Love To Hate: Strip Clubs Part One

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Photo by Michael Béon

It’s like a drug. A ridiculously addictive and somewhat expensive drug. You know that deep down it isn’t good for you (or your pockets) but you do it anyway. A fiend. A dope fiend that can’t get enough of scintillating beauties with bodies built for battle. Physical specimens with more devastating curves than Cleveland’s Innerbelt. The temptation is so strong and merciless that even the most Herculean of men fall victim to the goddesses of the stage; the sirens of the pole. I’m writing as a survivor and as the occasional relapsing addict. I’ve spent money that I didn’t have yet I loved every minute of it. I have a story to tell.

Anytime that you enter into one of these fine ADULT establishments, you are at the mercy of the court. The first “gentleman’s club” that I ever attended was Show and Tel, one of Philly’s most well known establishments. During my first times there, I was an unintentional creep. Walking around looking and staring and smiling with the gaze of a freshly lobotomized mental patient. ASS. TITS. FATTER ASSES. BIGGER TITS. Think of Homer Simpson’s ever famous head cocked back, open mouthed salivating mouth while he thinks of donuts but instead substitute me and scandalous thoughts of whoever happened to be on stage spinning and gyrating to either a Top 40 rap song or some old rock song from the 80’s. And I hated when the beautiful ones prowled amongst the patrons with barely any clothing like a hungry lioness for the perfect prey. The worst thing that I could do was make eye contact and before I knew it: “What’s Your Name?” “You’re Cute!” followed by the zinger “How ‘Bout A Dance?”

Hook. Line. And Sinker.

After a while my game became tighter and I’d chill and wait for the right one to come around. During this era of self discovery (early stages), I used to patronize a club called Night on Broadway. One of the wildest spots that I’ve ever been to in my life. I had to be about 20 years of age then and I was as green as they came. Night on Broadway had no windows but a large, intimidating steel door that had a big bouncer on the other side that checked your idea and patted you down from head to shin. You walked down a narrow stairwell where you paid the entry fee and were given a flimsy, plastic membership card and surprise! another pat down. Once you entered the lobby area, there were couches spread around the room and the stage or platform with about 3 poles spaced out evenly. Now here’s the funny part: The talent. You had young and “older” ladies who were the entertainment. 70% percent of them were alright, a few stand outs but they were also a few that looked as if they were used to smoking the finest of crack rocks before their shift. One woman, when I rejected her advances said to me “If you ain’t tipping get the f*ck out!” Now this was my first time in an all black strip club and it was RAW (no pun intended). I spent $70 of refund money that I received from my universities book buyback at the end of the semester on two dancers one time. Yeah… Memories.

As the years went on, my visits to these places of temptation would be sporadic. I never was the “every weekend get a lap dance” kind of guy but whenever I went I tried to make the best of it. There was a low point in my game (one of many) when I just couldn’t deal with women how I wanted and I wound up hitting a local strip club for the same dancer two nights in a row. Her name was Peaches. She had great legs and thighs but the chest of 12 year old. I’m shaking my head at myself as I type this by the way. No stripes for that one, chief. I guess I looked at those clubs as a way to fulfill something, some kind of component that didn’t exist in my life back then. Being young, I perceivied the world to be a cold and lonely place. Thinking that my hard, earned money could fix my problems or erase my need to have companionship. As pathetic as it was, it made me look deeper within the gallows of my own heart for what life was all about.

Experience is simply the name that we give our mistakes – Oscar Wilde

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