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I don’t think I was prepared enough for what I saw that night, and I certainly haven’t looked at a hot dog the same way since. Considering that I have a somewhat nonplussed attitude toward most things taboo, I was flabbergasted to see “Hang 10” carrying around his member in between a hot dog bun on a paper plate. My mouth dropped, and my face turned as red as the ketchup being squeezed onto his sausage by the hysterical woman in a black spandex one-piece. No. He. Did. Not. Daring curiosity and mild perversion lead my friends and I to the all nude, male strip club that night. What was the harm in seeing greasy muscular men dance and swing around a pole … apart from a repulsion of BBQs and an abnormal admiration for acrobatics?

While I should have been yipping and hollering like most of the women in the place, I sat there with burrowed brows and a half smile trying to figure out how I should feel. Do women really get off on this? Apparently. It was obvious with all the dollar bills stuffed between banana hammock strings and scattered across the floor. Each time “Thunder Bone” cart wheeled into a split over a participating patroness, a handful of women would jump up and fan out singles O.G. style with a lick of a thumb.

A few drinks later, my edge had worn off enough to where I could crumble up a dollar and timidly toss it on the stage. It was with that single-handed gesture that I felt slightly empowered. Was this what attracted women to male strip clubs? Surely, it couldn’t be just for the oil covered slabs of meat strutting around with dimpled buttocks and twitching chests. After all, I for one was not impressed nor turned on by the cinnamon breath stripper soliciting a private dance while pointing at my purse. It didn’t matter how hard his abs were; there was just something not quite right with a man begging me for money.

Coincidentally, this random jaunt to the strip club led me to think further about gender roles, exploitation and the double standard for both. After that night I was convinced that male exotic dancers couldn’t possibly maintain any sort of dignity. Here these men are, both straight and homosexual, stripping off their god-awful costumes (my personal favorite being The Dark Knight), gyrating rhythmically to the narration of a hype-man not unlike an MC one would find at a club. Clearly, these men couldn’t have anything going for them other than being a gigolo.

When “Hang 10,” whose real name was Robert, came back to the table, I probed deeper. (The male exotic dancer will admit anything with a $10 bill being shoved down his thong.) Robert was “single” and had two children whose names were tattooed on his arm. Whether he cared for them or not, I didn’t bother to ask. I did hurry to assume that Robert must be the type to mooch off of women and default to selling his body for money rather than working a regular job. Was I wrong for thinking that his own exploitation of himself protruded beyond the walls of the club?

Last Halloween a group of friends and I ended a long night, yet again, at a strip club. We girls separated from our guy friends and seated ourselves at a table right in front of the stage. When the ladies came out, we clapped and shouted with enthusiasm, not because their dancing was anything more than what we each had done before at strip aerobics or what we each had bragged about being capable of doing, but because we felt a sense of camaraderie for womanhood. In response, the women winked at our table, shimmied over and paid compliments to our costumes. We’d wave goodbye as they exited the stage with our money.

Despite the social stigma of exotic dancing, we believed in the best of these women. They were students, mothers and female hustlers doing what they needed at the present time to get by and pay their bills. Because of this, my perception of the female exotic dancer is less shameful than that of a male exotic dancer. While the men seemed to be more confident and willing to show off their bodies, I found them to be more ridiculous.

My opinion contradicts the societal perceptions that men maintain a sense of power even though they are seen as sex objects, while women seem to lose theirs. When “Ginger” takes money from a man, she’s saying, “I’m sexy and powerful, and you’re going to pay to see my milkshakes in your face.”  When “Silk” takes money from a woman, he’s saying, “I’m less of a man because I’m selling my body. Please help me pay my car note.”

Indeed, objectification of the carnal body is not at all a reflection of human advancement. I’ll give myself a hall pass for the occasional relapse. Additionally, not every dancer considers their occupation to be definitive of their identity. However, for the sake of argument, when faced with an extreme example of double standards for men and women—even for the most liberal and genderless minded women—where do the lines blur between conventional support and societal reaction?

Is it more degrading for a man to be the subject of sexual objectification than for a woman? If someone like “Hang 10” were a straight, stand-up guy, dancing his way through medical school, would he be date-able? Would you date a male stripper?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • I have been to a male strip club for s&g’s but I was most certainly not turned on by any of the men. I would have after seeing “Hang 10’s” wenie in a hot bun. Lol. Lawd… Did you take pictures? Lol.

    I enjoy female strip clubs, and can identify with your sense of “camaraderie for womanhood”, though I will admit to never being able to p pop on a handstand as well as the ladies I have seen at these clubs. That’s a talent! Lol.

  • Where was this club at? I want to meet Hang 10 in person.

    I don’t know if I would date a stripper. Perhaps if I were to have never seen him strip prior to dating him. I think that if I were to date a stripper after I have seen him do his thing, I would always see him as a male object and I would always want to objectify him.

  • Males are more sexually objectified then females. Males do not usually scream and throw their shorts at females singers or actressess like females do. Now that picture posted of a male stripper is like a female pose. A real man do not pose with his legs spread apart.
    The writer of the article appeared to be shameful and fealful of enabling males to have sexual power to entice the females to pay. LShe was just “mildly perverse”, and she did not scream like the other women did, plus she just “timidly” threw a dollar at the male stripper and gave him $10 so he could talk about his jprivate life. Give me a break! She was more enthused by the female strippers because she could identify with them. Of course you could after 2 trips to a strip club.

  • I have been to strip clubs before and I do not identify with the women dancing there. I see strip clubs as an institution that erodes the ability for men and women to really relate to each other. In a strip club, men engage in a light version of sex that negates dating and courtship.

    The practice of separating the personality from the body is taken from the club and applied everywhere. This practice does not allow a man to get to know a woman for who she is and who she can be. This practice distills her down to a target, whose only purpose is to fulfill a man’s sexual desire.

    I have been exploring these ideas in my artwork and find it very interesting that women really are not aware of the role they play in inviting misogyny into their lives. I have found that some men pretend not to recognize these thoughts as their own.

  • I have been to both a male strip club and a female strip club. The difference to me in my perception of the dancers wasn’t all that great. I enjoyed (most) of the male dancers because they weren’t corny and over-doing it. For this reason, I was ecstatic! Especially to meet Ginuwine who looked like Trey Songz with the body of 50 Cent. There was also the guy who looked like Ed Hartwell’s younger, equally fine brother. And the Newyorican! This club was the best experience I’d ever had with male dancers. The key is subtlety. While there were some women greedily grabbing for their thongs to expose them, most of us were happy to pretend we were freakin’ Trey Songz or Ed Hartwell.

    Women are turned on by the allure of male sexuality and the physicality, but we don’t need to see all of it. We don’t desire full-frontal as much as men do. We’re more imaginative and I don’t mean that in a bad way. We just like our fantasies tickled and our minds stimulated, while men want to see it all! When I went to the female strip club, the women seemed cool and I did cheer them on. I’ve seen male dancing gone wrong, or strippers who just copped feels on the women and never really did anything entertaining for US, just got his own rocks off. I’m sorry, I refuse to pay for any stripper to grope me for HIS pleasure.

    To me, stripping is just an occupation. Some people do more (i.e. become prostitutes) than others, but for the most part, it’s entertaining. I was really impressed to have found a strip club for women where the guys were doing things to get themselves off. They made their acts ALL about the woman on (and the women around) the stage. They changed the tempo when necessary. And the music (most of it) was sexy as hell. Inspired me to open my own club, because there aren’t enough male dancers that get it right.

    • a male performer

      “They made their acts ALL about the woman on (and the women around) the stage”.

      Yes, that’s quite important and makes me think that might be the reason why the writer of this post has a somewhat ambigous opinion of male stripping. Seems like she went to a show where the strippers took too much initiative and things happened on their terms and that they made her a bit uncomfortable. In my opinion that’s not how a show should be performed.

      Being a male performer myself, I do think I know something about behaving during the shows. But before I’ll say something about that, I’d like to answer the writers initial questions about stripping being degrading or not and whether or not a stripper is dateable. In my opinion stripping is not something that contradicts the advancement of humanity as the writer states in one of the lasts paragraphs. That would assume that being a sexual object was the only role of the stripper, which of course, is not true. Male strippers are also students and employers within other fields of work and I’d say that most have a partner. While everyone have various reasons from doing it; from just wanting to do it to needing another income I’d say it’s a combination for myself. I’m a person that always tries to improve myself, and if I see some aspect of myself that I think needs improvment I’m all in for it. Believe it or not, I used to be quite shy, and my additional career as a stripper has helped me with that.

      Also, the extra income is also very welcome. I do have another career as well, but the market for that is somewhat limited. Before I started performing, me and my girlfriend considered moving to a cheaper place. But then I ran into one of my old classmates and school, and turned out she had opened a successful club for women and needed someone to perform. I did some test performances, got hired and the rest is history.

      As to whether a male stripper is dateable or not, I believe that’s up to each and every woman. Yes, some of the male strippers may be prone to cheating, but most strippers will not. It is a questioned about trust and confidence – because I admit, it probably do takes a confident woman to stay with a male stripper in the long term view. I consider myself lucky to have an open minded, non jealous girlfriend, she has never really had trouble with my occupation. To grow even more confidence, she has even met my friend from school (the woman that owns the club) and has attended a couple of shows so she knows what’s happening. She’s been really cool about it all, but I think I’ve found one of few that can handle it well.

      But, before straying any longer from my initial writing, I’ll go all the way back to the start of my comment and about the importance of making it on women’s terms and not the strippers themselves by taking too much initiative. The difference from the show that the writer of the article experienced and the shows at our clubs is huge.

      At our place, I’m not wearing any specific costumes…unless the girls have asked for it, it all starts wearing casual clothing. Whether I’m on the stage or down among the audience I don’t approach anyone without them asking for just that. There are strict rules about touching, performers are not allowed to touch girls in the audience. Some mild touching on chest, abs or bottocks is allowed, but it must be initiated by the woman. We’re not allowed to encourage her to do so either, the point is that no pressure should be put on the women. And, not everyone is comfortable with fully naked men and around and possibly a stripper “doing things to get off”, so we only do that upon request in one of the other rooms, never in the “main” room. To not make anyone uncomfortable, there are three levels of “explicity”. The first is stripping down to boxershorts, the second is full nudity and the third is a show where “things to get off is done”, i.e. it’s possible to see orgasms on stage if they desire.In this manner, the women are not pressed into anything while the possibility to see everything is still present for the most daring.

      At last, one of the most important things to create a relaxed and “trusted” environment for the women is also the fact that the owner (my friend from school) is a woman. My closest manager at a daily basis is also a woman. The bartenders are all women. Men aren’t allowed to enter, so the only men in the premises are one or more performers. All this makes it easier for a relaxed athmosphere and experience has shown that women find it easer to relate to the female staff if they have requests. That’s especially true for requests directed at the performer, some women are too shy to ask directly and choose to ask through the coordinator.