Married Men

7 Feb

Most men who visit strip clubs are not monsters.

No, the vast majority of strip club patrons are relatively nice, normal men.  Many of them, as one can probably imagine, are older, married, and looking to inject a bit of variety into their lives (if only for a couple hours) in a manner devoid of any consequences.

“So, do your wives know you’re here?” I once flirtatiously asked a group of men who had visited my club a handful of times.  An identical, nondescript gold band encircled each one’s ring finger.

“Yes, they know we come here,” one of them answered.

“But…” another added, “they don’t have the most accurate idea of what goes on here.”

“What do you mean?”

His arm had been draped around my shoulder, and he loosened his hold on me.  “Stand up,” he instructed.  I complied.  “Now take three steps back.  Okay.  Now dance.”

I moved my hips from side to side for a few moments.  Then I nodded; I understood.

That’s what our wives think a lap dance is.”

Another customer, a “regular” of mine, seemed genuinely satisfied by his home life.  He and his wife were still happy together, he insisted.  The sex was still frequent and fulfilling.  He had two children, including a daughter who was my age.

His wife didn’t know that he frequented my club, that he came in nearly every week to feed me Jack-and-Cokes, flirt with me for a few hours, and give me a couple hundred dollars to take off my clothes.  He told her he was working late.  Or getting a drink with an old friend who was only in the city for the night.  Or at happy hour with colleagues.  It became an inside joke between us: “So, where did you tell your wife you are tonight?”

Once, he asked me whether I could see myself, in the indeterminate future, allowing my own husband to visit a strip club.  I was sitting on his lap, my small frame slightly contorting itself to accommodate the orb of his stomach, his round thighs.  His thick eyebrows knitted together, and I knew that his question had more to do with him – and his real marriage – than with me and my hypothetical one.

I placed my tiny, manicured hand on his larger, calloused one.  “Honestly?  I think your wife would much prefer you hang out here with me – with a nice, clean girl – for a few hours than be unfaithful to her.”

He nodded.  “Yeah.  You’re right.”

I realized immediately after I had spoken these words of assurance that I had needed to hear them as much as my regular did.  It was difficult not to feel a tinge of guilt when married customers admitted that their wives had little – or no – idea what kind of after-work entertainment their husbands were indulging in.  And later, when I was naked, I couldn’t help but wonder whether they still looked at their wives – their bodies ravaged by childbirth, nursing, and aging, I imagined – the way they were looking at me.

I knew I was probably overanalyzing things (as was often my tendency).  I am sure that most of the married men I danced for were still happy and in love with their wives, as my regular had claimed he was.  Most were probably satisfied with their home lives.  The few hours they spent with me each week couldn’t possibly have a negative effect on their decades-long marriages; and if I actually were promoting monogamy, all the better.

And anyway, the guilt was nothing a few vodka-cranberries couldn’t stifle.

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