During a recent business trip, I found myself shoe-horned into the back of a taxi with colleagues in various stages of inebriation, hurtling through chancy neighborhoods of Baltimore. I was on my Blackberry with my wife, going through the litany of “kids/mail/bills/when are you coming home/this single mother crap is getting old” when the cabbie abruptly stopped at our destination.
“Gotta go, hon,” I said. “We just pulled up to the strip club.” My colleagues turned their heads my way, mouths open.
“You told her you were going here tonight?” one colleague asked.
“My wife would throw my junk on the lawn faster than you could say divorce lawyer,” slurred the client we’d been wining and dining earlier that evening. The panicked look on my co-workers’ faces said it all:
Most men are terrified to admit to what really transpires on the road and what inspires them in the bedroom when they come home.
Let’s be clear: if your man has ever attended a conference that finds him in a hotel banquet hall for 12 hours of Powerpoint torture, you can assume your honey has blown off steam, at least once, by contributing to some gal’s plastic surgery fund, one crumpled bill at a time.
I am the garden-variety business-traveling strip club patron, for whom a lap dance with a client is like a harmless game of golf. You tuck a dollar bill or five or 20 inside a G-string, sit back for an innocent bump n’ grind, have a few laughs with associates over the thundering drums of a Motley Crue song, wonder where your money went as you comb the sticky carpet looking for stray bills around your seat, and leave the joint lighter of both heart and wallet.
My wife knows she has absolutely nothing to worry about, and neither do most women. She knows I wouldn’t blow her trust by paying a scantily clad woman $500 to take my pasty, fat married a** into some back room for an hour. No good can come of that. Plus, I’m too lazy to bulldoze my tracks and too cheap to burn a good Brooks Brothers shirt when perfume and glitter won’t come out of the fabric.
I don’t pretend to represent mankind as a whole. My wife and I have been married for 16 years; the drama quotient is remarkably low, the passion remarkably hot and we’ve never needed any chemical or psychological intermediaries to keep it that way.
“You can take care of yourself to your heart’s content in a hotel room but you best not bring that filth into my bedroom,” declared one of my wife’s friends when I intentionally brought up the subject of strip clubs at our holiday party. Interestingly, she said this to no one in particular at maximum volume, avoiding the repentant gaze of her husband. From my vantage point, it looked like the mini-quiche he was swallowing suddenly turned to broken glass.
I see this as proof that this woman (and women in general) are in deep denial over what constitutes healthy male sexuality.
Do I bring my stripper-induced sensory overload into the bedroom? You bet I do! My wife and I have known one another since college and over the years we’ve achieved the perfect blend of familiarity and mystery by sharing fantasies without breaking trust. Though she doesn’t bring a director and makeup trailer to bed, I’m sure that some nights after a Mad Men episode I’m her Jon Hamm understudy. Sex isn’t only about love but about play as well, and if she closes her eyes once in a while to pretend she’s riding someone else’s see-saw, that’s OK by me.
After years of monogamy and two kids, sexuality is not the stuff of romance novels. It’s not that easy and never that clean. Some men fish off the company pier, if you know what I mean. Others, those who are committed to keeping their wedding vows, rely on chemical compounds or are blessed with an on/off switch that allows them to achieve white-hot arousal at the drop of a hat.
Those of us in the middle of the pack build steam throughout the day. Our fire is stoked by a variety of sights and sounds: curves traced in a tight sweater, visits to naughty web sites, lingering fantasies of a threesome that includes First Ladies, Vice Presidential hopefuls and someone from our Bible Study group and yes, strip club memories. These are the croutons floating in the sexual stew you get served at night.
According to Viagra’s website, more than half the men over the age of forty grapple with erectile dysfunction. If enjoying a healthy sex life at that age means getting help from a woman, a pole and pair of ridiculously high lucite heels, consider yourself lucky.
Sexual arousal is a lot like a garment produced in a Kathie Lee Gifford sweatshop: you should enjoy it for what it is instead of obsessing over what went into creating it.