The Stripped Lid: Why strippers love the holidays

It’s that warm, special time of the year; good folk find it in their hearts to earmark a few dollars for donation to those in need. Though most approach with a shy, guilty comportment, as dollars land in that familiar spot, smiles overcome feelings of shame. Let all men (and women — c’mon gals, no better reason than the season to visit a strip club for the first time) feel merry, generous and distracted from the holidays as we give around the tip rail. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially for adult entertainers.

For the many years I worked as a nude dancer at our Louisville Déjà Vu, fall and winter always meant more money. I’ve often speculated about why men felt compelled to blow hundreds more dollars from October through January, and today I offer a few of my best guesses:

Oh! The joy that rose in my naked breast(s) when late autumn brought around the time change. As time falls back, the night comes on more quickly. As night comes on more quickly, men sneak into strip clubs hours earlier and still imagine feeling less conspicuous. I don’t know who Déjà Vu’s customers imagine is patrolling the parking lot, much less who they think they might sneak by under the parking lot lights, but that’s one of my theories.

Of course, women, too, can be found sneaking around as days shorten. They fondle. They push against flesh. They grab. They plot and scheme, fantasizing. They become overly wrought. Aroused even. As women stalk Oxmoor, Jefferson, St. Matthews and Greentree malls’ dens of inequity, men know they may have an extra hour or two after work or on a Saturday afternoon. Husbands, live-ins and boyfriends all know that their partners are driven to distraction.

These partners, however, may assume that their men are shopping, too — carefully choosing a perfect pair of diamond earrings from Zales, or snapping up one of the season’s limited Coach bags from Van Maur. Their loving men are carefully choosing a perfect pair, to be sure. They may also be snapping … at a pair of 5-inch stilettos, attached to a 5-foot-10 blonde in black vinyl thongs … who calls herself Miss Stevie … and carries a riding crop. However distracted from holiday shopping they become, Déjà Vu customers can be counted on to give generously to Summer, Austin and Satin.

A favorite regular (in the dressing room, we called him “Old Man Bill”) once mentioned that as a Christmas gift, he planned on having a dozen roses delivered to the club. Practical even in 4-inch, patent leather Charles David wedges, I cooed, “A dozen roses … how sweet. But I’ve got my eye on a new pair of Lowa hiking boots. How about the cash instead, baby doll? … I said baby doll!” (At 79 years old, Bill’s hearing suffered — especially during Metallica tracks.) The next weekend, during the first half of my Saturday night shift, a dozen red carnations arrived attached to Old Man Bill. And attached to each carnation was a bill. A $500 bill! Happy Holidays … to me!

While some Déjà Vu customers and dancers come up — so to speak — with seasonal sentiments like these, other men flee — their families. They come like refugees to the warm bosom of a different sort of kin: half-dressed women far removed from the hustle and bustle of discussions about Black Friday and the most recent episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Some customers’ pecuniary generosity, of course, derives from holiday spirit overcoming them, at least as much as an 18-year-old girl’s naked, snare-drum ass. We, the strippers, showgirls and dancers, oblige the season’s mood by stripping in Santa hats to Madonna’s “Santa Baby” or Annie Lennox’s “Winter Wonderland.” One among us even tied tiny red bows to her nipple rings. How could customers help but tip a bit more in favor of such loving gestures?

In December, I climbed the brass poles with a bit more purpose, as if they were Christmas trees waiting for their fleshy star to hang atop the stage, in a cigarette haze that could be compared with a wintry fog. Like Rudolph’s shiny nose, our … er … um, bright parts guided Santa’s way to bring gifts for all the good girls. And to all a good night. Making bank.

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