From the outside looking in, most would say I have some sort of addiction to strippers. What do I think? I have only recently realized that it is more complicated than that. So, I would say “No” because it’s not entirely in the visceral way you might be thinking. But, I would also say “Yes” because I do have a general affinity for them.
One of the reasons I would say I am not addicted to strippers is because I frequent strip clubs simply because I need someplace to go as a 40-something single male. After a 20-year hiatus, I started going to strip clubs again at 40 and I’ve since thought a lot on why I go to them. From a broader vantage, I explained this in the “Background” page of this website. I really only go to one club, where I met Daphne. This is primarily due to its proximity to where I live. So some of my attendance can be attributed simply to convenience. As discussed, I also go just because I know some of the bartenders and dancers. I typically hang out in a back bar away from the stages. The club I frequent is a neighborhood “watering hole” for me – a place of convenience, conversation, and cheap drinks. I don’t even notice the nakedness of the women anymore, but I still revel in their face and eyes.
But I will confess that I have gone, and still occasionally go, to other clubs. I do find some sort of comfort in going to them due to my middle-aged status, knowing that there are many other older single guys frequenting them. I am not my age, I feel like I got mentally stuck in my mid-30s. I also do look a little younger, probably due to the Asian side of my genealogy. Nonetheless, I’m certainly acutely aware of the negative perceptions of a 44-year-old male hanging out at the more popular bars and clubs frequented by those younger than me. I have always suffered from social paranoia – what people think of me. Much of that stemmed from being shy and introverted during my youth. I managed to overcome the debilitating consequences of those behavioral issues as I got older. However, they do sometimes resurface when I’m in the spotlight or in situations where I subconsciously believe people are judging me, whether that is the reality or not. Whenever I go to the more traditional and youthful bars, my social paranoia generally kicks in.
Anyways, being a middle-age guy, around other middle-age guys, frequenting a strip club also just makes you sometime feel pathetic and lonely. Yes, I feel like the loser amongst all the others that work or attend strip clubs. Despite my respectable family upbringing and somewhat successful career, I do not feel superior. I’m not generally egotistical anyways and have struggled with a damaging self-image, so I naturally wouldn’t feel superior (nor should I). However, I don’t really think I should feel inferior either. Every person in a strip club knows why the other is there. It seems everyone else there is able to reconcile with it, but not me.
It is hard to forgo the convenience, conversation, and familiarity of any place. If I didn’t go there, I would not get out and go to any other places that often. I will go somewhere else when I get a call from my married friends every six weeks or so when they happen to have a night off. It sounds ridiculous, but if I want to ever want to get out of my house for social activity, that ends up usually being my best option. When I first started going at 40, it was a good, less introspective event for me. Almost every time I’ve gone for the last year or so, I wake up feeling disgust and regret.
I admit that I’m extremely shallow and vain. My proclivity for strippers is largely due to their looks, their beauty. I know it is difficult to broach these subjects in this day and age, but this is my truthful mind. Clearly to be hired as a dancer, a certain degree of attractiveness is required. So where else are you going to go and be surrounded by such splendor? I did say that I wasn’t entirely addicted to strippers in an obvious way. What I meant is that the yearning is not necessarily about the accompanying gratuitous sexuality and nakedness. Those components are not what entices me, it is simply their stunning good looks – primarily from their eyes and hair, but the rest of their lovely bodies doesn’t hurt either. I just want to collect them and be around them. It is not necessarily sexual, I just appreciate and admire gorgeous women.
As mentioned, I rarely even go to the inside of the club where they dance. However, they come to the outside bar all the time to talk. As is the norm, they try to sell me on getting a lap dance, which is when they take you to a lounge chair off to the side (amongst many others) where they take their tops off and seductively dance around you and occasionally graze against you. Sometimes that graze turns into a grind. For those of you have not seen it in person, it is not as bad as you are probably thinking. In any case, I’ve rarely gotten lap dances – it’s not what I’m after. I will sometimes give girls who sit and talk to me for an extended amount of time a nice tip because I’m taking time away from them having to do lap dances. Again, everyone knows why the girls are there and the girls know why the guys are there (with the exception of my strange being).
I’m addicted to strippers for their beauty. There are beautiful women that aren’t strippers. Yes, but the problem now is my age and refusal to grow up. As I stated, before I turned 40, I hadn’t gone to a strip club for 20 years. At 40, the opportunity to hang around good looking women outside of a strip club diminishes drastically. Before 40, I didn’t need to go to a strip club, I went to the popular bars and dance clubs. Granted, the chances of me actually getting interest from girls at these regular hangouts was rare, but, but the prospect of it was a driving force and part of the fun. I say this because I know that I myself am not a “hot” guy, just average probably. Nonetheless, this is how my shallow mind views the world. I say this with hesitation (even to myself), but once women approach 40 their looks largely deteriorate. Obviously, there are many exceptions. Maybe it is just the single ones, or maybe it is just where I live, but I’ve perused many dating apps and the proportion of even above-average looking females is low at my age. I’m sorry, but I’m trying to be honest with my thoughts here. With that being said, at least in my own head, the strip club and its dancers are my last bastion to experience such beauty in person.
What causes my objectification of women? Not that it excuses my thoughts, but it is not overt or spiteful. I have great appreciation for the ideal female form, as I see it through my eyes. I imagine much of it has to do with my own insecurities, particularly as a youth. I was a shy self-conscious kid with a high degree of paranoia over what I thought other people’s perceptions of me were, whether that perception be of physicality or personality traits. In high school, I never thought I was going to kiss a girl, let alone date one. However, this in itself wasn’t fundamentally upsetting to me, it was my fear of being perceived as a loser for having not kissed a girl or dated a girl that disturbed me. I wasn’t bad looking, my mentality just got in the way. I definitely wouldn’t think of myself as being sexual when I was in high school, but of course I still wanted to have sex. My strict Catholic upbringing had much to do with that. Despite all of this, I still dreamt of dating the hottest girls in school, but I knew they wouldn’t give me a second glance. For some reason all of these things, perhaps most importantly the lack of attention, led me to this vain and shallow perspective. I just wanted what I couldn’t have. The hot girls were so distant and unobtainable to me. I put them on pedestals,but perhaps also didn’t really see the person behind them.
Finally, I will say that some of the reasons I’m attracted to strippers has to do with how they got to dancing in the first place and who they intrinsically tend to be. I’m speaking in generalities here, but I’ve had in-depth conversations with dozens of dancers since I started going to the club. In fact, when I first started going I thought I would write a book about the girls’ stories. Sitting at the outside bar, I would usually ask any of the dancers who sat down to talk with me to tell me their story so I could write about it. Most of them had no hesitation telling me about their experience. Sadly, many of the stories are the same and the stereotypes are often true. Dancers usually come from a harsh upbringing of some sort and are broken. The psychiatric reasoning for working in the industry due to past sexual abuse was all too common. Many of them dealt with the same insecurities as I did, and to over-compensate, they utilize their newfound beauty to demand the approval they were never able to reap growing up. They use their sexuality to control their environment and to provide the authority over it that they never had before. Strippers are generally, at a minimum, somewhat wild and exciting. Given their profession, they are often social outcasts living on the fringe of what most call normality. For better or worse, I am attracted to these elements.
Ironically, most of the dancers claim that they were ugly growing up. When I would ask a stripper to tell me their story, I was always particularly interested in why they generally were not more successful in a mainstream ideal – why hadn’t they gone to, or finished, college, why didn’t they have a promising business career, why weren’t they happily married, etc. The reason I pondered this is because I’ve always felt that highly-attractive people, especially women, have an easier path to success. That the success is readily conditioned into such people at a young age via all the positive feedback – they get picked first for a group event, they always get asked out on dates, they are part of the popular crowd, they get all the attention they seek, etc. This too is probably where I get my objectification of attractive women. So in my mind, a gorgeous dancer’s inability to have progressed further in a more socially acceptable direction was curious.
I have an attraction to women with some grit, that are somewhat broken. I like to take care of others and to feel like I’m needed. I obviously identify with the strippers that felt insecure and unnoticed growing up. I certainly identify with being an outcast, feeling weird, and a disappointment. It is for these attributes that I see in myself, that I do not believe I can be with a so-called normal woman, especially one my own age. I don’t think it is possible for a proto-typical American woman to have any interest in someone like me despite my own established successes. I do not believe I am lovable or desirable to the ordinary woman. I just don’t fit into their ideology of a proper relationship partner. In my professional life, I do a reasonably good job masking who I really am. For the most part, I can hold a professional conversation, my relatively sociable, and speak with some intelligence. I know what the expectations are for a male my age and I fake that persona through my job all the time. I could not fake it in a relationship.
The reality is that I am personally an awkward, quirky, and reserved person. Few, if any, would think of me as a stereotypical American middle-aged man. Like I said, I still feel like I am in my early 30s. I’ve always been sort of boyish. Nobody would confuse me with being a “man’s man.” I can do manly things like fixing things around the house, yard work, and can generally resolve mechanical and technical problems. I’m mature in that I take care of my responsibilities, I work hard, and I am appropriately educated and knowledgeable. However, I still always feel somewhat childlike. Maybe because I was the youngest child out of five and was, and am, always treated as such. When I actually was in my twenties and thirties, I dated somewhat more conventional women. I do stress the word “somewhat,” as they still tended to be close to outliers of the social majority. I think most people do become more “normal” or conventional as they age, so finding a woman in my age group who would appreciate or tolerate my puerile and unorthodox self is increasingly unlikely. I do not usually even envision being in a relationship with a more traditional woman. I just do not believe it is possible with me. I feel like I am more compatible with the damaged, the depressed, or the unconventional and that they would be the only ones who would accept me. This commonality and relatability is also why I am attracted to strippers. Of course, they don’t have to be dancers, but it is so much more difficult finding and connecting with these types outside of a predictable locale like a strip club. There are plenty of strippers under one roof, one mile away from my house.
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
--- Walt Whitman
Song of Myself
"I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person's reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.”
--- Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving
“Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love.”
--- Friedrich Nietzsche
“Now do you understand why I'm interested in you? You're a locked door, sweetheart. You give no one a key and you never answer the door when anyone knocks...Ah, but sometimes, sometimes I get a peek through the keyhole and what I find there...It's like glimpsing you as you're stripping. Underneath all of that darkness is something hungry, something desperate, something, oh, so deliciously vulnerable.”
--- Tricia Owens