Let us now return to the tiresome world of the lap dance.* I know, I know. I’m sorry, but it has to be done, because last Election Day in the enlightened city of Seattle, a referendum** prohibiting, among other things, bodily contact between johns and strippers was seen swirling down the Crapper of Women’s Dignity, waving a bleak farewell with its feeble, shackled hand, while the town’s “open-minded” Tony Sopranos and their “liberal” butt-boys threw a big we’re-in-the-money penis party.
Seattle’s mayor and city council thought Referendum 1 was a good idea; their guiding principle emerged from the sound reasoning that strip clubs, which are directly related to elevated crime rates, might buzz off if skulking pornsick “gentlemen” could no longer use them as repositories for their personal moistness.***
Stupid, naÃ¯ve city government.
The portion of the Referendum 1 to which the good townsfolk most strenuously objected was a restriction called the “4-Foot Rule”. This regulation would have kept strippers from coming within groping distance of their clients (although the knuckledraggers, with their longer arms, might still have had a shot), thus putting the kibosh on, as one journalist so wistfully put it, “strippers overflowing from their lingerie … [leading] men by the hand to dark booths for a dance.” But in Seattle, the city famous for duping otherwise right-thinking Americans into accepting burnt coffee as a taste treat and flannel as a fashion statement, the lap dance is apparently central to the voters’ sense of what it means to be a Seattlian (Seattlite?). According to the referendum’s vociferous opponents, the lap dance is no mere gentlemen’s entertainment. No. The lap dance is the physical expression of Jeffersonian political idealism. It is what our boys are fighting for. It is woven into the very fabric of Old Glory.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the aforementioned vociferous opponents were in fact a contingent of Seattle strip club owners/organized crime enthusiasts — i.e. men who sell women for a living — who spent almost a million smackeroos**** on their campaign. Their tireless efforts successfully persuaded voters (not that the average enflanneled yay-hoo needs much persuasion to view strip clubs as elemental to American dudeship) that a male groin without 24-hour access to abused, degraded, naked women constitutes a travesty so egregious that it must be construed as nothing less than an infringement on the right to free speech.
I’m not joking! Free speech! Ha-ho! That’s a hot one. In Seattle you can do whatever you want as long as you do it to a woman in a strip club and you call it “speech”.
The suggestion that there be maintained a distance of four feet between the fully-clothed bonerized pervs and the naked women they enjoy degrading caused an uproar so frenzied that nobody in Seattle had the slightest idea that there was anything else on the ballot. God forbid, yawped the gangster-strip-club-owning pillars of Seattle society, that city government should naggingly “nanny” the citizenry by casting the legislative stink-eye on the sexyfun of feeling up a teen crack addict in some dank, caliginous hell-hole. Strip clubs are awesome!
The awesomeness of strip clubs is a topic irresistible to the sort of male blogger who uses the word “awesome.” Thus there ensued some lame hipster bloviating by Dan Savage fanboy James at Seattlest (what Seattle blamer Susan calls “a kind of faux-brash, free-thinking, culture-loving local blog” that has been “braying off and on for months about the scarcity of good strip clubs in our city”). Quoth James, using the Royal We that we find so tiresome in our corporate proto-journalisto bloggers, “We’re voting no on Ref. 1 because we want the occasional lap dance. They’re sexy! They’re fun! If our wife is GGG, what’s it to [pro-referendum journalist Susan] Paynter, the cops, the local bluenoses, or [Seattle mayor] Greg Nickels?”
Not surprisingly, James appears not to have considered that strippers are sentient beings. But then a stripper wrote in to Seattlest to complain about James’ dudely entitled idea of sexyfun, and James posted it.
“Strippers,” she wrote, “really hate the rise in lapdances and private room experiences that johns like you are increasingly demanding from us to have your ‘fun’. If imposing a four-foot rule keeps me from having one more asshole lick me, bite me, jam his fingers into me, rip my costume or otherwise act like an entitled fuckface, then four-foot rule it is. Asking you little boys nicely to stop hasn’t been working, and the last time I complained the manager laughed in my face and said, ‘You don’t have to work here, lots of girls will be happy to take a finger up the ass for what you’re getting paid.’”
James lost no time in conducting an email interview with his anonymous penpal in which she failed, alas, to effuse sufficient enthusiasm for her work. The resulting comments are unanimously venomous and fall into two categories:
â€¢ Shut-The-Fuck-Up-You-Stupid-Whore: “You make 100 to 300 bucks an hour? I think you should shut the fuck up and ride the dick like a good girl, or quit the business and go legit making far less. Either way, shut the fuck up” (a sub-category is Who-Cares-If-You-Were-Abused-As-A-Child-Shut-The-Fuck-Up).
â€¢ She-Is-Obviously-Not-A-Real-Stripper-Because-Real-Strippers-Love-Being-Groped: “So, the consensus on Fark (fark.com) is that this interview has never taken place, the interviewee (lol) is not a stripper but a man-hating feminist.”
In other words, men are entitled to abuse and degrade women as long as they pay them, and any sex worker who says different is a stinking feminist impostor.
What does all of this have to do with the myth of sexual repression I promised to expound on yesterday? Nothing. It turns out I already covered that one.
* “Lap dance” are words I type with jaundiced fingers, which I do whenever benign euphemism is popularly substituted for accurate description, which transpires whenever a grim truth interferes with romantic fantasy.
** Say, what’s the difference between a referendum, a measure, and an initiative, anyway? Where does it fit in with amendments and propositions? And why do they call that flying saucer tourist trap thing a “needle”?
*** Naturally, from what I can tell, city government was more concerned with sticking it to the strip club mafia than with the humanitarian implications of women working these shit jobs under these shit conditions.
**** Smackeroos: the 20th century working class term for “dollars,” according to gun moll-with-a-heart-o-gold Barbara Stanwyck in Howard Hawks’ 1941 Ball of Fire, a film also featuring famed pothead drummer Gene Krupa playing a tiny box of matches. That’s right, lately I do nothing but watch Turner Classic Movies, with the result that my formerly articulate craw is now choked with black-and-white Hollywood colloquialisms such as “Say, what’s the big idea, Mac?”