Please note that I’m writing about if I ran a strip club, not if I worked in a strip club. After all, I’d want people to come to the damn place, wouldn’t I?
CAVEAT EMPTOR: This essay was written strictly in fun. It is not meant to bash strip club enthusiasts or strippers themselves. It is, however, meant to bash the strip club environment as a whole, where it’s always 1985 and everything is centered around perceptions and stereotypes. I should clarify that I do not have a problem with strip clubs. However, if you are using strip clubs as a substitute for normal social interaction with women, that’s a problem. If you think that your favorite stripper is thinking about you when she does her set, that’s a problem. If you go home and look at your wife/girlfriend and think to yourself “Gosh, why can’t she look like Destiny?” that’s a problem. As for strippers, if you think that you’re performing some selfless act of service for the public, that’s a problem. If you believe that there is some sort of feminist empowerment involved in your job, that’s a problem. But if everyone remembers that a strip club is just another place where someone has a job with about as much relevance to the world at large as being a waitress or a taxi driver (or, yes, even a glorified bill collector, in my case), hey, no problem! Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.
Also, once you are done reading this essay and my suggestions for what a perfect strip club should look like, please don’t tell me “Well, the X Club in ABC City already does this.” My research extends to exactly one visit to a real strip club in my lifetime (on cheesy ‘Male Revue Night’), watching HBO’s 'Real Sex', poking around a few websites as research for a short story I started then later scrapped, and discussing the matter with a number of male friends/club patrons. If someone out there has already taken my ideas, more power to them, it doesn’t seem to have happened so far.
In Wildwood, New Jersey, where I spent many an idyllic summer as a youth, there was a strip bar called C.R. Fannie’s, and the less said about that, the better. My club would project an air of panache and originality starting right with the name. Whatever name I choose would not have the words “pink”, “champagne”, or “pussycat” in it. No Mr. G’s, nothing associated with sports (i.e. Champs, Home Plate), and no cutesy names like the Playground, Scamps, Tramps, Scoundrels, Rumors, etc. Basically, nothing juvenile or cheesy that just screams “titty bar”. If I had to choose, it’d probably be something that would connote heaven or enlightenment. Valhalla, perhaps. Nirvana, if I didn’t think Courtney Love would sue me. Or Satori, now that one I like. I realize that it’s a bit sacrilegious to attach such holy words to a place where women get nude for money, but let’s face it, for most of the customers that is their idea of Heaven.
As mentioned earlier, most strip clubs seem to work under the assumption that it’s eternally 1985. Lots of pleather, lots of mirrors, interior decorating done by the House of Stallone, with consulting by Liberace and Brothers, Inc. My club would be low-key, much like any other “regular” nightclub, low lights, tables and chairs, perhaps a bar (although alcohol + naked women usually = trouble), and an elevated stage. No animal prints, the name of the club will not be spelled out in neon tubing anywhere. I’m debating on whether or not I’d have a pole on stage. I realize that a pole is an integral part of most exotic dancers’ routines, but it’s just so played out at this point. Perhaps a collapsible pole…? Nah, the insurance on something like that would be astronomical.
At Satori (let’s call it that hypothetically), we intend on destroying the stripper stereotype. Most strip clubs “cast” their dancers on the assumption that all men prefer bleached blonde, honey-colored Amazons with breasts like ripe cantaloupes. Granted, some men do like that archetype, but most are probably a little more selective than for which we give them credit. If you are attractive and can dance well, you will be considered for a slot on stage, regardless if you’re blonde, brunette, red-haired, black-haired, fake-breasted, real-breasted, short, tall, flat-bootied, round-bootied, whatever. We are an equal opportunity employer! Also, a word on stage names—most exotic dancers seem to choose their stage names either from the porn section of their local video store or old soap operas. I will not hire anyone who considers naming herself “Destiny”, “Sabrina”, “Cristal”, “Shayna”, “Ashlyn”, or “Devon”, and don’t even come for an audition if you think about calling yourself “Lexxus”. There are far more attractive stage names to use, like…Victoria. Yeah, Victoria, that’s a good name.
Here we come to the most important part of what will make my strip club stand out from the pack. I don’t know who is responsible for it, how, or why certain songs are chosen as strippin’ music, but you know what? AC/DC? Not sexy. Def Leppard? Not sexy. ZZ Top? Big time not sexy. If I was a guy, I would not want to see somebody shaking their cans to that ridiculous ‘Strokin’ song (you know the one, “I’ll stroke it to the east and I’ll stroke it to the west, and I’ll stroke it to the one that I love the best…”). Then again, if I was a guy, I’d be the most flamingly gay guy the world has ever known, and probably wouldn’t be in a strip club, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, let me at that turntable. Selections played in my club would include U2’s ‘Numb’, Moodswings’ ‘Throw Off the Shackles’, Depeche Mode’s ‘I Feel You’, Fiona Apple’s ‘Sleep to Dream’, Duran Duran’s cover of ‘The Crystal Ship’, White Zombie’s ‘Grease Paint and Monkey Brains’, Garbage’s ‘#1 Crush’, pretty much anything from Portishead, oh, the list could go on and on. See, when you’re done reading this, you’re all going to download some of these songs and say to yourselves, “Damn, Gena’s right again, it’d be much sexier seeing a beautiful woman gyrate to this song rather than ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’!” And you’re right, it would be.
A few “house rules"…
- I will immediately establish a bulk discount with whatever company distributes Nair and/or Epilady. Now that’s business savvy!
- I will not employ any dancer whose most notable talent is inserting objects in her vagina and shooting them back out towards the audience at high velocity. That’s just gross.
- Breast implants are acceptable as long as you don’t actually expect anyone to believe that they’re real. Also, don’t try to get away with writing them off as a “business expense” during tax time.
- If you want to eat hot wings while watching naked girls, you can do it at home. No food served, it’s just tacky.
- If you insist on a private lap dance, please be advised that hidden cameras will be placed in the rooms, so that the entire club can see the silly Homer Simpson booooobiiieeees face you make.
- Furthermore, if you insist on offering money to a dancer to get her to make out with another dancer, the performers reserve the right to offer money to you to do the same with one of your buddies.
- Any customers who get a little too enthusiastic about putting tips into the g-strings of the dancers will get the same treatment in return from a bouncer. Perhaps the feeling of Big Tony vise-gripping your chalupas will help you to remember that just because she’s in her panties doesn’t mean she wants a pelvic exam, Dr. Love.
- Every once in a while we will have ‘Amateur Night’. Not for the women, for the men. Aw, yeah. Get your ass in that pudding.
- Everyone is cordially invited ahead of time to the gala opening. No cover, two drink minimum, and remember, no hot wings.