This past weekend for a Bachelorette party I attended a Men in Motion show. Men in Motion is a male strip club in Boston and “ New England’s #1 Girl’s Night Out!”(not Modern Pastry?) While being quite an entertaining show in its own right, it struck me how comically different it was from the one traditional strip club I had been to.
So behold below a Tale of Two
Cities Strip Clubs and the scholarly conclusions on gender theory that come with it.
By scholarly conclusions I mean anecdotally supported blog observations.
The First Club
Once upon a time, many jobs ago, I was at a company bowling event and as the night wound down the higher-ups declared “let’s go to a strip club!” Ignoring the H.R. nightmare that is, I began picturing a Foxwood’s commercial: Take a chance; make it happen Pop a cork, fingers snapping! In my head dollar bills were flying in the air, people were smiling, strippers and I were posing together; think of the social media opportunities!
“ Lets go” I announced.
My guy friend (and coworker) looked solemnly at me and said “Trust me it is not what you are thinking, you are not going to like it”
“Nonsense” I declared
I recruited another girl to go with me, him and a bevy of other coworkers. After paying our $20 cover we walked in. At this point I think an actual record scratched. One look around and the Foxwood’s theme song stopped echoing in my head. It was immediately clear I had lost this argument; I did indeed, not like it here. All the men sat silently and gravely faced the stage; dollar bills did not fly through the air and no one was smiling. Without speaking we walked awkwardly by our company’s Vice President and settled upstairs.
I was quite thirsty (the H2O variety) and went to the bar to ask for a glass of tap water, my signature free hydration technique in bars—they refused to give me tap water and instead charged me $6 for a bottle of water, and not any bottle of water! One of those tiny squirt bottles they give out at U-7 soccer games. For $6 I couldn’t even get a half liter of water. I sat down at the same table as my friend and as he saw the regret spreading on my face he gleefully chimed in “ I told you!”
To our right was a lethargic stripper, listlessly gripping a pole more to prop up her body weight than to entertain. Besides as a support beam, she did not engage the pole and just slowly circled it. This complete lack of commitment to the craft did nothing to deter the men who silently looked on, occasionally being swatted away by the bouncer. My 6oz of water was not cutting it so I made my way to the bathroom. While scooping free tap water into my face I heard other women complaining:
“She doesn’t even do anything; she just stands there near the pole! I thought she’d be like swinging around and stuff”
With my head under the tap I silently agreed with my fellow ladies. What was this shit? How did men find this interesting? The girl on stage’s mind was presumably on the PJ’s that awaited her at home and the eventual Netflix she probably had queued up(I’m just assuming). Regardless she clearly wasn’t interested in anyone in the club and they weren’t interested in demanding anything out of her besides her mere presence and lack of clothes.
I wondered why men came to the club; couldn’t they achieve the same with an internet connection and save $20? The only person smiling in the whole place was my friend laughing at how incorrect all my assumptions had been. Eventually I made a quick exit and am still, on occasion, forced to admit how wrong I was concerning my strip club dreams.
Now dear reader, fade to black and awaken in a dimly lit stage where Jock Jams echoes out of the speakers and a male stripper is fully clothed, break dancing to the screams of surrounding women—welcome to Men in Motion.
The Second Club
Men in Motion is organized by an MC. He remains fully clothed, hypes the crowd and enforces the rules: no standing in the front, no going on stage unless invited, and no crawling on the mini-stages located in the crowd. When he thinks the crowd is adequately woo-ing and supporting the dancers he invites four men on stage to do a coordinated dance, again fully clothed, to Danza Kuduro.
Eventually the strippers do start losing their clothes, this is in Men in Motion after all, but it’s all loudly supported by the crowd. The stage is also occupied by audience members whose friends paid a fee so they could be brought up on stage and consensually dry humped by male strippers. The last reveal were tiny platforms located within the audience that are quickly occupied by more strippers. It was at this point I turned to my friend and screamed “Theres so much happening!”
Then I started crawling up on my gender high horse when noticing how much friendlier and supportive this environment was, but I quickly dismounted when I saw a woman hose one of the male strippers down with her water against his will. While he played along I acknowledge this would definitely get you kicked out of a strip club and here it just served to inspire another woman to throw her drink on him too. This caused him to be late for his next dance (a slow jam to Hero by Enrique Iglesias). During said dance he removed a tank top, ran it through his pants, and threw it into the audience where two women proceeded to fight over it.
Lastly it couldn’t be ignored the more traditionally handsome strippers got more attention, cheering and money than the less attractive ones. The most handsome of the strippers wore Superman undies and later became the subject of honor of a rousing rendition of Wyclef Jean’s I’m in Love with a Stripper when we got back to the party bus.
Extremely Scientific Conclusions
Since this was an extremely limited data set in an uncontrolled environment I won’t try and draw deep conclusions about the innate differences between the genders. However, what stuck out to me the most was the spectacle and interaction women demand. If they had felt the male dancers themselves were not enjoying the show it would make them as an audience uncomfortable. At the same time the MC sets up an environment where the audience is expected to support the dancers and rules are enforced so all women can comfortably see the show. Women also pay extra to see their friends get tossed around by strippers on stage. Contrast this to a traditional strip club where the whole thing is a more serious affair and just the mere presence of one extremely sullen and disinterested, albeit naked lady, suffices.
As we exited the show we saw one of the strippers leaving with what was clearly his girlfriend and our group concluded it was nice his girlfriend came to the show to support him. I texted my cousin a video of the night
30 Seconds later: “I need to experience this”
For the purpose of this post I tried to figure out the correct terminology for male and female strip clubs. It seems female dancers is so the norm that it has become the default “strip club” whereas the descriptor “male” is added to make “male strip club” which denotes the strippers are male.
There is no explanation for why the higher-ups at the company I worked at thought a strip club was a good idea after company bowling. I had been working there long enough I was indoctrinated to think this was a mildly inappropriate escapade and not what it really was, a good opportunity to sue and pay off my student loans. Missed opportunity!