Letters from Men Who Go To Strip Clubs
This is a topic that's lighting up the boards on a site I visit once in awhile. It's a new blog by journalist/blogger Susannah Breslin that - just as the title suggests - features nothing but letters from men who go to strip clubs.
This is not a secular topic, per say, but I wanted to post it in here to bypass the expected condemnations from a religious perspective and get to the more human-centered discussions about it.
I used to have lengthy talks on this (and about pornography) with an ex-, and it's not something we talk about much in here, though I imagine we'd have some interesting stuff to say about the subject. How do you feel about the topic?
As thought starters, would you mind your hubby going to a bachelor party at a strip club? How about for a casual night out with a buddy? Have you been to one before? Have you/would you ever strip yourself? How do you feel about the notion that women who strip are empowered by their sexuality and income potential? And similarly, what is the "status" of pornography in your household (banished? tolerated?).
That is all for now.
LOL. Or maybe not (Abbeysmom's thoughtful response notwithstanding). Sorry this topic is turning out to be kind of a dud.
Originally Posted by demigraf
In reading a few of the letters on the site, I'm pretty struck by how often the guys writing the letters implore readers to understand how lonely they are, how they know going to the clubs is kind of pathetic and fake, but they feel like they're left with no alternatives to feel (a simulated) connectedness to women.
"I know the girls at the strip club don't truly listen, don't truly care. I know why they're nice to me, and they know I know it. But they pretend. Most of them pretend to care pretty **** well. When I think about it, that's enough to satisfy that basic human need. I'm sure they're not interested in hearing about my day, or my troubles, or my general dissatisfaction with the state of things, but they'll smile at me, giggle at my not-at-all-funny jokes, and give me some artificial sense of being cared for."
While I think that's kind of a cop-out (how many opportunities are they missing to genuinely interact with women they come across in their day to day lives, only those ones don't match their physical ideals?), and it's plain sad in the long run, because they're just reinforcing for themselves that they're not worthy of female contact unless they pay for it, I can muster up a little leniency for men in this area. I think their programming runs incredibly deep, firstly because men are far more visual than women when it comes to stimulation, and secondly because they're bombarded with images of women as sex objects with little or no counterpoint to this perspective, so objectifying women comes to feel like the norm for them. (Heck, women regularly objectify other women; that's why all beauty mags are so profitable.) Like I said, I argued about this a lot with my ex- (whose primary foul in our 7-month relationship was leaving his nudie magazines open to the last page read above the toilet), and he told me that getting him to change his enjoyment of female nudity would be like asking him to change his accent - unnatural and extremely difficult. And he didn't appreciate being made to feel demonized for something he believed was an unconscious response on his part. So he did manage to make me feel a little compassion for him there.
All that said, I'm not with him today, because I felt like his whole world was centered on image and appearances, and not a lot of substance. I think his inability to genuinely interact with people without putting on a "show", his vanity, and his constant defense of strip clubs and Playboy/Maxim were all related to the side of him that lacked authenticity.
Anyway, just to get back to the original topic, I luckily married a guy who thinks strip clubs are boring and kind of gross, so there's no debate to have in my household. I don't think I would have ended up with someone for whom strip clubs are "good fun". So I guess I do think they're pretty distasteful and something I just wave off as something other people do. I don't really care to launch an all-out crusade against them. In fact, when lap dances were banned in my area a few years ago, I did sign the petition to repeal the ban, thinking it was bit of an overreach. I wouldn't put my foot down if DH were invited to a bachelor party for a friend or something, as I'd trust him to keep the whole thing in perspective.
As for the whole female empowerment thing, I think there there are those who get a real charge from exhibitionism (the absolute opposite of me; I don't think I could ever strip even if I had the body simply because I'd hate all those eyes on me). And I think there are a tiny subset of strippers who are truly stronger and more confident from the experience, albeit a little more cynical. I have a happily married mommy friend who did a lot of nude work while she got her Masters in Journalism at Columbia. I also remember going to an "erotic lit" reading one night, where the keynote was a former call girl who held a Phi Beta Kappa key. Obviously, those women weren't particularly slowed down by their pasts. However, I feel those women are rarer than most would have you believe. In fact, the ones I've met who advertised the most how empowered they were as strippers/fetish workers turned out to be the most damaged of them all.
As for the presence of pornography in my house, I own some of my own well-hidden erotica (like the euphemism?), so I wouldn't really have a leg to stand on if I wanted to keep DH from having his own. He just doesn't own any because he says it's not his thing. But yeah, I agree with Molly above that you would want to keep anything objectifying (especially porn) away from your children for as long as possible. I think it could really mess up the way they relate to others as they form friendships/dating lives/romances of their own.
At the end of the day, maybe this guy - gross as he sounds - was the most honest:
"I’m old in years – 61 ... and I like to think this is my revenge for all the beautiful women in the world whom I can’t approach, whom I can’t get, this idea that I can have some young beauty dance and smile at me any time I want." ](<--- ewww! ewww! ewww!)
Last edited by demigraf; 12-06-2011 at 10:45 AM.
Sorry I missed this post until now--I don't usually wander into secular except for the NET. I don't have time to go to the website yet but I'll answer the questions for now:
As thought starters, would you mind your hubby going to a bachelor party at a strip club? No, because I know DH doesn't care for strip clubs. He'd be more interested in getting drunk and goofing with his friends.
How about for a casual night out with a buddy? Same.
Have you been to one before? Yes, I've actually been to a strip club quite a few times. DH and I used to enjoy going together but we haven't been in a long time.
Have you/would you ever strip yourself? No, I'm too self concious about my body. Maybe if I got a rockin' body and scar removal!
How do you feel about the notion that women who strip are empowered by their sexuality and income potential? I can understand it. It must be very empowering. But I'm afraid more women just do it because they feel they have to.
And similarly, what is the "status" of pornography in your household (banished? tolerated?). DH and I watch porn together and I know DH does when I'm not in the mood. When Josh gets to that age I don't think we will ban it. We haven't had that discussion yet.
Just noticed this thread!!
To answer your questions. No I would not mind DH going to a strip club for a bachelor's party. He has been to plenty. It doesn't bother me.
He has gone out to strip clubs with friends. He even got some business once with a friend of his and got paid a couple thousand dollars to tile the floor in a strip club not too far from where we live now currently through a visit to a strip club.
I have been to male strip clubs, men stripping. I am not into looking at nekkid women but if DH wanted me to go I would go. I also knew a few girls who worked in strip clubs when I first went to college. They made A LOT of money. If I were confident in my body back then I would have stripped but I always thought I was fat (even though all the guys I knew said I was fat in the right places LOL!). Also I don't have a big butt and black men like big butts so I figured I wouldn't get good tips. I remember thinking these rambling thoughts during that time!
Right now, even though I still think I'm fat and I actually am fatter than I was, I would not want to strip because I don't see how it can make me feel empowered. I think I am rather "powerful" already and don't need to take off my clothes. I feel as a whole that women put too much emphasis on physical appearance and that is because men put so much emphasis on it and we are trying to please them in some way. Don't want to offend anyone, but really that is how I feel about it and currently in my life I am empowered by achieving tasks and goals I set for myself that some people (mostly DH) do not think that I can accomplish. Like last year when I did the 5K. I felt empowered and even though it was about my body in a way, I didn't want to do it to lose weight or look better or anything like that. I just was bored and wanted a challenge.
I have known quite a few strippers. None of them have told me that they feel empowered. They do say they make a lot of money. I am one who likes money and really if I had to strip for money I would. It would be about the paycheck though nothing else and all the girls I knew who did it said they felt the same way. I knew 3 girls in college who stripped at Magic City here in Atlanta, a very popular strip joint. They made $1K per night and worked 2 nights per week for maybe 4-5 hours. They paid their way entirely through school stripping for 2 years. I have also known poor, raunchy strippers. My dad's first wife was a stripper and a prostitute. She stripped and prostituted herself because she was a drug addict. Quite a few strippers are drug addicts or just girls with nice bodies who don't feel they can do anything else and stripping is easy money.
Pornography does not bother me. DH watches it sometimes, sometimes more than I think is normal. But usually he is in what I call a "horny spell" at that time. He will watch it after I go to bed then want to come and DTD. I joke with him about it. I have watched it with him and gave humourous (sp?) commentary regarding what I think the ladies are really saying. He laughs but gets angry that I am ruining the porno. I like to watch "classic" porn like "Cinderella" and even crazy porn like "Fat Mama Jama." I used to work for Comcast and I remember when people had to call and order porn via phone and every Saturday morning we would get couples calling in to watch the "Ghetto Booty" films. When I left Comcast they were up to "Ghetto Booty 13" LOL! I watched a few "Ghetto Booty"- ies just to see what they were about. But really I find most porn boring and harmless.
I do not allow my son to watch it though. I have spoken to him about it and told him that porn by itself is not evil or horrible, but that he is still a young child and that it can warp his mind and make him super sexualized. It can turn him into a pervert. He asked what a pervert was and I told him and assured him that it would not be the end of the world for him to be a pervert and if he was I would still love him but I would talk about how he shouldn't be one. He thought that was funny and told me he wouldn't watch it. I told him I'd remind him of that statement in 3-4 years.
I just read some of the stories on the website and some were so eloquent, and poignant. Maybe because I've had a glass of wine, but wow.
Just now noticed this. Will respond later. My dad is due to arrive in about 5 minutes.
Very interesting, M. I was also struck by the threads of loneliness and need for talking running through those letters. Very poignant. And it might be easy to say that if they weren't going to the clubs, maybe they could try to develop some non-stripper relationships, but I don't think it's that easy. On another forum I read, there is a huge theme of "forever alone," men who pretty much feel like they're never going to have a meaningful relationship because they're cripplingly shy, can't figure out how to talk to people, don't ever get the nerve to ask women out, don't understand the basics of simple flirting and mutual admiration, and if a girl ever does express interest, they realize years later that was what she meant. They get advice, but I can see why, like in the first letter, it might be nice to have a safe haven to practice talking to women, even if it is artificial, just to build up some confidence.
As thought starters, would you mind your hubby going to a bachelor party at a strip club?
Not at all.
How about for a casual night out with a buddy?
Depends on the situation. One of my bigger problems with the whole scenario is the cost, but I also know my dh has a strong distaste for the strip club scene. I wouldn't mind him going if it was important to him, to the relationship, etc., but I would be hesitant if it was going to be on a regular basis. Kind of like when he went flying with a co-worker. Fine once, but an expensive habit to develop.
Have you been to one before?
Yes, many times.
Have you/would you ever strip yourself?
Not at this point. I wouldn't have ruled it out as a way to make money when I was younger.
How do you feel about the notion that women who strip are empowered by their sexuality and income potential?
I think that those women do exist, but are rare. The empowerment of sexuality by stripping, more so, seems to be questionable, or at least even more rare, and I can see it as having some anger or revenge rather than just empowerment (haha, look at me, I'm beautiful and you can't touch!). The financial aspect is a lot more understandable, and that's the reason I could have considered it. I think I would have tried to see it as just a job, but it's hard to have a job where your attitude is not colored by the perceptions of people around you and your perceptions of your customers.
And similarly, what is the "status" of pornography in your household (banished? tolerated?)
posting now because dad got here and he looks at my computer sometimes.
DH went to Amsterdam a few years back for his BIL's bachelor party (or "stag do" as they call it here). They went to one of those shows where there's a lady on stage that strips and does tricks with her body parts, ie, she shot ping pong balls out of her hooha. He said it was a laugh, but he felt really uncomfortable. I didn't mind him going because I know it was just the guys doing what the guys do at those types of things.
Originally Posted by demigraf
I wouldn't like it if he went with a friend, though, just to go.
I've never been to one; when we went to Amsterdam and went to the Red Light district, I only peeked once to see the "ladies" standing in their windows.
I wouldn't ever strip; I'd feel to creeped out by random guys eyeing my naked body. To me, my body is only for DH to get that kind of kicks from.
I can't imagine women feeling empowered by stripping; I don't buy that whole owning your own sexuality and using it against men. It just seems like you'd have to be really desperate to do that kinda thing for money.
Both DH and I feel the same about porn. We aren't in to it at all. I think I'd have a hard time being with someone who did like porn as it would make me feel not good enough sexually for them.
Ash, I saw one of those shows in Bangkok. Hard to see how anyone can get turned on by ping pong or blowing darts out the hoo-ha (though the aim of some was impressive). Another downside to regular porn use: I've heard of - and maybe once dated one - male porn addicts who could no longer "finish" during real intercourse, because they got so used to the "efficiency" of the DIY version. I find that sad.
I also have been reading more defiant comments from guys who refuse to lump themselves in with the lonely ones. They justify going to strip clubs as healthy evidence of their virility. That doesn't ring true for me either. There's still a voice inside of me that feels like it's totally karmically wrong. A man (or girl on holiday in Thailand) who supports an industry that often takes advantage of women in dreadful circumstances is also a person that has poor character or is at best willfully ignorant. It is much more convenient to see it as a bit of fun, and thusly ignore the really dark side of this industry and how objectification is so dehumanizing.
Then again, people partake in a lot of things that aren't the most healthful, with scores of bad, unintended consequences. Junk food consumption, for instance has a lot of similarities to porn consumption. So just as someone can have the occasional Twinkie and still recognize it's not good for them and the product of an unsavory industry, the same compartmentalization might be made for the guy who debauches for a night with pals at a strip club and can still come home a loving husband and father.
Which brings me to another thought. What about lap dances? Not even considering costs, I don't think I'd be comfortable with DH getting one. I guess that depends in context too. If it were alone in a back room, that'd be different from one where all his friends were present hooting and hollering. Again, I'm lucky these are all hypotheticals in my marriage.
Last edited by demigraf; 07-16-2012 at 11:22 AM.
I meant to come back to this. I think I have told you before, my dh used to be a stripper bodyguard in his undergrad days and the behind-the-scenes experiences made him completely dislike the whole strip scene. The girls were so unhappy about being there and hated their crass customers, dh actually gets uncomfortable being around any somewhat similar situation. We were at a middle eastern restaurant once and a woman was belly-dancing, and it reminded him too much of stripping and he stopped eating and turned away.
Porn is tolerated here. I actually don't know how much dh looks at it anymore. I have never found any evidence of it. I don't find it appealing, but I like to be able to click on any link (like, say pterodactyl porn) and not be worried that dh will walk up behind me and be shocked or disapprove.
I do not feel sorry for men (or women) that visit strip joints. If they're 'lonely' or desire a connection to a female, they need to work on real intimacy. That's not going to happen in a strip joint. The only thing they're going to get there is charged up, so to speak.
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