The Loudmouth Protestant

January 8, 2016

Reflections from the Strip Club: A Heady Night at King of Diamonds

FullSizeRenderA few days after my 35th birthday I went to King of Diamonds (KOD) my first real strip club experience–sorry little strip club on Bourbon Street with women dancing to Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me,” you don’t count. This trip to KOD was about a year and a half in the making as there were many attempts at going that failed. The first attempt occurred during a bachelorette weekend and failed because the concierge convinced us that there were better things to do. The second attempt happened during a close friend’s birthday weekend and failed because of the general exhaustion of the group. With this third attempt in view, nothing could stop me from being the one to conquer this beast. Despite having no real detailed plan for going because my friends sometimes like flying by the seats of their pants, I still had some hopes that on the last Monday in December I would end up in the nation’s largest, most popular black strip club. Fortunately the universe conspired with me and I made it. I didn’t suffer from sensory overload as some suggested I would, I didn’t try to save any of the women stripping, and I didn’t get bored quickly. So what DID I do? I had a good time but I think it was atypically so because I was in my head and analyzing everything I saw with my friends. So here are some of my thoughts from my night at KOD.

  1. “Women Who Strip” not “Strippers”: It occurred to me that few other women are called by what they do, and pejoratively so, more than strippers. There are the instances where people refer to Sheryl Sandberg as “CEO,” or Beyonce as a “pop star” but Cheryl and Beyonce are also “CEO Sheryl Sandberg” or “pop-star Beyonce Knowles.” They are known not only by what they do but who they are. A “stripper” on the other hand is usually just a “stripper.”  Part of that naming convention is that women who strip are usually not world-renowned–unless their name is Maliah–but the other part is that I’ve existed in a world where stripping is considered a morally questionable and problematic occupation. Among the ordinary people of the world, I’ve heard that strippers are “messed up,” morally depraved, desperate, and lacking in self-respect and dignity. Broadly construed in popular culture, the stripper is an icon in rap culture and someone T-Pain could–and has–fallen in love with, someone Usher doesn’t mind, or someone Drake respects. One night in a strip club made me question the way I refer to these women and think about what it would be to refer to these women first as women and then as their occupation. And maybe they don’t care either way, but my personal conviction is “person before occupation or ability” at all times.
  2. Do women who strip have a union? As I watched the women stripping I couldn’t help but be amazed and concerned. My concern wasn’t about the salvation of their souls but about their job security, their worker’s comp benefits, health insurance, the safety of hiking up and spinning around those poles all night long… Do these women have a national union that not only protects their right to do this type of work but ensures their safety and fair pay while doing it? I’ve read a little about regional union in places such as San Francisco but it doesn’t appear that there is an AFL-CIO-level union for women who strip in America. Maybe someone can make that happen…
  3. There is a light skin/dark skin dichotomy. An early observation that my friends and I made was that there was a difference between the performance of light-skinned women versus darker-skinned women. What we noticed is the light and fair-skinned women exhausted no energy during their performance. They did no tricks, waited for patrons to approach them, and sometimes looked disinterested in being there altogether. On the other hand, the dark-skinned women performed like the rent/mortgage was due after they left the stage. They had all the tricks and twerked exceedingly well. This claim worked across the board with the exception of maybe one woman per group. (Shout outs to Mini (sp?) for being the real MVP that night!) This was fascinating as I assumed every woman in the club would be working like their lives depended on it, but apparently that wasn’t the case. I talked to a good friend and he said, “The strip club operates the same way the regular world does. Pretty people can get by on looks.” So the strip club mirrors the world, huh? I wonder how many other ways I could draw the analogy out.
  4. Women who strip are gifted. Now on to something a little bit lighter. Women who strip are gifted. Yeah I said, “gifted.” I have no reason to mince my words here. I watched those women do things that the average, and even some above average women, could never do while naked. It takes a great deal of confidence not only to be naked in front of strangers but to perform compelling routines to great effect. (It also takes great confidence to assume that your vagina smells incredible after all that work, good enough for you to shove it in someone’s face after you’ve finished sliding up the same pole as the woman before you.) Nevertheless, I say “perform” and not “dance” because stripping is a performance of the sexual. It’s a performance of projected ideas of the sexual and sensual by women attuned to those ideas through their observations of what men want and sometimes what they need. Their performances ranged from being docile “lady in the sheets” to aggressive “freak in the streets.” There was something for everyone in the strip club performance.
  5. IMG_1170I’m low-key scared of women who strip. So about my personal experience at the strip club…I will confess that I was somewhat scared of the women. My friends and I were sitting at the bar which was close enough to watch the women strip on the stage and really close to the women who were cruising for lap dances and VIP room action. Early in the night I broke a $20 into $1 bills so that I could tip the women. I was excited about my $18–because the club charges a 10% fee to break large bills–and I felt ready to tip women. I saw plenty that was worth “making it rain” but I never got up the nerve to leave my bar stool to leave a tip on the stage. I was scared that someone would find out I was there celebrating my birthday and then bring me up on the stage for a dance or put my face in their crotch or something else. For the women roaming I tried not to make eye contact in case they thought I was choosing that night and decided I was ready to be relieved of all my money. I’ll also admit that the thoughts of objectification were running through my head as I struggled with enjoying what I was seeing but not wanting to objectify women–even though I believe these women were exercising agency not being objectified. These strains of thought run deep and even if I’m able to articulate a progressive to liberal view of women who strip, deep down the problem still exists. As the kids say, “There are levels to this thing.” As you can see I was clearly in the strip club with a lot of preconceived notions about how it works and a lot of fear that these women were predators and not just performers looking to put on the best show for all patrons. So what did I do with all those $1 bills? I spent it at an IHOP. Don’t worry, I realize how ridiculous I am for this.
  6. I would do it all over again… You’ll be surprised to know that I would do this all over again. While I spent way too much time in my head during this time in the strip club I think it was a good primer for future visits. I reserve no official judgement for women who strip–even if subconsciously I’m still showing the signs of my prior judgement. I respect it as a job a woman takes up like any other, and I enjoy watching it like a would enjoy any other performing art. As someone with interest in embodiment and dancing, watching a woman’s strip performance is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. Just like dancing, stripping requires a strong core and control of the body. There is similar precision and discipline that the woman who strips must exercise in order to deliver the best possible performance. I respect that and would definitely go again to see it. So, who knows, I might write another one of these reflections in a few months.
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May 25, 2010

“Nothin’ On You” Girl vs. the Proverbs 31 Woman

I’m the whole package because Jesus of Nazareth.

I stay prayed up so nothing’s ever tragic.

I’m made by the creator, there is none greater.

I’m not trying to fool you, I’m just trying to school you.

If you want my number, better dial His first and go seek that water that can quench any thirst.

Yeah you’re fine and you seem really sweet, but I’m looking for a man who will practice what He preached.

My Remix of  B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You”

Yeah I know, you probably came here really excited to know that there is a remix to B.O.B’s hit song “Nothin’ on You” and then were crestfallen to see it’s nothin’ you ever heard of. Sorry for deceiving you. I was compelled to write this remix after I heard the song and was caught up singing it for a whole day. While it is true that I AM “the whole package, plus I pay my taxes”, I considered that I don’t want to sell myself on that alone and there is more that speaks deeply to who I am. It’s easy to convince someone that they should be with you because you are beautiful, have a job, are charming, funny, etc. But, beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive, so says a scripture most of us are familiar with. 

I once had a man tell me that when he heard Proverbs 31 read in a church service, it immediately made him think of me. He read Proverbs 31:30 to me, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Being that Proverbs 31 woman is what most woman desire to be, but it’s quite another thing for someone else to identify the Proverbs 31 woman in you. At the moment he told me this I was speechless because before that I was too used to people being attracted to what their eyes saw and not what their spirit discerned about me.  It was largely one of the reasons why I fell so hard for that person, because he didn’t dwell on my outward appearance, he focused himself–as much as he could–on my inner woman.

As I write this I’m reminded that I’d rather someone see my heart, God’s heart and spirit within me, than my outward appearance. Admittedly, I do my fair share of  flaunting my beauty and charm, it’s human nature. But what I really desire is the person who can look past that and see more to me. That is what creates long-lasting, enduring love. I desire to be the person who doesn’t depend on her looks to get her by, but her character, her integrity, her faith, her heart, His spirit. That is attractive to me. I want and need to be more of the woman Peter spoke of when he said, “Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing, rather let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” I think we should all hope and pray to be the Proverbs 31 and the woman whose beauty is lasting because of a gentle and quiet spirit.

So, that’s my prayer, that myself and every other woman I know and don’t know would focus not just on being the “Nothin’ On You” girl, but the Proverbs 31 and the 1 Peter 3:3-4 woman.

November 15, 2007

Can’t a Girl Have Standards?

So as you all know I signed myself up for Crazy Blind Date, a site that matches people up based on arbitrary questions and basics of dating requirements and texts you on the day of your date to tell you where to meet your boy–or girl–wonder. It’s been about a week now since I signed up and much to my surprise, I got an e-mail yesterday saying they don’t have a date for me. Well, I guess I wasn’t that surprised because I was told earlier on that having too many restrictions would ensure I didn’t get a date. But what gives?

You see, like many women of my stature, I have standards and I don’t want to call them high for fear of sounding like a witch, but I guess you call a spade a spade. But at the most basic level that Crazy Blind Date matches people up, they consider my standards too high to get a date on their clock.

I remember when I first encountered this problem. It was when they were asking me the requirements of my ideal date, so I was honest and said they need to above a certain height, be a certain ethnicity, be a Christian and maybe one other selection which I don’t remember now. Somehow they consider my having 3-4 basic requirements of a man too restrictive. Gee, had they given me even more questions to answer they might have just kicked me off the site completely for being insane. So who exactly will this system work for?

Stay tuned folks…

October 12, 2007

The Questions…

Filed under: life,men,questions,randomness,relationships,women — nickisym @ 4:50 pm
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One of my favorite songs from the artist formerly known as Common Sense is “Questions.” It is off of “Like Water For Chocolate.” I am pretty inquisitive person so I love the concept of questions–in songs or in real life.

This morning, as I was peaking around on a upcoming social networking site and a member posted the following as part of his profile:

5 Questions Most Feared By Men:

1. What are you thinking about?
2. Do you love me?
3. Do I look fat in this?
4. Do you think she is prettier than me?
5. What would you do if I died?

I laughed for a while, then I pondered and then I agreed because I know these are the questions that guys don’t like considering I’ve asked at least one of them at one point in my life–I’ll never tell which one.  But then I wondered, “What are the five questions most feared by women?” I’ve been drawing a blank ever since and feel like I am losing a grip on my womanhood–not really on the latter. I pondered it with another colleague who came up with these:

  1. Is it true you pick guys based on personality vs. looks?
  2. How many people did you sleep with?
  3. Are you still a virgin?
  4. Do you think that guy is hotter than me?
  5. Am I your one true love?
  6. Were you checking that guy out?
  7. Why did you break up with your first boyfriend?

Honestly I am not stoked by any of these questions and would answer them all truthfully and without hesitation. So I am searching for those heart-wrenching questions. I am a woman and I can’t even figure them out. The one that I did come up with was:

1. Are you still in love or do you think about your ex?

So what do you think the question are? Do share.

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