As part of our backbreaking field research for Gratuitous Male Objectification Week, our exhaustive tribute to Magic Mike, we spent an evening with some friendly, well-moisturized, nearly naked strippers at Hunk-A-Mania’s midtown outpost, Manhattan Men. “D,” a 33-year-old resident of Morningside Heights, told us his story.
I was really shy before I started doing this. My character has really blossomed here. I’m a manager now, and I’m one of the most senior guys here of the 30 of us. It’s encouraged a lot of positive growth for me in areas I never would have imagined. It’s ironic — I come from a very sexually conservative background, and this is the antithesis of how I was brought up, or what I would have ever conceived of doing. I love my job here, and I look forward to coming here every single week. It’s really cathartic. The guys and the women come together, and it’s this mutually positive thing.
I’m single and I don’t have any children, but one day, if I have a son, it’ll be mandatory that he do at least one year of male revue, just for his well-being and self-esteem. After a certain age, of course — like 21 or something — it would be great for him to do.
Yesterday, a mother and a daughter came here, and the daughter was 20 and the mother was maybe 45. The daughter went to a great university and the mother was a well-to-do single mom, and they were buying each other lap dances and having fun together. I thought it was so great. We live in this beautiful post-women’s-lib era where it’s possible for women to come here and feel good about it.
On paper, gay strip clubs and clubs like this aren’t that different — you’ve got guys who are dancing who are almost naked. But the psychology in a gay environment and the psychology in a straight environment with women who are about to get married — they’re really not comparable. The psychologies could not be any more different.
I’ll try to explain the psychology of a strip club for men versus one for women. When a man goes to a female strip club, a lot of times he just wants the proximity to an attractive woman, and it’s a sexual thing. A lot of women who come here aren’t in a sexual mood, but they’re in a silly mood and they want to share something that’s novel with their friends. Women think so differently from men, and it’s taken me my whole experience here to understand that psychology. I don’t understand it internally, but I understand it like, how a scientist understands it. Like the same way Desmond Morris takes notes on animal behavior.
Our show caters specifically to females. We make it fun and festive for women, most of whom are getting married or celebrating a birthday, and we incorporate the women into the show to make it an interactive experience. We readily break the fourth wall and that makes it more exciting for everyone. I’ve seen women come through the door being like, “I am going to hate this,” and they walk out like, “I had the best time.” Being able to do that is exhilarating, and really empowering. I love transmuting someone who’s just kind of blah into “Woo! I feel great and I feel hot.”
Some of us work in cubicles and have more conservative day jobs; I worked in finance for a long time. A lot of us don’t live really alternative lifestyles outside of here. And a lot of the women who come here work ten hours a day, and they’re single moms, or for whatever reason they just really want someone to care for them and give to them, and they get that here. They’re sponges for that kind of attention, so we get to give that, and it’s good, you know?