• Tue, Nov 13 2012

I Went To A Male Strip Show And Left Incredibly Conflicted About Gender Differences In Erotic Settings

Two weeks ago, I mentioned having gone to Las Vegas for my birthday. I spent one evening there–one is almost always enough, for the record–and managed to do a considerable amount in a short time span. Both myself and the spectacular friend that I went with have medical-related issues that make it difficult to handle walking around for long periods of time, so while planning how to spend our time, we decided to choose primarily sitting-down activities minus about two hours reserved for a bit of dancing and club-navigating. One of her suggestions was to go see a show. Specifically, the “Thunder From Down Under.”  Having no idea what this meant, I popped online, did a quick Google search and realized that it was not, in fact, a musical about storms in Australia.

The Thunder From Down Under is a male strip show. It’s actually one of the most popular shows of its kind in the world, featuring several extremely good looking men with rippling, tanned muscles dripping in a comical amount of oil.

Upon this revelation, I turned to Olivia (aforementioned spectacular friend) and said, “Do they… touch you?” Now, believe me–I’m pretty uninhibited about sex, my body, other people’s bodies, whatever. I’m pretty free-spirited, whatever that means, and love meeting new people, getting to know people, yadda yadda. However, I am admittedly terrible at both flirting and functioning like a human being when lots of people are looking at me, so the idea of getting a lap dance in front of a huge room full of people from a guy whom I’ve never met terrifies me. Olivia informed me that they do indeed touch people, but they likely wouldn’t do so if you seemed really awkward or uncomfortable.

So, we bought the tickets. And because it was my birthday and we decided to get adventurous with our sit-down fun, we opted for the front section nearest to the stage (I may not want to have people look at me, but I did want to make my ticket price worth it by ogling some sweaty pectoral muscles at a close range).

As we walked through the Excalibur Hotel toward the showroom where TFDU takes place, I began to notice the crowd slowly transition from a diverse crowd full of different age groups, genders, styles of dress and levels of drunkenness to a primarily white, middle-aged and very tipsy gathering of females. While it was a bit unnerving to be two of the youngest people in a sea of suburban almost-brides and recent divorcees, it was also sort of reassuring to see people my mother’s age–although my mom would rather roll around in fiberglass than attend a strip show, as she’s a bit on the bashful side–who all seemed ready to have a good time.

I was not prepared, however, for how I would feel about their means of a “good time.”

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  • Lastango

    I’ve never been to a show, but I’ve heard it is just like you say. The audience goes nuts in a way that doesn’t happen anywhere else. I’m glad you had a good time, and I love your hot pin shot!
    It all seems deeply strange to me, and I admit I don’t get it. Sometimes I wonder it it’s a bit forced — and though people make up their minds that they’re going to carry on so they can show they belong with the crowd. But I’m also not bothered by it. I totally agree that one night of showbiz glitz — of any kind — is enough. It’s like eating KFC… one bucket of chicken and I’m good for the next five years.

    • Kristina

      I’m so with you. I question whether these women are acting on genuine feelings (and/or drunkeness) or if they are behaving the way they think they should. I would guess a large portion of them are just trying to live up to a certain “standard” of what middle-aged, confident, recently divorced/dumped women “should” act.

  • Chris

    Hmm. I don’t agree that you might be “less progressive” than you think. I am right there with you: I’d be horrified to see a man react like that to a female performer, and I’d be equally horrified to see a woman react like that to a male performer. I don’t really do double standards. Also, you can’t know if the performer is consenting. But then, maybe it goes with the strip show territory. I’ve never been to a male or a female strip show, so who am I to talk? In any case, I think the only thing your reactions and thoughts mean is that you are a nice person with standards and respect for others. You keep being awesome. :)

    btw, great writing! And super cute picture. The tattoo story…how endearing. ;)

  • jamiepeck

    I support sex work in a consensual and fair environment, and this seems about as consensual and fair as things get in our modern world. I do find it interesting that the women went so nuts…maybe if we didn’t live in such a sexist society, women wouldn’t freak out so much when given a “space” like this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      I think that was one of the things that made me so confused about my own reaction; I think sex work is a great thing when it’s consensual and done in a safe setting, so I felt really confused why my internal reaction was so “oh my goodness” about it, y’know? I think the penis-grabbing (which you’re definitely not supposed to do) and exposing was what induced the reaction much further, though. Like the commenter above said, I definitely think that there is a certain idea of how confident, divorced women are “supposed” to behave in specific settings because they’re not “allowed” to do so elsewhere.

  • Cate

    Your fellow audience members’ reactions appall, but do not surprise me.

    Female strip club customers are, as a general rule, THE WORST. It doesn’t matter whether they are straight, or some degree of not-straight, they are the ones who think they can grab you, kiss you, suck your tits, whatever. I’m not even kind of surprised that they would behave exactly the same way towards the gentlemen of this show. I’m sure the guys understand what they’re getting into, but I absolutely could not ever strip at all if this was what stripping entailed for me.

    I do think @jamiepeck:disqus has a point, though, that this behavior occurs because women generally aren’t allowed to openly exhibit lust the way men are. For many ladies, a strip club, any strip club, is the place where they actually ARE allowed to exhibit their lust and since they aren’t used to that license, they go way overboard.

  • Y

    I don’t have a problem with sluts as long as they have safe sex.

  • luisa.gonzalez529

    I think it is completely reasonable that you felt uncomfortable, even if you are very comfortable about sexuality among consenting adults.

    First I think that the lewd commentary was not only out off line, but it seems to me that it was disrespectful for the women to interrupt the host with such words. Women have to consider that this is a show, an act, and that it is inappropriate to interrupt performers when their participation is not invited.
    Second, this is an act, and when women pay for this show, they are not paying for a prostitute, so I do not see why they would feel entitled to molest the men.
    Third, I feel that the actors are being good sports because, although technically the show does not include grabbing of genitalia, I am sure the men expect it, so I feel that they are not surprised and therefore do not react with a “what the fuck look” on their face.

    Most important, and I don’t think anyone has mentioned it yet, is that when it comes to rape, most men do not have that fear and threat that women feel against men. And also the sexual histories of men and women differ greatly. Our history is that women have been subject to the “male gaze”, have been forced into sexual slavery, have had to succumb to prostitution when there were no other means for their survival.

    I think it is difficult to know how to react to men being objectified and physically abused because that vulnerability has not been associated with men before, but rather with women. So you know that if you see a woman being treated in that way, given our history, you will be enraged, angry, you know that this is something that women have been forced to endure. But seeing a man in that scenario, is conflicting because we are not used to thinking of men as victims, but perpetrators.

  • Bob

    I know more than one married woman who’s grabbed the strippers package. Sad to say. It’s not being drunk its the kind of women they are. Neither of them are very nice to people in general and can sleep at night after doing this.

    As a man I hate those women who say ‘bloody men’ but are content in holding another man’s penis and laughing about it afterwards. Only those who are horrid (and taken) do this.