I celebrated a birthday this week but for the first time in a long time there was no major milestone attached to the glorious age I was turning. At 16, I got my license, at 18, I got my first tattoo, at 21, I consumed by body weight in tequila shots and Long Island Iced Teas, but what can someone do when they turn 23?
It was a rainy Thursday night and I was feeling down on life and conflicted about the future ahead—funny how birthdays can make you stop and wonder “What have I been doing all these years? Why am I not further ahead?” My friend Bryan asked me to join him for a drink and boy did I need it. We sipped on our scotch when he turned to me and asked, “It’s your birthday…if you could do anything right now what would you do?”
I said the most logical thing I could muster: “I want to go to a strip club.”
Are strip clubs degrading toward women, absolutely. Do they project a fantasy to men that reality can never live up to, you bet. But only in a place like that can you find sex, lust, booze, cigarettes, and a cloud of illusory in one self contained establishment. So with a pint of whiskey Bryan, myself and his two other fellow army veteran comrades and I hailed ourselves a cab and away we went.
Four burly men guarded the entrance tucked down a back alley, as if it were a secret (or embarrassment of the city). Behind the red velvet curtains laid mysticism I don’t think I will ever quite understand. A white stage stood erect in front of us enveloped around shoddy, well broken in wooden stools. The lights dimmed low, the music entranced our bodies to sit idle, and out walked a pristine silhouette with long flowing blonde hair, mile high legs, and a naked body so perfectly formed you had to stare and admire.
As the night continued we traded our 20s for single dollar bills, we made our way to the front row seats, and more importantly we became transfixed with desire. The female body is truly an art and while I myself am not lesbian, it’s hard to not appreciate just how sexy a strong, confident women is—stripper or not. Just as I was finally settling into the rhythm of how a club like this operates, I glanced behind me only to recognize my old friend Ashley out with her co-workers. She bought me a bottle of champagne to toast to my next year ahead, and from there on out the night was a blur of nudity, alcohol, dancing, and lots of laughter.
I think there is this notion that strip clubs about Saturday night and body glitter, chandeliers and glamour. However, in the past few years, it’s become increasingly vogue for women to go to strip clubs. They come in big girl groups, giggling at their boldness. They come with their husbands or boyfriends, to get ideas and get excited. They come to hook up with the men who are there, watching, dancing, raining dollar bills on a woman who will writhe onstage and in a guy’s face. This is why I couldn’t have imagined a better way to turn this birthday into one I will never forget, after all you don’t ever forget losing your strip club virginity.