There are vast industries dedicated to servicing our “animal” desires. In this country we aren’t able to face our desire for sexual gratification very honestly. By that I mean our culture as a whole. Certainly some individuals can handle it better than others. Those who can view it more dispassionately can live pretty large off providing fantasy to the adult public. While it is true that a growing percentage of women are comfortable going to a strip club to see men dance and take their clothes off, it’s ubiquitous for men. Adult men everywhere want to see women take off their clothes to music. The dancers can’t do everything by themselves. They need a support team, which leads us to:
Job #3 — Technical Support for Strippers
My marriage had ended after a long period of decline and conflict. I wanted to get out of town, to get out of the state, just to get far, far, away. That takes money. How to make extra money fast? Use whatever you know in the service of the “dark side”. I don’t mean illegal. I mean catering to prurient interests. Every free paper advertises for nude dancers. I had sound equipment and a good knowledge of music. I figured there had to be a way to make that pay.
I had moved in with an exhibitionist, a young blonde. She had legitimate dance training and was a talented choreographer, but what qualified her for “dark side” work was that she was an exhibitionist. She liked to show it off. She walked around naked as often as possible, which drove our third (male) roommate nuts. She pretended that it was just no big deal to be naked, but she also enjoyed teasing men. She investigated how much one could make performing in bars and in “amateur” contests. A hundred dollars an hour (including tips) was an awful lot of money in 1980, considering what kind of work was available in a small town.
I thought of a way I could get in on this racket. She wanted to dance, and I would make mix tapes and see to some of the other production aspects. Blondie got some stripper tutoring from a bar owner who used to dance herself. I provided music, bought some better lights and emceed the contests. I also acted as an escort for Blondie and other women who entered the contests. Blondie and the bar owner helped the girls out with costumes. I made half her rate, unless I also helped out behind the bar in which case I also got tips.
The places where our escapades took place were not upscale. The Badabing Club in The Sopranos looked like a palace by comparison. It doesn’t matter. You pull a slab of plywood over a pool table, use clip-on lights and set up a stereo with an amp that has a mic input. Instant strip club. If the place has an actual bar, so much the better.
It’s important to choose either highly recognizable music, or songs that will fit fantasy themes. Most songs should be simple, hard backbeat 4/4 anthems like the Stones’ Brown Sugar or AC/DC’s Back in Black. The patrons all go “I love this song.” just before the woman gets onstage. It can be fun to change it up with an appropriate novelty number. Sorry, Full Monty. I used You Can Leave Your Hat On decades before you did.
Amateur strip contests are a theatrical fantasy, in case you didn’t know. The contestants are not amateurs. However, it’s still important to have as effective a charade as possible. The girls must be instructed to appear a bit nervous or hesitant at first, so the crowd of men can get them to loosen up by cheering for them. The one who can best portray the transformation from shy woman to vixen often wins the contest. Blondie was a competent actress, so she usually won.
I hope you don’t miss the inherent comedy in the idea of having a man like me emcee strip contests. Take my word for it. I’m not that guy. It took every bit of acting training and experience I had for me to be able to tell filthy jokes and double-entendres and punctuate them with prods to the mob like “uh-HUH! WhaddaYA think huh?…Yeahhh, baby.” I was really, really terrible, and they still laughed, which is a testament to the power of alcohol, and of the fantasy itself.
Though everyone knew we were friends, Blondie and I had to pretend we weren’t a couple when appearing at the bars. Within a year or so, she got good enough at pretending she wasn’t with me that she hooked up with another guy and ran off. We weren’t very nice to each other in the break-up, but over the years it worked out. She’s still in the Midwest, and still an exhibitionist. She writes and sings rock and roll, and is working on a third CD as part of a talented duo. I would plug her work, but she’s as entitled to her invisible past as I am to my invisible present.