The Reluctant Bachelorette (#58)
The Hollywood Men

I’m not a fan of strip clubs. The places called “XXX” and “Exotic Dancer” in Hollywood and near Los Angeles International Airport are dark holes, reeking of desperation. There are a few bachelor parties that wander in on Friday nights, but for the most part, the clientele consists of socially awkward men. In fact, the LAX clubs do a nice business thanks to the lunch breaks of engineers in El Segundo’s aerospace/ defense companies. (Gotta wonder who signs off on THOSE security clearances.) These furtive, desperate men trade money to look at the naked female bodies. The naked women are often equally desperate, driven from homes where they were molested or sexually assaulted. Many are convinced their only worth lies in their bodies.

I get the same desperate vibe from Las Vegas Casinos. I like casinos as much as I like strip clubs.

And while my depressing back story for strippers isn’t always true, I‘ve never seen a cheerful, brightly lit strip club. You know there are rats and cockroaches lurking everywhere. Especially in the seats up front.

For my bachelorette party, I envisioned a night out dancing, perhaps at a big country-western bar. My friend JM was in charge, and she was an amazing line dancer — complete with boots and hat. Every Saturday night that JM and I went country-western dancing, we saw a bride-to-be with a white veil, partying with her posse. The bachelorette always had a partner, a drink, and a great time. I envisioned the same evening for myself, minus all the shots of tequila.

Since JM was swamped at work, my friend EO offered to plan the party. JM told her to go for it. They decided to keep the details a “surprise” from the bachelorette, probably because they knew this particular bachelorette would balk.

They put me in a car, blindfolded me, and let me out at a male strip club called The Hollywood Men. Just like I never wanted. But the tickets were bought, the veil was on my head, and my friends were super excited. So I fixed a smile over my gritted teeth and went along for the ride.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. The club was windowless, yes, but it wasn’t like regular strip clubs, which are cloaked in the same darkness as decrepit movie palaces filled with masturbating men in trench coats. This club was dark in the way of a Broadway theater: large, roomy, and finished with a stage and curtains.  The atmosphere was anticipatory, rather than ashamed — it was like a One Direction concert, just minutes before the band takes the stage. An audience of young women waited for their chance to scream until your eardrums popped.

And scream they did, the second the men took the stage. Fireman #1 & Fireman #2 stripped down past their suspenders while rescuing a salivating woman on a stretcher. Mr. Policeman took a delighted audience member into custody. And Mr. Vampire? Well, he was a Robert Pattison lookalike in the face, but his bod put Pattison’s to shame. He stuck the girl sitting next to us in a coffin for his act and gyrated all over her. Her reaction when she left the stage? “OMG! He picked me! I DIED!”

How appropriate, given the whole coffin thing.

There was a group dance where the men stripped all the way down for one lucky (?) lady.

This was followed by a fake orgasm contest for two audience members, probably to give the guys time to rest. They picked the two bachelorettes in attendance. I got up on stage and did my best homage to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I won.  Of course.

Actually, I probably won because as soon as my competitor finished, I was nice enough to grab the mike and yell, “She sounds more like she’s having a baby than an orgasm!”  (I make no apologies. It was true. Also, I hate to lose anything, even a ridiculous contest held in a place I never wanted to be. Yeah, I have more issues than most people. Don’t think so?  Let’s compare, and I will crush you… But back to my post.)

My snark netted me photo-op with all the guys on stage. Which I didn’t want, and couldn’t take seriously. In my photo, I’m sitting on the lap of Fireman #1, surrounded by hunky, nearly naked guys with smoldering eyes.

My fingers are making bunny ears over Fireman #1’s head.

At the end of the show, the performers came out into the audience and lap danced for money. I did not want a lap dance.  My friends waved a ridiculous number of bills over my head.

Fireman#2, dripping oil, straddled me and my chair. The MC reminded us sternly that we weren’t allowed to touch the dancers.

“No problem!” I yelled, clutching both hands together behind the chair. Oil is a bitch to get out of cloth.  I wished I’d put some napkins on my lap.

The dancers, on the other hand, could do whatever they wanted to the women. I got my head tipped back by my hair, which I guess made a sexier picture and threw the rest of the women into a frenzy.

While Fireman #2 oiled my lap with his butt, he asked all kinds of friendly questions: “So, when are you getting married?”

Me: “Next week.

Fireman#2: “Oh, where’s the wedding?”

Me: “New Hampshire.”

Fireman #2 gave a last body roll before moving on: “New England in the fall! Gorgeous!”

Me: “JM, stop waving money!”

JM: “No way!  Mr. Cop!  OVER HERE!”

Me: “Then at least give me your drink napkins!”

Too late. Mr. Policeman was already on my lap. In a thong. With a holster.  Both were also covered in oil.

Mr. Policeman thrust his pelvis way too close to my face. I recoiled.

Mr. Policeman: “You might wanna tip your head back.”

I looked at the ceiling. Mr. Policeman thrust away and asked, “So, what does your dress look like?”

Me: “Old-fashioned, with a lace up back.”

Mr. Policeman: “Oooo, a corset! Nice!”

Next up was Mr. Vampire. A thong, and a cape. I said an advanced farewell to my  my jeans and looked up at the ceiling.

Mr. Vampire tipped my head back toward his. “No, you must look deep into my eyes…”

I raised an eyebrow and gave him a look.

Mr. Vampire: “Never mind, tip that head back, honey.”

I laughed and obliged.

Mr. Vampire slithered around my lap and whispered, “So what’s the lucky guy like?”

Me: “He can cook, he can dance, and he’s Chinese-American.”

Mr. Vampire: “Lucky you! Those Asians have the best skin!”

Mr. Vampire covered me in his cape, pretended to bite my neck, and went off to titillate the other bachelorette. I snatched all the singles out of my friends’ hands and told them I didn’t want any more lap dances.

OE pouted: “Aw, why not?!”

Me: “It’s just not my thing.”

JM: “But you guys looked like you were having so much fun, whispering and laughing!”

Me: “Oohhhh, I’m pretty sure this isn’t exactly their thing, either. Though they are excellent actors.”

If the club wanted their name to be accurate, it would be called WEST* Hollywood Men.

Hollywoodmen 2

*West Hollywood is a very loud, proud, and gay community in Los Angeles.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

32 thoughts on “The Reluctant Bachelorette (#58)”

  1. I’ve never been into a strip club or bar or the like at all because I don’t see the whole point in it…but what you described sounded like quite a show. I often wonder what happens in rehearsals for these kinds of performances. For a moment there, when you were asked to get your head tipped back, I was worried you that you might snap your neck 😀

    It sounds like they make quite a bit from tipping?

    1. It IS quite a show. I think you need to drink more than I did to properly enjoy it.

      And I know women who love the spectacle and have a fantastic time. It feels a lot more like a concert than anything else. An oily concert.

      Yes, there are a lot of bills flying around, but I’m not sure how much money they can really make from one-dollar bills. Maybe other women tipped in fives and my friends were just cheap. 😉

      1. As a non-drinker, if there ever is a show like that in front of me, I will enjoy it for what it is, which I’m sure is amazing.

        Pretty sure your lady friends gave away more than you think. It did sound as if they drunk more than you 😉

        1. I’ll give you a last anecdote, and you can decide how drunk and/ or cheap my buddies were. There was one other stripper. He was mixed Aisan/ Pacific Islander, and so my friends were determined to get him to my lap. They’d figured out that if they all waved a ton of singles, the dancers would hurry over. So they screamed and flashed handfuls of bills. The dancer came running, climbed on my lap, and then looked around and said, “Hey, where did all the money go?!”

          Back in their pockets, I think.

          They used their cash as a lure, but I am not entirely certain him much those hardworking dancers actually got!

          1. Hahaha! It didn’t sound like they were that drunk…because if they were I’m sure the money would have slipped from their hands 😀

            Very, very clever 😉

  2. I knew they were gay since the “New Hampshire in the fall is gorgeous” comment, haha.
    Maybe it is required that they are gay so they don’t get “physical reactions” to the women? 😕

    1. Actually, the website and marketing make a big deal about how they believe that only men who are attracted to the opposite sex know how to turn them on, and how they don’t frown on their dancers dating a girl who catches their eye, etc.

      I suspect a scam — better tips if you think you might actually have a chance with a dancer!

      But sure, some of the dancers are probably straight. Just not the ones who danced on my lap.

  3. Ha I know those clubs you always drive past near LAX. The Los Angeles strip club scene always seemed very seedy.

    Ever been to Portland? It’s so weird there, strip clubs are like normal bars couples go to.

    Personally I have many vices but never got into watching strippers. Seems so contrived, and sad if you think about it too much.

    Still fair’s fair for girls to have their fun! What a great post!

    1. Thank you, Ray! Glad you enjoyed it.

      “Contrived and sad if you think about it too much” — yes, exactly!

      These Portland bars sound fascinating. Do they have good food? Are they more like the Burlesque Clubs in NYC?

      1. I only went to one. It was like a humble pub with a stage. Maybe there are burlesque ones too.

        I recall a delicious Mexican restaurant next door that delivered. Point is, the whole setup seemed very mainstream and unremarkable in that town. LA is quite another thing.

  4. You’ve got this ability with your writing to implant the scenes in my head. They’re hilarious, and this one…. Pretty fucking hot. Harry Met Sally…. (Handwringing)

  5. OMG. The more details you reveal about your wedding the more interesting it gets. Is your whole life so entertaining? If so you gotta make at least a TV series out of it!

    1. I guess it sounds like that, but I only blog about the more entertaining stuff. (And weddings are all drama.) No one wants to hear about the daily traffic jam on the 405. I think you women adventurous enough to explore and live in other countries have far more fascinating adventures, actually. And I love reading about them.

  6. Yeaaahhhh, I’ve never been to a strip club. I don’t know why. I have been to this really awkward show that turned out to be a bit strippy, so we left. I think they were holding amature fights and then there was this surprise pre-show and it was really weird. Anyway…loved the way you told the story. Nice to have experienced it on this non-oily side over here and chuckle over your friends adoration for you 😛

    1. I hear you. It’s hard to put my finger on what is so alienating about female strip acts, and the contrast between those and shows like “The Hollywood Men.” Some of it might be marketing and spin, but I suspect it has more to do with the balance of power in society and the psyche of the respective audiences. But that’s a whole other post.

      Glad you enjoyed this one, though!

  7. Ha, I love this. Your writing is so excellent Autumn!

    Like you, I’m not a huge fan of strip clubs… even the male kind. It’s just not my thing. I would have preferred line dancing too!

    My coworker was telling me that there’s a new service for bachelorette parties where you can rent a man for 1-2 hours, and he’ll clean your house, cook for you, take all your photos with your girlfriends and even wear matching outfits with you. It sounds like a crazy service, but I would actually prefer that to them just taking their clothes off.

    Either way, sounds like a memorable bachelorette party!

  8. Wow, I would have been a reluctant bachelorette myself if anyone tried dragging me into a place like that! Sounds like you had fun in the end (and BTW, I love that scene from When Harry Met Sally…wish I could have been there to see you).

  9. Autumn, you poor girl! I just read about stepping in cat vomit with your shoes which got lost, but then found, and now this. Oh and country-line dancing sounds like more fun to me.

    I didn’t have a bachelorette party because my husband and I decided to spend two weeks in France before our Canadian wedding. And the week that we did spend in Canada before the wedding was used to overcome jet-lag and actually get all the loose ends in order. I remember calling my mom on the way to the French Alps to make sure my dress and other wedding stuff had arrived in the mail.

  10. Aw, man! I expected Andy to be your surprise. Something like Jim and Eo deciding to sneak Andy into the club and watch your reaction from the shadows. (Yes, in my head, I’m reading JM as Jim. :P)
    (Oh and I think I’ve messed up the order. But, at least, I still figured out, sorta, where I left off. Keep the good stuff coming!)

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