Friday, October 19, 2012

I Was Playing Along

The first time I went to a strip club it was by accident. I shall explain. It was many years ago and we were trying to find a pub that was showing the England game. The game had already started and as we (myself and two mates) passed a fairly inconspicuous place the door opened and we heard the roar from a crowd that was in celebration of a goal. We dived in, bought some drinks and stood in a busy pub with a large screen with the football being projected onto it at the back. We’d missed most of the first half so the whistle for half time came quite quickly. The screen wound itself back up into the ceiling, some music came on and a very lovely olive skinned woman in her early twenties walked onto a small elevated area underneath the screen. The crowd respectfully quietened and the woman began to dance. At first I thought she may have been a stripper-gram but seeing as she wasn’t picking out anyone in particular from the crowd I remained unsure. She was an incredible dancer; someone with total control over her body and with a natural grace and repose. As her clothes came off the crowd certainly became a bit more animated but more with an air of encouragement rather than a ‘get’em off’ series of leers. When she was topless my friends and I exchanged looks of ‘blimey’ and when she became totally naked they became ones of ‘Jesus’. She did not stop there. Totally unabashed she showed off her body to everyone in the audience, smiling provocatively at times and cheerfully laughing at others. She was pretty with good skin and my guess was that she was a trained dancer. The music ended, everyone applauded and gave a few whistles, she collected her clothes and walked off behind the bar waving at us as she left.

It was the first time I had seen a naked woman in the flesh other than girlfriends. I was quite taken with the lady as she had displayed an assured and yet open and playful dance which was very sensual despite being incredibly pornographic. I was surprised that the pub wasn’t seedy and equally amazed that the clientele weren’t knuckle dragging yobs or sleazy city boys. This seemed to be a decent pub (with a pool table) that just happened to have young women stripping.

Please forgive the lengthy preamble but I felt it was key in setting up why I have often frequented places that have strippers. For me, that first dance was the quintessence of what a strip should be; feminine, erotic, slightly mischievous and impressive. As it was also completely unexpected it made the experience all the more wonderful.

I was working in the City of London at the time and soon came to realise that there were quite a few of these places to be found. This was back in 96-97 just before the lap dancing craze really took off and the McStrip clubs emerged. I was single at the time so would be out most evenings enjoying my bachelorhood. When I started to go to these places fairly regularly (once or twice a week) it was not because it replaced going out to talk with/meet members of the opposite sex. Rather, it was more like respite that gave me and my chums an excuse to forget about trying to ‘get off’ with someone and just enjoy a decent pub where very attractive women took their clothes off twice an hour.

The reason that the first strip was important is also that it was not typical. Often, the woman dancing was clearly not interested, rather unattractive, overly anxious to get your money and then even more eager to get off the stage entirely. These were not enjoyable experiences. In one of the places I went to I clearly saw track marks on one of the dancers and had to leave. Please do not think me a coward with delicate sensibilities. I tried to talk to one such young woman who clearly wasn’t having a good time and was brushed aside by her enormous minder. For every good, fun, energetic and seductive strip there are at least five that are the antithesis. Once I realised this I began to choose when and where to go with more care. By now I had found two or three places where the dancers were pretty, well treated, enthusiastic and polite. It never got to the stage where they knew my name but I certainly had my favourite performers. These visits did not preclude any amorous liaisons with women I met socially. Patronising these pubs and clubs never became a fixation for me. They were simply entertainment.

I have never visited a prostitute but always, naively, wondered if I would have if they were all like the dreamlike Le Chabanais of Paris or others of its ilk. If one could be involved romantically with one of the girls and whilst there meet authors and artists and languidly drink absinthe then perhaps I would. From what I have seen, read and heard it is much more likely to be a visit to a small apartment where an ill-looking Eastern European woman jadedly entertains you. So, after I had found the places and dancers that I did want to see I began to see the romantic side to some of the strip clubs. This might sound very different to what many people associate with the now ubiquitous, coked up, besuited city boys leering at silicone crammed Barbie dolls coated in slap. But these experiences of mine are not through rose tinted specs. On many occasions talking to the dancer after a strip or a lap dance would prove just as exciting as the kit-offery itself. I did not delude myself into believing they were as infatuated with me as I was momentarily with them. I was playing along as they were. But watching a woman knowingly trying to seduce you at a distance with a very certain boundary between the two of you, prohibiting any long lasting emotional bond, is exhilarating. Sometimes, it is also not about you, the customer. One dancer I remember vividly seemed to lose herself entirely in the dance. She wasn’t trying to please me or anyone else. She was just concentrating on the dance and enjoying herself. That is equally as sexy for me. On another evening I had three lap dances with one young lady as she was simply exquisite. I am quite a flirty chap and I enjoyed the eye contact, the knowing smiles and frankly her simply perfect naked body flowing inches around mine. We talked during her second dance and she asked why I had seen her again. I pointed to her reflection in the floor to ceiling mirror behind me (the d├ęcor was not always subtle) and told her that she already knew why. She laughed. We talked quite a lot that evening so when I had the third and final dance with her it seemed even more sensuous and intimate as the barriers had been broken down by then.

As above, I have seen dancers and places that I wish I hadn’t. Sometimes it feels exploitative and that does not sit well with me. But when it is done well it can be about many different things. Yes, it can be a turn-on but that goes for the dancer as well as the customer. But, most importantly, and most often overlooked, it is fun. To watch a healthy, athletic, curvy woman act seductively knowing that it is the seduction itself and not the end result that is the exciting act (journey not the destination) is fun.

I would add to this that I believe myself to be a polite bloke and a generous customer. As with a kiss it can only ever be good if both parties enjoy it. I wouldn’t ‘perv’ as I saw other men do. I would be courteous and not overly questioning or personal. I knew it was unrealistic to expect a relationship to blossom with any of the dancers and I also had my fair share of regular relationships that allowed me the luxury of not fixating on any of them the way I saw other lads do.

I went to these places regularly for about three or four years. I even took one girlfriend to a couple of them at her behest a few times. I only really stopped going as I moved. When I was back in London I revisited them but they had soon changed into big doormen/money in/collagen bloated doll type places.

For me the thrill is all about the ephemeral intensity. In a few minutes you have witnessed a pretty woman dance for you whilst undressing and if you are receiving a lap dance you also get to smell her skin, her hair, feel her breath and look into her eyes. Let’s not overlook or shy away from the fact that one also sees her genitalia. Sometimes it is in a coy manner, other times blatant. Either way, it is incongruous with daily life and as such fantastical. It is rude and naughty but it’s okay because for those few minutes you are allowed to look. You are allowed to peek. You are allowed to have fun.