I number among the legions of women who have been to see the movie “Magic Mike,” Steven Soderbergh’s exploration of the male stripping culture in Tampa, FL, starring Channing Tatum. First off, let me say I really liked it. Second off, I’ll tell you that several of my guy friends and myself have engaged in debates about whether or not this movie was offensive and/or exploitative. Their point: Female strip clubs/female stripping/movies about female stripping, are exploitative and problematic, and in much the same way the “eye for an eye” philosophy is riddled with problems and pitfalls too numerous to count, so is it problematic to correct the issue of female exploitation by patronizing any entity indulging male exploitation.
My point: No. These things aren’t comparable, and that’s because the inherent reactions they ignite are so different. The energy of a male strip club is predominantly comic — women are laughing, yelping, etc. — whereas in the prototypical female strip club, it’s one of arousal and, oftentimes, depression. Which is all just another way of saying: I feel justified in having gone to see Magic Mike. I don’t want to feel guilty for delighting, as I do, in Chaning Tatum’s dance moves. Not only that, I might just try and make him mine.
Wait. Scrap that. He’s married. In which case, perhaps I ought to try and make some other male stripper mine.
Wait. No. Scrap that too. The prospect’s too intimidating. I think what I’d actually like to do is just theorize on why dating one would be amazing.
C’mon Shake Your Body, Baby
I feel the dancing skills would translate to some wildly exciting and acrobatic sex. Now, I’ll readily admit: This theory doesn’t usually work. I met a guy on a dance floor in 2006 – he was busting out some seriously rhythmic and impressive moves — and then we started dating, and then we had sex, and it was the most mundane experience of my whole entire life, one that soured me on the idea that guys who move well in life will do so in the bedroom. But. I feel like if we’re talking not just, “Oh. He’s pretty good on the dance floor. Like it weddings and what not,” but rather: “HE IS A PROFESSIONAL DANCER. HE CAN DO ALL THOSE SORTS OF URBAN CRUNKING MOVES,” there’s no way it wouldn’t translate! It’s their rhythm and pacing. Whatever. I think it’d be fun.
Dolla, dolla bill, y’all
A stripper makes good money. We could argue, of course, that the career trajectory isn’t all that ideal, but we’re not talking marrying a male stripper now, are we? No. We’re talking dating one, enjoying a little you-only-live-once approach to life. And as every long journey begins with a single step, so does every dinner out begins with a single dollar bill. So what if it’s come from a g-string?
You don’t scare me
The thing is, a lot of high-earners — even though they’re great in many ways – they can also be intimidating. They can make you feel like your own career isn’t progressing. They can make you question yourself: Why can’t you earn more money/network better/find yourself fawned over by some buxom assistant? Well, those fears fade away like body oil on the shaven flesh of your next boyfriend. The great thing about dating a male stripper, is that he’d provide you with the benefits of a guy with a decent job (see above), but without that constant knocks to your ego. You won’t feel like crap about your bartending job when your boyfriend takes his clothes off for a living.
Now you don’t need an excuse to go to a strip club! Now you can go as much as you want. And you’re not being seedy or gross or lecherous or exploitative or weird! You’re just being supportive! You’re just visiting your boyfriend at work!
Sara Barron is the author of People Are Unappealing and the forthcoming Eating While Peeing: and other adventures.