— Congressman David Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds) in the 1996 movie Striptease
Striptease is a terrible movie. And there are, without a doubt, a lot of terrible strip clubs. But why is it that we feel we can say anything to a woman if she's naked? And more to the point, it's amazing what we'll sit and listen to, if there is nudity involved.
Seriously, a trip to the strip joint almost guarantees a pointless conversation. I can't tell you how many times I've led with the line, "Hi, I'm Dirk Malibu," or "Hello, I'm Harry. Harry Butterscotch," or if I'm at a gay club, "My name's Mark Huntsman." It doesn't really matter what is said because the people with no clothes on are there to take your money, and you are there to see them naked — leave the romance at home.
Depraved? Hell, yeah! It saddens me, watching topless woman on all fours gobbling up dollar bills, but hell if it isn't entertaining. I still laugh when I see some stranger on the street trip and fall. I can't help it. Call me a pig if you will.
I didn't intend to write about a strip club — in fact, I'm not even sure of the name of the place I was at. It all happened unexpectedly, a few weeks back, driving home from Los Dos Molinos in south Phoenix.
Picture an all-white sign with black letters: NUDE. My gal pal Gina is in town from Chicago, and she's ready to see the underskirts of Phoenix. It's around 11 p.m. on a Wednesday, and there are only a few cars in the lot. We walk in and the place has a sad little porn shop up front with dildos and vibrating cock rings and bare ass . . . Oh, my!
We pay the $15 cover and step back into what looks like your buddy Steve's living room (your buddy that was kicked out of college). There are four cloth (yeah, I said "cloth") couches around a plywood stage covered in linoleum. The cleanest thing in the place has to be the brass pole, and that thought is scary enough. There is no booze, so we opt for Red Bull. Good thing we hit Los Dos beforehand for some killer margs to blur our vision.
The "talent," well, they're brave, and have all their limbs! (Oh, what I'd give for a one-legged dancer.) The place has a DJ, and there are even two TVs that play hardcore porn in case the dances aren't getting you off. Gina is midway through her final lap dance from an acrobatic gal when she leans over to me and says, "Phoenix is okay . . . nothin' like getting a lap dance while watching an interracial facial on the TV."
So, all that leads up to this: a guide for booze pigs who wander into strip joints.
• Go when they offer 2-for-1s and no cover. You'll have to sacrifice a little, because these time chunks will usually be during the day, and never on weekends. Also, the talent won't be the same. You'll be getting a 19-year-old who has danced only in front of a mirror, or a seasoned 40-year-old strung out on speed.
• Make sure to bring cash and get it ahead of time. I say this because if you pull from the ATM in the club, there's usually a $10 transaction fee, and you'll pay it for that last chance to blow your wad.
• Tip the DJ! Why, you ask? The DJs run the tempo of the place, and chances are, if you tip big enough, you can get them to play a longer song (so you get more ass for your money). I usually throw a 10 spot to the guy and ask him to play "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent — it's a good 15 minutes long! They rarely do it, but it happened once on the east side in St. Louis, and I still remember that lap dance dearly.
• Wear white clothes. I'm not talking white belt and shoes, but white it up. Why, you ask? Most strip joints are dark, and the flesh looks good in black light. I wear white because it's cool when you are drunk — you feel all lit up (literally), like you are on the moon in some funky purple light. A careful rule here: If you have any special stains on anything, beware: They'll glow.
• Don't touch! I'm not saying don't try, but if the gal tells you once to stop, then you'd better. The bouncers in these places are usually close friends with the dancers, and they won't hesitate to kick your fucking ass and throw you out. Follow the rules or wear running shoes!
• Never bring more than $100. This is self-explanatory, but you need to save your money for the 2-for-1s, because even though they're on "special," they're still $7 or more — not bad considering they are usually $7 for one.
• As a real booze pig extra, wear parachute pants. This is a tip from an old-timer (from the '80s). I guess the lack of friction — or, perhaps, it's the similar material of the panties — makes for an arousing experience. Get rid of those fucking corduroys.
• When in the bathrooms, never ever open a stall door, and try not to touch anything.
• Full nude: Really? No booze? What's the point?