Sometimes You Just Find Yourself Backstage with a Stripper

Against my better judgment, late last night on my way home from the bar, we stopped in at our local. So close to the E train; who can resist? It was the typical “just one drink” scenario. But the hot bartender convinced me to get a second one. “But a stripper is coming out soon,” he said.

Ah, yes. They always do strippers on Thursday nights at this place. I might as well check it out, eh?

The barman was mixing extra strong. He poured the vodka for about 10 minutes and then splashed some cranberry on top and poured on more vodka. If I’d been near an open flame, it would have exploded. Then he gave us tequila shots out of nowhere. It’s nice to know the bartenders, because they let us kiss them on the cheeks, and they’re generous with us, and sometimes we can convince them to take their shirts off, but needing to wake early to work the next day, it was not a good night to receive this brand of generosity.

Having just finished lip synching a South American torch song, a drag queen was talking to the audience rapidly and breathlessly in Spanish. I comprehended nothing until I caught the word “stripper.” She wound up and pitched his name … “Willy.”

Willy emerged from behind a velvety red curtain and unceremoniously climbed on top of a box that was standing where the pool table usually is. He wasn’t much of a dancer, but he sure was extraordinary to look at. Typically overmuscled for my taste, but a fine example of male perfection and perfect for mindless entertainment.

They never go all nude here, which is fine. It’s vulgar enough as it is to have a stuffed thong flopping over your head and a stranger’s feet much closer to your drink than you’d prefer as a narcissistic straight man tiptoes by gracelessly in construction boots. The guys usually tease you with a quick tug on their overimagined underwear. Maybe they’ll wag themselves like propellers as they convulse to the Latin dance music. But this guy didn’t need to tease. He didn’t need to strip. It was all visible, because he was wearing knee-length britches (I can’t think of a better word) that were skin tight, but very expandable, red — and made from something that resembled macrame. It was all there, fully inflated, barely held in and pressed against his abdomen by the … well, special trousers.

I just don’t know what to do with a stripper. I like to watch from a distance and not participate. To my way of thinking, they are for viewing. I can gratify their egos just fine without touching them. I don’t touch the artwork at the Met. Plus they’re greasy. No one takes home a stripper, except his girlfriend, who is usually ostentatiously stationed nearby with a couple of gal pals drinking things with paper umbrellas. She glares over her drink. “Just here to keep an eye on that man. He’s mine, bitch,” her narrowed, over-eyeshadowed eyes seem to say.

You can have him, missy.

He was very popular. To each his own, I say, definitely, but the pawing of the spectators makes them seem doubly unsexy in comparison to the thing they’re worshipping. Honestly, don’t the dancers prefer not to be groped? If I happen to find myself too close to one, I know he’ll hover over me, dangling his engorged man-flesh, waiting for a couple bucks and a fleeting brush of fingertips against pubic hair. But I’m embarrassed and annoyed, not turned on.

I had to piss like a racehorse. But to get to the restrooms, I would have to walk past the stripper, into the spotlight, across the “stage” and behind the red curtain. “Just go,” said Jeff. But I couldn’t walk past that.

But I had to. I just kept my eyes forward, swept past the stripper and found a couple of people waiting before me in the cramped “back stage” space. The pool table had been shoved back there. And with three grown men, there was barely enough room to turn around and open the door to the men’s room. Then the show ended, and suddenly the stripper was off the box and on his way toward us to change into something else before his next act.

Sharing the cramped space with us, he bent down to get his clothes from a bag. His macrame knickers were hanging loose, the tender globes of his soft, full butt peeking playfully over the waistband. (Sometimes I love overwriting!) It was like being in a locker room at the gym, but with attractive people.

And then his oiled ass was brushing against me.

“Excuse me,” he said shyly.

“Uh…” I said. “Sure … er, no problem.” My face flushed hot. I briefly considered skipping the bathroom. But soon he was bundled up in a heavy winter coat and a pair of warm-up pants. Apparently, he dresses as quickly as he undresses. He grabbed a pack of smokes from his pocket and hopped out back to light up.

Then someone stepped out of the men’s room, and I ducked in.


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