06 november 2018

Deflowering my Boyfriend’s Strip Club Virginity

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If Amsterdam has taught me anything in the past few months, it’s that the best way to start off a romantic relationship is to take your new beau to a seedy bar in the heart of the Red Light District and watch extremely naked women in an exceptionally confined space give lap dances to excruciatingly lonely men.

Now, as a feminist in this new sphere of the liberal world, I feel that much of my generation has moved beyond regarding stripping/exotic dancing as a strictly abhorrent profession. As such, I believe that I’m not the only one who feels the almost innate desire to visit a strip club myself; if not for my own enjoyment, then to act as an ally for the girls dancing. Surprisingly, unlike your average twenty-something year old hetero male, my boyfriend has never been to a single strip club (a boy who hasn’t spent his eighteenth birthday throwing his allowance at a bikini-clad girl in an inevitably sleazy club?! What a find!). So, when the opportunity to visit a bar/club in the infamous district of sex presented itself in a decidedly very Dutch way, he and I leapt at the chance.

Some of the girls working made the best of the obscure crowd

Following an evening of overwhelmingly hipster and overpriced snacks at de Foodhallen, my boyfriend, friend, and I struck a peculiar connection with a Dutch native who claimed she visited the Red Light’s strip clubs often (even befriending the girls) and loved to show people around. After all, everyone knows you’ll get in on a discounted or free cover if you let the native “talk Dutch” to the bouncer — right? Interestingly, I’ve found that it’s of typical Dutch fashion to take us tourists under their wing and play the role of the host to such perfection that it’s borderline suspect (I was happy for the free wine and 2 AM pasta, but my boyfriend was a little more suspicious that we were being drugged with every offering. You heard it here first kids, go to Amsterdam and “Stranger Danger” is rendered irrelevant!).

When she finally took us to the club, we were taken aback by the stark differences presented against our expectations of American strip clubs. The scene was intimate in every sense of the word. Mind you that the time was nearly 3 am, and the crowd was still lively and uncomfortably diverse. Young men in their twenties were drinking casual beers, not even glancing at the naked women asking them to buy a lap dance; absurdly awkward men were receiving said lap dances with their girlfriends standing next to them; and very old men were doing everything they could to buy those lap dances. Some of the girls working made the best of the obscure crowd, laughing with each other and dancing together as if to provide mutual emotional support. Others were eminently disconnected, their eyes glazing over and looking beyond the bar. The contrast between their presentation was as palpable as the room’s collective discomfort; meaning, you could snap that sh** like a G-string.

Taking your boyfriend to his first strip club teaches you three things: first, that there is both a mutual respect and trust in your relationship; second, that the concept of strip clubs is still sad no matter how much his friends may hype them up; and third, that it might not be that weird for him to buy you a lap dance because subversion is key. Surprise! Sexuality is more fluid than meets the naked eye (and yes, that is a pun)!

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