Saturday, November 6, 2010
The Transitory Shelf-Life Of The Male Stripper (& Other Tragedies of The Ridic)
The other night, as personal favor for a friend, I did a bartending gig for this private party. I was told ahead of time that the tips would be cool, but the atmosphere might, ummm... "get kinda rowdy."
I wondered WHY he felt it was necessary to warn me. I mean, what exactly was I about to roll up on?
“Well,” he said. “This is a bachelorette party.”
Oh. Say no mo.
Having done of this kind of thing before, I knew that indeed things could get hectic, and LOUD, and crazy, and LOUD, and freakish, and LOUD and outta hand... and well, LOUD. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the LOUDNESS, but this was for a friend; and ya know a Brotha could always use some extra tippage. So, LOUD or not, I agreed.
So, I roll through around 7:30 to set-up the bar. Gradually, I see the women-folk (won't call ‘em ladies) sift through. Some come in pairs, and some in groups of four, five and six. They looked sedate enough (at first), and a couple of them even gave me some rhythm. The woman of honor, the Sista of the hour, the Bachelorette to be fetted was a chick in her early-30s, I suppose. She's all coiffed up weavey wonder-style, manicured down, and one could tell she was the woman of the evening because the others sort of swarmed around her in queen bee fashion, giving her kisses, props, and the occasional gift box.
Gradually, I noticed the crowd getting antsy, and LOUDER, as the drinks were flowing nicely and the liquor was going to their heads. I also knew what was expected to be the main emphasis, highlight of the evening, and The Big Tah-dah!: The male stripper…
Initially there were a couple of buffed cats I'd spotted patrolling the premises earlier, and I'd assumed they were the strippers, as both were rather rocked-up in the extreme. But NO! These cats were bouncers, not strippers. My bad.
The main cat, the cat-daddy stripper of some renown was a large chocolatized dreadlocked Brotha who went by the name of Aaron Anancoda. Trust! I couldn't make this ish up! There was even a BIG-AZZ "A.A." on the back of his gold cape, which was strange in itself, 'cause the dude was dressed as a cowboy!
There really should be a better set of stylists for this profession. I mean, no matter the machismo of the dancer, they always end up looking like some ridiculously femme, flamed-out superhero, gone all kinds and varieties of WRONG!
Not understanding the boots, the cape, the glitter, the tassels and such. Just NOT understanding, yo!
ANYWHO: When this A.A. dude made his way to the stage, the place went wild! I don't mean wild… or even WILD. I mean Wi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-le! Male strip clubs must unleash that sleeping inner CAVEWOMAN out in some women. They lose ALL control! And yeah, I must admit, in his rowdy raunchy rodeo glitter-gear, A.A. did look kinda impressive. I mean his shoulders were huge and his guns were looped and gi-normous. He was blessed of thigh, and had bountiful gluts. Yes, I understood the buzz, the hype, the squeals of delight generated by this he-man's hulking presence. Some of the women were indeed visually pleased to see such a well-built speciman.
However, when I looked closer, my writer's eye noticed, A.A. was no spring chicken. I mean, seriously, I'm all for shaking whatever yo mama (or daddy or granddaddy) gave ya, and I'm not about the age discrimination trip, but dude was tad long in the toofus (AND the jockstrap!) for such a physically… ummmm… demanding profession.
This was just something I NOTICED, and having noted it, I just kept pouring.
The crowd grew LOUDER, more juiced on liquor, and this only made them all the more impatient to see some more skin. So, A.A. ripped the back of this stripper-gear away, and showed ‘em some man-azz.
I heard a few "Ooohs…" followed by "oh…" and the "oh" wore a tinge of feminine disappointment. Still he received a bill or two as he continued going through his dated hip-swerving moves. The cat's dancing ability was... ummm... kinda lax and lacking. I mean, there was a distinctive absence of energy, as if his heart, balls and the rest of him wasn't really INTO it.
But the crowd grew louder and more demanding, and she, the bachelorette, straight up hollered: "Show us what you workin with, big daddy!"
Oh. My. Goodness!
Man... this is where it gets sad.
I mean, for real.
You might wanna stop reading at this point. If so… Peace.
Aiight. Still reading?
Homeboy, churned and slowly rolled his hips in a freaky old skool circa 1985-style, and then he slowly, methodically whipped IT out. And, trust me, whip would be the correct terminology. Yeah, he was kinda blessed in the lax ding-a-ling department, BUT, I guess the women wanted to see the old anaconda dance, rear-up, get frisky, and bite someone. Unfortunately, all the damn thing did was hang there and swing, sway and flop, uninspiredly... and the women were just NOT having it! But trust... they WERE definitely amused.
They began to laugh, teehee and titter and some just straight-out guffawed.
"Damn! Is that thang asleep?"
"Somebody call 911, stat!"
More laughter ensued.
Then, for his next move of grace-free choreography, he launched into his MAIN ACT. He half-lumbered, half-gyrated over to the chick-of-honor and did his shake and swing-a-ding-a-ling dance thing for her. He began to slowly grind her now giggling thigh. He sat on her lap, which was shaking hysterically as he rolled his hips all lewdly upon her. And she, oh she was doubled–over laughing at his ass, and the rest of him! And no, this was not that shy, uncomfortable bachelorette giggle thing. Nah. She was mad laughing AT him! And, by now... so were the rest of them. I mean, they were all ROARING!
It was like this cat had become the stripper-comedian or some such shit.
Then, and this is the SADDEST part: homeboy left the lap, went back to the stage and laid on the floor, on his back, face-up.
Oh Lort! What was Aaron and his alleged Anaconda gonna do next?
Well, he commenced pouring oil all over himself, applying extra oil to his rippling, if declining assets… and still the anaconda wouldn't dance. Maybe all the laughter had killed the mood. I clearly could see why it would. But, that didn’t seem to faze him. He just kept pouring and rubbing, rubbing, and a-pouring and nothing noteworthy happened. The only thing throbbing in the room was the boom of the music.
Ironically, it was an old Sade tune, "War of The Heart," and it seemed that even she had conspired against him, as she sang:
“I’m loaded… Don’t know where to point this thinnnnnnng.”
Really? Et tu, Sade? Seriously?
Maybe that musical selection had already been pre-planned, but, for me, as a man, this was a pretty pitiful and putrid display.
I couldn't help but wonder... Did homeboy forget to pack his Viagra?
Picture it: a grown-azz man with dreadlocks, easily in his mid-40s, with a decent build, a large, if lazy johnson, spread out on the dance floor, with only a couple SINGLES surrounding him. A grown-azz man, old enough to KNOW better, dry-humpin’ the floor, and TRYING his level best to entertain these drunk, laughing and abusive women... I mean, you had to SEE it.
I seriously felt sorry for him. I felt like: DAMN… Bruh, I hope you got a good day job!
And the whole time, I'm mixing and pouring and having this mental dialogue with this cat that went something like:
Am I the ONLY ONE who feels this tragedy? I hope this scene doesn't scar you for life, bruh. In fact, I hope this scares you straight; awakens you to the reality that your stripping days are through. Done! Ovuh! Kaput! I mean, fo real, yo. Maybe this will be your epiphany… because surely, there's gotta BE a better life than THIS! Maaan, just GET UP, yo! Maybe if you leave now, no one will notice!
At this point, gangs of women were just a-walking by him, going to the ladies room, ordering more drinks, carrying on LOUD sista conversations, as if this naked cat on the floor didn't even exist.
I swear I wanted to throw a big ass blanket around the man and lead him away from that madness. But I was only there to serve drinks. So, I chilled.
Truthfully, I never understood the male stripper mentality. Other than using their assets to make a quick buck, and letting that become the seed money for some Bigger Dream, then what would be the point? It is ego-inflating? Well, maybe if you’re young enough to lack any other sense of esteem or self-possession. I definitely don't GET why anyone after, say, age 30 or 35, would still be out there shaking dat saggin’ ass for cash. It's clearly a young person's profession! And besides that, this tad-too-long-in-the-jockstrap cat was NOT bringing sexy back! In fact, he shoulda seriously considered retiring it! And just WHY was he the last one to know this?
Everybody's got a hustle… and more power to them. It’s not really fair to judge him or anyone. Witnessing this sadness was actually a lesson in social studies for me. The moral of this pitiful display: Whatever our profession, we need to KNOW when we've become a parody of ourselves. And when and IF that happens, hopefully we'll possess the grace to simply retire our respective tassels, and just say, goodnight...
This has been another of those Public Service announcements. Aiight?