Strip clubs treat men like cash machines

SAN MARCOS, Texas, (U-Wire) — For years, sex has been synonymous with our culture. It has infiltrated our lives on almost every level. It has been the concern of parent groups and has found a place in just about every field of entertainment.
It is just a fact that if you have an attractive person getting the attention of others, money can be made, and usually is.
The bars of today that promote strip entertainment are the epitome of this recipe. Attractive people displayed before a congregation of overstimulated, intoxicated patrons — depending on the place they work and the customers that show an interest — have the capacity to make good money.
When a person thinks of a strip club, usually their impression is not a very positive one. Today strip clubs are thought of as hives where the most grizzly and grotesque members of society gather to do their underhanded deeds and rape this country of all that is good and proper.
This is the image, and because of this image, most people believe that if anything good can come out of these kind of businesses, it will come with a price.
I had the opportunity to go to a strip club not too long ago, and I have to say right from the beginning the stereotypes about these places began to dissolve as soon as I walked through the door.
I know there are a lot of strip clubs across the country, and each has their own unique personality. But this one was not a place of back-alley sex acts with wasted beauties going through life in a state of drug-induced euphoria. The women we saw that night knew exactly what they wanted. They wanted to make money.
And there was a lot of money being passed around that night.
In fact, it was everywhere.
Hundreds of dollars moving from hand to hand and hand to G-string — small amounts of it, but collectively an enormous purse. The women wore it on their costumes like it was an accessory.
Money clips, attached to six-inch high heels, held twenties and fifties. The higher the tips, the more attention the women received — like it was an indication of who to watch.
And the money wasn’t only going to the dancers. One beer cost $4.50, and the cocktail waitresses did not make change. One mixed drink, six dollars.
Cash machines were located at the back of the establishment — all major credit cards accepted — and men used them.
Believe it or not, I had an agenda when I went to the strip club. I didn’t go there for the entertainment … well, I didn’t go there just for the entertainment.
I have always held the belief that strip clubs were not exploitative of women, and I wanted to see for myself if this was true or just some fiction my mind concocted to make me feel better about having an interest in such places. This was the first time I have ever been to a strip club.
Make no mistake, the women were not ugly. Their movements where meant to entice, provoke, catch the attention of the minds of the men at their feet and ultimately the wallets of cash in their observer’s back pocket.
They used their bodies as bait, and more often than not, their efforts were rewarded.
This was typical, and it was what I expected. It was the stuff that is discussed in polite talk about these places, when people do their bragging or bring to light their criticism.
But too often when people talk about the exploitation that goes along with strip clubs, they forget the fact that men are exploited just as much, if not more so than women.
Strip clubs prey on men’s stupidity. They market their goods knowing that their testosterone-saturated patrons will come with their money ready to lose, and come back.
They sell fantasies to the sad and depressed; they flaunt the stuff that men are told they should want, even possess, then give a sharp dose of reality at the end of the performance, when payment is demanded and a tip is implied.
The business of strip clubs is a very materialistic one. Perhaps this is why it fits so well into what our culture has created for itself.
Some women make it work for them, and maneuver past barriers and temptations, while others get lost and become a statistic.
But regardless of the handful of success stories the profession has manifested, the thought of mothers and daughters gravitating toward a living that requires them to dirty the good-girl image that is placed on the shoulders of every woman at one time or another, is not something people will ever be willing to accept with open arms.
Carlos M. Christianson’s column originally appeared in Friday’s Southwest Texas State University paper, the Daily University Star.