Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Would You Like A Private Dance?

On two separate occasions, I've gone to Las Vegas for a bachelor party and found myself inside a stripping club. Now, I'm not exactly an avid proponent of strip clubs. To me, it's like if I walked into a barbecue joint, caught of whiff of that wonderfully smoky aroma, sat down and somebody put a sauced up slab of baby backs on the table...then told me I couldn't eat them or touch them. All that would do is get me angry and frustrated and I'd have to leave to go eat back at the hotel. I don't see what's so enjoyable about going to a strip club. And yes, I have noticed the live naked breasts.

The strip club industry in Vegas is possibly the most organized, well-oiled business model in all of America. They have absolutely mastered ways of squeezing every last cent out of you, and then that money is seeded around town like fertilizer to keep the business growing. For instance, let's say you're in a group of six to ten guys stumbling out of a casino and walking to the taxi stand. A limo driver pulls you out of line and offers to drive the whole group for only $60 bucks. Hey, pretty good! You get to skip the line, save money on a ride and everybody arrives at once. Perfect!

Naturally, in the car, the driver asks if you fellas are interested in seeing some ladies take off their clothes. The driver has been around groups of drunken men before, and he is aware this is normally a topic of great interest. Being out of towners, you have to ask the driver what the best clubs are. Naturally, he has a recommendation.

Upon arrival, while the group mills about in the parking lot getting ready for observed nakedness, the driver is already in the front door of the club collecting his kickback. A group of eight guys will yield about $100 just in admission fees for the club and $20-40 goes back to the driver before he's on his way back to another casino to repeat the process. The kicback plus the $60 charge for the ride plus a tip because he was so nice with the strip club recommendation makes this a very profitable 20 minutes for the driver. Completely worth putting up with drunken, loud-talking meatheads for a time.

So anyway, there I am, milling about nursing an $8 beer on one trip when within my first ten minutes, a lady comes up and asks if I'd like a private dance. I told her I would not, but she knew that no didn't always mean no, so she struck up a conversation. I realized I was going to have to start lying. Partially to throw her off the trail and partially to amuse myself. She asked what I did and said nothing, I just live off of my dad's money. This was believable, as we were in Las Vegas and I was wearing a blazer and a t-shirt, like your average rich dildo.

So it must be fun not having to work, she enthused. I countered that it wasn't actually that great. I sometimes work for my dad's company, a job that was handed to me. I went to college even though I didn't have to and just kind of bopped around. I really was beginning to feel like I had never accomplished anything in my life and it was bringing me down.

At this point, her pupils were replaced by dollar signs. I was a big fish and needed to get me on the boat. What did my dad do, anyway? And was I sure I didn't want a dance? My dad owned a pharmaceutical company. I didn't want to say which one, but she would've definitely heard of it. And I didn't have any cash on me for a dance anyway. Lo and behold, the club accepted credit cards for dances, she informed me. And the club's name doesn't show up on your bill. It's something like Adventure Enterprises. She had to feel like she was seconds away from bringing at least $1, 000 in. Oh. Well, see, I used to go strip clubs a lot and charge a lot of dances on the card and my dad cut me off for a while. And his accountant knows all of the fake names clubs use for their charges. So that wouldn't work either. Eventually, I pawned her off on the bachelor and he was most definitely interested in a private dance. Incidentally, afterwards he had to tip the bouncer $10. He didn't think the bouncer did anything, but the dancer assured him that the bouncer protected them. From...rattlesnakes, maybe. Well-oiled machine, I tells ya.

Where the first bachelor strip club trip was merely amusing, the second was a travesty. After a late night, my friend and I were up at 6:30am for a round of golf. The plan was play, have lunch at the course, come back to the hotel for a disco nap and do it up that night. Problem was, after lunch, no cab was to be found. It was so busy on the Strip that we had to wait around for almost two hours to get a ride back in a cab we split we two other golfers. All we had time to do was shower and get dressed for dinner. I had just been in the sun for six hours and drank two beers with lunch. I was somewhat fatigued. A nap would've been great. Would've been delicious!

I slogged through dinner and then, because we had some Hollywood types in our group, a Maxim magazine party after. (SIDE NOTE: On the way out of the party, walking past an enormous line of people trying to get in, I hear somebody yelling "World champ! World champ!" I looked and it was James Farrior pleading with a bouncer to let him a month after winning Super Bowl XL.)

After the party, we piled into a kickback limo and headed for a strip club. Curiously, the exact same club I went to last time. Only this time, the moneyed types among us wanted to go into the VIP room. That required automatic bottle service. So this time, I wouldn't be paying $10 to get inside a building I had no interest in, I would be paying $75.

When you go in the average sucker door of a strip club, you get to mill around a stage with lots of other people. When you go in the VIP section, you get your own easy chair and table for the group and women descend on your game in a perfect 1:1 ratio. It's like being an Arabian prince, except I was actually concerned with what this would be costing me. However, due to sheer exhaustion, sitting in the chair almost made it worth it. I was so spent that it ached to look around the room.

The girl I drew said hello and sat down on my lap. She was remarkably skinny and her tailbone drove straight into my thigh muscle. That was not hot, it was uncomfortable. To cut the awkwardness of a having a stranger in a bikini on my lap, I struck up a conversation, which she immediately seized control of. For no less than twenty minutes, we discussed her ex-husband, the love of her life. She loved him so much, she still loves him even though they're not together and she always will love him. I tried to commiserate, but I didn't know the guy and probably wouldn't care much about him if I did. Furthermore, it's a cliche to remark that strippers aren't that bright, but really. This girl took the cake and called it a pie. It was one of the most brutal conversations of my life and no matter how I positioned myself in the chair, my thigh could not escape the downward pressure of her sharp tailbone.

Meanwhile, during this entire endurance test, my friend on the right was considering marrying his stripper and was hoping a fifth consecutive lap dance would convince the girl he was the man for her. Have you ever been one foot away from a completely naked woman writhing on top of a fully clothed man? There is a reason you never see something like this at dinner parties. It is incredibly awkward.

Twenty hours of activity prefaced by five hours of sleep and capped off by thirty minutes of mind-deadening chatter was starting to take its toll. And finally...I fell asleep. In the chair. With this girl on my lap. When I woke up, she was gone and my friends were staring at me in awe.

Strip clubs. I don't like 'em.

TOMORROW: In room strippers aren't so great either!