Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Etc.--The Stripper Con, Rollergirl's Demise, Office Work

Writer's note: Apologies for the tardiness of this post. Consider this April's edition, with another to follow in a week or so.

My wedding is fast approaching, which means at some point I'll be having a bachelor party. I'm excited for this because I'll get to hang out with my closest friends. As I all get older and responsibilities mount up, it's harder to see everyone, so the bachelor party is a nice excuse to see everyone in a fun-filled venue.

It will not be an excuse to visit a strip club, get a lapdance, or any other activity involving soulless contact with a glassy-eyed 22-year-old. I'm too old to care if I'm cast as boring or not a guy's guy or a whimp. I'm too old to live my life according to Tucker Max.

So, friends, if you're expecting a shower show at my bachelor party, many apologies! Strap in for a Woody Allen movie marathion followed by a discussion moderated by the one-and-only Dick Cavett and "New York" film critic David Edelstein!

The strip club mystique is something I will never understand, because it involves men voluntarily labeling themselves as easily duped, walking erections. This woman doesn't like you, probably never will. It's not more exciting because it's live; I guarantee her mind is focused on a more pleasant distraction. She's essentially a waitress, but instead of delivering a turkey club, she's offering heavily perfumed lapdances. The same commerce-driven principles are involved.

Anything sexual is more gratifying when it's earned. It's one thing if the pert teller at the bank liked your vibe and started peeling off clothes to the lobby's muzak cover of "Disco Lady," but a stripper is a saleswoman. How is getting a dance from her a triumph of manhood or proof of attractivness? I refuse to buy into that sham, especially when there are myraid ways to get aroused that involve no money, less frustration, and less dings to the dignity.

Three unshakeable memories have also led me to this position.

1.) When I worked as a newspaper reporter, I had to cover a strip club for a story. (Don't ask. It was a Gannett paper.) This involved talking to a couple of the dancers, who were eloquent and straightforward. One dancer told me: "I barely take off any clothes, and I make a ton of money. It's all eye contact."

In all my years of reporting, I don't think I've come across a sadder, elqouent truth.

2.) At the same club, in between dances, the owner Windexed the pole. Classy!

3.) A year or so ago, my dad and I were driving down Route 35. It was a Tuesday afternoon, about 3:55 p.m. As we zoomed through the pre-rush hour traffic we passed a strip club whose doors opened at 4 p.m. There was a line of five or six guys waiting to get in. On a friggin' Tuesday afternoon, mind you.

We immediately deemed this phenomenon "the loser queue."

So, yeah, I'll pass on the strip club/stripper experience. Plus, my brothers-in-law will be there. Some experiences with family are best left unshared.

--R.I.P. Heather Graham's sex appeal. She's now reached wacky aunt territory, courtesy of the upcoming "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer." Though it's fun to think of young fathers taking their kids to see this while images of "Rollergirl" skate through their minds.

--Recommended reading time, including work from two friends. Our movie buddy R. Kurt Osenlund gives us a tour of his movie-centric office, and the outstanding Jacob Lambert mourns his local video store in this piece for The Millions. Also worth reading, Whitney Pastoreks's oral history of "Party Down."

--One reason for the delay in posts is that I spent about two weeks working in an office as part of a copy editing gig. It had been three years since I had done that. The weirdest things: Realizing that getting to work is work; dressing in casual business attire; not having access to my own fridge filled with my stuff.

At the same time, I sort of enjoyed the experience. It was a like a 9 to 5 fantasy camp. Now that I'm back home, my life somehow seems less exotic.

--By the way, two proud moments for the blog: We have an advertiser! And a follower we don't know personally. That's immensely satisfying. All I need are 10 more advertisers and I can pay my phone bill. Hooray!

--Writing announcements. If you haven't read my piece on dating shows for The Millions, you can do that here. And please check out my work for Virgo's SupplySide Community blog. It's about supplements, but I'll try to incorporate as many movie references as I can.


Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post, Pete (and it has nothing to do with the stripper in your first image). Funny, sad, insightful, thoughtful.

In my town, we have a chain strip club. We're a big tourist town so the city tried to shut it down several years ago by outlawing liquor where stripping was going on. But instead of closing the club down, the owner (franchise?) simply opted to not serve liquor. All those poor saps can buy in there is soda, coffee, or tea. Still, the club must be doing well. It's still there.

Plus, you are right about the dancers. One sociology professor at the local university was invited by one of her students to watch her perform and write it up as an article. Quite interesting. Your observations were spot on. The college girl earned more money in a single night than she would have by waitressing by working retail for a longer period of time. She wasn't at all impressed with the customers, viewing them, if I remember correctly, as nothing more than sad sacks. (She got to choose her own music, and enjoyed that.)

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