I have never been “one of the guys.”
I don’t do a lot of typical dude things, like ogle women or watch sports. Most of my friends are women. Even in my dim memories of kindergarten, I surrounded myself with girls.
That’s not to say I don’t have any close male friends. We just don’t do dude stuff together, like … uh, I’m out gender stereotypes already. This is how little I am connected to my dudeness.
That said, I have found myself in the groom’s party of one of my longtime male BFFs and – unlike my wedding party – this one is a single sex affair. A fest of sausage, if you will. Which means not only am I in for some guy-on-guy quality time, but I was in for a bachelor party.
Prepared as I might be to drink other men under the table while watching sports (seriously, just try me), inherent in the looming bachelor party was a looming visit to a strip club.
I dreaded the concept. The only time I was nearly convinced to attend a strip club with friends I wound up having dry heaves before I could even get in a cab. I’m too little of a stereotypical dude and too much of a feminist. Paying to objectify strange, naked women is really low on my list of things that sound fun.
(To wit: my own bachelor party was a co-ed 80s prom entitled “Like a Virgin.”)
Yet, at a strip club is where I found myself on Friday night. Well, they had tops and bottoms on, so I guess it wasn’t a strip club. A pole dancing joint? Is that more accurate?
Hilariously, I turned out to be a live-nearly-nude-dancer magnet. E thinks it’s because I looked like Bradley Cooper in the episide of Alias where he pretends to be an Australian rock star.
She was probably right.
And, folks, point numero uno everyone failed to tell me about strip clubs? You might have to be careful how you touch the women, but they do not have any hesitations about how they touch you.
You know, I can’t not be polite and chat for a minute if someone is nuzzling me with her breasts, and then I feel bad for taking up her time, and then I am obligated to fold dollar bills and slip them into improbably small straps holding together even more improbably small garments.
The whole thing is ooky and disgusting slippery slope (not unlike a stripper pole … HEY-OH!)
After the first hour I was tipsy and having fun with the guys and alternatingly glowering at my cell phone in an attempt to ward off further elbow-molesting bosoms, having driven off the last woman by going on at great length about how my beautiful wife helps me select all of my fashion after she complimented my scarf.
I felt another pair of breasts at my elbow (seriously, my elbow = SO POPULAR), and turned for my casual brushoff. This woman’s opening gambit was to ask me what I did for a living. When I said, “communications – marketing, really,” she exclaimed, “That’s my major! Well, really I’m journalism.” Which, as we know, I was too.
That’s when I started to have a little fun at the strip club. At first it was a room full of strange women, none of whom where even vaguely as attractive as my wife. As aerobic as their gyrations were, it didn’t feel much different than watching a class at a gym.
Then I actually took the time to meet one of the women – a perfectly sweet Italian girl – and give her advice on how database classes are going to help her if she ever has to do any direct marketing. And then I met another woman who was a fitness instructor and collected comic books.
You know what, I didn’t mind watching them dance. They were real people with great legs. And we kept chatting after they danced.
(Of course, there was still the inherent weirdness of having to tip a girl to have the sort of conversation I’d have at a networking night at a bar…)
Does this story have a moral?
I am one of the guys, even if I’m not a stereotypical guy. I can drink and carouse and have fun without being a chauvinist, so I need to get over my fear of “The Boys Club.”
Also, I was reminded of something important: attraction is context. My wife is more attractive than any stripper not only because she is smokin’ hot, but because she’s my mega-talented best friend. Similarly, I think my friends’ wives and girlfriends are beautiful. Why? I know them. They are not random pretty faces on the street – they are dynamic people with a myriad of skills and interests.
So are the women in a strip club – but you don’t really get the chance to hear about that (unless you keep tipping them). I guess most men are fine with that, but my not being fine with it doesn’t mean I am not a man, guy, dude, or boy.
Next up? I hear it’s traditional for us to kidnap the bride at the wedding and barter in liquor with the groom for her return.
That, I think I can handle.