There are many places across America where, for about $20, you can sit in a comfy chair and a pretty young woman will take off all, or almost all, of her clothing, and rub her body against yours, while “dancing” to the house music. A reasonable person might have many reactions to this sort of thing – for many men, it’s a reminder of why America is a great country, where the new Puritanism has not managed to stamp out all vestiges of lust and fun.
For feminists, the sight of scores of unclothed women gyrating in the laps of men for their entertainment must be some sort of vision of Hell. (Perhaps a fair preview, and we can only hope that many of the man-hating Femi-Nazis are destined for just such an afterlife, as just retribution for their efforts to sanitize this one.) Other women want in on the fun, and seem just as mesmerized by the writhing bodies as the men.
Those not caught up in the lust and the beat might make some more mundane observations: the women are independent contractors, who usually pay the proprietor of the establishment for the privilege of working there, and then keep all, or most, of their tips. They are not oppressed victims of their male customers – they have been gifted with fine bodies and/or pretty faces, and have chosen to work in a well-paying environment with flexible hours, much in the same way that other people chose a career as a real estate agent. (Observation: more customers seem satisfied with their lap dancer than with the agent selling their house.) They are also, in most cases, not prostitutes; you may think that there is a pretty fine line between humping a man with his pants on and humping a man with his pants off, but for most of these women the distinction is a critical one.
So just what is the proper etiquette at a strip club? First of all, chose a nice one, with pretenses to gentility. While a “classy strip club” is an oxymoron, (let’s not fool ourselves here guys), we have a strong preference for the glossier sort of sleaze. And the nice ones tend to have much better looking women. Just because you’re in a place where women remove their clothes and dance on your lap doesn’t mean any of the basic rules have changed: speak quietly and politely. Only a truly pathetic loser uses this sort of place to show he is a tough guy. (Want to prove you’re tough? Enroll in the Rangers. Or live the life of a man in a wheelchair.)
We prefer to go to these places alone – not desiring to share our lust, in the same way that we don’t participate in orgies. But if you do go in a group, try to make sure it’s a group of men, not a group of frat boys. (Note to those underage – if you can sneak in, these places are nirvana for young libidos, but bring plenty of cash, and do your best to act is if this not the first naked woman you’ve ever seen.) Each of these places has rules, and big bouncers to enforce the rules if things get out of hand. If you absolutely must, proposition the dancers (after you have paid for several dances), but beware that they are often propositioned by every other customer. You will be expected to keep the drinks coming, which is how the club makes money (some also have entrance fees). Drinks in some clubs – one basement in Milan comes to mind – can be exorbitantly expensive. Just as in gambling, decide how much, in advance, you want to spend, and you may just want to take that much cash with you. Once you’re inside the club, with a couple drinks in your system and a pretty naked girl on your lap, it’s pretty tough to make rational spending decisions.
What will your girlfriend think? Some will want to go with you, just out of curiosity, but if your gal gets a gleam in her eye while there, you may have some competition for the hotter dancers. Others will think that simply by stepping foot within such a place you have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt your misogamy and insensitivity to the female gender. If the former, you may want to consider marriage. If the latter, you may want to consider divorce.
Other women will take a more cavalier attitude – “I don’t care where you get your appetite, just make sure you come home for dinner.” But, basically, these clubs are safe, and harmless – but not very satisfying. If you want more satisfaction and a lot more danger, you’ll have to see the next section. (Although since it involves a lot of sexual provocation, and no satisfaction, some people think lap dancing is actually sexier, and more stimulating, than a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am sexual encounter with professionals of the full service variety.)