There was a time before I began dating my girlfriend that we were just friends. (No, I wasn’t in the friend zone, just severely lacking in game.) We spent one Christmas Eve in the famed Stadium Nightclub in Washington, DC to bring in a friend’s birthday. We got there just before happy hour ends, dressed in our finest club attire. The club was sprinkled with creepy older men who had been there for several hours, bartenders, bouncers, strippers, and our friends posted at the bar. Dancers were warming up; the drinks started to catch up to us. Before we knew it, the club was full.
We snagged seats just in front of the main stage and a few feet from the bar. As the night went on, we took several trips to the ATM withdrawing copious amounts of money. You’re not allowed to photograph on the club floor, so we took brief moments to escape to the restroom for selfies and Snapchatting. Cat, my now girlfriend, was slapping buttocks and sliding endless dollars into the strings of stripper thongs while I meticulously fold a rough sum of $60 into tiny airplanes to throw onto the stage; it makes the dancers and the bouncers laugh. Our friends eventually left, but we were planted in the seats, enjoying more drinks and the live entertainment.
If you’ve ever been to the district, you know Stadium is one of the best in the area and possibly the country. It is the locale of many a rap song and sometimes the accompanying video. On that particular evening, the special was $2 Tuesdays. Any drinker of legal age knows that this is a godsend. At some point during the night one of their hostesses passed around an email list to stay up to date on various specials and events they would be hosting in the future. After several very cheap and equally strong drinks, being bombarded with emails doesn’t seem like a bad idea, especially if the emails involve scantily clad women.
In heterosexual relationships, men often praise their girlfriends for being willing to accompany them to the strip club. Though this is my first queer relationship, I would think that two women who like women would be frequent customers at such an establishment. Despite being labeled as a “Gentlemen’s Club,” it doesn’t exclude us ladies from partaking in the fun. Also, it doesn’t hurt that my girlfriend is the best strip club partner ever.
Fast forward to a year and change later I get an email from Stadium about speed dating. Like a good millennial, I took to Twitter to air out my slight confusion and amusement at this event. What kind of people will be in attendance? Will the strippers be dancing during the speed dates? How is one expected to maintain eye contact and focus if both activities occur simultaneously? Unfortunately, none of my questions were answered. Instead, I got a lot of replies asking why I was even on said email list advertising for events at a strip club. My guess is that people are under the impression that my outspoken Twitter feminism would make me shun such an establishment. Quite the contrary. Patronizing a strip club makes me an awesome feminist because I do it in support of my fellow woman…and I’m super gay. I give them lots of money, and they get to pay bills, buy presents, or whatever else people do with the money they’ve earned.
Since we’ve started dating, we haven’t visited as a couple. In the midst of travel plans for the year we’ve been apt to include such a trip in various cities. We’re thinking Magic City Monday’s when we visit Atlanta, King of Diamonds if we make it down to Miami, our favorite Stadium when I make my grand return to the District of Columbia. We’ll get drinks, prime seating, strike up hilarious conversations with the dancers and shot girls since we aren’t creepy old men. It’ll likely be about the true athleticism it takes to be a stripper; killer upper body strength to say the least.
Talks of the in-home stripper parties of our college days will arise. Various rules and regulations between states are frequent topics; Virginia might be the strictest place ever with it’s “no nudity” policy. Theories on what the customer base looks like in the middle of the day when the only special on the menu is based on chicken wings. We’ll definitely try to sneak in a few selfies while the bouncers aren’t looking. Our feminism will shine brightly into the night, defeating the patriarchy one dollar at a time.
When discussing feminism, it is important to note it’s differing intersections, whether they are race, sexual orientation, class, ability, and other facets of identity. We have to take into account how some methods may work for some and not for others. We have to support each other no matter what decisions we make, as long as they are for the betterment of us all. There is a negative connotation surrounding strip clubs and the people who work there. They are viewed as less than and we project sadness onto their situation.
Popular culture will give you the mindset that these women like being leered at; secretly they all hope for the possibility that one day a famed rapper will come in, sweep them off the stage and save them. Reality will show that like everyone else in this world, they’re just trying to get by. For whatever circumstance being an exotic dancer is the best means to do so. I can’t blame them for selling desire; they certainly make good money for it.
The nucleus of feminism is the right to choose for oneself and supporting others in their choices. Going to the strip club is an act of feminism. On one hand I get to support other women financially. On the other I get to socialize and bond with my girlfriend while she whispers various scenarios in my ear. A win-win situation, no matter how you list it.