There was a recent article in Glamour claiming to reveal “What Really Goes On at Strip Clubs. The narrative arc of the piece was as follows: “Should you be worried at your guy going to a strip club? LOL MAYBE! Your boyfriend might get an HJ… or WORSE! Champagne room! JK, mostly nothing happens. But sometimes HJs!” So editors Jennifer Wright and Ashley Cardiff turned the debate on each other.
Jennifer: First of all what do you mean should you LET your boyfriend go to a strip club? If my boyfriend told me he wouldn’t let me go anyplace, I would throw a fit. Because I’m a fully grown adult who can make my own decisions, and that’s not his place. Nor would I consider it my place to tell him where he can and cannot go like some sort of monster. I respect him. He makes his own choices.
Ashley: No disagreement there. But it’s at this point I should tell you a secret: ”Should you let your boyfriend go to a strip club” is a catchier title than “Are you comfortable with your boyfriend going to a strip club?” Isn’t it? No? Whatever. Anyway, the idea of “letting” your partner do anything is ridiculous. That’s not a relationship you’re in, that’s a social experiment.
Jennifer: A terrifying one.
Ashley: Yup. So. Are you comfortable with your boyfriend going to a strip club?
Ashley: Have you ever been to one yourself?
Ashley: Okay. The Glamour article kind of frames the idea of your boyfriend going to a strip club as “should you be afraid of him getting jerked off at a strip club?” I think that’s completely absurd because if you’re afraid of your boyfriend getting an hj at a strip club, there are more serious problems in your relationship than…. him getting an hj at a strip club (see also). However, at least in my experience, strip clubs are thrilling insofar as they are grotesquely sad and unsettling, so I’d certainly question why anyone would want to go to one, much less enjoy them and seek them out.
Jennifer: I actually find the IDEA of strip clubs really cool and appealing. Like, I love the scenes in old westerns where they go to brothels. But strip clubs aren’t like that. They’re just really cold and smell bad. With stained faux velvet furniture, and you always wonder where the stains came from.
Ashley: …Is that to encourage nipple hardness?
Jennifer: The cold? I imagine so. Or to give the dancers more incentive to snuggle with men? I mean, that said, we might not be going to the best ones. I hear that the Penthouse Club is very good.
Ashley: One time I went to a strip club and these two really tired looking girls were just doing coke off the back of a toilet with the stall door wide open and I thought, “Be civil, ladies.” I’ve only been to pretty beatdown strip clubs. They were all upsetting. I mean I had fun but in a sick way. Fun in a “I’m drinking overpriced drinks and they’re playing Sneaker Pimps and my eyes hurt from all the lights and–is that girl crying?” kind of way.
Jennifer: In my experiences, the strippers are really nice. But the men are gross. Like, the grossness is based around the fact that these are gross dudes who would never be able to get these girls to look at him on a normal day, but suddenly he has the power because he has $20. I don’t want my boyfriend to be that guy.
Ashley: No one wants her boyfriend to be that guy. And yes, all the strippers I’ve ever encountered have been extremely polite.
Jennifer: Right. If I knew my boyfriend was going and being polite to the strippers and not being the gross sleazebag who says “take your panties off in the bathroom and give them to me” (which I heard happen in a strip club!) It would bother me way less. So my problem isn’t “oh, God, you might get an HJ” it’s more “I hope when you’re there you remember those women are people – just really sexy, glittery people – and don’t behave in a way that would make me ashamed of you.”
Ashley: Agreed. If a man is acting like a sleazebag at a strip club, the problem isn’t with the strip club, it’s with him being an asshole. However, the whole scene (and only occasionally the strippers themselves) is pretty gross. And if a boyfriend actively wanted to go to strip clubs (and not, say, for a bachelor party or some such social obligation) wouldn’t that give you pause?
Jennifer: If it’s a work thing I’m completely okay. I mean, as a man, I cannot imagine a faster way to undermine yourself in an office environment than to respond to a bunch of men who have enthusiastically said “let’s go to a strip club!” with something like “my girlfriend won’t let me.” Or “I find them cold and smelly.” I mean, as a girl, if a group of girls said that, saying “nuh-uh” would make you sound lame. GIVE INTO PEER PRESSURE.
Ashley: That’s basically what you’re saying. You’re a horrible influence. Stop being Lindsay Lohan.
Jennifer: I would prefer my boyfriend not say “my girlfriend disapproves” thus making me and him sound lame. If a group of your business associates want to get sub-par steak at a sort of gross club with stained furniture, go crazy, dude.
Ashley: Right, exactly. Adult males should do whatever they need to satisfy whatever work/social obligations and they are (obviously) capable of making those decisions themselves. But if your boyfriend gets a group of buddies together on a random Thursday night to go to a strip club, wouldn’t you say to yourself, “I’m should find someone with better taste.”
Jennifer: I guess I’d perfer he not be the guy who comes up with the suggestion. Like, it would be awkward if you were just hanging out with mutual friends, eating brie, drinking wine and you said, “anyone want to see a movie? There’s some good stuff out now!” and he replied “a strip club is like a movie with naked people in it! Strip club time!”
Ashley: I’ve historically been the one to suggest it. And then 3 hours later I feel like, “Huh. I need a few days before hearing another AC/DC song, my estimation of humanity has plummeted and I’m out $60.”
Jennifer: Really? You’re that person? Oh. Wait. OF COURSE YOU ARE.
Ashley: I dunno. It seems like a good idea. I mean, I haven’t done this in almost 6 years, but I spearheaded the strip club campaign a handful of times and I always think it’s going to be a fascinating glimpse into such and such a place, but it just leaves me feeling kind of alienated.
Jennifer: I suppose I’d find it a little odder if it wasn’t social. In the way one might find drinking alone more worrisome than drinking socially. But, of course, I drink alone. So perhaps the solitary strip club-goer just a contemplative guy who needs to sit alone in strip clubs to exorcise the demons inside himself. I really don’t particularly like going to them, partly because of the cold and stains and bad steak-ness of them, but also, because being a girl in a strip club is like being a guy in yoga class.
Ashley: Well, yogalates.
Jennifer: Hah! That said, Penthouse club offers bachelorette party package! THIS WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER THAN A MOVIE AND PENIS CAKE.
Ashley: So, I guess the conclusion is: if you’re uncomfortable with your boyfriend going to a strip club, you may need a better relationship, but if your boyfriend really likes strip clubs, you… also… may need a better relationship. It’s a fine line?
Jennifer: I think my conclusion was “I don’t care if my boyfriend goes to a strip club, but gosh, I really hope he’s not that one super-douche in the strip club. ” Which I don’t think he would be, so okay.
Ashley: But we agree that strip clubs are sad and alienating and often smell bad.
Jennifer: I think we should take the rest of the day off and go to the Penthouse club. I’m in the mood for some yellowfin tuna ad Brazilian bottoms.
Ashley: Last one there has to pay for subpar steak and suffer under vague and enormous guilt for hours after!
Jennifer: I’ll take a rickshaw!