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This is my account of my Strip Club visit for my psychology Human Sexuality class.
Yes, this was seriously for a legit university course. I actually think it has a lot of merit as I learned quite a bit being thrown out there in the field. I got a raw look at fetishism, social norms, and human sexuality — in a way that a textbook could never teach it.
This paper is a story about an adventure to a strip club. The idea is to push the author’s sexual boundaries and understanding of human sexuality simultaneously. What I learned from this experience is that as open minded as I thought I was, I found out there are still some things I cannot handle, developed a firm stance on stripping, and have never felt so cheap in my entire life.
For this adventure I had to socially lubricate myself to the point of non-function. I did this courtesy of Jake’s $3 Long Islands on Thursday and yes I am over twenty-one, so the imbibing of alcohol was legal. In addition to socially lubricating myself I enlisted the help of two men, one fellow twenty-two year old and one twenty-one year old. Throughout this paper I will refer to the twenty-two year old as Two and the twenty-one year old as One. I originally attempted to go to the strip club without social lubricant only to find the idea too challenging while not under the influence of something that impairs judgment. This idea in itself is strange since the only way I could go to a strip club was if I had no judgment, which seems that my mind recognizes or associates strip clubs as something wrong or inappropriate even without having been to one.
When I arrived at Night Moves I walked into a dark building with black lights everywhere and the smell of tanning oil, or some mixture of smells, that I will now and forever associate with strippers. As the evening progresses I will say now that my mind kept going to, “Exactly like you’d see on TV, but twenty times worse.”
I quickly sat down away from the stage because One and Two had been telling me horror stories, or what seemed to be horror stories to me, about how if women sit near stage they get pulled up or lap dances; thus, sitting as far away from stage as possible.
Now that we were seated I could remove my eyes from the floor and when I look up I was in complete and utter shock. Standing all around me were women wearing, well, nothing. They had bottoms or g-strings really, but there were boobs everywhere. Not one woman had a top on in this strip club except the ones who were not strippers. I had a preconceived notion that when they worked the floor, like in the movies, they were covered up; I was wrong.
Next I looked to the stage where there were two women dancing. I must say, I thought it was interesting the way they danced. They were able to dance slowly and to me I saw sensuality in it, but the sensuality they started out with quickly turned to some series of actions of what I’m now going to refer to and name as the “Stripper Call.”
The Stripper Call is when while on stage the stripper looks out into the audience and focuses one particular area that has a male. She then begins to put herself on all fours, turn around so her rear is facing outward, and rapidly gyrate and shake “what her momma gave her.” After the stripper has successfully made use of this call, a male wanders in and sits down on stage looking at her. Then the stripper will do one of three actions. I was there for about an hour and there were 4 different shows that I saw. One of the things I was never able to understand is why they chose a certain action over another action. Did how much money being waved play a roll or was it based on something about the customer? I am sad to say I am unsure.
Thing 1) The strippers gets their boobs in the guys face and rub them back and forth also known as motor boating. If they have a top on at this point they will remove it. It is important to note that the only time I saw the women wearing tops was when they get on stage to dance … so they could take them off.
Thing 2) The strippers turn around into a doggy style position with butt facing the guy and rapidly gyrate and shake their butt. This is the beginning position of the “Stripper Call.” What makes this different is that they begin to back their behind up closer to the guys face while doing this until it is almost touching.
Thing 3) The strippers get on all fours and face the guy, crawl over, and then turn to get into a missionary style position. From here they spread their legs in front of the guys and let the males heads get reasonably close. While this is occurring, they will sometimes touch themselves in a masturbatory fashion through their thong or move their hips up and down.
Honestly, I think these things are what shocked me the most. I had no problem stomaching the other things. They were a bit raunchy but it was to be expected based on what I had seen in movies. However, something else I had heard from various articles and online sources is that men aren’t allowed to touch and women touch only if they are doing a lap dance. Here at Night Moves this was clearly not the case. The women touched the men with their boobs for a buck and when they were negotiating tip they would lean in and grab the side of the mans head and put their mouth next to his hear and whisper into it. I heard a girl once whisper, “It’s time to tip now.” This line was shocking as it just reminded me mildly of prostitution.
It was about this point that I had to use the restroom, but I was so terrified in this environment that clearly defines women as sexual objects and creatures to move. I was scared that if I even walked to the restroom these men who are looking at women like that would look at me like that. However, I convinced myself that this was overly judgmental of myself and silly. Why would anyone be looking at me when I’m fully clothed and clearly not a stripper? With this sound of mind I was able to get myself to the restroom.
When I came back One had gone up to the stage and Two was sitting back with me. I convinced Two to go up to the stage after another shot of delicious, frontal lobe suppressing tequila. Not even one minute after both One and Two had left me for the stage did a forty year old man walk up to me. His goal was evidently to shatter the sense of mind I had earlier about not being looked at. This man leaned in uncomfortably close and said the following, “Hey, you know, they like to do it to girls better than us guys, you should go up there and get some for me.” I realized that even when I thought I was invisible, I was still a part of some fantasy of this random male in a strip club. No, I was not a stripper, but that did not matter. The fact that I was a female in a club threw out social norms and put me into this strange and different viewing environment of women where this proposition is acceptable.
After this event I had just about had all I could take. I cannot describe how I felt. The scary thing is, how could I feel this way, but not the women on stage? Or do they? This overwhelming sense that you are there to sell yourself to any male and they will touch you and you will touch them and to them you are merely an object. The idea of that eats at my core, that I would ever been seen as a currency, as a thing that could be bought, as a thing – as an object.
After his little rendezvous on the stage One and Two came back. Two was shocked at the older gentleman story, which leads me to believe this must not be normal and a fluke, so that calmed me down to some extent. One then decided to get a lap dance from the women who had motor boated him on stage. The first woman to come around and ask if “You boys are looking for a lap dance,” was turned down by Two. He told her he was waiting and turned her down. Shortly after, the stripper he was waiting for came around and ushered him into a black booth area that is for lap dances. Supposedly this costs $20 and I later found out on Sundays it’s only $10! During this lap dance she supposedly called him a “good boy” Hilariously enough he told me he couldn’t remember anything else she said because he couldn’t focus on what she was saying.
When he came back he had a big smile on his face, which was further hilarity to me. In fact, if it weren’t for One and Two I would have been beyond a complete wreck. Somehow One really, really enjoying himself made the experience easier to deal with in the moment; that and the other tequila shot he bought me.
The experience starts to blur out right around this moment. I know One got another lap dance and went back up to the stage, but I merely have images of the place beginning to swirl. Women got up and danced and it was all the same, over and over again. They did the same things to men right and a row. I think what I noticed is that there was nothing special which I thought people like to feel special, but perhaps this is why strip clubs work.. It is a business deal in a sense, you get the same service and all you have to do is pay a nominal fee.
Near the end of the night girls would walk up to us. The one that I remember the most is the one that said, “You boys tippin’ tonight?” I think the reason this one stuck the most was because it was so upfront. Other girls had said stuff like, “You studs want a lap dance?” or something along those lines. This girl basically spelled it out, “Are you gonna give me money to arouse you?”
The bottom line from this experience is that I will never go to a strip club again. I used to believe it when someone would tell me, “Well, I mean, it does empower women in a way, being able to show off their bodies and leave the men with their erections and no true satisfaction. “ In fact, a friend of mine who was a stripper is probably the one that said this to me. After actually being to one though I don’t necessarily agree. I believe it’s something that a stripper has to hold on to because she’s doing it and I would need that belief too. This is also one judgment I’m not going to apologize for because what these women do negatively affects me as a fellow woman. It makes it okay for men in this situation to look at women like they were looked at when they were considered property. It doesn’t empower us. At the end of the day you helped arouse and satisfy the fetish or needs of a man and he paid you to do this.
What I do believe is this situational belief is sometimes carried to things that don’t belong in the situation. When men talk about strippers outside of the strip club they frequently refer to them as breeding factories for STIs and with an overall lack of respect. Then when you begin to talk about women who aren’t strippers, the tone becomes lowered. The case I have for this is at the beginning of the night a friend of Two and One joined us at Jake’s. He talked about his girlfriend before we mentioned the strip club and noted that he had a good thing going and really liked her. That she was sweet and nice and they had a good time together. Then we talked to him about the strip club and he began to say his girlfriend would break up with him. After jabbing at strippers and more convincing he said, “Why would I give up my source of constant pussy?” This was a complete turn around to what he had said before which was respectful. Now she was downgraded to just “a pussy.”
It was strange to watch this happen. Just by bringing strippers into the situation and the descriptions of them, this suddenly applied to a woman who was not a stripper. My interpretation could be wrong, but the general sense of talking about women for the rest of the night seemed to be less pleasant and more focused on sex.
I feel I successfully pushed my sexual boundaries and learned a lot in the process. I got to really understand first hand what actually goes on at a strip club, with some understanding that each one will vary of course on their rules, and I got to come up with a steadfast opinion about stripping and how it relates to women’s issues. I also stared at scantily clad women for about an hour who were all super skinny, another strange phenomenon, and walk out with my confidence still in tact. That’s just a bonus point for me.