I went to university just off Tottenham Court Road in London, so Spearmint Rhino was a daily reality for me. As news broke in my final year of more and more students turning to stripping and prostitution for student loan top-ups, the leering events promoters outside became an even more sinister presence – and when our student union started handing out leaflets warning about the dangers of entering the sex industry, the whole issue felt epidemic. Needless to say, hysteria about students going into these jobs was great for the tabloids: the moral decline of youngsters, yadda yadda, being a favourite topic for all red-top-loving readers – but, of course, very little space was given to those driving demand for the industry, and exactly how normalised this all has become.
In case you didn’t know, LAD BANTER reigns supreme nowadays, and LAD BANTER ON YOUR STAG NIGHT equates to strip clubs. That used to be the case for only the seedier friendship groups in the past, but in the age of stag weekends in Shagaluf and week-long benders in a shared villa in Ibiza that invariably end with someone falling off a balcony, making sure your mate has his fill of half-naked plastic boobs thrust in his face by the saddest single mother you know is now a rite of passage. If you’re the psycho girlfriend in The Hangover, you’ve got a problem with it. Don’t want to be that bitch? Get on board or turn a blind eye, because no matter how much your fiancé blathered on about love and commitment when he proposed to you, if he’s going to become your husband, he’s going to have to get stimulated by a ‘barely legal’ babe in a plastic thong until he comes in his pants in public. Go on your spa weekend and deal with it.
This normalisation of the ‘strip club experience’ is just so awesome I could cry, y’know, from happiness. As we all know, women are either sluts or marriage material – and if they’re sluts, it’s totally OK to categorise them as masturbation aids because they deserve it. Anyway, they chose that job, didn’t they? In a totally fair society where they could have been paid equal amounts for jobs involving their brains, where the market has always made sure women get paid an equal amount to their male counterparts? Right? Right? What’s that tumbleweed doing here?
As is always wise in these situations, I turned to popular music from the nineties for answers. Perfect Gentleman by none other than the esteemed Wyclef Jean mentions that the stripper he falls in love with isn’t just a ‘ho’, as she ‘only works [there] to pay [her] tuition.’ She is then magically transformed into marriage material (if you remember rightly, they ‘e-e-elope to Me-e-e-exico’, and for some unfathomable reason, Wyclef still calls up his mum to tell her ‘I’m in love with this stripper, yo.’ Each to their own.) This is a rare case of a slut transferring into a wife – and, in even rarer cases usually confined to porn, wives turn into sluts – but usually, none of that shit is allowed. Sluts are sluts at twelve, fourteen, seventeen, as they strain against their Wonderbras to be allowed to pose in The Sun or serve hamburgers to groups of undersexed forty-year-olds at Hooters, while future wives sit at home and perfect their pedicure technique for their own cutesy hen nights.
This post invites ‘BUT WOMEN HIRE STRIPPERS TOO!’ hysteria, and so I may as well preemptively answer that one. Yes, the amount of women hiring pretend firefighters has gone up as stripping in general became totally normalised for pre-marriage bantz. However, you and I both know – yes, you at the back – that there’s nothing like a culture of male stripping that there is for the female version. Don’t give me the bullshit about lack of demand: please see all our earlier posts. At least 50% of the entire population, male and female, is vacuous and dead inside. But the culture that reflects this has been realised in a load of dank, depressing nightclubs where members of solely my own sex slide beguilingly up and down metal poles in their pants and collect money for masturbation dances from men who they would never bat an eyelid at in real life. And I’m an uptight asshole if I don’t sign up to this new and twisted version of the old adage ‘boys will be boys.’ Vom.
No, I don’t think it’s totally awesome that you can eat sushi off a naked woman the night before you take another one down the aisle. It’s depressing, it says nothing positive about your social values, and goddammit it’s unhygienic. So can we stop ‘upping the game’ of stag nights/weekends/holidays before the ‘be a pimp for a season’ holiday package in Amsterdam becomes a reality? Because if we’ve gone back to being sluts and wives, I’m relocating to an Amazonian tribe immediately – and my hens are free to join me.