The Naked Apple

Repoting from the modern middle class

Lap Dancing – A Client’s Perspective

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flashdancers

I was first inaugurated into Flashdancers, a strip club in Midtown Manhattan by a banker from Citi and my boss , a Texan whose life would have lacked meaning except for his singular ability to sell things he didn’t understand to people he didn’t care about.

Flashdancers recently caused a small media scandal after they plastered what seemed like, every New York taxi cab with their advertisement.  It featured a woman with a bad perm, excessive lipstick, the club’s name, address and nothing more.  For a period I was convinced I was going mad seeing their ad everywhere (just like a new mother sees adverts for Pampers on every street corner).  To resolve the matter, I conducted a short impromptu survey of 100 or so taxi cabs driving past a cafe in Tribeca on a Sunday afternoon.  I recorded three Flash Dancers taxi advertisement for every mobile billboard advising me to go see the Lion King on Broadway; my sanity was still in check.

Unlike most clubs that stack their clients over a series of ascending floors (Centerfolds in Boston is a prime example of this) Flashdancers is a sprawling open-plan palace of decadence.  Walking in off the street, slightly inebriated by a flight of Tom Collins, the experience can be a little disorientating and akin to stumbling on a Russian harem a few blocks north of the Disney World, wonderland that is Times Square today.

A certain Flashdancers employee named Diana, is an important but minor character in my life.  Her part is limited to a a few spoken lines onscreen and a mention in the closing films credits of life.  Our paths have crossed a few times now and she holds the honor of being the only stripper who has sent me home with an unspent $100 in my wallet, a feat that even she is amazed by.  Born in Czechoslovakia twenty three years ago, her life seems to consist of bouncing between working in Manhattan and flopping around on the beach in Miami.  Neither of which I believe fulfills her very much.

She is beautiful, but her elegance is lost in the cacophony of thighs and breasts moving in the periphery.  She is too shapely to make a run way model and I suspect acting would be a burdensome chore.  Thus in another life I cast her as the young wife of a revolutionary political leader in South America or mistress to an oligarch who loves her dearly but is tragically gunned down in St Petersburg by a rival gang from Moscow; for some reason her life novel should have a happy ending.

When my mind remembers her caricature three visual cues stick in my head: she is the only girl who could leave the club in her work-wear (a modest black dress) without being mistaken for a hooker in a local hotel bar; secondly, she incessantly chews gum like many of her co-workers but has the unique habit of loudly cracking pink bubbles at random; finally she wears a black watch at all times.  To date she is the only woman I know working in the US lap dancing industry who sports a watch to work.  Nothing says time is money like a stripper in a $20 Swatch Watch.  My offer to buy a replacement from Cartier is heard with amusement… the concept of being able to buy her such a luxury I think is a more exotic fantasy than marrying this woman and settling down to have kids somewhere in Northern New Jersey.

Contrary to popular wisdom, beyond a certain baseline of attractiveness there is a limited correlation between a lady’s looks and her income.  For the most part the sales pitch falls into two categories.  “I am the woman of your every fantasy, come be with me for a little while and know life’s true pleasure.”  and conversely “You’re from England?  That’s fabulous.  You work in IT?  Technology is so exciting!  Oh my God!  You’re in such great shape!  And you only go to the gym every other week?  Wow!”  Yes, seduction is all in the mind and neither script noted above would pass muster at an undergraduate workshop on basic acting skills.

Diana’s approach can only be compared to the subtleties of De Niro’s method acting.  If she was a friend of a friend and we met in a bar, I doubt our conversation would be much different; yet I know she only wears this makeup within the boundaries of work, never smells of this particular perfume outside of the club and her real name is anyone’s guess.  So I am dealing with another fictitious personality, but it is a carefully crafted character I am genuinely happy to be with.  She always remembers me – but I need to bear in mind that she “remembered me” the first time we met.   The wedding ring is cue to ask “how is your wife since we last spoke?  “You wore Hugo Boss last time time too”.  Her method is like a mind readers’ list of open ended questions posed as insights… and the effect is hypnotic.

So after 6 months of this charade she is still 23 and working in here and I’m still 29 and working out there.  I hand her two twenty dollar bills, air kiss and we continue on our respective way.

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Written by The Naked Apple

February 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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