Alasdair Duncan: Girls, Girls, Girls
Part of a bachelor party, gay novelist Alasdair Duncan is out of his comfort zone during his first-ever visit to a strip club.
Until last weekend, I had lived my whole life without ever setting foot into a strip club. I mean, I’ve seen Showgirls a whole bunch of times and can quote bits of it word-for-word, but I really don’t think that counts, right? Anyway, this past year has been the one when all my old school friends have decided to settle down and get married. With marriage comes bachelor parties, and with bachelor parties come strippers.
“I don’t know that there’s going to be anything there for you,” my friend said when he invited me, “but you should come along anyway and just have some drinks with us!” I gladly accepted, figuring that at the very least, the bachelor party would be an anthropological expedition, a chance to venture into the deepest, darkest recesses of the unknown and find out what straight boys actually do in those places.
I arrived on the night just as our group was gathering out front; ten or twelve otherwise buttoned-down and responsible twenty-something guys, giddy with barely concealed excitement at the prospect of actual, real breasts, just minutes away.
“Hey, good to see you made it!” my friend said as we exchanged an appropriately manly hug.
I asked what his fiancé was up to, and he told me that she and some friends had hired an apartment in the city and were spending the night drinking cocktails there, served by a topless waiter.
“That sounds nice,” I said, biting my lip so hard I think I may have drawn blood. As we began to file in the doors, the thought of defecting to the bachelorette party occurred to me, but I remained, determined to see this one through.
As we waited in the coat check area, a burly manager gathered us around to explain the rules – you pay to get in, you pay for a booth, and then you pay whichever of the women you like to come and dance in it. When it comes to straight boys and cleavage, it seems, all financial sense goes out the window. A dance lasts for one song, the manager explained, and of course, there’s a strict no touching policy. With that, we were allowed into the inner sanctum.
Some clubs are topless, and some allow the women to strip down all the way. I wasn’t sure what kind this was, but as we entered, the first thing I saw was a young redhead spread-eagled on a nearby table, her chunky stripper heels at right angles and her lady business displayed proudly. Right, I thought as we sat down, this place is definitely the second kind.
The next thing that struck me was the music; not the excessively loud volume, but how much of it I already had on my iPod. The playlist was the dance-ier end of RnB, mixed in with a little gratuitous chart pop. Within the first fifteen minutes, I heard Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kanye’s Monster, even some Crystal Castles at one point. Have I been listening to stripper music this whole time and just not realising it?
Before long, a small, attractive blonde approached our booth, and we began introducing ourselves.
“I’m the token gay friend,” I told her when it got to me, “but I still think you’re extremely pretty”.
“Aww,” she said, taking my hand and giving it a squeeze, “that’s so sweet, thank you!” A minute later, the bachelor was doing his best to appear nonchalant as she pressed her cleavage into his face; the rest of my friends sat there very still without making eye contact.
Later, another friend and I found ourselves talking to tall, heavily-tattooed brunette. He introduced himself as a vet, and she swooned – saving small, cute animals is without a doubt one of the world’s most attractive professions.
“Actually, I’m more of a veterinary pathologist,” he clarified. “So you do blood tests and stuff?” she said.
“That’s so cool. I had my cat vaccinated against feline AIDS.” Noticing the looks of mild shock on our faces, she continued. “Feline AIDS is a real thing,” she said solemnly. “It can spread easily because of their barbed penises.”
All told, we stayed for a couple of hours before moving onto the next drinking spot.
“Strip clubs are simultaneously awesome and kind of weird,” my friend said as we poured ourselves out the doors, and I nodded, images of barbed cat penises flashing through my mind as we walked on into the night.
Alasdair Duncan published books include Sushi Central and Metro. Follow him on Twitter: @alasdairduncan.