Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Hate Normal

I’ve visited a strip club nearly every month for the last five years, sometimes more often, sometimes skipping a few, but that’s the average.

The first time I went was three weeks after my 21st birthday. I went by myself, to a place I drove by on my way to the shit job I had then. That’s nearly 30 years ago, but I remember being surprised that the women were cute and the customers were not all drooling perverts. Up until I hit my 40s, my visits were sporadic and always with a group of guys. We went, we looked, we tipped. Boys night out. It was always fun, but it left a kind of hangover; I’d be unbearably horny for days afterward.

In the meantime, I got married and had two children. And yes, one’s a girl, in case you’re wondering. It’s been a durable marriage, the sex was wonderful for years and isn’t bad now. In the meantime, my wife’s put on weight and isn’t as attractive to me sexually as she was. Normal.

But I hate normal.

Then for the first time in my life, I got a deadly dull gig, a full-on Dilbert middle management job for a big-ass corporation. Cube land. I think the daily sensory deprivation contributes to the strip club habit.

Beyond that, it gets complicated, with a simple core.

The simple answer is that the girls are beautiful and naked. No matter how often I go, I’m always struck by the rough magic of it all. You enter a kind of Ali Baba’s porn cave. All the women are cute, they pretend to like you, and for not that much money, they will slither their naked and lithe bodies over you. Sometimes, they’ll do more. I don’t ask for or expect extras, but if a dancer’s going to put her hand down my Levis, I’m not going to interfere.

Even though it’s only for money, it’s still amazing to go into an atmosphere where everything is reversed. You, the guy, are pursued. If you make eye contact with a stripper, chances are, she’ll come right on over. Rejection doesn’t really enter in to it. I don’t think women really understand or appreciate that. Sure, women get rejected, but unless you as a male are ready to be cut up, you won’t be in the game at all. So, it’s nice to have the tables turned.

And you can flirt. The dancers will pretend to like that, at least, and sometimes they seem to sincerely appreciate it. How many other places can you flirt now? Not the office. Not socially, not in this country, anyway, and not if you’re married. I’ve had completely innocent compliments about, oh, a nice sweater or how an exercise program is paying off be taken completely in wrong way. I swear, I’m not a skeezy old fart who’s leering away. (At least, not outside the club). Flirting’s fun. I like to flirt.

They tell you stories. Sometimes you can tell they’re practiced. Sometimes, they come as revelations to both of us. You end up talking about everything that matters -- love, God, art, music, relationships, men, women and the fucked up things they do to each other.

Some of the dancers are walking, or rather, strutting, train wrecks. And that sucks. Others are as in control of their lives as any of us are. Both types seem to have an extra bit of juice, a little crazy, a bit larger than life. I’ve met women from all over the country and the world. Teachers, nurses, “students.” One said she was the daughter of a mafiya guy in Siberia, and had enough colorful and gory stories to go along with the claim that I ended up believing her. One girl was working her way through law school to get her brother out of prison. On any given night, I can meet a Brazilian, a Frenchwoman, a Russian or an American girl who’s been to more states than I have. I’ve made . . . not friends, but acquaintances, anyway, who will invite me to a party or a birthday.

I often tip for the conversation. They’re on the clock. Sometimes, I don’t. Maybe it sounds kind of fake and horrible to pay to talk to a woman, knowing that the camaraderie is likely bought. So what? My daily life is filled with small hypocrisies, of pretending to be interested in a family member’s story or politely laughing at the boss’s joke.

Beyond that, and even taking into account the money that grinds away in the background, you make a connection. She seems impossibly beautiful, and she’s eager to sit with you, to listen to you, to spill her stories. It’s helped along by alcohol and drugs; maybe she’s rolling on E, I don’t know. But she knows I desire her and sometimes it really seems she likes me back under the transaction. Not enough for it to be real, but enough for it to offer a genuine illusion. We’ll go to the VIP, and, fuck it, it can be sexy as hell, the perfume, the glitter, that ass, those legs, those tits dancing in front of your eyes, teasing, sometimes more than a tease, and you feel swept up, caught in desire that’s as real as the faux leather you’re sitting on, and she’ll offer up something, a taste, a kiss, a breast, her pussy, maybe guide your finger to her pussy, or slip a hand or a mouth on your cock. And you forget all the bullshit that’s waiting for you beyond the doors.

Even though you know better.