids in addition to your own, it’s called parenting. 🙂

  20. you should read Candy Girl by Diablo Cody. It’s interesting to read about how so many women really do choose to work in these clubs because they can make crazy money. Personally, I’d be too disgusted, judging by what she had to say about the job, but it seemed like more women than one may think actually choose this over an average job.

  21. I’ve been to strip clubs twice in my life. The first time was in 1981 and I was a freshman in college, the second time was about ten years ago and a guy I was working with took me. Both trips were a waste of time and money, and that’s coming from a guy who likes seeing naked women.

  22. Ugh.

    I went once and hated it. (Did not intend to go, somehow ended up there.) I was depressed for a couple days afterward. I felt lesser just by being there and somehow seeming – by my presence – that I was endorsing both sides of the equation (stripping and gawking). I understand that some women may feel empowered by stripping, but my guess is that is a small percentage, and somewhere underneath even some of those women may not be immune from also feeling demeaned.

    Then of course there was the one stripper who came THISCLOSE to trying to kick my ass around the room. But that is a story for another day. It was also my cue TO LEAVE.

  23. XUP: I still think you’re being overly deterministic. I dont “assume they’re all there because this is their chosen profession and they love it”. I would not assume that of any industry. But it is equally naive to assume that working in the sex trade is inherently pathological, which is the impression I get from your comments.

    There are two aspects of this discussion which should be considered independently, because it’s far too confusing to look at them together. The “moral” aspect (‘some people are driven to it and wouldn’t do it otherwise’), and the economic aspect (‘some people do it for the money’).

    On the ‘moral’ argument, I agree with you that those who are driven to it should not be in the sex trade. However, we cannot ignore the reality that they are there. The analogy in this case is drug addiction (as opposed to voluntary ‘drug use’). You suggest that “we as a society should first address the issues that drive people to the sex trade, then decriminalize it, then do whatever it takes to improve the working conditions for those who are still willing to be part of it.” If we replace the sex trade with drug addiction in this position, you seem to be stressing the Mayor O’Brien/Chief White mantra on drug addition, completely minimizing the importance of the harm reduction aspect (in this case, better working conditions and removal of stigma) in favour of trying to prevent it altogether.

    From an employment standpoing, think of stripping as a job and consider what you are saying. Going back to “we as a society should first address the issues that drive people to the sex trade”, you can’t deny that money is an incentive. How could society possibly address that issue?

    You said that “people are there because they think they don’t have enough education to do anything else; because they see no other way out of poverty;” that may well be true, but it’s patronizing to suggest this is unique to the sex trade. As suggested by the GM employee above, all employment is, to some extent, exploitation of the human resource.

    I can’t count how many people I’ve met who work (or who worked) in call centres because it makes decent money, but they absolutely hate it. It’s a high-stress job, so people quit frequently. Since the employers assume nobody works there willingly, they don’t bother with improving working conditions for the employees, and it becomes a deterministic cycle. I once met someone who actually enjoyed working in the call centre industry, and who bemoaned the poor working conditions caused by this cycle. This process sounds a lot like what happens in the sex trade.

    Have you seen the documentary “Live Nude Girls Unite”? It’s about unionized strippers, and they talk about this same thing.

    Anyway, I’ve said enough; it’s time to hear from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

    – RG>

  24. XUP, thanks for the link. Is this a touchy subject or what? It’s very rare to find someone indifferent on the subject.
    You know how I feel. I think lap dances are no different than cheating.

  25. Well, I agree with you on the sadness of strippers. The ones I saw were just so sad. Addicted is my guess. (The group we were with accused me of being a buzz kill.) I just can’t see why a woman with another option would choose to do this for a living — especially in the seedier establishment.

    I was speaking to someone who does “coat check” at one of the seedier clubs in town. (She’s quit I think. Also self-esteem issues.) The girls are also expected to “tip” the dj and the owner of the club in order to dance. So it’s not like there is a base salary. Quite the scam too — many of these girls don’t have the understanding to know that this isn’t right.

    The Man and I are both adults — he doesn’t need my permission to go out with his friends and vice versa. We check to make sure we don’t have conflicting plans. He’s a man not a child.

  26. I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the other side of the degradation equation. What about the customers?

    My one noteworthy stripper experience was in Gatineau at a fairly classy club. Being young and foolish, I payed for a lap dance.

    Before and after the dance, we chatted. The young woman told me a little about herself, and I told her generalities about my life. When I said I was a software developer she told me how much she loved staying in and playing video games when she was growing up. When I said I had just finished university, she told me that she was saving up to go to school. Funny coincidences, but I didn’t think much of it until after I paid her for the dance – she hugged me, kissed my neck, and told me her “real” name, and said to come back the next time she was working.

    I’m not sure if I have a “solid sense of self” (or had one at the time), but that rattled me for a good week or so. Who wouldn’t be interested in a member of the opposite sex who sits in your lap, has a good uh, sense of rhythm, and hangs on your every word? I knew she was tapping me as a repeat customer, but I still wanted to go back. She’d done the equivalent of putting a smiley face on the bill, and I was willing to open up my wallet.

    My sweetie tells me that it’s the same story in clubs with male dancers. The dancer treats the clients well, wooing them for cash.

    If you want to talk about degradation, remember that the knife cuts both ways. I’m sure some patrons can walk into a club, enjoy the experience, and walk out. But I suspect that a fair number of the regulars are coming back compulsively. They’re being played directly by the dancers and indirectly by the club owners.

    As to the question of degradation of the dancers, I can’t help but notice that 100% of our non-scientific sample of ex-strippers enjoyed peeling. I doubt that’s true of all dancers, but to say that “I don’t believe for an instant that a woman with a solid sense of self would choose to [dance] for a living” seems to be painting women with a pretty broad brush. Take a few minutes to skim They aren’t strippers, and it sounds like most of them don’t work on Gladstone, but they sound like the enjoy their work.

  27. Pingback: Pie Palace » Blog Archive » Peelers and Peelees, Pie Palace edition

  28. You make some good points xup, stripping really is a demeaning and dangerous profession. I encourage my partner to go to strip clubs, most likely because thus far I haven’t dated anyone who would want to or is of legal age to do so, so it’s just funny seeing shocked or confused or wishing or embarrassed reactions to my encouragement. Although if I “allowed” my partner to do so, I would always go with them so I wouldn’t be left out of all the fun.

  29. “Basically, you and your husband are using these women’s bodies to add a little spice to your sex lives. Why there is no touching allowed? I find that curious. If you’ve gone so far as to invite their images into your bedroom, why not their touch, their scent or even the women themselves? You admit to being turned on by these women yourself. Do you speak to these women? Buy them a drink; invite them to sit at your table?”

    No touching because we enjoy the fantasy, like reading erotica or watching porn together – it just fuels the imagination. Not interested in actually bringing a stranger into the scenario, just interested in pretending to. Nope, don’t talk to them or buy them a drink, not there to be their friend, just there to admire them.
    You can just tell that some of them women really get off on being watched and admired, I’m not sure how else to explain it. I imagine it’s like anyone who is good at something and admired for it – it feels good to be admired.
    Also, some men truly admire these girls athleticism, and I’m being serious. The way some of these girls work the pole, show their physical prowness is really something else. Some (not all) are real athletes. Again, just speaking from my experiences.

  30. Ann O – Your point is well made that there are a lot of demeaning jobs people take and hate because they have to make a living. Most of these jobs have some kind of future, though. Even at Wal-Mart you can work your way up to head smiley-face girl or something. You learn a skill. You have some solid work experience to put on your resume. You’re eligible for EI. You’ve got some sort of recourse if your boss rips you off or fires you for no reason or tries to get into your knickers. And yes, I’m sure there are strip clubs that are better run than others and women that are treated better in some places than others. Would you do it? The only way I could have ever seen myself taking a job like this is if I needed a lot of money in a hurry and had no other recourse and thought so little of myself that I didn’t care what I had to do to get that money. I would hate every instant of it. BUT, I would somehow have to convince myself and others that it was okay or I’d never get through it.

    CP – My issue isn’t about open-mindedness or morality. It’s about exploitation – taking advantage of people who are weaker (in whatever capacity); using them for financial gain, sexual stimulation, whatever…

    Uncouth Heathen – Apparently so. I think I’m going to do a follow-up post on the word “choose” as it applies to sex trade workers. I think it deserves some further thought. Stay tuned!! And thanks, I will look for Candy Girl
    Monkey – Because you have respect for women as people – that’s clear from your blog. (even, and/or especially when they’re naked)

    Lesley – It really is one of the most depressing experiences no matter how they gloss up the venue or how shiny the pole is.

    RealGrouchy – Going back to “we as a society should first address the issues that drive people to the sex trade”, you can’t deny that money is an incentive. How could society possibly address that issue? Working on poverty issues? Affordable housing/daycare? Better education/retraining?
    If we replace the sex trade with drug addiction in this position, you seem to be stressing the Mayor O’Brien/Chief White mantra on drug addition, completely minimizing the importance of the harm reduction aspect (in this case, better working conditions and removal of stigma) in favour of trying to prevent it altogether. Not at all. I’m saying taking away the criminality of the profession. It’s not a crime, but there is a lot of crime surrounding the sex trade industry precisely because it’s considered a crime. If we provide safe, legal working conditions, health care, etc, there is less reason for organized crime and/or street crime to be involved (i.e.: prohibition). I’ve never suggested it would be possible to eliminate the sex trade altogether, just eliminate the real criminals from it. As to the matter of people “choosing” this profession, I’d like to follow up with another post on this and I’ll address some of your arguments.

    X – Thanks for sparking the idea!

    Nat – The question of “choice” here is a heady one. Something I’d like to get into further in a whole new post, I think. And yes, why do women think that just because they tell a man he’s not “allowed” to do something and he “agrees” that he won’t do it, if he wants to? That doesn’t even work with kids most of the time!

    Erigami – Human beings are remarkable in that they’re able to endure a lot and even convince themselves of almost anything to be able to endure what they have to. Thanks for your perspective from the client viewpoint. I guess addictions are possible in strip clubs like anything else.

    Aziza – There’s no fun, trust me.

    Anonymous – Okay, thanks for the explanation.

  31. I went to a male strip club once. I was HORRIFIED! Not at the dancers, but at my fellow females. They were PIGS! And I got nothing from watching the dancers. Well, one peaked my interest, only because he could actually dance and tease and he was having fun. Good for him, I say.

    I went to a female stip club once. I was HORRIFIED! Not at the males watching, because they were all sitting there nice and politely, or talking amongst themselves. I was horrified at the dancers. Every single girl, bar none, was up there like a robot going through the motions. And it was simply advertising for the Champagne Room. There were about 6 dancers, but there had to be 2 dozen girls wandering about. And they were young. Very very young.

    I’m sorry, nobody can convince that anyone is an exotic dancer (male or female) because they actually enjoy their work.

    As for giving my man *permission* to go. Absolutely not. I would express my concerns about exotic dancing. And I would certainly be upset if he visited the Champagne Room. Heck, stay home with me and I’ll give you the Champagne room for free! Fortunately, I have never been with the type of man that goes to these places. They find them as demeaning as I do.

  32. UP – YES, I absolutely cannot believe exotic dancers are there because they truly enjoy their work or even that they’re there because they actually want to be. And the permission thing is just ridiculous. Can you forbid a grown man to do something? He might tell you want you want to hear, but he’ll do as he likes.

  33. There really aren’t too many places in our culture, and certainly not easy to find in Anytown New Peoria, where people can go to feel hedonistic and sexy and naughty without really doing anything risky or intense. It’s a huge relief, especially for men, to feel surrounded with naughtiness but with no performance anxiety. They love being turned down or told not to touch–it’s the best part of the deal. They get the experience of being bad and feeling like a stud in a way that seems much more real than porn without having to confront any of their inadequacies. The same for women, too, but I think men crave this feeling more.

    That’s my theory, anyway!

  34. XUP – When I wrote about money being an incentive, I meant that you can’t change the fact that it is difficult to change the fact that stripping is an ‘easy’ way to make money.

    Your responses address that. Indirectly, but they address it and I acknowledge that.

    I still disagree with your follow-up post about choice, but it would be foolish for me to continue arguing about something I know very little about.

    I guess I just feel that seeing sex workers as victims removes their agency. Maybe it’s because the criminal justice system leaves victims out of the equation while purporting to ‘help’ them, and I’m internalizing that connotation of the word “victim” when I read it in your comments.

    Nevertheless, a difference in perspective doesn’t change our contributions (as people not in the sex trade) toward reducing poverty, improving health care and education, etc.

    – RG>

  35. Deb – Interesting theory and very plausible. Very much like how married men get a lot freer with their come-ons, flirting, etc. than before they were married. They have the possibility of naughtiness, but still have a safety net in case they can’t or don’t want to follow through.

    RealGrouchy – I’m not even sure that making money by stripping is easy. Especially when you consider that such a large percentage of the women are there through some “agent” who is taking his cut, and the DJ and bar owner who get their fees and the women don’t want to be there in the first place. Stripping is always presented as a harmless entertainment that’s populated by university students paying off their tuition, and that’s what most people seem to believe, but that’s just not the case. Our legal system can keep locking up sex workers because they, too, see them as people who have chosen to take the easy way out in order to earn a living. Instead of getting a job and paying taxes, they’ve “chosen” a life of crime. So by they fine them throw them in jail by way of trying to “deter” them from making these bad choices.

    I very much appreciate your coming to this issue from a different angle though we seem to be arriving at very much the same conclusion in the end

  36. first, i ditto/second that situation of “allowing” a person to do something. that’s something i’ve never desired in any type of relationship. that’s just bullshit.

    as for the strip clubs, i’ve been to both and i was more impressed with the women strippers then the male strippers.

    i wasn’t too impressed with either, it was kind of like going to las vegas, where all the “sins” are legal. mainly i feel sad, and skeeved requiring a long shower afterwards. my husband isn’t interested in them either, he says b/c it’s a tease.

    i do know that if times ever got really tough and i couldn’t find any other work, i’d most likely try my hand at the dancing. i’ve had a few friends that were dancers, so i know what i’d be getting into should it ever have to happen.

  37. DP – I wish we’d heard from you sooner, so you could tell us from your friends’ perspectives exactly what you’d be getting into. Also, I’d be interested to know if, in your state, they have lap dancing, total nudity and a back room for private “dances”??

  38. i’m sorry i couldn’t get here sooner 🙂

    no doubt, it’s a different lifestyle and i wholeheartedly agree that most of the women that participate come from severely ruined childhoods.

    i think the key is, how much or how little they have met their demons and sent them on their way. if it was something i “had” to do, i would go into with the knowledge that it is an emotional tightrope. not to kid myself into thinking i could use it to feed my ego or to take it seriously. i’d keep the focus on the needed result, which would be money. i would not be interested in doing any private sessions.

    i think we have legal frontal nudity, not full nudity and there are back rooms for personalized lap dances.

  39. i’m not sure i fully answered your original question based on my friend’s experience.

    it’s definitely an ugly world, the sex industry. lots of addictions on many levels. mostly, what i gathered from my friend’s experience is that you cannot take any of it seriously, or buy into the lifestyle.

    (as well there are different “levels” of dancing.)

    did i mention that i went to a birthday party that had a private male dancer, and that dancer ended up coming to work in the office i worked in. he was an accountant. HUGE EGO. i think that’s a downside, taking the job as a means to feed our insecurities.

  40. DP – Thanks, that pretty much confirms what many of us felt or believed or knew. I’m still amazed at the amount of people who think dancers are all just co-eds working their way through grad school and are having tons of fun and going to see them is just a harmless laugh. The ego feeding ” down side” is all part of a damaged person anyway. And I don’t think there’s an up side, is there? Thanks again

  41. Wow, what a judgmental, misinformed blog. The comments are even more atrocious. You people obviously have no idea what you are talking about. XUP- If your self-esteem depends on believing these bad things about strippers, far be it from me to enlighten you. The fact is that dancing is a job and, as in ANY JOB, there is an equal ratio of “damaged” people to empowered, happy people. I have met more empowered, happy women dancing than I have anywhere else. People from all walks of life choose dancing. Some don’t choose. Some are forced into it in desperation. Some dancers come from wealthy families. It’s funny that this line of work is considered degrading, while working your life away in a fast food restaurant for a measly 7 dollars an hour is considered normal.

    Dancing is like any job in that it has ups and downs. You are sex-negative and so you can’t imagine a job in the sex industry being empowering in any way. You cannot imagine the ups and are focused on the downs.

    I could go on and on, but I don’t even feel like trying to reason with you ignorant people. There are addicted sad people in any job. There are CEOS of million dollar compaies that commit suicide. There are unhappy doctors, lawyers, etc- but in our society we need to think that women who work naked are somehow so so sad. Give me a break.

    DP- You have one friend in the sex industry and now you are suddenly an expert on this blog? Lol. So typical.

    Did any of you EVER think that most of the sadness associated with working in sex comes from the STIGMATIZATION people like you are perpetuating with your ignorance?

    This stigmatization manifests in deadly ways, including the rape and murder or sex-workers.

    Shame on all of you for just believing what you want to and judging women based on their jobs.

    XUP- you’re a dumbass. Dancers make a ton of money. Very often they make more than the club owners. Was it your husband who got a lapdance? Is this why you need so badly to believe that all dancers are helpless, sad little whores? Does our sexual power over your husband threaten the shit out of you and you are so jealous you can’t see straight?

    Sex workers are just like everyone else, except a little more brave and hot and interesting. Good luck with your ignorance, ya’all. Anonymous, thanks for shouting me out. Keep holding it down for us.


  42. Also, I bet XUP isn’t interested in hearing my perspective, although I am a dancer. She would rather hear the sad stories of your friend than hear from me, someone with real, first hand experience. My experience, both positive and negative, isn’t important to her because it doesn’t support her stereotypes and prejudices. XUP, you probably get drunk at bars and try to dance sexy around the pillars. I know so many women like you- who talk shit on dancers and secretly harbor this huge obsession and fascination for us.

    Good luck with that.

  43. Davka – Thank you so much for your input. You are obviously a well-adjusted, happy person who is proud and not the least bit defensive about her chosen profession. You are clearly well-educated and could have done anything with your life. I am also amazed at your incredible knowledge of human psychology; I guess that goes along with the job. You sure got my number! Thanks again for visiting and I hope you’ll drop by again to give us all a reality check when you think we need it.