Strip Club
This came out of a discussion with someone I met on-line who was an exotic dancer.

>what are your true thoughts about topless dancers...

I have limited experience in actually going to these kinds of places, but I'll try to address this question somewhat broadly by relating to you my one visit (so far) to such an establishment.

A friend of mine named was getting married a few months ago and invited me and my girlfriend Dani to his bachelor party.  We were going to go out to eat at a TGI Applebee's (or something like that) followed by a "gentleman's club" in Arlington.  In addition to his guy friends, the bachelor also invited a bunch of other girls we knew, probably because he wasn't into getting all crazy and somehow hoped that their presence would "make everything okay."  It was funny because he and I and some of our other guy friends really don't get into ultra-macho stuff, so the strip club just seemed like a really crazy idea.  In fact, one of the guys commented that he was hoping that we could get it over really quickly.  Still, the night was largely bankrolled by the brother of groom-to-be, so we were going along for the ride.

Now, my ideas about strip clubs were largely informed by and restricted to scenes in '80s cop movies.  You know, where the filmmakers flash a little gratuitous T&A into the frame while the good guys question the scum-bag informant about where their murder suspect is hiding.  Naturally, we all expected the place to be pretty seedy, but it turned out to be a fairly nice and up-scale (Incidentally, I can't remember the name any longer, but it had "Ranch" or something western in it).  About half of our group was female and as we were walking up to the place, another guy and his girlfriend were heading for the front door as well.  The girlfriend commented, "Oh, thank God I won't be the only girl who isn't a dancer!"  We all laughed because it was obvious by this point from our body language alone that we were all kind of unsure what to expect.

Since the groom's brother was shelling out the cash, he got us a VIP room for an hour or two, and that kind of warmed things up.  By that, I mean that this was sort of the "kiddie pool," comparatively speaking.  We sat around at first just talking, then the dancers gradually started stripping down and giving lap dances.  My girlfriend even bought me one from this cute Asian girl (I like small breasts; something Dani certainly knows by now).  Before too long even the girls in our group started getting dances for themselves.  The groom offset his nervousness and tried to derail lap grinding routines by variously asking his dancer of the moment questions like, "So, is there anyone special in your life?"  He offered a few other lines like that over the course of the night, but I have since forgotten them.

Once our time ran out in the VIP room they had the usual session where the bachelor gets spanked and then gets to spank one of the dancers in a little mock dungeon room.  (And, boy, both of them really smacked one another!)  After that we mostly hung out in the main area and just watched the sights.  I mean, I like people watching, but this was way better than, say, Wal-mart at 2:30 am.

I probably over-intellectualize things, but more than the erotic component, I was just plain fascinated by the dynamics of the interactions.  And, of course, no one notices that they're being watched or thinks about anything else for that matter; there's too much else for them to look at!  It was really interesting to try and get to the psychology of why people were there and what they got out of the experience.  Sure, the dancers were obviously lured by the money, but you had to wonder how they came to discard their inhibitions (or did they ever have them?) and what were they like in other settings.

As for the audience, some people were there in "party" mode.  Some, I'm sure (e.g., most of our group), were part of a group who were out for a night on the town.  For others, this was clearly a sexual thing.  Honestly, a couple of the girls in our group really seemed to be getting off during their dances and had trouble concealing this fact (there was much blushing on their part after the fact).  However, the whole experience doesn't do it for everyone.  The groom later confessed to me that he only briefly had a single erection the whole night when he was with a particularly energetic dancer (read: grinder) late in the evening.  This was after his inhibitions had been gradually diminished by a couple drinks and desensitization to the novelty of the place.  Admittedly, my "batting average" (sorry, bad pun) was about the same as his.  But this environment clearly serves as an outlet for some people's sexual frustrations.

One interesting sight was a guy who looked to be in his '70s.  The whole time we were near his table he had this one girl grinding on his lap or pole dancing in front of him.  Whereas the other girls would dance through the club and work different areas, she stayed right there with him.  He was paying her for her routines, but she would also sit there and have a drink with him at times as well.  We wondered a lot about the nature of that relationship.  Maybe she didn't even work there and this was a "bring your own stripper" kind of thing.  Who knows?

All in all, it was a really fun night.  Although the club itself wasn't arousing in the most obvious sense, the whole vibe of it was liberating.  I'm hardly the most conservative guy, but everyone goes in there with some inhibitions.  Just being surrounded by the sexual energy for that long was really healthy (depending, I'm sure, on your psychology leading up to that point).  Seriously, I don't know how others viewed it, but I found that I started to think of sex less as a physical "event" and more as an enjoyable, natural state of mind.  Although I have probably dwelled excessively on the introspective experience of the night, we naturally spent a lot of our time ogling the girls and picking out our favorites based on physical attributes, dance moves, attitude, etc.

I think we went to the club on a Friday night, and we spent the rest of the weekend coming off of this "high."  Seriously, we had a record-breaking weekend in bed (no, I won't share numbers; use your imagination).  The club was a fantastic experience, but it has been close to a year now and we haven't been to one since.  I would certainly go again under the right circumstances (i.e., with a group of friends interested in having fun), but neither of us fetishized the whole thing.

Similarly, a few months ago I saw a documentary called "The Lifestyle: Swinging in America."  The director of the film pointed out that, after having spent months attending swinger parties, he found that it just wasn't for him.  He understood it intellectually and could empathize with the participants after having interviewed them extensively over the course of the production, but he just didn't get into it on the level of his libido.  I guess my feelings about the strip club are more ambivalent than that.  In no way was I turned off, but I didn't really get "turned on" enough for that one visit to turn me into a regular.

Returning at last to the original question, as far as the dancers go, I have no judgment about them.  For the most part, they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.  For them, this was part work-out, part talent show.  They appeared to approach it as entertainment, which is exactly what it is.  They are performers.  I don't think anyone should honestly expect the emotional connection you make with someone when you are involved with someone sexually (well, under typical circumstances).  Particularly judgmental individuals apparently feel something is missing because they interpret this type of performance as a sex act.  I just don't see it that way.

Further, I don't regard this is a form of prostitution (as someone commented in your blog) any more than another occupation such as, say, waitressing.  I could draw parallels between the two jobs, but I think you can find some for yourself.  As the internet has abundantly demonstrated, people can apparently have a fetish for just about *anything*!  That some people over-extend their conceptions about sexuality to vilify nude dancing is a greater indictment of them than the object of their scorn.

If a girl has the willingness and the right attitude to participate in this line of work, let her.  And it's fine with me if people are willing to pay a dancer so long as they don't get out of hand and try to take advantage of her (I didn't see any of this, BTW, but you figure it must happen occasionally given the combination of alcohol and testosterone).  That being said, there were a few dancers I saw that night that I wouldn't have minded taking home.  No such luck, unfortunately.

Copywrite "Ale[x]otic dancer."

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