Friday, December 11, 2009

Princesses and White Knights In our Midst...At the Strip Club

This past summer, I happened to be in a Spearmint Rhino club (which is a strip club for all of you who might not know) in the Los Angeles area for a bachelorette party, and the social work part of me got to thinking.

Well, firstly, I needed to really put my morals and ethics in check.

I for one am of the point of view that if you can use the system to benefit you, then more power to you.  If it's the best way for you to make money, because of school, family, whatever, then so be it.  But there is definitely a part of me that recognizes that it is unfortunate that stripping is the best and fastest way for these women to make money, that it could be their only option, and that the system that created it was based on the male need to get off.

Secondly, for some strange reason, I got to thinking about their costumes, and was curious about whether they bought it elsewhere or made it themselves.  I mean, what a craft!  That's some sewing skills that they could really put to good use somewhere.

But, as I was saying, the social work part of me got to thinking.  There were moments, when I was chatting with some of the exotic dancers, that I was trying to build up and be really excited about their day time lives.  Perhaps even trying to empower them to chose a different avenue.  Though, goodness, I could only imagine how empowering it is to be able to live off of your sexuality.

Spearmint Rhino

Then my attention turned to the guys who were at the club.

Now, clearly, I understand the need to get off.  That makes a lot of sense...though it seems much more expensive than downloading porn.  But...isn't that really just it?  There must be more than just getting off...right?

From a stripper's point of view, strip clubs satisfy a man's unmet emotional need, specifically to be admired.  From a man's point of view I found on, men go to strip clubs because it makes him feel like the shiznit, as the "short, fat, balding guys can turn down statuesque, exotic beauties."  So, from what I'm understanding from the two points of view, it seems that men go to strip clubs so that they can be "wanted" but have control over the situation.

Obviously, I had a lot of time to really think about this.  I even ended up going back to the club for another event!  Hitting the strip club twice in one week?  That was definitely a first for me!

As I sat there, this time really watching the men, I started thinking about the White Knight Syndrome.  Basically, to be a White Knight, you feel that you are able to "save" or "change" or "fix" another person or their situation.

Alice in Wonderland (1985)

Don't get me wrong, I think women try to be the White Knight just as well, but they seem to fall more in the Princess category, staying relatively passive and just wishing for happily every after.  I feel like it's just obligatory and redundant to post a link about that...but here it is anyway.

But back to the strippers and the men who pay for them.  Part of me wondered if there was a little part of the men that hoped to be a stripper's White Knight.  After he chooses who will be his "lady," he will show her how much money he has, thus proving that he can "save" her from such a life.

On a level, I feel like the White Knight Syndrome plays nicely with the two points of view about why men hit the strip clubs.  It could explain why they keep coming back, meeting with the same girl, and feeling some ownership over her and her happiness.  However, the strip club just happens to be a very specific and reliable example for this concept.

For now, I leave you with Wyclef Jean's Perfect Gentleman (note how he uses a horse to take his lady out of the club at the very end):

to be continued...what happens when "royalty" meets reality...

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