Last night, Jack, the boyfriend of a friend of mine from LA, was in town for business. A small group of my friends and I went to meet him and his colleague for dinner. We sat on a rooftop patio, eating and drinking until the sun set. Later, the group meandered our way through the dark streets of Yorkville and on a whim we ended up at a nearby strip club. Apparently Canadian strip clubs are 'special' in the girls-even-take-their-underwear-off sort of way. We bought some drinks and sat at a table toward the back of the room.
I've been to strip clubs before and I'm not easily shocked. I'm content to sit and watch the stage for a few sets and then be on my way. What little novelty there is for me, wears off quickly. I'll go because it makes for a story to tell and also because I can appreciate skill when I see it. There are a number of things that impress me, like the ease with which they hang upside down from a pole, do the splits [naked or clothed, that's talent], move their bodies, dance in those clear plastic platforms, and run their fingers through the hair of the most disgusting looking men and appear, quite convincingly, to find them attractive.
As I sipped my beer I noticed that Jack seemed to be watching for my reactions. I got the feeling he thought this was all new to me and was taking some kind of pleasure thinking I was uncomfortable. One of the girls approached the table. I saw her speaking to Jack and then they both looked my way. She walked over to me and reached for my hand.
"Hey sweety, why don't you come back here with me for a few minutes." She gestured to the back of the club.
"No, thank you.", I told her, pulling my hand away.
"Oh c'mon Rachel, just go.", I heard someone say.
I shook my head, 'no'. My friends looked on, laughing.
The girl stayed where she was, waiting for me to be convinced. I felt bad for her.
"You're very pretty, but I'm just not interested", I told her, feeling verbally inept. I turned back to Jack, "You go ahead."
Moments later he was led away to the back room.
At first I was embarrassed, feeling like a prude, but then I remembered the way Jack had been looking at me. What I was really feeling was penned in by some invisible role to which I had unknowlingly been assigned. I was supposed to play the open-minded girl who had always secretly wanted a lap dance, but never had the courage to ask. This expectation was poorly disguised as a gesture. It was my job to be a little something extra for the guys to put in the ’spank bank’ I heard them refer to later. The major flaw in the script was that I didn't want a lap dance. Lap dances are like serenades. There's something inherently awkward about the whole thing. They don't ring true, and besides that, I'm not attracted to women. Even if it was a man, I'm not often aroused by strangers, especially when there's an audience.
You loose something of yourself in giving people what they want, when what they want is in opposition to what you want. When I think about the costs that come with following the kinds of scripts that were flying around there last night, I picture that beautiful, thin brunette, stroking the greasy hair of a fat old man, their faces mere inches apart. Last night, I wasn't about to pay that price for some guy I barely know and his sleazy colleague. I had no intention of making that kind of investment.
They can take that to 'the bank'.