I love gentlemen’s clubs. If you’ve been following my blog, CJAsher.com, this should come as no surprise to you. My friends, for the most part, don’t seem to enjoy the gentlemen’s club scene as much as I do, usually for one of several reasons: they’re not into the scene, they’re in a relationship but their significant other won’t let them or isn’t into the scene themselves as well as that they can’t afford it (let’s not kid ourselves, after the cover charge and alcohol you’ll still need money for tips and dances to properly enjoy yourself).
Despite my sincerest good intentions to encourage *cough nag cough* my friends to join me, it’s a rare opportunity when I can haul one of them along for some company between the time spent conversing with the dancers. One night not too long ago, after a social event I had attended was over, I found myself in downtown Philadelphia without any other plans for the evening. I gave my good friend Taffy, an outgoing 30-something year old with a long-time boyfriend, a ring to see if she was free and wanted to hang out. She did have plans, a friend’s birthday party, and invited me along. Unfortunately, those plans fell apart pretty quickly as the “birthday party” turned out to be a bar crawl in South Philly. Neither of us wanting to wait around in a crowded bar to meet up with the group, we decided to bail and settled for some drinks and a bite at a nearby outdoor restaurant.
As I had done several times before, I had asked *cough nagged cough* Taffy about checking out Club Risqué, one of the more upscale gentlemen’s clubs in the area, with me. This time, however, she said (being the good girlfriend that she is) that I should ask her boyfriend if it was okay for her to go with me. After waking him up from a sound sleep, Taffy puts me on with him and I proceed to ask him if I may take his girlfriend to a gentlemen’s club… to which he, groggy and half awake, mumbled something like “yeah, sure… I don’t care.” (Later on that week, Taffy would tell me that she yelled at her boyfriend, “I put you on the phone so you would tell him no,” to which he replied: “why didn’t YOU just tell him no?” Love it!).
Despite some continued apprehension and my holding her to her promise to go if her boyfriend said it was okay, a few minutes later Taffy and I were in an Uber car headed to the club. I made two promises to Taffy on our way over: that I’d cover her costs for the evening and that if she didn’t enjoy herself after a few minutes we would leave, no questions asked. Oh, and a third promise, that I wouldn’t leave her side, which of course I had to break when I needed to use the ATM (located past the interior club doors) to pay for our covers, a fact she was quick to point out later that night.
“My initial reaction was ‘nope, let’s go,’ says Taffy. “I pretty much was ready to go as soon as we got in. It was so overwhelming and I was very much aware that I was most likely the only woman who wasn’t a dancer or bartender in there. I felt like people were staring and it set off my anxiety. Then we sat down at the bar and I look up and this one dancer is hanging off the pole in a manner that defied physics and I thought, ‘Okay, that’s impressive. How is she doing that?’ I didn’t realize how athletic and artistic it was. So many times I was just in awe of some of the things the dancers did, such as hanging the way they did and each dancer having their own way of showing off their abilities.”
After an awkward first half-hour or so of Taffy trying to enjoy herself, she slowly warmed up to the dancers, who were friendly for the most part as they rounded the bar for tips after their dances but didn’t quite know how to react to a female patron. “I was enjoying myself to a degree, but I felt out of place. I stuck out like a sore thumb, and I knew it. I definitely picked up on the fact that some of the dancers were really uncomfortable with me, but others stopped and chatted and a couple of them asked to give my own girls a squeeze over my dress. Apparently, I have mesmerizing mammaries…”
Fortunately (for both Taffy and I), it wasn’t long before Ginger, one of my favorite dancers at the club and one who enjoys the female patrons as much as the male ones, came over to join us. Ginger truly made our evening: she was great company for Taffy, which allowed me to enjoy the company of some of the other dancers. “I’d have to say Ginger was my favorite dancer…,” Taffy recalls, “I truly appreciated her taking the time to talk with me, walking me through how her club worked and for making me feel comfortable in a situation that was way out of my comfort zone.” It didn’t take much to convince Taffy, who was really enjoying herself after a couple of glasses of sparkling wine, to go back for a couch dance. “My favorite memory (of the evening) was during the first lap dance, when I wasn’t exactly sure where I was supposed to look, because I felt awkward looking at the boobies in my face. At one point I looked up and some guy was just standing there staring at us. I mentioned it to Ginger, at which point she turned around and got really into it. The guy was ushered away and walked right into the pillar. I guess it was the first time he saw a woman getting a lap dance (laughs).”
The only downside to the evening was when another customer, who was convinced that Taffy was a dancer at the club, tried a couple of times to get her to join her to join him and his bachelor party friends in the party room as she was walking back from her couch dance with Ginger. Ginger, adept at dealing with the eclectic mix of gentlemen’s club patrons that she often encountered, managed to blow this guy off as they both returned to join me at the bar. (Side note: Ladies, if you are ever made to feel uncomfortable in a gentlemen’s club by another patron, ALWAYS inform one of the bouncers or managers. They are trained to handle unruly or disrespectful patrons, which, unfortunately, you’ll occasionally encounter at many different types of bars and nightclubs.)
As the evening (and the number of Taffy’s glasses of sparkling wine) progressed, Taffy was enjoying herself enough so that I could enjoy a couple of couch dances of my own. During my second dance, back in the couch dance room with one of the Club Risqué Calendar Girls (whose name I can’t recall), Taffy texts me with: “Where are you? I’m out of money!” meaning the stack of dollar bills I had given her to tip the dancers was now gone. Seeing as it was now around 1:00 in the morning and Taffy was slightly intoxicated (and I didn’t feel like hitting the ATM again), I figured it was time for us to say our goodbyes to our new friends at the club and Uber our way over to Pat’s King of Steaks for a cheesesteak to cap off our evening.
All-in-all Taffy did enjoy herself* and we’ve visited a couple of gentlemen’s clubs in the Philadelphia area since our first trip to Club Risqué. As for what advice she would give to other women considering patronizing a gentlemen’s club, “I’d advise women interested in going to a club for the first time to not go solo. If you’re with a group of ladies who have never been, do some research about the club you are going to or club behavior in general, and ask the guys in your life if they have any recommendations, though they probably won’t admit it (laughs). Or just ask C.J. to go with you.”
*Results not typical. Exercise extreme caution before recommending a female friend/girlfriend/wife to join you at a gentlemen’s club, as unexpected side-effects may include eardrum damage, facial bruising, genital trauma and long-term relationship issues.