“For most men, the woman’s body is the most beautiful thing they will ever see.” —Peter O’Toole’s character, Maurice, in Roger Michell’s Venus
Thursday night, 10 p.m. Believe it or not, it was raining. I entered yet another club and looked for a place to sit down and continue my “field research.” It would be one more night of naked female bodies bathed in flashing red and black lights, accompanied by a smooth-talking DJ who would do his best to push two-for-one lap dance specials every half hour.
As I walked past a row of plush booths, my eye was drawn to the small table lamps that spilled light into the pupils of lusty men, their naked desire only partially hidden in the safety of shadows. Dollar bills and bottles of water lined the perimeter of the tip rail.
The sound of “stripper shoes” hitting the stage after a dancer’s backwards somersault filled the air. A lone chrome pole glistened on the center stage while more than a dozen scantily-clad women sauntered around, doing their best to sell love in one-song units.
I sat down in a booth next to a girl. Her name was Angel.
Angel told me that it was her first week there and her first time stripping. One of the more experienced strippers had taken her under her wing and taught her about stripper etiquette, a rare act of kindness in the often-competitive world of stripping.
“You don’t sit next to a customer if he’s sitting in front of the stage when a girl is dancing,” she informed me. “You don’t ‘poach’ men from other strippers while they’re trying to seduce them into getting a lap dance.”
She also told me that customers pay for a lap dance up front; that way if they break the rules by trying to touch or lick the naked woman on their lap, the dancer can walk away and perhaps summon the manager/bouncer over for assistance.
Angel is happy to pull $500 a night. This figure may sound attractive, but it is on the low end of the spectrum. Other dancers informed me that they can make anywhere from $1,000-$6,000 a night, depending on the cash flow and level of perversion of the tipper.
As Angel left my booth to get back to work, a woman with a seductive Cheshire cat grin caught my eye with a look that made me feel like we had been lovers separated in a past life, and in this very moment we had finally been reunited. I was so convinced in this emotion that I almost asked, “Do I know you?”
She came to my booth and sat down comfortably close. Her name was Vidal.
Before Vidal saw too many dollar signs in my reaction, I made sure she knew that I wasn’t there for pleasure; I had made the noble sacrifice to spend my nights at various strip clubs in the name of investigative journalism.
She didn’t seem to mind. Excited to share her wisdom with me she said, “I’m the best. I’m the Queen.”
Unlike many of the dancers I talked to, Vidal is not a struggling artist, a college student trying to pay her debts or even a mother of two. This is her job, and she loves it.
I asked her what she thought of men, and without thinking too much about it or losing her enchanting smile, she responded, “All guys are sleazy.”
She said it in a way that made it sound like an attribute. She understands that the “sleazy” gene that all guys possess is the gold in this black-lighted mine.
“You’ve got 40 seconds to grab a girl and get a lap dance,” the house DJ announced, interrupting my conversation with Vidal. “Two-for-one special, gentlemen. Save $20. She gets completely naked back there.”
The DJ is an enabler. I watched Vidal as she took multiple customers back into the VIP room, coming back each time a richer woman.
A few money-making ventures later, the Queen sat down next to me and put her negligee back on. She then looked into my eyes as if she had just realized something important.
“You look like the lead singer in a band I saw at the Wiltern last week,” she told me.
The next thing I knew her lips were so close to mine I had to wonder how we were not kissing. As her hand brushed along my arm, I realized that she was the sexiest woman alive in the known galaxy.
After the bubbles of seduction had made their way to my head, the Queen took my hand and led me out of the safety of the booth and towards the unknown darkness of the VIP room. When we turned the corner, however, we met a bald-headed cashier and a tough-looking man in a coat and tie.
I saw myself in the reflection of the cashier’s head and suddenly realized that after using my super powers of restraint against dozens of half-naked women, Vidal had succeeded in seducing me.
I had bought into the fantasy of separated lovers … bought into her comment that I looked like a rockstar … that I was a rockstar … her rockstar. Vidal was indeed the Queen, a first class seductress.
The bald cashier looked at me impatiently, “Will that be cash or credit?”
Oh crap, I thought to myself. I turned towards Vidal and without skipping a beat she flashed me her Cheshire grin and asked, “What do you want to do, baby?”
1) Choose your seductress wisely. Seduction is about more than just visual presentation.
Don’t assume the best looking girl at the club is the most seductive. The one who knows how to use her powers of touch, smell and method acting to pull you in, will be the one to follow.
Take your time. Find the one who makes you feel lightheaded before forking out $20-$150 for a few minutes of blissful abandon.
2) Talk to the girls. Most of them at the places I’ve recommended below are worth talking to.
They have great stories to tell and possess a unique insight into male/female relationships. Use this experience as a way to improve your social skills and confidence with beautiful women.
3) Go during the week. It’s true that there are twice as many girls on the weekend, but there are also twice as many customers. When it’s slow the dancers are more willing to spend time hanging out with you.
4) Be respectful. These are “Gentlemen’s Clubs,” so be one. The ladies deserve the respect and will respond much more in your favor if you’re kind and polite.
Aggression, ego or attitude will only get you booted out of paradise.
5) Take a shower and brush your teeth before you go. This may be obvious, but according to many of the dancers, the clientele often forgets this. I was told that there’s nothing worse than taking your clothes off for a stinkbomb of a man who’s trying to lick your nipple and cop a feel.
Word to the wise: you’re more likely to get more for your dollar if you’re not completely repulsive.
1) “Make it rain” (when you toss a wad of bills onto the stage, showering the dancer). This is just my opinion.
I’m sure the dancers don’t mind being showered in $1 bills, but they all know you’re doing it to make up for some insecurity or lack of prowess. If you want to be a big shot, get a lap dance and tip her an extra $20 to hang out with you after the dance.
2) Go with your buddies every time. Try going alone. Pretend it’s a date.
In fact it may be the best date you’ll ever have. You’ll get to choose from 10-20 beautiful women, there will be guaranteed nudity and the relationship promises to end by 2 a.m., 5 a.m. at the latest. What more could a commitment-fearing bachelor ask for?
3) Use your credit or ATM card at the club. Some places have a $100 minimum on credit card usage and up to a $40 service charge for using their ATMs.
Decide how much you’re willing to spend (see approximate prices below), bring that much cash and stick to it. I would even suggest leaving your credit and ATM cards at home.
You’ll be surprised at how little you care for money when a girl named “Sugar” cuddles up to you, whispers into your ear, “They’re real,” strokes your neck and asks innocently, “Do you want a dance?”
4) Sit in front of the stage (a.k.a.: the tip rail) if you’re not going to tip. On the same note, don’t put a dollar bill into your mouth while sitting at the tip rail.
It’s a dollar … one measly dollar, not a thousand. Is it really worth a dollar for the dancer to reach into your slobbery hole? No.
5) Try to take control. You know who’s in control at these places? The women.
Sit back, relax and enjoy however much pleasure and entertainment they’re willing to give you.
It’s their kingdom, and you’re just a guest. Be thankful they let you in.
6) Think you’re “in love with a stripper…” This could turn out to be the most costly relationship you’ve ever had.
A dancer told me that after one of her clients persisted to give her expensive jewelry, she started asking him for the receipts. This was enough to break the spell.
If you think you’re in love with a dancer, remind yourself that this is her job and if she were really the kind of girl you’d fall in love with, then you probably wouldn’t have had to pay her $40 to sit on your lap.
Topless or Nude? Honestly, if you’re gonna bear the judgment of others by going to a strip club in the first place, don’t waste your time at a topless one.
The shows aren’t as good, the women seem to be a little more disgruntled and you’ll spend too much money on alcohol. The only topless bar I would recommend is Sam’s Hofbrau, reasons stated below.
FOR THE GENTLEMEN
365 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 652-1741
The way the club is set up is very conducive to the girls sitting down next to you to talk. It’s intimate, cozy and has such a wide range of shapes, sizes and types of women that there is sure to be a right fit for everyone.
THE 7TH VEIL
7180 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; www.laseventhveil.com
Perhaps you recognize this one from the Mötley Crüe song “Girls, girls, girls.” No? Maybe this will ring a bell, “Dancin’ down on Sunset Strip … Girls, girls, girls! Raising hell at the Seventh Veil …”
Anyway, it’s a pleasant club with beautiful and friendly dancers. It feels like it would be a good place to end the night after spending too much money on alcohol just down the road on the strip.
2020 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; www.spearmintrhino.com
The warmth from the fireplace makes the club feel just like home … and by home I mean that fantasy world that resides in every man’s twisted Freudian psyche. An abundance of smiles and skilled techniques of seduction on every side of the octagon-shaped stage.
1751 E. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles; www.samshofbrau.com
If you’re looking for a fun, rowdy, topless cantina-like atmosphere that you might find in a Tarantino/Rodriguez film about border-town vampire strippers, this is the place for you. Free entry and $2 Coors cans Mon. and Tues. It’s also in walking distance from the Rhino, so if you want to get your drink on before going to the big leagues, stop by Sam’s first.
4 PLAY GENTLEMEN’S CLUB
2238 Cotner Ave., West Los Angeles; www.4playclub.com
An upscale club with oil-lit lamps on every table, themed VIP “bed” rooms upstairs (Asian, S&M, ’80s), cool female body sculptures behind the non-alcoholic bar, full food menu, flat screens with sporting events and kung fu films and a bevy of beautiful women to drool over.
It tends to attract a deep-pocketed clientele, so don’t be surprised if a dancer is less than thrilled to only get a twenty spot from you.
15004 Oxnard St., Van Nuys; www.spearmintrhino.com
They’re not the world’s highest grossing upscale Gentlemen’s Club chain for nothing. There are a lot of clubs in the valley, but none of them seem to have the quality and quantity of dancers that the Rhino has. And once again that Rhino fireplace is just too damn cozy to resist.
It’s also important to note that all the girls I talked to expressed how much they liked working there. This positive attitude gives the place a very comfortable and easygoing vibe.
FOR THE LADIES
The Highlands, Hollywood and Highland, Hollywood; www.hwmen.com
Hollywood Men is a clean, entertaining and fun 90-minute male strip show on Friday and Saturday nights at the Highlands. It’s the ideal place for a wild girls’ night out, birthday party or bachelorette celebration.
If you like being surrounded by glistening six packs, men in (and out of) uniforms and shirtless waiters with bow ties who are there to cater to your needs, you won’t regret making a night of it.
These are general costs that apply to most clubs. Check the specific club’s Web site for coupons, specials, two-for-ones and nightly discounts.
ENTRY: Anywhere from $5 in the day to $20 at night.
LAP DANCE (TOPLESS): generally about $20 per song.
LAP DANCE (NUDE): generally about $40 per song.
VIP LAP DANCE (TOPLESS OR NUDE): anywhere from $100-$200 for five songs or half an hour. Some clubs have VIP rooms that are a bit more private and darkly lit than the floor section.
DRINKS: generally about $5 for a bottle of water or a soft drink. Nude clubs do not serve alcohol. Topless clubs, however, do serve alcohol and charge what you would expect a bar to charge for drinks.
PARKING: about $5 if there’s a private lot. Some clubs have free parking.
BETTER THAN WIRELESS Just because you don’t visit your local titty bar with a wad of dollar bills every Friday night, doesn’t make you a noble knight protecting the sacred realm of chivalry. You’re addicted to porn; admit it.
But what single guy with Internet access isn’t? The World Wide Web is so saturated with pictures and videos of naked ladies who want to cyber-seduce you that it’s become difficult to not stumble upon endless raunchy photos of Heidi’s first lesbian experience, or a video of Sheila’s favorite gangbang party or that van that seems to always know where to find nubile nymphos who just need a ride but don’t mind giving a blowjob along the way.
Maybe you should take a break from surfing the Web, put aside a few $20 bills, remove your ATM and credit cards from your wallet, take a shower, brush your teeth, put on some nice clothes and go to a strip club. It’s the closest a man can get to “Fantasy Island” in real life without having to deal with Ricardo Montalban and his little friend.
I guarantee that Internet porn will lose its charm afterwards. It’s just not as sexy as real fake seduction.
Which brings me to the answer to the question, “Why do men go to strip clubs?” After visiting dozens of clubs and interviewing over 30 dancers, I discovered that the answer is really not that complicated.
Men go to strip clubs to be seduced. Single men, married men, lonely men, committed men, your man – every man – needs to be seduced once in a while to get his blood flowing.
As one dancer put it, “It’s only human.” She told me that when a man visits a strip club, all he really wants is a woman to look him in the eyes, stroke the back of his neck, run her fingers through his hair and maybe just listen to him talk about his job.
Her advice for women was simple: “Ladies, strip for your man. He’ll love you for it.”