After my weekly dosage of Dawson’s Creek, I took Mr. Leery’s advice to “Seize this opportunity. Seize this. It’ll be gone in a moment” and headed to Toad’s Place.
With the subject heading “For Yale Women Only — Red Hot Pony Express at Toad’s this Wed.,” how could I resist? The e-mail promised that the male strippers “are HOT and will knock your socks off” and to be there “if you dare!”
Not one to back down from challenges — especially since I had already finished my midterm hell (a torturous five in three days) –I decided to go watch the artistic performances from a purely academic and feminist perspective. I was merely making up for the dearth of objectified men. If throughout history, men have ogled at naked women dancing, then by God, women should have the same right — just like the franchise!
I’m a little ashamed to admit that this show was not my first, but in my defense, I only went to make an informed comparative analysis of strip shows in different cultural environments. This past summer at home, a friend and I checked out the “Male Revue” at a popular club, Venus. As first-timers, we nervously played musical chairs avoiding lap dances from the sketchy guys. We both had heard horror stories about women getting STDs from out-of-control lap dances.
As a seasoned spectator this time, I was supposed to meet some friends, but no one showed up. After having promised my editor to write about this, I decided to endure the show in the name of duty. It’s quite a different experience when you’re sitting by yourself at the bar. I’ve never felt more similar to a sketchy guy alone at a strip bar. Women usually go for the social aspect of having fun with girlfriends.
As a result, male strip shows are more of a theatrical production as a means to an end(enjoying time with friends), while female strip shows are regularly available as the ends (sexual pleasure), or for some guys, a backup for the night. But then again, I haven’t actually been to a female strip show.
Why is it that all –well, the two I went to — male strip shows seem to start at the early, pious hour of 9 p.m. as a precursor to the regular dance club night? It never fails to amuse me how quickly guys bolt outside to wait when they unsuspectingly walk in a little too early.
This show started half an hour late, during which I watched very disturbing music videos about “My Male Curiosity.” Finally, the overly patriotic emcee, sporting baggy stars-and-stripes sweat pants, roused the raucous female audience to repeat after him: “Hell Yeah! — Hell s— Yeah! — Osama bin Laden, piss off!”
Like any good Yale performance, the show had acting, singing, dancing and booty, although not all in that order. The first dancer delivered a convincing performance as an old man with enough Viagra jokes to bore Bob Dole. After his costume was shed, he danced and lip-synced to ‘NSync’s “Pop,” putting Justin Timberlake to shame. Then, officer Dick Savage paid a visit.
Although less endowed not only in regards to his dancing skills, he made up for his weaknesses with impressive pectoral aerobics. In a scene straight from Jerry Springer, the female volunteer, slightly disturbed by the officer’s raunchiness, turned the tables by grabbing his “handcuffs,” if you know what I mean. Yeah, girl power!
I almost gagged when the Fabio-Michael Bolton wannabe serenaded a bride-to-be to change her mind about her upcoming marriage. During the interminable cheesy love song, her underwhelmed look of pity seemed to be saying “Don’t quit your night job.” When he took down his curly blond ponytail and started to strip to Bon Jovi, I had to leave.
Both strip shows left me greatly unimpressed. I’ve never seen “The Full Monty,” but I am glad that male strippers don’t fully strip, because I think both sexes agree that the female body is more aesthetically pleasing.
Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional chiseled six-pack, stone-like pecs or sculpted biceps — but that stuff alone just doesn’t do it for me. As opposed to men who watch strippers, I had no urge to jump any of the guys, except maybe the ‘NSync guy because he knew all the words to “Pop.”
Nicole Lim is a sophomore in Berkeley College. Her columns appear on alternate Fridays.