I used to have some pretty strong opinions on strip clubs, back when I was dating a stripper. Most of them involved the sleaziness of the average testosterone-fueled, drunken frat boys and beer-bellied mid-life crisis sufferers that made up the bulk of the patrons. I still hold those opinions about the clientele, but strip clubs themselves no longer make me uncomfortable.

After spending all my previous ventures in strip clubs picking up my then-girlfriend, I can't imagine what made me want to enter one as a customer instead of just an impatient boyfriend, seething with jealousy as I watched my significant other sit on old mens' laps and feign politeness and flirtiness at them. Perhaps there is a deeper reason for my wanting to see a strip club from a customer's perspective, but most likely the culprit was loneliness, an incurable case of girl-craziness, and the desire to see pretty girls up close after a year of seclusion.

Yesterday was my last day as a resident of the city of New Orleans. The day before, I could think of nothing I wanted to do more than go to a strip club and have pretty girls writhe nakedly on me, near me, and in my field of vision. So, I headed to Scarlett's Cabaret on Bourbon Street. I figured, if I was going to do this, I may as well do it right. Normally I wouldn't venture within half a mile of Bourbon Street, but this was a special occasion. Scarlett's is a relatively new place, having opened only about six months ago. They've erected a number of billboards along I-10 in the suburbs, which feature a girl that looks like a porn star, complete with false eyelashes and thick eyeliner, which read "IN THE MOOD?"

On my way to the French Quarter, I stopped at an ATM and withdrew $300 cash. As the ATM spat $20 bills at me, I found that I was, in fact, IN THE MOOD.

Parking in the Quarter on a Thursday night was a breeze, and after finding a gem of a parking spot at Dauphine and Toulouse, I carefully picked my way through three blocks of Bourbon Street madness until I found myself standing in front of Scarlett's chrome-trimmed doors, flung open into the night. After having my driver's license checked and paying a $10 cover charge, I ventured into the main room.

The main room (also trimmed in no small amount of chrome) contains three bars, a two-pole main stage, a single-pole second stage, and several corridors to rooms which offer a greater degree of privacy. The place was packed with furtive security guards, almost cartoonishly cute cocktail waitresses, some astonishingly gorgeous strippers, and of course the requisite frat boys and middle-aged men, about half of whom were fully decked out in Mardi Gras beads, mumbling in the general direction of the stage in slurred, drunken speech. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras beads are a dead-on tourist indicator if it isn't Carnival season (which it isn't), so I chose a table toward the fringes of the room as most of the tourists seemed to be near the stage. Oddly, I didn't see a single woman in the place that didn't work there. There are usually at least a few, if memory serves.

Shortly thereafter, I was seated, halfway through my first clove cigarette of the night, and waiting for the bottle of Smirnoff Ice I'd ordered to arrive. When the waitress came back with it, a dancer came along with her and sat down next to me. This is standard operating procedure in most mid-upscale strip clubs.

"You look familiar; do I know you from somewhere?" asks the dancer, with a bright, pretty smile. I can tell by the way she talks that she was a heavy metal chick in high school.

The dancer, whose name turns out to be Evie, has an auburn crop-top, full pouty lips, and an extremely flirty nature, even for a dancer. She's about five foot four, and slightly waifish, though her mildly tanned curves are pleasing to say the least. She's wearing a sheer black minidress, which covers approximately half of her round, jovial-looking ass, and a seriously miniscule pink thong. No bra, and typical standard stripper issue platform pump shoes. Her pink, unpierced nipples poke at the sheer fabric of her dress and seem to stare at me, as if imploring me to set them free.

"I'm not sure. Have you been to The Whirling Dervish and/or Mythique at all?" I ask, naming the only places I'd been bothered to go during the past few months. In spite of my introverted nature, I make no secret of checking her out as I speak. I came here to see naked girls, after all. Why pretend otherwise?

"So what's a cute guy like you doing here? You really don't look like a frat boy, and you can't be older than 25, at the most..."

The small talk continues in this vein for 10 minutes or so, as we smoke and drink. I buy her a gin and tonic.

Eventually she asks if she can dance for me, and I say yes, so she gathers up her drink and takes me by the hand to one of the private rooms near the rear of the club. A bouncer sets her up with a pedestal, and while we wait for the next song to begin, I pay her $30, and at her request, remove my belt and wallet chain.

The song begins. I can't place its name or who performs it, but it's a strip club staple. Within the first few beats of the song, Evie has got her top off and is straddling my thighs, rubbing her breasts in my face. She leans in close and nibbles on my left ear, then brushes my hairless, glittering cheek with her lips. Her lips continue to slide across my face and stop at my mouth, where they linger for a moment and our pierced tongues briefly meet. She straightens out, and starts the inevitable crotch-grinding that's a part of every lap dance any guy has ever had. She pauses briefly, turns around, and starts grinding me again, this time making it look like I'm fucking her from behind. Still facing forward, she stands up and bends over, slowly pushing her center into my face, only a thin layer of lycra and spandex separating my facial features from her pink bits. The smell of her sex, while she was undoubtedly not into it (few dancers actually glean any satisfaction from dancing), filled my head as I inhaled. Still from behind, she started rubbing herself through her thong, which outlined every vaginal crease and fold, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. She climbs down and faces me, and slides the fingers she'd just used into my mouth. The song ends at this point. She quickly and fluidly puts her dress back on, gives me another full-on-the-mouth kiss, and tells me that it'll be more intense if I get another dance from her later. (Later on I did end up getting another dance from Evie and one of her friends, simultaneously, which was fun, but describing it would be overkill, I think.)

After the dance with Evie I'm feeling somewhat invigorated, but lap dances have never turned me on much and I appreciate their purpose more for the admiration of feminine beauty than the porn-like simulations most people seek them out for. With that in mind, I head back into the main room and find another isolated table. I order another drink and watch the stage show for a bit.

My interest in the stage show was perfunctory at best, until one dancer in particular took the stage. The DJ announced her as Sonja. She was probably about five foot eight, very healthy-looking, perhaps as a result of working out regularly, and she didn't consist of the mostly stereotypical waif-like figure that most dancers seem to possess. The first thing I noticed about her was her hair, which was jet black and short. Not so short as to be boyish, but short (and styled) like a European model might have her hair. Her bright, achingly beautiful face seemed to light up the already bright stage area, and her skin was a smooth, but not sickly, alabaster white. Continuing down, her breasts were ample but not large, and very, very obviously natural; breasts that lovely simply cannot be purchased from even the best plastic surgeons. Her taut belly meandered down to her round but not too wide hips, which birthed her muscular but soft-looking legs, clad in thigh-high stockings. I watched her two-song set with the rapt interest of a deer caught in headlights. She noticed me as I followed her around the stage with my eyes, and turned her attention towards me for the remainder of her set, a sweet smile playing across her lips.

After Sonja's set ended, she put her clothes back on, came over to my table and sat down. We immediately began talking, with my shyly complimenting her performance at first, and then about how disgusted we both were with the average strip club customer. She told me that her stage name was Sonja, and that I should call her by her real name -- Sarah.

The club got less and less busy as the night grew later, and Sarah and I kept talking. Feeling confident, I had told her that part of my dislike of average strip club patrons comes from the fact that I would rather be female, and that for a time, I took estrogen pills. So trusting, she seemed, and I told her the whole story of my wanting to try out gender-switching. She told me she was glad I'd decided not to go through with it, because she thought I was cute as a boy. (I try to pull off the frilly/girly stuff now and then, like the glitter on my face, for example.) The next natural progression in the conversation was on the topic of her dancing for me. We actually planned it out for a while, working out what I wanted and what she didn't have to do that she probably would have to otherwise (i.e. crotch-grinding). Finally I put it bluntly, and I asked her to dance for me as though she were dancing for a girl.

"You want me to dance for you like you were a girl? That would be so strange. I've never had such a request before. I'd be happy to do it for you." Her smile broadened as she spoke these words.

"I was hoping you'd say that," I laughed, positively beaming with happiness.

If you've never been to a strip club and seen a dancer dance for a woman, I will now describe it. The normal grinding of the middles is removed, there's more neck/ear nuzzling, some dirty talk, and generally a greater sense of closeness and far less of the detachment that usually comes with a man getting a lap dance. A lot of dancers seem to prefer dancing for women because they're less greedy, for lack of a better term, and aren't so eager to say crude things to her during or after the dance. Because of this, the dancer will usually give a female recipient a greater degree of freedom than she would a man -- light touches and so forth are allowed by the dancer and indeed even seem encouraged, and I've even seen many dancers gently pull down tank tops and bra cups to lick their customers' nipples.

For me, the boy that would rather be a girl, it was pure bliss. It was like a 10-minute long hug and guided tour of the front of Sarah's body -- the scenic route.

She sat me down and had a bouncer bring her a pedestal. She didn't even wait for the next song to start before she climbed the pedestal and began. She slowly, sensually removed her sheer pink minidress, revealing the adorable breasts I'd seen during her stage show. She slid it down the length of her body and then stepped out of it. She dangled it over my head for a bit, allowing me to take in its heady scent, and then she threw it back over her shoulder and gently lowered herself onto my lap. She picked up my hands and put them around her waist. Her soft, smooth skin seemed electrifying to me. She pushed my face between her breasts and I smelled the garden of Eden. Lingering in that position for a moment, she leaned down and kissed my neck, then guided my mouth to her left breast, which I gently kissed and poked with my tongue barbell. This was repeated with the right breast, then she rose up a bit and pushed my face into her belly, which I woozily nuzzled and covered with tiny kisses until she rose a bit more and allowed me to tug a bit at her thong with my teeth. This position also afforded me the slighest hint and distant reminder of the scent that I take in right in the second before I perform oral sex on a girl, which threw my brain into overdrive and made me lightheaded, in its sweetness.

Throughout the whole dance, she didn't turn around once, as most all other dancers do for whatever reason. She seemed to be focused entirely on me; whenever my face wasn't obscured by her belly or breasts, her eyes were locked into mine and her smile was as bright as a Tesla coil. My smile didn't falter, either. I was having the time of my life and I daresay it was just as good as really good sex can be. Sure, it was in a strip club and is by its very definition impersonal, but this was different. This was a version of that feeling you sometimes get when you inadvertedly look a passing stranger in the eye; it was akin to that pitlike feeling in your chest when you get near someone you're extremely interested in but can't quite convince yourself of trying to talk to. It was all these things, with the added bonus of a heartbreakingly beautiful, mostly nude girl that I met while she was working in a strip club, who asked me to call her by her real name.

The song ended. Without bothering to put her dress back on, she shifted around and sat on my lap. She said to me:

"That was the only dance I've ever given that's excited me sexually. I'm in awe of how wonderful and different that felt; thank you." She kissed my forehead as she finished saying this.

Dances at Scarlett's cost $30 apiece, and you can tip at your discretion. From my wallet I drew $100 in twenty dollar bills and handed them to her. I am by no means financially stable, but to me, at that moment, now and forever, that was some of the best money I'd ever spent. I'd have given her my soul if I'd been able.

"You made me feel as good as I've felt in a long, long time, Sarah. I'd give you more money if I could," I said, and she blushed a deep red as she accepted the wad of bills from me.

We exchanged email addresses after she got dressed. We wrote them on matchbooks emblazoned with the club's logo. The following day, my last in New Orleans, I caught up with her on Yahoo Messenger, and we talked for a bit more. And though I should've spent that afternoon packing up my belongings in preparation for my move that was only one day away, Sarah and I made arrangements to meet for coffee that afternoon. I picked her up at her dorm on the Tulane campus, and we went to Rue de la Course. We drank chai, smoked cigarettes, and talked each other's ears off. I found out that she'd been dancing for only three weeks, and that she was just 20 years old, and that she'd just moved to New Orleans about six weeks previously from Chicago.

After dating a stripper before and having it end in disaster, I was very surprised that I was able to connect so nicely with Sarah. Since the end of my relationship with my stripper ex-girlfriend, I'd been more or less afraid of strippers; and here I was getting proved wrong about them by this sweet, sweet girl, who succeeded at making me feel very good when I needed it most, on a moment's notice, just by doing her job (albeit with a slight twist).

Sarah and I are becoming fast friends. Though I never thought I'd want to after moving away, I can't wait to return to New Orleans (on a visit, anyway) and see her again, hopefully not in the confines of a strip club.

There are good people everywhere, sometimes in the most unlikely places and situations. Finding a way to decipher the signal-to-noise ratio, well... if I could explain the mechanics of doing that, I'd probably have more lucrative things to be doing than noding.

Believe it or not, this isn't fiction.

During an innocent little conversation over coffee and dessert at Atlanta's Intermezzo Cafe, I mentioned to Patrick: I've never been to a strip club. I explained that Chicago has those silly laws about nudity and alcohol not being allowed in the same joint, so strip clubs are located primarily in the distant 'burbs, and no one had ever had the gumption to drive that far for naked ladies.

Lucky for me, Atlanta has no such restriction on boobies and booze.

We had a little noder get-together at the Pink Pony, located in a Corporate Park off I-85. There were 5 of us: Patrick, Elena, Chris, Ted and me. After paying the $10 cover (the doorman told us to tip the cover charge girl, but I have no idea why she would deserve a tip for taking my money) we headed into the club. Inside, there was much more nudity than I had expected. There were four dancing areas, and then numerous lapdances and naked workers all over. There were also more female patrons than I had expected. There were several coed parties, as well as some groups of girls who were themselves scantily clad, in addition to one or two lesbians. It seemed that there was a decent mix of people, although the majority were white 30/40-something white men in khaki pants.

Having Patrick around sure does help with the service. Within a minute of looking for a table, one of the waitresses offered to find one for us, but then just seated us at the edge of a runway before taking our drink orders. Bottles of cheap beer were $5, and anything decent was a dollar or two more, so I drank Miller Lite. I tried to drink slowly since we were low on cigarettes and cash, but pilsner goes down too easy.

After about 10 minutes the shock of being around a lot of naked women started to wear off, and I was paying attention to the attitudes in the club. I was told that this is not the classiest of clubs, but it seemed pretty nice to me. The girls all looked well tanned and buffed, and the men were all well-behaved. One of the things that struck me was the variety of women: short, skinny, tall, white, black, tanned, large breasted, small breasted, zaftig, you name it, there was something. No 400 pound ladies or pregnant women, but a nice variety of body type. Many of the shot girls had their tongues pierced - I'm guessing for the excitement of the men who pay to watch them give mock fellatio to a test tube shot.

It being my first time in a strip club, my mates thought it would be funny to get me a lap dance. They picked out a girl and wouldn't tell me who it was. After Chrystal Waters did her main stage performance, the girls working at the Pink Pony did a showcase walk after which they did 2-for-1 lapdances. Ted and Elena went to get my stripper, and I waited nervously at the table. They returned with a cute, wholsome looking redhead in a little plaid dress who proceeded to rub her breasts in front of me and slide her hair in my face and jiggle her butt between my knees for the next six minutes. They told me later that they'd gone out to find the goth stripper, but couldn't get her so they got someone who wasn't terribly skanky. I can tell you that the stripper smelled good - like Herbal Essence.

I made it out of there spending only $22, but I only got 2 drinks outta the deal.

It was the first time I had ever been to a strip club. A true feat, I used to think, since I had been of age to attend these swanky joints for quite some time. I'd always thought of myself as some sex-crazed maniac, but when the situation to attend these places presented itself, I took on a passive interest.

I went with a good friend that amusingly fit a great stereotype. He was a furloughed marine that had come back from a recent war; he was looking for some "action."

We arrived around 9:30ish, and we had to pay a hefty cover charge. The place was packed. Apparently, this was some kind of "special" strip club night, hence the absurd covercharge. I didn't see what was so special, though. I caught the word from the announcer: "OK, gentlemen. You've worked hard all weekend, and now it's time to relax with the "ATM Girls" from Bolivia." What the hell? "ATM Girls" from Bolivia!? My friend and I just looked at each other. I could imagine them all standing around before the place opened, throwing darts at a world map.

When you walked in, you were in the middle of a rectangular room. The bar and dancing area made up the rightmost portion of the room. The rest of the area was riddled with tables. Directly across from where we were standing, there was an annexed square room that had walls high enough to block the sight of some bar patron, but not high enough to block everyone's intuition of its purpose. It was the lap dance room.

We situated ourselves in the middle of the sea of chairs. This worked out pretty well. You see, we're not very wealthy, so we could only afford to bring about 30 bucks collectively. The place was pretty packed, so that made it exceedingly difficult for dancers to manuever themselves into the middle for tip money.

We were there for an hour or so when we began to realize this interesting phenomenon. You see, strippers seem to have this incredible knack for social engineering. A man educated in the art of negotiation will realize he's being coaxed to no end, yet he will still succumb. The idea of a woman laughing at all your jokes and hanging on to every word you say is such a odd turn of events for most men. It's a hard trap not to fall into. And we had proof. Guys were tripping head over heels to get lap dances from these women.

That was the funny part. There are many emotions that take place from the time you get up from your seat to the time you're finished with a lap dance. The first emotion is a boyish excitement. Hey, you're going to have some woman grind herself all over you! What could be better!? The second emotion is somewhat varied. On the way to the lap dance room, you are practically paraded in front of everyone. This is when you'll get some of the funniest acts. Most people are embarassed as hell, forgetting the fact that everyone else is there for the same reason they are. Other people try to act cool, putting on the facade as if the stripper is actually paying them. And others, well, others are just so concentrated on getting a lap dance, they don't give two shits to their appearance. The third emotion is the saddest to see. It takes place after the lap dance. People have realized how much money they have spent for a simple ten minutes of grinding and dry humping. You'll see these people with their head sort of cocked down, dragging their way back to the table. It's the walk of shame.

Despite being a connoisseur of brutality and depravity on a colossal scale, I have never been to a strip club. And in all fairness, nor would I really want to, in this brave new age when one can, in the words of the song, "just grab your dick and double click" on the little Mozilla Firefox icon and find an endless cavalcade of gratuitous nudity to download to the ole W:\ drive. If you know what I mean.

However, there are people that do like going to strip clubs, men and women. And there are people who like the idea of disrobing themselves and being admired by the opposite and/or same sex while a spot of Pantera or Buckcherry plays in the background, often while alcohol is served. The strip club provides a terrain, if you will, where people who might wish for this commercial meeting of minds can get together and do business.

Unfortunately there are those people, who tend to be either radical feminists or God Botherers, who object to this sort of thing. These people, who I will hereafter collectively refer to as "foamers," get somewhat bent out of shape by the idea that a woman might willingly undress herself for, or dance for, a paying man. They then engage in earth-shattering efforts to hound the strip club out of business with disingenuous assertions, tabloid journalism, and rabble-rousing, while paying no heed to the logical objections against their arguments because they see it for a good cause, the club as a bastion of evil, and the women who dance within as dupes, or worse, willing pawns of Satan / rape culture (delete as appropriate) and the fact that they do it for a wage, to put food on the table, put themselves through university, support their children, or even because they like their job, is immaterial.

I live in a certain London borough where there are four of these establishments - Browns, Ye Olde Axe, Rainbow Sports Bar, and Images - in very close proximity to each other. There's a fifth such place just over the border in Tower Hamlets named Metropolis. The Powers that Be in this borough are determined to flush these establishments out of business and to throw its employees, contractors, agents, servants, and otherwise onto the dole. Coincidentally, all five of these establishments are on the same bus route between our office and the Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court. However, in 2010 the local authority decided that this was not on, and set about getting rid of them. Other local authorities have followed suit. I know of one Council in the south of England which has recently been engaged a judicial review over its decision to pull the premises licence from the only strip club in its area, and is resolved that any expense will be justified to smash this particular club, grind its owner into the dust, and hear the lamentations of the women (That the ratepayers of this place have had to suffer further cuts in their services because of this money pit is something that they'd no doubt be interested to hear.) However, their reasons for such determination are, in short, as big a bag of bollox as my mate from Sciences Po reckoned his masters in political science was:

1. Strip clubs cause rape and sexual offences.

This is usually the first such argument deployed by the foamers, and usually it is presented without any evidence. Needless to say, when one overlays a map of the frequency of sexual offences per head of population with a map of the density of strip clubs per head of population, one finds that there more often than not no correlation. Or, where there is a correlation, it is because the strip club is usually found in areas where there are lots of pubs and clubs, and thus late night drunkenness, so any upsurge in rape can be explained as the result of alcohol, not boobies. Indeed, as anyone who's lived in a provincial British town can testify, the biggest entertainment / licenced-premises-related cause of violence, sexual offences, and anti-social behaviour is the Vertical Drinking Establishment.

The proponents of this then usually counter with some byzantine mumblings about "rape culture" and how strip clubs "legitimise" sexual abuse in a general kind of way. Whether it does or not is something that I, not being a sociologist, am qualified to comment on. However, if it did, one would expect to see, on a larger than merely local scale, a correlation between so-called "raunch culture" and acceptance thereof and sexual offences. One does not. Instead, one finds that on a national scale, the places with the biggest problems of rape and sexual abuse are places like Saudi Arabia and Iran and Dubai and, to a lesser extent, the Deep South. These are places where, firstly, the population ascribes to very conservative forms of religion, especially as regarding the role of women in society, and as a result of which, where women are often treated as various grade of second-class citizen. It is this, the idea that women are second class citizens, which legitimises rape and sexual abuse, because people think they can get away with it and/or that complainants of rape will not be believed, or social and/or legal fetters on women's activities prevent them from reporting it effectively.

Conversely, where the sex industry and stripping and similar is most tolerated, this is where sexual offences are less widespread. There is also a hypothesis, most famously proposed by Milton Diamond, that the sex industry actually acts as a pressure-release valve and acts to reduce the incidence of sexual crime.

2. Strip clubs are fronts for brothels/drug dealing/organised crime.

Some of them are, indubitably. However, by banning them it will play into the hands of organised crime.

The maisons closes of late-19th century France were instituted not because the French Third Republic was a hotbed of licentiousness but as a purely practical measure to bring out from the underground prostitution. By instituting in brothels compulsory regulation, medical examinations, and how the working girls therein were to be engaged, it had a measured effect on both organised crime, as it severely dented one of their income streams, and also on public health, as the State could take steps to prevent the spread of syphilis. Moreover, it meant that they could be taxed. Similarly, Prohibition was responsible almost solely for the rise of Al Capone as a major crime figure.

Moreover, there are pubs and clubs which are licenced and which are used as fronts for organised crime and drug-dealing. The fact that some pubs and clubs are known for having an in-house drug dealer, so to speak, is almost never used as an argument for Prohibition. Not by anyone sensible, anyhow. This is one of the reasons why we have premises licencing in the first place, so that these things can be monitored.

3. Strip clubs cause people to come nigh to fornication, which is contrary to God's law.

Yes. And?

Many religions, especially Abrahamic ones, teach that the world is full of sin and temptation, but this is the way things are. What merit is there in faith if it is never tested? If you have a religious obligation to women disrobing in public places, nobody is forcing you to go into those places. Similarly, if you do go in there, nobody is forcing you to try to force yourselves on the dancers. It is up to you to exercise such self-control as is necessary.

I should mention here that I am informed of one local authority licencing hearing for a strip club where a local Imam said that he was terrified if his wife or daughter should walk past this establishment in case they were dragged in and pack-raped by customers who were too blinded by the doings of the Devil and caught up in such a sexual frenzy. I'm sorry, but this doesn't wash. If this happens it is because those customers did it, of their free will. There's also something slut-shaming about this particular position, as if it is somehow the woman's fault by dressing immodestly that a man sexually assaults her.

And let's be frank. God's law doesn't have a particularly good track record on the treatment of women, now, does it. As I have said above, the most religious societies on earth tend to also be the ones that treat women the worst. They then go into escape hatches about how this is for women's own protection that women are controlled and repressed in their society. Newsflash - The Handmaid's Tale is not a blueprint for a harmonious society.

4. They objectify women!!!

Probably. And?

Nobody is forcing the women in question to work there. If the women are being forced to work there, then quite rightly the management of such a place should be locked up. This is why we have premises licencing in the first place - to ensure that these places are being run properly and, like the maisons closes, to keep such racketeering at bay. If organised crime and human traffic is so widespread in strip clubs, then the answer is to actually enforce more vigorously licencing laws, not ban the clubs outright.

And here's another thing. Sometimes people, women and men both, like to be objectified. If this was not so, then the cosmetics and fashion trades would not be so colossal. I for one get on my Facebook page, for reasons I cannot fathom, adverts for Andrew Christian, a brand of underwear aimed mainly at gay men. These adverts consist of well-built buffed-up wallopers with just a hint of baby oil in said dunghampers, which are designed to push up and out one's bulge. If being objectified was a bad thing, then the marketing department at Andrew Christian are surely wasting their time. Objectification only becomes a problem when women are seen as only objects of desire rather than people in their own way. Anyone who's seen On The Buses will no doubt know what I mean here.

This is where the foamers start crowing about "false consciousness." I think the idea is that the women are somehow brainwashed into working there because if it wasn't for invisible and insidious misogynist forces they would spurn such employment. Maybe they are. Or maybe they realised that they were, by dint of being born with good looks and charm, or "firm tits and a tight fit" as memetic creephat Walder Frey put it, likely to be paid more in this form of employment than other jobs for which they may also be qualified. The false consciousness argument also allows the foamers to square within themselves that by campaigning against strip clubs, they are putting other women out of work in that the women who work there can be written off as willing pawns of the patriarchy and thus not worth a second thought.

5. They are hotbeds of anti-social behaviour

Not borne out by the evidence, I'm afraid. As I said above, the most likely correlation between licenced premises and crime and anti-social behaviour is drunkenness. In London, the City of Westminster, which covers the West End, Mayfair, Soho, and similar, statistically has the highest crime rate of all 33 London boroughs. However, when one digs deeper, one finds that this is mostly common assault, public order offences, and minor thefts. This is because although it contains Soho, which has many strip clubs (and also quite a few clip joints which are something altogether different and genuinely should be killed off), it also contains the highest concentration of clubs and bars and Vertical Drinking Establishments in the capital. There's also many tourists. So one begins to envisage what this high crime rate is caused by - people getting tanked up and brawling with each other.

6. Think of the children!

A valid argument...

...for not letting children go into them.

Most strip clubs, at least in Britain, often have licencing conditions imposed on them about not being near schools, and not being ostentatious about what goes on there. Now this varies by area to area - Metropolis in Bethnal Green has a big neon sign of an impossibly leggy girl gyrating round a pole above its door. However, during the daytime, it is switched off and it is not immediately apparent. At night, it is visible, yes, but if you let your children wander round Bethnal Green late at night, mayhap you ought to re-evaluate your skills as a parent?

7. All strip clubs are run for the profit of men, therefore they are inherently sexist.

Because every strip club is owned by an aged letch with bad hair, isn't it.

Newsflash - there are strip clubs that are run by women. Furthermore, a lot of dancers in such clubs are also technically independent contractors. They have an agreement with the club to perform n nights per week and they keep all takings, tips, and similar that customers may render to them. In return for this, the club gets a cut, either a percentage, or a fixed fee. Many dancers go and dance at multiple clubs in an area as well. The dancers themselves are responsible for their own taxes also. If anything, they're being far less exploited than people in traditional employment relationships, like myself, who earn the same monthly salary regardless of how many chargeable hours they pull in, and thus how much money they make for the firm.

I think that's enough for now, don't you?

Thing is, strip clubs are an easy target. They're very visible. As can be noted from the writeups above, they often are devoid of subtlety or taste or anything similar. I also can't help but feel that there's an element of snobbery in the way in which the foamers go after strip clubs, whereas they are a lot more silent about the recently burgeoning burlesque movement, possibly because burlesque is done by nice middle-class folks who are enlightened and empowered and who cater to the sorts of people who go to intellectual dinner parties in Hampstead, while writhing round a pole to "Cowboys From Hell" is the preserve of trashy working-class women who cater to sweaty Brummie businessmen and East End barrow boys who'll make do with a quick slap up binge from the local pie and mash shop. What both sets of foamers fail to see, though, is that simply not being to someone's tastes or offending someone's sensibilities is not a good reason to ban things. Homosexuality is not to everyone's taste and offends lots of peoples' sensibilities, but has been legal in Britain since 1969, because the Wolfenden Report noted that despite peoples' distaste and moral misgivings about it, there was no harm caused to individuals or society by it.

Similarly, in the absence of harm caused to the individuals or to society as a whole, why should people not be allowed to pay to watch each other remove their clothes to music?

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.