When Beth mentioned offhand one day that she had tickets to The Thunder from Down Under, an all-male, all-Aussie strip show at a downtown hotel, I really hoped she'd pick me to tag along. The day of the show I got my wish. When she texted me about whether I wanted to attend, I may have replied a little too quickly and a little too eagerly.
I'd never been to a male strip show before, but they look to be hilarious from the outside. Plus, I'm fascinated by the wild success of clubs wherein women are paid to take their clothes off and gyrate as if they like you, but an almost complete absence of clubs wherein men are paid to do the same.
Why is that? Women like sex as much as men do. So, I guess the quick and dirty answer is that these clubs aren't about sex at all.
Regardless of my Women's Studies-style ruminations about the male gaze and the steady growth strip club industry, I mostly just wanted to see what I'd been missing. Aside from a lone male stripper at a sad bachelorette party that ended with the bride humiliated to tears, the closest thing to Chippendale's dancers I'd seen were Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley on SNL. I needed to get a gander what all of this was about. And more importantly: WHO GOES TO THESE THINGS?
Beth and I got dressed up. I wore stiletto heels, for fuck's sake! I never wear heels unless I know I'm being picked up and dropped off door-to-door, but for these slick-chested blokes? I was going to wear heels. God help me, my sartorial choices are often inexplicable.
I suppose I didn't want to look like a two-bit Fabio-look-alike lover in mom jeans and Reeboks. I was trying to keep it classy in a place where every performer had a better wax job than I do. And maybe, just maybe, I hoped they'd pick me to come up onstage.
Heels or no, the stripper men weren't interested. In Beth, though? They were so interested she even got a personal tour under a tiny neon thong.
Read all about our adventure at her SFGate Culture Blog. There is even a tragic ending.