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"Just Trying to Relax": Masculinity, Masculinizing Practices, and Strip Club Regulars Author(s): Katherine Frank Reviewed work

(s): Source: The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 40, No. 1, Gender and Sexuality (Feb., 2003), pp. 6175 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3813771 . Accessed: 12/11/2012 16:39
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themarand ketplace. 1990).1997. stripclubs as they now exist are indeed intertwined maleprivilege. veryfew menunderstand visits and their to stripclubs or theiruse of othervenuesin termsof an exercise of personalpower or a desire for dominance. 1994.52." commodified most sexual productions. February 2003: pp. despitethefactthatmenexperience somestigma This research was assisted by a fellowship from the Sexuality Research Fellowship Programof the Social Science ResearchCouncil with funds provided by the Ford Foundation.Bar Harbor.or the sex industry more generally.Thefocushereis on thoseregular male customers who visit stripclubs often enoughto considerthis a significantpersonalpractice. 1993).although related both)in which to mencanexperience bodiesandidentities particular their in pleasurable ways.Masclalinizing Practices. fromstripclubsto pornography erotic to massages. 1994. everymanfinds Not stripclubspleasurable. marketed andvisited to by heterosexual men. University of Wisconsin. Althoughcustomers' motivations are 61 The Journal of Sex Research Volume 40. sexuality. there are also often large discrepancies betweenthe earningpowerof male customers femaledancers and (eventhoughdancers may do quite well compared with women workingin other serviceindustry jobs). and as wellas in relation theireveryday to livesandrelationships. manymendeclare thatsex workers havetheupper handin commodified sexual transactions. and Strip clubsarea visible. virility.Nagle. thatthesevisitsbecomemeaningful and in relationto theireverydaylives and relationships and theirown personaland emotional experiences gender of andsexuality.Segal. leisure. 1995. take McElroy.returning againandagainto venueswherecontact sexualrelease and areprohibited for whomvoyeurism conversation and and arethe eroticized practices.leisure.WI 53706.edu. Most strip clubs are owned and operatedby men. LorraineBayardde Volo. growing and formof entertainment the contemporary in UnitedStatesand are primarily. andconsumption. Not all American men.profitable. consumption. sexuality. Although is a mistake assertthattransactions strip it to in clubs areunrelated social structures inequality. Bryan. 1180 ObservatoryDrive. Rather thanfulfillinga universal masculine needfor domination a biologicalmaleneedfor sexual or release.Further. sexuality. My primary argument thatthecustomers' is understandingsof theirvisitsto strip clubsaredeeplyintertwined with culturaldiscoursesaboutmasculinity.and Strip Club Regulars KatherineFrank Collegeof the Atlantic. is to of it clearlynecessary explore experiences subjectivto the and ity of men in relation powerandcommodified to sexualized services in more detail (Cornwall& Lindisfarne. enjoyvisitingstripclubs.63 on Mon.I thankseveral anonymousreviewers and Charlene Muehlenhardfor comments on this article.something for which there is no comparable practicefor women. [Editor's note: TamaraS. article This focuseson regular malecustomers' statedmotives visiting for stripclubsandexamines thosevisitsas touristic masculinizing and practices. Number 1.stripclubs providea kind of intermediate space (notworkandnothome. precluding some women from becomingcustomers even if they so desire. understanding yet whysomemen frequent thesevenuescan inform moregenerally us aboutthelinksbetween sexuality. commodification. powerin themen's and performances desirein of theclubs. inherently exist to reproduce maleprivilege has beenchallenged texts thathighlight agencyof sex by the workers the "sexnegative" and cultural contextin which such transactions place (Bell. as a resultof being customers. Granted.] Address correspondence to Katherine Frank. Department of Sociology. and SuzanneFrayserreviewed this paperanonymously and subsequentlyagreedto be identifiedin the authornote.Customers oftenhave also particular advantages dancers termsof educationover in al and social capital. Madison.are still aimedat male consumers.Chapkis.takingup issuesof visibility.Men may do businessin stripclubs on corporate expense. this stigmais relatively small when comparedwith that experiencedby the womenwhoworkin theclubs.Maine University Wisconsin-Madison of Thisarticleexplores customers 'understandings theirvisitsto heterosexual clubsandthewaysin whichthosevisof strip its become meaningful themin relation cultural to to discourses around masculinity. with Although euphemistically called"adult entertainment.168. gender. Yet the idea thatstripclubs. 1997). e-mail: kfrank@ ssc. Further. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . also explores It gender. thoughnot exclusively. of course. and many also have rules prohibitingwomen from entering unless escorted by a male. youthfulness. 61-75 This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192."Just lkying to Relax":Masclllinity.wisc. Whatexactlyis the appealof modern stripclubs in this particular voyeuristic formfor certaingroupsof late 20th-century heterosexually identifiedAmerican men? Oneassumption the literature beenthatmenare in has motivated use the sex industry of a desireto mainto out tain sexual masteryand power over women (Edwards.And finally.

who may even weara condom underneath clothes.The data for this paperwere gatheredthroughparticipant observation.colI lectedqualitative interview data.These privatedancesinvolveda more individualized interaction betweenthe dancersand their customers.but these served a differentcustomerbase.Customers were not allowedto toucheitherthe dancers theirown genior tals. Dancerswere alsorequired keepatleast1 footof spacebetween to themselves andthe customers during dances. ings. workedat five I Laurelton stripclubs intermittently a periodof 14 over monthsas a nudeentertainer.andthusconversation becamea (public) servicein and of itself. METHODS My ethnographic material drawnfromover 7 yearsof is research the adultentertainment on industry the conin temporary United States. interviewees considered a dif(The also it ferentform of entertainment.many customers drawnto the idea of varietyand are willare ing to interactwith any dancerthey find friendlyand attractive.Shortpausesin theiranswers havenotbeenindicated here. In addition conducting to participant observation. The taped interviewsessions with the interviewees were conducted theirworkplaces at restaurants at or or coffee shops. and understanding of the complex interactions between researchersand the communitiesthey study (e.. the individualized interactions that took placebecameanimportant of theexperience. sexualiand ty. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. in. I can also be reasonably certainthat my customersand t zese lntervlewees werenot unique. a practice involvesvaryingamounts contact that of betweenthe dancer the patron can leadto sexual and and releasefor the customer. masculinity. On the otherhand. in and andthereis an expansive literature discussesthebenthat efits andlimitations the method.168. and theirvisits arenot necessarily experienced exercisesin as acquiring wielding or power. for example. Manymendeclined do formal to interviews but commented my research. Thereare adultentertainment clubs in the UnitedStatesthatoffer lap dancing(or '4friction" dancing). 1967.a traditional anthropological fieldwork technique. Devereux. part Dancers also sat withcustomers betweentheirsets andtheirtable dances. Myerhoff. Becausecontemporary strip clubs are highly stratified termsof "classiness. all of the men thatI interviewed werecustomers the stripclubsin whichI of worked. beliefs. on a raised at platform tableor whilestanding the ground or on between the men's knees.I do notthinkthatthecustomer concerns. other forms of bodily contactwere prohibited.Forthe purposes this research. gender.and the interviewees andcustomers the clubswerejust as oftenfromother in partsof the country nativeto the city or region.andpractices discussed hereareessentially Southern. Also.g.Eachvenueoffered stageperformances the dancers. andthemarketplace.placing more value on higher education research havingthe free time andinterand or est to participate.Whileworkingin Laurelton.62 Masculinity StripClubRegulars and indeed related existing to powerstructures inequalities. spokewith hunI dredsof male customers aboutmy research almost and alwaysapproached customers potential those as interviewees. The intervieweesrangedin age from 28 to 57. through series and a of multiple. of interpretation findof . commodification. 1991. theirquoteshavebeenedited and for repetitive verbaltics and for length. As an ethnographic research method. with follow-upinterviews severalweeks later. . given thattherewere far too many customersin the clubs for me to approach every one. dancingwas considered different lap a formof entertainment. 1995.I havealsoworked observed in." in field sites were selectedthatrepresented different positionson this socialhierarchy: fromthe highestranked clubsin the city to morestereotypical "dive" bars." a participant As observer. although but dancers coulddisrobe completely andplace theirhandson the customers' shoulders.52. Men who did interviewsdifferedfrom othercustomersby. as customers were one of the maintopics of conversation amongdancers the dressing in rooms. That is.The interviews werestructured open-ended with questions and often becameconversational I responded the men's as to questionsaboutdancingas well.Interviews usuallylastedfrom2 to 4 hours.Tabledances were offeredto the customers theirseats. there were a few topless clubsin townthatdidnot servealcoholandpermitted lap dancing.Exceptfortwo menwho were employeesof the stripclubs.) ThoughLaurelton was a Southern city. and interviewedcustomersfrequentingclubs in otherparts of the U.Some follow-upinterviews wereconducted overe-mailor by telephoneif the respondents werenot nativeto the city.S. his of however. Further. on tellingme theirreasonsfor visitingtheclubsanddiscussing theiropinions about adult entertainment. one was a WhiteBritishcitand izen who frequently traveled the UnitedStateson busito ness. I was immediately forthcoming aboutmy researchpurposeswheneverpossible and providedthe customers with my real name (in additionto my stage name)and information abouthow to contactme for an interview. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .As thedancers circulated amongthecustomers sell to table dances. Bourgois. All identifiedas heterosexual as somewhere the midand in dle socioeconomicclass and had at least some college education. in-depth interviews 30 malecustomers with of stripclubs in a large Southern city.two wereAfrican Americans.63 on Mon. which I referto as "Laurelton.my sampleis somewhat biasedin favorof thosemen who chose to interact with me. participant observationhas a longhistory anthropology otherfields.Twenty-sevenwere White Americans. The interviewees have beengivenpseudonyms. and therewere laws and attitudes reflectiveof the Bible Belt thatinfluencedregulations surrounding clubsandthemeanings the of thecustomers' visits. Laurelton's population was also diverse in terms of geographical background. by alongwiththe opportunityto purchase "private" table dances. Understanding customers' the subjective interpretations thesepractices informus of can moregenerally aboutthe links amongsexuality. Brown. as thus.

BecauseI was studying educatedS middle-class men. thisrespect. Regular customerslaughedat young.ratherthan on infrequent visitors or bachelor party-goers. First. however. they of returned the sameclubs severaltimes a week.working In as a dancer recording own interactions essenand my was tial. . their conversations with a male interviewer may not have been more truthful authentic. in Interactions between dancers their and customers semiare private.There's plentyof themaround.I was also involvedin transactions Laurelton in whereI was seen as only a dancer (situations wherethecustomer not want did conversation did not believethatI was a researcher.age. Singly. and in my experience. wererespectful individual in interaction. WHY BECOME REMAIN MEN AND CUSTOMERS So why aresomemenloyalcustomers stripclubswhile of othersfindthemboringor arecontemptuous theirvery of existence?Significantly. Because their personalnarrative accounts oftendiffered fromthe groupinteractions I observedS that both of these methodologieswere valuable.especially regulars. Thoughrecognizing as a researcher me might have led some individuals change their behavioror to monitortheir responsesto my questions.for whom the visits were a significant personal practice. FurtherS as many groupoccasionswere bachelor parties."Those few men who did enterthe Laurelton clubs expectingsexual releaseusuallywerefromoutof thecountry wereunfaor miliarwiththevarious sectorsof thesex industry.thatis. Theyalso may havehighlighted cerebral the rather thesexualaspects than of theirvisits becauseof how they wantedto represent themselves me.This does not mean that sexual acts never occurredin the clubs however.for example. inexperienced.Frank 63 1978.it wouldhave beenimpossible themto do so if one accepts possifor the bility of unconscious motivation I can say with confidence thatI do know whatmen were willingto pay for eachnight.As of Joe said.'andclaimedthattheycouldbe morehonestwith someonewho understood interactions the clubsand the in for whomtheydid not needto censortheirbeliefs.men in groupsoften spokederogatorily aboutmarriage relaand tionships. theinterviewees wereawareof andcommented upon.Further. 1980). but my experiences there informmy intelpretations analysis. Because I could never interviewan entire groupof menat once (andI couldneverrecreate club the setting and interpersonal dynamicelsewhere)7 had to I observethe interaction men in groupsand interview of them singly.the men I interviewedwereregular customers the clubs. as Manyof the men madecomments like. thesesamemenprofessed love for theirwives and a greatdeal of satisfaction with their outsideintimate lives.Prus(1996)argued that participant observation affordsresearchers "withinvaluablevantage pointsfor appreciating certain aspectsof particular life-worlds" 19).63 on Mon.Other limitations wererelated the specificito ty of the field sites. Second whether visit stripclubsin groups aloneinfluences men or both the conversation the physicaldynamicsof the and interaction.Given thattheinterviewees oftensaidtheyhaddifficulty also discussingpersonalissues with othermen. conthan the trastwas slgmficant. observation offered me theopportunity interact to continually a variety with of malecustomers the actualsettingthatI was studying."Thebottomline is if you wantto get laid. or or whereI didnothavetimeto revealthisinformation one for reasonor another). or that This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.This in was not an official field site.however. . addition my research in to in LaureltonS I worked andon for about6 yearsas a topoff less entertainer an upscaleclub in the Midwest. Beingpersonally involvedin multiple interactions in the clubs with bothcustomers otheremployeesgave and me insight into the context and meaningof customer behaviors. interviewsfocused on regularcusthe tomers. and My methodology presented severaluniqueopportunities as well as certainlimitations. or Furtheralthough can certainly it be arguedthat the interviewees and other customerswere reluctant tell me thewholetruth to abouttheirmotivations and desiresin our conversations indeed.Participant (p. "Icantell you thisbecauseyounre a dancer. These same men. at Thismaybe becausethe Laureltorl industry large sex was andvariedS menwhowanted and sexualcontact release or had manyothervenuesto choosefromin the area. Yet it is important remember I to to that was involvedin interactions eachof theinterviewees with beforeour formalinterviews thatI was perceived and by themas a dancer well as a researcher. and resources well as *om a socially as stigmatized position7 thiswas something manyof and that . Stevensaid." Similarly.Spradley.The factthatI was a womanmayhaveinfluenced interactions withthemaleinterviewees.I know whereand how and when to get laid.were muchmorelikely to speakin demeaning ways abouta dancer's bodyor to act as if the dancersdid not exist as individuals.I to oftenhadthechance interact themin multiple to with ways and on multiple occasions: as both a dancer and a researcher. Thus.168. Further. themenmighthaveinterand acteddifferently with a male interviewer.the customers differ somewhatin clubs that allow lap dancingand sexual release. "It'snot a place to go find somebodyif tryingto get sex! Youmightas well go someplace where youcanget sex. foreign or you7re men who thoughtthatsex was partof the deal being struck between dancers and customers.52. I was ofteninterviewing froman inferior positionin terms of gender.PrusS 1996. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Though neither theseinteractions of shouldbe takenas moreauthentic the other.Most menthatI spokewith. Men in groups.Theclubsselectedwereall no-contact stripclubs. one man thatI interviewed not said that he went to the clubs specificallyfor sexual release. the realized that sexualactivitywas available othervenuesof the indusin tryandwereexplicitabout theirknowledge thisfact.before and after the interviews. noiseof theclubandthephysical the proximity of theparticipants suchthattheirconversations are wouldnot be accessibleto a mereobserver.even in the formof masturbation a latertime.

as Jay clubin Scores strip of (1996). of and routines practices everywithestablished breaking to engagewitha set of daylife andallowingone's senses and with that stimuli contrasts theeveryday themundane" theyoffer (p. . or physiques.This may seem obvious. New YorkCity.and(d) and bothpersonal sexualacceptance the without pressure encounter of thepleasure a sexualized overlap thesecategories Although performance. sometimes a physical than morepowerful was the fantasy sometimes of percent sexualiAs encounter: Jackputit. even for the most Therearemanywaysto potenof scopophilic customers. were always elementsother than the visual that were to important customers. It does all those things"(Tim). farthe mostprevalent usuallythe first for of given)spokenmotivation the interviewees visiting NearlyeverymanthatI stripclubswas a desireto "relax.64 and Masculinity StripClubRegulars sexual intimacies some men did not desire to purchase outsideof the clubs.entertainment. the following as thesethemesareexplored theyrelateto seversections. of physical they also highlightparticular and are not exhaustive? In the themesthatranthrough interviews." least initially.get my mindoff of work. fact.Whether of bodiesis an expression natural their theyunderstood desireto lookatwomenin this ornot there however. rootedin the complexweb of relationships to according Urry practices.ordeveloping medical reading with them. . (a) clubprovided a categories: strip fell reasons intoseveral degree an escapefrombothworkandhome. claim that communities servative is stripclubsarea formof entertainment oftenone thatis thansexthat usedto maintain leisureis beingsoldrather In ual contact. (Jim) Stripclubs attractme because I love the feminine form. however. I have a weaknessfor beautifulwomen. accepting. go out and have fun in a big bar kind of thing. there's a differencethere.mustalso be kind of experience seen as a desireto have a particular amonghome. . It's just a fact.Micksaid. a theirvisitsto stripclubsby claiming desireto explained see women'sbodies: of I'm drawnby the attraction sexuality.it is. . . the male customers will be attended to by women who are young. Thesightsgazeduponarechosenbecause with workandhome andbecause contrasts" "distinctive daydreaming especiallythrough is "there an anticipation. Sex And they'revery appealandbeautifulwomen arevery appealing. as format a resultof biologicalinfluences. tended explainthatstripclubswererelaxcomplexes and ing because they were entertainment connoterelaxation leisurespaces:sites thatby definition Several men and escape as opposed to responsibility. then.for example.After differentfrom all. Even when a cus- This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. ing to able-bodiedmen. etc. relationships intimate texts. a mindfuck can be betterthanan actualone. heardthis off-hand anything" ing thingthan so response manytimesthatI beganto focus on why the The that men thought going to a stripclub was relaxing. So other'slike a little bit of sex tease with . of standings leisurepractice and for Sevrching EscapeFrom Work Home to men Initially.whatis oftenbeingsoldis a gendered and of combination leisure. as to pointed entertainment theirmainmotivefor visiting theclubs.one will rarely stripclub that in a encounter performer a conventional who does not have malecustomers catersto heterosexual femalegenitals. to important customersseeking a place where.and "away. the factthatsomedancers' directgazes. definitely and to speak.not in mixedsex groups.52.viewingpornography. p. peoplecanjust comein andlet theirhairdown.putit. and friendly and of Ross claimedthathe was "anappreciator femalebeauty in all forms. . the entertainment or whose services(in the formof conversation dancing) price.It is alsoa kind for canbe purchased anagreed-upon aloneor pursue that of entertainment menoverwhelmingly despite Further.for example. visiting a strip club is significantly attendinga play or going to the cinema.63 on Mon. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Thesevisits. as opposed to the That'spuresex whereasthe and lingene [parlors] the prostitution. intense or involving differentsenses from those customarily (Urry. well as to underal prominent moregenerally. withothermen.creator thefamous Bildstein (p." an opportunity fromwomen. Touristic work. of andfantasy. onappearances.andit is thisfocuson lookingin a pubclubfrommany the that lic atmosphere differentiates strip Some men initially other forms of adultentertainment.(b) a relative for (c) as of "safety" well as "excitement."It's a business.simulastagesexualdisplays(publicnudity. tiallyview nakedwomen:peeping. "amancouldbe a man" 22). real entertainment. you know. they're like going to a game arcade. relax" I (William).You know. scale eitheron a different pleasures.""Whowouldn'tlike to drinkbeer and Alex around?" asked.) tionsof sexualthrusting." "I in spokewithgavethisresponse someformor another: go thereto relaxandhavea goodtime. the desireto visit stripclubsis morethan a desire to see women's bodies." of "involvethe notionof 'departure. . (Brian) than Yetwhyvisit a stripclubrather someotherentertainmentvenue?As stripclubshavecome underfire in conthe acrossthe country.so Where moreof a relax"It's (Herb). encountered" that My intervieweescorroborated these sites/sights are at "out of the ordinary. to theirfantasizing be excitingand and experiences found out menpointed that Some quitetransgressive." (and by Instead. In the clubs. sex sells. "Ninety-nine ty is in yourhead.Thisis also not to say fromdancers with dancerswere not sexualin certain thatinteractions tabledancesas "sexual" somemen did describe respects. the presents opportunity Goingto stripclubsobviously to lookat women. . just Afterall. 1990. it's public . 3). . usually attractive. And what can I say? You know P .Some watchnakedwomenrunning of thesemen believedthatthe desireto look at women's malebiology. maychallengemainstream middle-classdefinitionsof femininity. as of discourses masculinity. 2).' a limited (1990).168. service. My sex life's always been good so it's that'smore exciting to me. .

sometimes with friends from the office and other times alone. andevenbeing.This is a way to go be with women. have a good time.Forthese customers.etc. say. for example.can engagein traditionally or '. courseS For of the experience just lookingat undressed of womeneventually becomesalmostordinary ("almost" ordinary becauseeven for the regulars factthatwomenweredisplaying the their bodiesmeantthatthis was a very different environment fromworkandhome).such as drinking.whether they are seen as transgressive becauseof the exhibition nude bodiesor experienced but one of as moredestination a man'sdailygeographic on trajectories.masculine" activities formsof consumption and oftenfrowned uponin otherspheres.routine.what this kept the regulars returning the variousclubs was the to opportunity interact to withwomenwhomtheywouldnot generally meetin theireveryday lives andto cultivate the relationships they developedwith particular that dancers andclubemployees. Further although intimate relationships betweenindividuals may be covertlyfacilitated with moneyin everyday realms.You don't have to get to know the person (Jim) Although Ross claimed that he did not enjoy the impersonal aspect of the encounters in the clubs himself.You leave when you want." behavioral The structures of everyday areinverted manycustomers life for insidethe clubs.). however.Frank 65 tomer paysa woman sit withhimandasksherto remain to fullyclothed." vulgar. althoughthe significanceof the dancers' nuditywas oftenminimized the by men andwas described the regulars something by as that eventually became'.rouand tine"aftertime andhow theybeganto desireothertypes of interactions." was still an essentialpart it of theencounters theclubs serving a visualreminder in as of thesesocialinversions.."Yougot your cold beer. and Indeed. you leaveit all behindandthatstaysthereandyou go home.you got your good-looking girls you got yourmusic. you know. p. a thereis no longerneed for pretenses.63 on Mon. and spokeabouthow this displaybecame'4boring" C. "agoodplaceto stopfora beer." '. he thoughtthat this was importantto many men: This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192." or Beck. of Another reasonthatthe distinctiveness fromworkand home was experiencedas relaxingwas relatedto the kinds of relationshipsthat could be developed with womenin the clubs. If '. the encounterswere to some extent "predictable.eroticconversation the sharingof fantasies.HerbwasmarI a riedto a "very conservative' woman whodidnotsmokeor drinkS pleasures he couldthusnotindulgein at home.52. and far less apologetic. elaborateplans. relationships formedin stripclubstakethis institutionalization step further... or Phillipsaid thatin the stripclubshe 4'sometimes actedlike an asshole because could.rowdy. Stripclubs also providean environment where men.In all of thesecases. example." Over half of the men that I interviewed specificallysaid thatthey foundthe clubs relaxing becausethey providedan escape from the rules of conductand the social games involvedin enteringinto interactions with otherwomenin an unregulated setting.dating the institutionalization romantic is of encounters withoutthe goal of commitment" (Illouz 1997.You know if I just went out to a singles bar. 289)." Phillip calledhis interactions dancers with "relationships conof venience. Womendo the approaching ratherthanmen and thus face the possibilityof rejection. Eitherway his time in the club was describedas ."Herbusually cameto the clubon his way homefromwork.. aggressive. the the In clubs.you got your shooters."explainingthathe workedso muchhe could neverfind the time to meet womenoutsideof the clubs andmovethrough expectedstepsof courtship.and Kenneth referredto the '.168. regulars. or mutual exchanges of personal information..Romantic propscan be used to set a scene or to individualize an interaction arenotnecessary movetheencounter but to to a sexualizedlevel (involvingnudity. At the same time. usuallyprivate and performances sexof ual desire or sexual displayare suddenlymade public. with Severalotherregularsalso discussed process. It's a hig stress relieverfor me." formof releaseforhim. women ask to be lookedat naked. everyday relationshipswith women were often seen as a source of pressure expectations.Youcan smokea cigar if you want. as intriguing such conversations even and ongoingfriendships the dancers.you got yoursmokes. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .tense. that Evena simpleconversation a womanin a singles with bar or at another locationhad its own set of rules and expectations that were sometimesexperienced these by menas stressful: I don't go to a stripclub to pick up a woman. You don't have to stay..(Roger) For me the club situationis almost a way to relaxfrom the tension of a sexual relationship with a woman. (Matthew) I want to have fun and be relaxed and cut up and laugh and.thoughtthattherewas a "chasm" between contemporary andwomenin termsof understanding men and expectations.for example. manymenthatI spoke withdescribed relations betweenwomenandmenin general as being "strained""confused. Thereareotherways thatstripclubsoffera distinctive space. singularly in groups. is doingso in anatmosphere for he in whichhe simultaneously theprivilege askingher has of to removeherdress. talk to women.But if you go to [the club] youSregoing there and y'all are entertainers. insidetheclubsthisfacilitation blatant.'personal" time that was pleasurablebecause it allowed him to engagein activitiesthat were inappropriate the other in spheres his life.he knewexactlyhow to proceed obtainthe kind to of encounter he desired.specific social niceties. then I would know thatthose girls thereare looking to have some kindof relationship beyond what's going to go on just at the bar.Matthew Steven. is immediate.war betweenthe sexes.andthe significance thispossibiliof ty cannotbe underestimated.Thus.Andwhenyou'rereadyto go. smokingcigars. that At the club. even see themnakedandnot have to worly aboutplaying the social game thatis involved if you are tryingto pick somebodyup..

wherehe does not necessarily have any role to perform exceptfor thatof a desiring male (though otherroles are available).andalmostall were adamant they did that not wantto changethe structure theirprivate of lives.But emotionally. club and the becameanidealspacefor somemento accessa fantasy of freedom. 1998. This is not to say thatsomehow moreauthentic wasbeingexpressed a self in the stripclubthanin the workplace at home. Arguably. however.63 on Mon. Interactions with women in the workplace were also oftenthought be constraining. interviewee to One pointed outthatin theworkplace felt nervous he about givingcompliments womenfor fearthattheywouldaccusehimof to sexualharassment. no big deal. 1997). confusion aboutgender roles("what is to be a it man")maybe disturbing somemenbecausesuchconto fusion. Phillipsaidthatclubvisits"letfrustration out":"With of this sexualharassment going all stuff around thesedays. I see a lot of people that way. expressed workandmarfor are in riage. was not necessarilya "haven" fromtheworkplace (Lasch. Jasonmadenearlyidentical and comments.168.Rather. menreceived great the a dealof enjoyment from theirfamilies.amongthese interviewees for many and othermen that I interacted with. but their female partnerswere at the same time interested Zachary. like Gary. Total distancing. Manyof thementhatI spokewithdiscussed theirconfusionas to whatwas expectedof themas men in relationships with women.Timsaidthathe thought men that were undera good deal of "strain" becausetheirwives were also working nowadays."Rogersaid that in the clubs."She'snot takinga the backseatto decisions about careers moves.Thissentiment frequently was corroborated othercustomers I interacted in theclubs by that with whosaidthatmenhadto continually on guard" "be against offendingwomen. quote unquote. Certainly. Joe summarized succinctly: this My wife expects me to be strong emotionally. their justifiedthem)withina framework confusion frustraof and tionrather simplyone of privilege domination. was concurrent witha massiveincrease womenintothe workforce of and anupsurge attention to issuesof sexualharassment.Changing expectations about male economicprovidership emotional and communication in committed relationships may have contributed some to men'sexperiences stressandconfusion of about theirgender identities and roles (Levant & Brooks. however.Have her come over. Here I do not wish to defend male inabilityto respect women's demandsfor comfortable working environments." he said.These selves. independence.menneedsomewhere go wherethey to can say and act like they want. Theseissuesarediscussed moredepthin the in nextsection. I wouldn't say that openly in public but I'm definitely confused aboutwhat it is to be a man. where mendo notunderstand exactlywhatis going to get theminto trouble.52.change. Certain self-representations. Boy .Stripclubs offereda temporary respitefrom both changingdefinitionsof masculinityand requests fromwomenfor eitherinstrumental support reciprocal or emotional communication. so to speak. or self-representations. example.66 Masculinity and Strip Club Regulars What do the men get out of it? Actually.both at home and in theirworkplaces."everybody knowswhattherulesare.andformanymenit is theseself-representations that are first invokedto identify themselves.such this developments the discourses and surrounding shape them some of the ways thatthe men'svisits to the clubs were spokenaboutandunderstood. You can make as much or as little emotionalinvolvementas you want. pay her to do a dance or two or three and walk away and not even ask her her name. in greater communication emotional and expression.1998).bringing in their own incomeandinsisting theybe allowedto takeanactive that partin planning couple'sfuture. Indeed. severalof the abovecommentscouldbe analyzed part a backlash as of against feminism. than or The rapidincreasein the numberof strip clubs across the UnitedStatesin the mid-1980s.. no fuss.explicitly stated desireto interact womenwhowerenot"fema with inist.Other mencomplained theywereexpected be that to strongand assertive.nearlyall of the menI interviewed identified middleclass.the advantageof being able to walk away. Thehome.then." Thisimplies thatthereareotherspaceswheretherulesarenot so transparent. said he that he enjoyedthe "femalepresencewithoutpressure" himself. or a man mighthave multipleselves. In a context as of contradictory changingexpectations. and the condemnation the sex industry.physically. deviation stillbe takenas evidence or may of a nonheterosexual orientation (despitethe existenceof masculinitiessuch as those discussedby Halberstam.orLevine. Rather. to be the leaderand the rock. The transactionsthat occur in strip clubs should not This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.I mean.. Soonafterhe madethe abovestatement. of paid date rape. No mess.and idealized masculinity. am highlighting fact thatthese men I the experienced visitsto the clubs(andalso. she wants me to be strongbut she doesn't want me to be overbearing."andwho still wanted interact to withmenin "more traditional" ways.Kenneth. of Although is nota caseof simplecauseandeffect. Some men. commitments. Because the interactions a strip club in (through gendered the performances bothparties) of spoke to a male self-representation was not involvedwith that familyor workresponsibilities commitments.in part. . The home.afterall..andI think and thata lot of men have a hardtime dealingwith that.however. I hate to even thinkof being able to thinklike thatbut you know.these changes and sentimentsmay be most intensein the middleclasses.you wantto see a girl. you can see a girl runaround naked.1977)wherethemen could simplyrelaxandbe themselves.however.. . Eric..and conflicts.You can go in there and shop for a piece of meat.In addition.She wants me to cry and be sensitive.. thatareexperienced different in contexts. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . werealso oftenpremised responsibilities on and commitments. and I expect spirituallytoo. man might or a findit relaxing be in anenvironment as a strip to such club.was seen as a different sphere withits own set of obligations.I'm confused as hell.

Visitsto stripclubs with can usefullybe seen as masculinizing practicesas well as touristic practices." "adventurers. although "men's bodiesdo not1X patterns masculinity" of (p. Such illicit remains wereclearlyinappropriate theseotherspheres. One customer. provided him an opportunity sharethis to even more transgressive fantasyand develop it further through interaction-yet still allowedhim to return our home. Mostof the marTied customers claimedthattheywerenot interested leavingtheirwives. 155).Tosaythata practice 4'masculinizing" (p.crazy stuff. or Consumption. workto produce in and masculinities particular in settings by certain and institutions (p. in even moreliterally marking separateness the clubs the of as well as the desireto maintain separateness.However. socialclass. 1995. Further.few of themseemedprepared give uptheir to positionsin these otherrealmsto pursuesuch desires. WhenI askedhim why he went to stripclubs."Alex also spokeof his visits to stripclubsin termsof extreme masculinizedadventure. that Manyof theinterviewees discussed theirexperiences in the languageof"variety. wives or partners. possifioilaty of anoutout the side relationship was often more desirablethan a real encounter (Frank. areembedded socialrelations.for example.p. serviceavailable stripclubs.their experiences. and you've got guys that'll go off the mountain This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.'adventure" and "excitement" balance the moremundane to out "compartments"of his life such as workand homeand thatsuch sexualizedventures"makelife worthliving.You know. atthe sametimeas it promisYet es escapeor freedoms imageconstructed of tourist the out gazesalso "serves validate legitimize to and routine experience. and symbolism 59).customers often talkedabouttheirvisitsin termsof freedoms-fromwork.'thehabitual desirable as well as making escapefromthe habitsof laborseempossiblethrough everyday practices consumptive of pleasure" (Allison. I have arguedelsewhere(Frank. Stripclubsexist becausethey are profitable.63 on Mon. hadneverusedanyaspectof the sex industry He exceptfor lookingat a few pornographic magazines and visitingstripclubs. as a challengeto the existingsocial order.'explorers. .. fromthedemands women.168.becausethey are both in safe and exciting." Nick said that strip clubs provided . Connell(2000) definedmasculinizing practices practices aregoverned a gender as that by regime. tounsticpractice A mightbe understood part as of a largerprocessthatmakes. withinwhichtheyarelocated" (Manderson.Frank 67 merelybe seenas providing escapepomresponsibilities an and commitments. especially the genderedcombination of leisure. dress.'Ijust wantto do it once. 1996 p. . Manyof the men he a enjoyedsharing talesof theirtravels stripclubsin other to cities andstates:"Icouldtell storiesaboutthe placesI've beento forhours. is does not mean that it alwaysor unproblematically constructsa particular stablekind of male subjectivity.canthusbe seenas like a processrather thanan achievement a stateof being." mantoldme. in as the case of fraternity initiations boot camp drillsthat or emphasize toughness physical and hierarchy. Yet.reflected the balance in betweenriskand safety that was often being sought.218).Becausemostof the menkepttheiractivities the in clubs a secretfrom theircoworkers.spentan entireafternoon for telling me his fantasiesaboutvisitinga legal brothelin Nevada. vulnerabilities and are stillsignificant theconstructions expressions masin and of culinities. sexuality sport. and when the tensionbetweenthese boundaries disappears a customerhe maycease to be for a regular. example. Wild.entertainment. People'sacts. muchmore or subtle." or. but as 218).""escape. work." Connellargued. not Despiterecognizingthis fact."do not exist priorto socialinteraction comeintoexistence peopleact"(p. involving comportment.It wouldalsobe a mistake assert suchinteracto that tionsareonly compensatory. 307). for example. explainedshe wouldnevercondone he it. part.It's like .pioneer'' pointing thathe alwaysvisitednewclubsin out Laurelton theiropening on nightandsoughtoutstripclubs whenever passedthrough new city. and in canbe seenas an important of thatprocess. they were carefulto removetracesof these visits before returning the ofElce home:checkingfor lipstickon to or theircheeks(remnants a thankyou peckon the cheek) of or perfumeon their clothes. and other everyday or ritualistic practices. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ."he said." manconsistently One described himselfas a '. andit was notworththerisk. part Safetyand lExcitement Stripclubs are appealing.as theybecomemeaningful.. . Other one mendescribed themselvesas "hunters." "travel. xv).52.andthe desireto to return to workandhomewere unquestioned elementsof the men'svisits. as in somemenwere alsoactively seeking escapeto a kindof interaction an with womenthatwas not available themin theireveryday to lives. 1998)." even or "intolerable" seemed to have no intentionof changing thesecircumstances.you've got guys that'll rappel. and even the men who in described theirjobs as "boring. however.you know. I guess kind of like rock climbing. Masculinity.Masculinizing practices be readily may apparent.domestic working andthe socialstructure and life." "fun.he answered I like to do bizarrethings. though customers sometimes tned to findout information abouta dancer's or ask a life dancer on a date. "Masculinities. pleasures. production relations(or divisionsof labor). As 1998)arld discussed thenextsections. them link to larger-scale structures the gendered of order structures of powerrelations.fromtherestrictions marof of riage. '4and then I wantto go home to Mama" wife of 30 (his years).Thoughsome customersexpressed desirefor an affairwith a dancer the or for more"excitementS'theirsexualrelationships in outside of theclubs.forexample.fromsocialmores. whether the men'salienfor ationas producers because aninability develop or of to intimaterelationships otherwomen. The temporary natureof the customers' excursions was highlysignificant them..relations cathexis(or emotional of relations).'and "adventure." "unfulfilling.His hoursin the stripclub providedhim with a transgressive exciting experiand ence-indeed.

andthe employeesandof their ownexpectations boundaries. For manycustomers. .slumming. also worried he aboutcrimeand"getting rolledin the parking lot. although Jim severaltimes discussedthe 'idancer's perspective" during interviews." sex lives and orientations:How many of the dancers are Underprivileged disreputable and areas"came be redeto fined as touristsights"(Rojek& Urry. the "forerunner thetwentieth or is of centurytourist. tipping procedures. Dancerswere also describedas brave andadventurous.Significantly. or in despitetheirlack of proofthatsuchthingsoccurred: rich New York gangsters laundering moneyor dealing cocaine. experiences and and supposedly real authentic life" (Jokinen Veijola. contamination7 those and and once. a crackdealer.upscaleclubswere to notas oftendescribed sinister as spaces. the that that "worstcase scenario" could be that . and customer-to-customer interactions-are policedby boththe dancers the othercustomers.it's just like an existenceon the edge. they were also dangerous enoughto be alluringa bit "lesscivilized" theplacesthesemidthan dle classmenwouldordinarily enter.. whereasstripclubs wererelatively safe.forexample.""you know. glamorous. & Thesespacesin thefast-growing citieswereassumed be to dangerous well as authentic as becauseof theirconnection only dancer he had ever even spoken with more than withpromiscuity."Whoknows?'he said. exciting or individuals the vice thatmightbe encountered them. travel.168. . you know. .you know? Though compared lowertierclubs." Saulpreferred visiting"dive" bars thatwere locatedin "seedyareasof town.Someof the men'stalkaboutsafety. .68 Masculinity StripClubRegulars and head first . . in he alsosaidthathe hadbeenworried aboutshowing for up our meeting.they are to actually passingoverground hasbeentightlyregulatthat ed to produce particular of experience. becausethere'snot any rules. Otherkinds of behaviors-such as proper etiquette regard watching in to tabledances.Indeed. Publicspaceshave long been occupiedby men in the culturalimagination. p. you knowSthere was a lot of extreme desperation and a lot of loneliness and sadness there.)He continued.The l9th-century & flaneur. you know . admitted I wasthe our he that This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. adventurer. .thecustomers still fantasizedabout the dangerous. with a shotgunin your hand . althoughthis is changing. stranger."("AtStarbucks?"was and I tempted ask. 26). getting on the back of a Harley Davidson." the and more"graphic displays" weresupposedly that foundthere (thoughfew of the men who expressedsuch hesitations hadactually visitedtheclubsin question).1997.given the high securityof mostLaurelton c]ubs) was an important of his excursions. stroller.the factthatvisthe its to stripclubsoftenimplieda journeyinto "bad" areas of townwas seenas riskyanddangerous alsoexciting. 7). in Further. but a formof eroticslumming. know?Orlike livingdayto you day?Orsomebody that'sgoingto schoolfor yourfuture.'no of rules"and as "outside law?" although the and customers experience expressfeelingsof freedom. and Men'stalkabout danger andadventuree the otherhand is connected historion to cal discoursesaboutmasculinity.and encounters with variouscategoriesof Othersthat must be further explored. said.he showedup on time and participated enthusiastically the interviews. sociological over the figuresof thetourist.52. I guess. The connection slumming privilege of to meansthatthefigure of theflaneur alsooftenracialized classedas we]las is and gendered. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .) There was constant speculationabout the dancers' who sought them out were said to be C. I don't know if it would be a very good analogy to just call it. part Eventhoughwe metforourinitialinterview a coffeeshop.or famousathletes buying oralsex fromex-Playboy bunnies.the wholeplaceis just kindof like darkandthere's anunderground there. p. contagion. the?aneurare the the and alsoimplicitly masculine metaphors particular for kindsof subjectivities (Jokinen Veijola.'The men'sideasabout whatit wouldtaketo dancenaked just seemedto bolster beliefthatdancers this enjoyedan uninhibitedsexuality.can be seenas a derivative of restrictive both interventions the on partof the law.becauseof the 4'aggresfor sive"nature Blackdancers. example." strolling the pedestrian "poetically who confrontsthe darkcorners' a townor city? of occupied the by dispossessed the marginal. especially(but not exclusively) thosewho preferred lowertierclubs. and The nen also policetheirown behavior. or excitement during theirexcursions stripclubs.1997)." saidthathe thought was"very He I brave" conducting for interviews with the customers and admitted he had fantasized by meetingme.'Ithink. the club. Jim fromthedancer's perspective.the and gendered between split publicandprivate realms imporis tantin thinking abouthow discourses travelhavebeen of masculinized time. "rough of the crowds. Racewasalsoimportant in structuringsuch fantasies. Despitedescriptions stripclubs as places with .1997. to "You neverknowby looking at somebody. I mean I wouldneverknow if you werelike."I'veheardof men beingrobbed killedthisway. . can Bouncers physically monitor control men'sbehavand the ior inside the clubs. White customers expressedconcernsabout visiting the primarily Black clubs in Laurelton. however.then. then."ForSaulthis danger (oftenfantasized. and adventure. beautiful womenwhocouldlurea manintoa private room andoutof his monthly income.63 on Mon.It's just wild. Thecustomers oftenimagined dancers livingoutthe as side of normative social constraints? enjoyingimmense "sexualfreedoms'and a kind of "wild sexuality. bachelors few really need theirhandsto be tied behinda chairduringa table dance. city this kind The hasdelineated wheresuchclubscanbe located (forthe and most part)whattypes of interactions be had inside. I continued see him around to townat the various clubsin which I worked. ." (Yet.'shedrugsme and stealsall my money.' At the same time." Yet despitehis spokenfears. Alex saidthatstripclubswere appealing becausethey i'hadthatsinister typefeel.andeven menwho claimto be wild withdesireor testosterone usually found sitting docilely in their are chairs.

to one mustusuallypositiononeselfin relation thisrepreplaces as to Men drawtheirlines in different sentation. legalvenuesin whichno overtsexualacts clubs in lap-dancing own locales (men who frequented to weresupposed takeplace. course)coupled withtravelawayfromthe safetyof homehaveoftenbeen one adventure.. example.the adventures Don or Bukowski JackKerouac. it's all that excitement leading up and then the exploringand getting to know what you like and what I like.therearealso manymenwho set limits Laurelton or tute. man another commented.(Steven) If you go to a stripclub it's safe. when Im on the roadI know thatwhen I go into a men's club that of.was relaxing the men's attemptto justify a sometimesinflammatory and or safe spacein whichto be bothmarried committed guilt practiceor defraymasturbatory (as when men say with (or sexuallyaroused at least. only as portrayed a formof masculinized of needs to think of HenryMiller.A varietyof ideas aboutthe require. Personal and SexualAcceptance or distaste.suchpractices sexualactivaboutcommercialized diseases. men also explicitly of sexual discover7 however. . theyaretrying to recapturewhat's not there in theirmamage anymore. Manyof themenwithwhomI spokeagreed were not pursuingsexual contactor even thoughthey a release. manyof my intervie. the first 3 to 6 months of every relationship was just outrageous. pointyoujustdon'twantto go pastif you a "there's certain Jim a wantto maintain marriage. Juan.63 on Mon.interacting womenin a I However.ambivalence stripclubs.Frank 69 Are Do lesbians? theysleep withcustomers? theywild in many to assertions thecontrary." said. prostitutes or massage parlors."He continued.. afterall.. None of the in to them as theirexperzences to regularly ities.or storiesaboutCharles withthisidea.although periodicallyreading Playboy or renting pornographic comfortwith otherkindsof sexualizedservicevariedto or werenot as significant enjoyable fromcommitments worriesaboutsexuallytransmitted videos. guiltthantheirvisitsto strips moreambiguity. it's a safe place-from the standpoint let?scall it.'sneak" however.. sexualizedsetting). the marriage vows! The temptationsare not there for me. believe the articles").they readPlayboy "for to significant a large were indeed thatthe conversations ment of sexual exclusivity in marriageand intimaterelabeyondbeing a way to legitimate of number customers tionships exist among individuals in the United States. he doesn'tget at homeany My expenence was. in At the sametimeas theyofferedadventure the form custhe Of course. I am able to understand it's entertainment social interaction. bed?Despitethe dancers' of the men wantedto believe thatthey led excitingand simply variedsex lives andthattheirchoiceof workplace thistrend.For for reasons disspoken the Though customers' acceptable." those"dark who of the individuals populate Sexualexperiof also to the adventure sexualdiscovery."Stolenwatermelons clubs gave him he thantheonesyou buy. Okay?I know why you're there. You know why I'm there. In the back of theirminds there'sthat hope of hopes thatmaybe I'm gonna ignite anothersparkagain in my life. notedthatthe conversations All of the menI interviewed theywerelikely this clubs. to admitted some of the interviewees example. how far they can exploretheirdesirefor otherswithout As to beingunfaithful theirwives or partners. . .. the quest of meeting and building that trustand buildingthatrapportto the point where you could bond enough to have sex and whetherthat happenedin one night or it took 3 months. Catholic to around visitthe thefactthathe hadto . more. tastebetter a thrill.theclubswereseenby many disoftenexpressed for or monogamy Tampa SanFrancisco.He didnotbelievethathis a aboutbreaking covenant'were and "thoughts fantasies the samethingas doingso.. (though clubs). experience the riagesor long-term industryhas led me to believe that althoughmen do was wees. of ences (not necessarilyheterosexual. I have reality at home so I'm going back to that. as I sit and watch these guys. of in theirvisits.Similarly.andJimconsidered in himself "faithful" his 23 year marriage. serial) is thatof lifetime(or increasingly."This troublewas not only with his but partners. of of these men as supportive heterosexual availablein the limitedinteractions in appointment the visitinga prostiAlthough at pushing its borders).as stripclubsvaryaround country. This claim couldbe dismissedas partof the experience. . andlegalconcerns thepointis thatthiskindof nointervieweesor other customersadmitted a using escort services. They're zero in a and that mens club . predominant and monogamy.168. "looking" the final limit with whichthey felt in that to becomeaccustomed theservices areoffered their As comfortable. of representation commitment the practices..many tomerscannotalwaysbe certainof the kindsof interacto marsafetyin relation that claimed stripclubsprovided in My For partnerships. a massageparlorS a "jackshack"is relaxingfor that sexualcontacts theyfind on thekindsof commodified somemen it causedconflictsfortheseparticular men.Stevensaidthati'what guy gets in a men'sclub.then.andnoneconsidered a practice and clubswere a significant pleasurable they hadin strip to takeup again. Beck said.. a becauseit provided Thestripclub. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .for the most part.regardlessof any individual'spersonalviews or This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192." said thathe often felt guilty because of the influence of his wife's Roman At beliefson his own conscience.52. Several intervieweesdiscussed occasional experiences describingthem as riddledwith much with prostitutes. also withhimself.. I was a participant thousands However. continued to are into Excursions the sex industry not only related areasof townor bad of theallure supposedly or dangerous but corners. (Herb) in Williamsaid thathe got "in moretrouble singlesbars thanin stripclubs.tionsin whichtheywill be involved. contactstripclub offeredthe customers "safe"spacein was whichthisdiscomfort eased. however. the sametime. So whatSshappening out there at the men's clubs.

g.52. ing similar of or obligations.even fix"straight atedon them"(p. giving him the drinkshe wants. if I haven't been feeling that great about myself and I go in there it doesn't matterif it's real or not but aftera while.63 on Mon.customers theypaidforthedancer's how by overthe situation dictating taina senseof control wouldlast. dis2000). lackof socialskills or intimate Bordo (1999) discussedmale anxiety about female bodies as that and attractiveness argued .for example.Thus customers is desirable. .available..preventing a Oliker(1989) suggested possiblenonsexual fnendships.As Joe said. the without kindsof releasesandconnections. age differences. was is notto say thatthisconversation alwaysor necessarAs or disclosure engagement. sometimes I go therejust to talk because I feel like I can talk to I somebodytherewithoutany rules. dancer groupif she did not wantto engagein a giveninteraction or foundit offensive. mens enjoyment by havebeeninfluenced the contentof the conversations. . 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It's just absolutely an ego trip and because you go in there. ed"(p.especiallyin male-dominated places.or unattractive. It's an ego massage . . actionswith women." said thathe went to the talk to a beautiful with gorclubs to have "an idealizedsocial interaction to offeredan opportunity talkto Dancers geous women. they also is malesexuality honedon the images. do you wantme to dancefor you?"Seducingwomen is something all men wish they were betteratSyou krlow?And this seems like you're doing it. longtheconversation tookoff herclothesduring or andwhether not the dancer that understanding Therewas an unspoken the interaction."men "don't commuare" knowwhattheiremotions andhavedifficulty with each otherbecausetheiregos are "toobig" nicating in may Stoicmasculinity be idealized the and"toofragile. . conversation valuedbecause was that a kindof interaction the men felt they haddifficulty workfinding elsewhere. The desire for an ego boost was but that almostneverthe firstmotivation menmentioned. (Jason) You'remassagingthe marl'sego . in they Somemennotedthatthe interactions purchased safe stripclubswerean ego boostbecausetheyprovided the without with for opportunities closeinteractions women and Sexuality sexualconquestafteralls risk of rejection.thefirstplaceI'd be that whereI could in interested goingto wouldbe someplace Jim woman. the thing was considered moment he hadsomefreetime. were at times seekingan otherness sense of escape from those aspectsof the self that felt insesuchas old age. 1997.'. a curity. it was the Sometimes.168.the food he wants. anynumber reasons: lackof attractiveclass differences(in eitherdirecness.whatwouldbe discussed. Shuttleworth.and if you're a warthog.yet therewas usuallysomeoneelse if willingto takeherplaceS onlyforthemoney. and tion).ugliness.Evenmenwho arenot impotent. the women'swillingnessto interact outsideof theclubs. anywoman about to forsomemen. and arosein manyinterviews conversations: eventually I guess it is kind of an ego thing too . aboutotherthings.and successful. it gets in your head." and eventuallymay come to pervadeother workplace. in sharing male emotional areasof men'slives. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. manymen still "remain only thus Imagesof femaleperfection sCnot shapepercepshape sexual desire. don't necessarilyhave to talk aboutsex but I can go thereandjust talk aboutanythingand sometimesthat'skind of nice. arethereas a live fantasy.70 Masculinity StripClubRegulars and mayor maynot The thesetransactions.leavingthe manhumiliated. almost like therapy.the massagehe wants. thatdesire. Reed. abled. sexual affairswith intimatefrlendships that womenmaybe the only routeto intimacy they think stripclubscan be seen as offertheyhave(p 57).she would not be paid.and tion. accepting.'7 womenwhomaybe sexualboys settlefor"inferior the but attractive do not quite succeedin approximating haunted the beauties. repercussions an affair. Becausemen seldomdevelop motivefor male infidelity: with othermen. this the Though menmayhavevaluedtheconversation.in Thesecustomers betweenmen also competition to addition malebonding. and young. a withinthemselves. in your memory. some good looking girl's gonna come up and go. that's for sure. and it's easy! (Roger) weregoodto talkto about Rogersaidthathis malefriends women. 290)-may leadsomemento seekbothsolaceand In in excitement pornography. in mayfeel insecure interhowever. werekeenlyawareof the factthat."she argued. Bordoarguedthatthe male perceptionof female beautyas powerful-able to "invade and male consciousness arousedesireand then to reject frustratshamed. or any couldwalkawayfroma customer Granted. in oppressive otherspheres. failures. .proximity.baldn got a pot belly. You know? It's You'renot thereto judge me.or work"but thathe felt moreengaged "sports.There'sno boundaries. long as ily basedon mutual couldstillmaintime. as and by can be expeneneed menas humiliating stressful Daviddescnbedhis visits to a stripclub duringa failing as marriage "goodfor my ego to buildme up. are disabilities frequent Men well as thrilling. you know whateverit tales.Brettsaid withwomenin conversation that though"mencan open up to women. Indeed. (Ross) There'sno way youre going to go in [the stripclub] and get the cold shoulder." by ideal.to makeme joked feel like I was a man again.'just thebeautiful us subject womento (generalrepresentations] [incultural modelsof the kind of female we must ly) unrealizable and becomein orderto be worthyof attention love.justtalking a beautiful to be a luxury. if a dancerwas not pleasing." be womenwithwhomthesemenwouldnotgenerally able a of for to interact. stripclubs. . 287).' Many sex workers their and reallybeing"therapistsS' understood jobsto about him be aboutboostinga man'sego by convincing thathe masculine. withphysical the visitorsof suchclubsandappreciate femalecompanto ionshipthatis available themthere(e. It makesthe man feel good abouthimself. they modunrealizable men alsosubject andboysto (generally) els of the kind of female they must win with equally (p. entanglements. that'swhat it boils down to. "Hey. consequences" 285)*Thoughmostheterodestructive fixes.As Beck said.the "beauties" interested.

or sex thatdoes not necessarily require contextof an the intimate relationship be desirable. they'retherebecause they'reworking. "I'd tradeplaces with you if I or could. to I don'tlikeusingthe lines andI thinkthecompetitive nature of thatis justsortof sillyto me.the fact thatwe couldengagein suchtalkwithimpunity was relaxing enjoyable somecustomers.you're big. I don'tget excitedabout goingto yourlocalbarsandyouknow.I was constantly askedquestions about how it felt to be a dancer thecustomers.forexample. men maysometimes reengage the kindof nonrelational in sex.you're46.Paul Gary. Althoughthese authors' and reliance thenotionof the "real" is potentially on self problematic. WhenI refused. Customers also sometimeswantedto be acceptedas objectsof desire. theywerefasthe and cinated withthe detailsof performing.In addition the customers to who enjoyedthe everydayconversation aboutwork. theyhadin their to that adolescentyears in orderto reclaima fading sense of strength influence(p." enjoyedtelling me his sexual He fantasies.Garysaid.the desiresthe customers At expressed weresimplyto look at femaleanatomy without shameor apology. yet he still foundthisfantasy compelling. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . or you're24.Frank 71 often centeredon the struggleto gain attentionfrom womenandmanywelcomedthe opportunity avoidthis to competitionIn stripclubs. and (see 2002). to There's Elnancial considerations pushing andthey'lltalkto youwhether that.you'resmall. GoodandSherrod pointed thatduring also out midlife. idealization Frank. Davidsaid.bothat homeand on the streets." kindof girlsthathe to as the could'.andmanytold storiesaboutnot being allowedto look at theirwives' or partners? bodies. as HoweverX occasionallymen glimpse their very mortal(and unacceptably deflated) selves. thediscovery thetypeof femaleattention of available in a contemporaw clubcanbe a monumental strip experience.'Similarly. justtrying pickupchicksandbe thecool suavedudeatthebar.Other times.get" whenotherwomenrejected him. Theyhavea reason be there. These authorsdiscuss the heightened importance theseimagesin middleage: of They wantto perceivethemselves powerfuland in charge. men who wereinvolvedin alternative lifestyles or who hadrisquefantasies seemedto genuinely appreciate womenwho could talk openlyaboutsex and sexual are7 This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. whichhe thought he couldnotshare that withhis wife.Another customer. Good and Sherrod (1997) arguedthatmen frequently seek to "maintain grandiose self-images" partof their as genderidentity. Somemenweresearching acceptance theirsexufor of al desires.Oneregular to customer was anoldermarried whoconsidered man himselfandhis wife to be 'iveryCatholic.you'refat. on thejob by both andduring interviewsfor instance.'pervert" that becausethis was whathe wanted. you'reBlack.168. it fun to be the one "Is up on the pedestal?". Although the dancers maynothaveaccepted actualoffer.Thegirlsatthestrip jointsmight be therenot only to talkto. Another married cameto the sameclubsevman eralnightsin a row. some in cases the idea that dancerswould be moreacceptingof theirsexualfantasies basedon the men'sideasabout was theethicalinadequacies womenwhowoulddancenude.for example.purchasing sportscar (displaysof financial/physical a power). Oftenthe mensaid thingslike "Itmustbe nice to haveeverybody wantyou".or any number othertopics." cross-identificatory The wishesbeingexpressed in suchstatements rootedin complexfantasies power are of exposure. 194) (p. "Howdoes it feel to be perfect?".Dunngsuchtimes."thepressure's off.He toldme that he was certain wife wouldleavehimif he askedherto his do so. times. of Joe.menmay wal attemptto restoretheir self-imagethroughredoubling their effortsto gain powerover others.andhavingaffairsor datingyounger women(displays of sexualpotency). I haveto be accepted.customers ear.Formen who arewillingandableto payfor it.begged me to anallypenetrate him with my high-heeled shoes. had fantasiesthey wantedto sharethat had causedextreme reactions fromtheother womenin theirlives.andhe was provided withinformation aboutanalsex in addition to a forumfor aural fantasizing.current events.andto his my knowledge nonedid7 expression his fantasy the of did notleadto rejection withintheconfinesof theclub. however. 198). did or Still.63 on Mon.andSaulall mentioned they hadbeenmadeto that feel like "perverts" numeroustimes because of their "voyeuristic" desiresto look at women.the idea that such behaviors take on intensified importance middle age is potentially in illuminating in regard stripclubs.Becausesuchconversationsare often inappropnate betweenstrangers the in everyday world(andeven sometimes between lovers). Othermenwanted expresstheirdesiresverbally to but not necessarily act on them. he experienced thesefantasies deviant wasrelieved as and to find a nonjudgmental Othertimes.eachnightoffering moremoneyin an attempt find someonewho would have sex with him to afterworkwhileweartng strap-on a dildo. and to Customers also told dancers thingsthatthey claimedthey hadnevertold theirwives or lovers usuallyspecificfantasies expenor ences that they thoughtthe other wornenin their lives wouldnot understand. thatdancers said wereless likelyto pass judgment thanotherwomenbecauseof theirstigmatized position:"They'renot gonna tell you what's right or wrongbecauseherethey dancers!" Garymadeseveral references dancers "sluts.I also interacted of witha number menwho seemedthrllled thethought of by of talkingaboutsex witha woman.he became distraught told me his wife had left him becauseshe and thought he was a .52. Certainly.These effortsmay inclLude familiar copingstrategies already deleterious that had aspects to themsuchas displaysof poweroverothersat workor workaholism. degradation.Somemenmaynothaveexperienced to a sense of strength influencein theireverydaylives and even during theiradolescent years yet maythinkthatthey shouldhave. Manyof the customers werealso concerned withseeking women'sapproval even enjoyment the sexual and of practicesthat they found appealing. their families. His fantasies werefairlystandard pornographic fare thatI personally not findupsetting surprising.

12) thatis effectivein thesesettings: talkaboutsex with a womanwho indulgeshim anddoes PerforrningDesire and the Fantasy of the 'Perfect can In his not counter assertions. or ideologiesof anaggressive unconof the did not overtlyquestion connection heterosexuality linkedto hegemonic toolS' male sexualitywiththe penisas a "power trollable of patterns masculinity. transactions mance. After all.a fantasy lesbian women work as dancersor visit clubs as cusin formwhenbiddento. themirrored of theclubs.In this way. signifwith sexualperformance difficulties described encounters customers In of icantto themeanings theexpenences. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. such for in their relationships.'My of Further. canalsoserveto reinforce In to wouldamount nothing.and they seemedto enjoy discussingtheirexperias encesanddesireswiththe dancers well. men remain varietyof ways masculinity understood expressed room thereareways increasingly men." and bodythatcouldrespond perfromhis youth. all. experienced tionthatwas already and either7 some men enjoy watchingothermen in the aboutthe Of course. actions.the increasingimportanceof sexuality in contema to essaryin order enhance man'sfeelingsof masculinity. of couldin turn workand my sexualidentityare the Iynchpins who I desire of or theexperience performance sexual whathe did am.visits to the exchanges that occur in heterosexualstrip clubs are clubsallowedhimto accessthebodythathe remembered for they definitelyarenot. example.He is also prohibited consometimes the in performers thesevenues.Swingers whose ideas out theirpartnersas did otherindividuals differed from the monogamyand relationships about norm.try. may not. of course.52. of but identity. if otherwomen'sbodiesandvisit the clubsas customers a identity(or. to normative it provided (Bordo.andfigand marriage said. Ejaculation. in aspectsof stripclubsmustbe understood this out and meaning pleasure of theirinter.intriSomeof the talkaboutthe formof refugefromjudgment. leasttemcould heterosexuality be comfortably had thathis malTiage become Ross explained interview.Thereare. a stripclub. customers. as Tiefer(1995) argued.. afterall. expresshis desirefor themverbally.argued. that opportunities of advantage the on-stageperformance with a space in The clubs providedsome customers were availablefor men in the clubs. of througha publicperformance or porarily in fantasy7 in '. is not reallynec. act withthe dancers. bodyas well as withthepleasures. artificial. he hadslept Yet surgical due erections to a disastrous walls in ing. was of lic place.63 on Mon. to put it differently.A stripclub offers a certainprotection "sexual (p. thatdid notneedto be explained womenenjoy lookingat and tomersS manyheterosexual along with a chanceto expresshis a sexual encounter.indeedS prohibit."itis less mandesiresto feel goodabout and sex as an act of penetration releasethana talkabout specifically.asexual" recentyearsbecauseof his inabilityto get desirMencouldobservethemselves desirefor a woman. argument that in desireas problematic someways heterosexual construct is and theirgeographies choreographiesas dirty. thesenseof self-reflection fantasy.includingthe bedfrom and is the at home. Rather. Manybisexualand "straight.relaxing that desire generate of with as context7 interconnected the vulnerabilities the took rarely in the Though regulars. error. fantasyof the 4'perfect sexualperforneedto proveit eithervisuallyor through werenot of the 2002) andalthough desires thecustomers the or always straightforward stereotypical. poraryrelationshipshas meant that "thereseems to be no with visitedtheclubsS orwithsometimes desire. partof whatstripclubsprovidefor theircustomers the through 1995) withoutthe penis"(TieferS (see for or illegitimate. sex"(p. all of themalecustomers straight . 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .The fantasyof the perfectpenis is. Allison(1993) especiallyin a commodified when a of wroteof male patrons hostessclubs in Japan.Rosscouldinteror of oneselfas masculine feminine).I do not wantto reify stereotypes visitedthe clubsseekinggraticlubs.to be masculinewithoutrelying on physical validation. and sexuality.andin thepresence a live audience. of catelyinvolvedin performances identity. in This is not to say that all of the participants the andbe seen doingso by others. manymen who visit stripclubs womanor to experience with a dominant to whosebodiesareagreeable themandfor whomsexual stripshowsmay tionor pain.yet is abouta sexualencounter fantasize or for not responsible physicallyperforming providing are that to It is essential recognize thedancers nottheonly fromrevealinghis to pleasure her."He linkedthis to the factthatno matter bothto oneself of serveas an affirmation genderidentity abusivefather and his as a youth? physically emotionally from can sexualdesire feel different (although andto others and told him that he called him a "faggot" repeatedly ideas it of orindependent gender. my experience. alsoa fantasy notjustproofof heterosexual is competence part some wouldsay the central sexual potency. example Liepe-Levinson.Although and clothedduringthe interactions are neverphysically by individual are (and. Significantly.At timesscustomers of ficationof certainfetishessuch as the desireto interact sexualinadequacies menwho mightuse the sex induspublichumilia. nakedbody to the dancers.she to exposedor expected perform after ed fromdoingso).bothliterally.1999). and sciously sometimes arealsopart thescene.which can provideanother of not.YetS has some of its rootsin feelingsof with interactions the dancers The customers' as vulnerability well.168. self-representaare Not theyareallowed. stripclubs.a customer Penis' with a woman. the fact that they between desire and bodily perforwhich a disjunction in with encounters thedancers a pubin engaged sexualized and Some interviewees other mancecouldbe negotiated.Onthe otherhand.'real" as realor original).although is my is functioning not an issue.Duringour second at secured. himselfas a man. with a number womenbefore and in uratively.72 and Masculinity StripClubRegulars As encounter. masculinity" 142) despitethe part of contemporary that vulnerability otherarenas.

theman'schanged." hardCarlsaid whenaskedhimabout I howhe responded tabledances. ButI findthatthe olderI get. dependence a particular (an a on dancer." they're remembenng driving around thebackroads. . cuswith in In addition arguing theirencounters the to that in clubs did not affect sexualrelationships. Tim spoke similarly. As whena manis 20 yearsold .in someways. "youbecomethatgirlhe wanted high schoolwas in and didn't or thatone he let get away. don'tget or "I ons while I'm watchingdancersor anything.52. or especially in the contextof an ongoingintimate relationship. Kenneth Brett.168. I love my wifes body. "It's like I'm makinglove to my wife and not fantasizing abouta dancer or something.as well as in one's beliefs abouthow relationships own shouldbe conducted."These places keep me young.. ANXIETIES ABOUT BEING STRIP A CLUB CUSTOMER Although men expressednumerous the motivations for their to stripclubs. especiallyby male friends. did many and as other tomers whomI spokeinformally theclubs. they and the to purchase attentions others although ability the of to makeone- This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.. in his mind's he but eye cango back. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .frommy perspective.provide middlean interestingandcomplicated return a site of adolescent to fantasy. "Thisis the firsttimeI drank Jack Daniels!Qh my god. some of whichhave been alludedto above. 73 Another thatI interviewed DJ statedthatif the music right.. I cancertainly andgive herpleasure. A DJ I interviewed spokeabouthow he triedto match the music he playedto the averageage of the crowdto facilitate fantasy youthfulness: this of WhenI playLynyrd Sknyrd's "SweetHomeAlabama..I get turned by my on wife.1995. or an inabilityto controlone's spending) often seen was as humiliating. Some theoldermen.Frank apparent reduction the male sexualfocus on physical in performance" 152). (p." exceededthe numberof times the interviewees that explicitlyclaimeda physical response evena desirefora response."For some customers. we wentto a hog race afterward! must I havethrown fortwohours! god. did In fact.Men'sanxietiesaboutout-of-control bodily responses a lackof responses or influenced theirinterpretations theirsexualizedencounters strip of in clubs and elsewhere.Conflicting concep- Other customers discussed stigmaassociated also the with an inability maintain erection. Well. so effortlesssexual response something was associated was that with youth. of expressed difficulties becoming arousedby theirwives or long-term partners.you kindof get desensitized it to . the And variety whatactually is doesthat. I thinkI've 51nally my wife to got understand . . you ed a littlebit more.It takesa littlebit more needto be excitstimulation. the number timesthatI heardmen say. however. sometimes explicitlycomparing the bodies dancers those of theirwives.. to an Customers discussed difficulties theirwivesand the that partnerswith"losing had beauty youth'? with"not and and wanting reminded it was still outthere" to be that by their husbands' to stripclubs.theyalsoexperienced visits a degreeof ambivalence thesemotivations abouttheir about and practices.63 on Mon.the men'spartners' bodies.actualevidenceof desire erection.Some menclaimed compartmentalize fantasy to their encounters in the clubsandtheiroutsideintimacies. Joe said.the social stigmathat take surrounds sex the industry its users.andtheirownbodiesandsexual performances was thuscomplexandmultifaceted. . Youthfulness an issue thatemergedfrequently was in conversations interactions I had in the clubs. aremanyreasonsfor this:the There cultural shame often arisesfor individuals that aroundissues of sex. havean try Ihat turns me on butI don'tnecessarily to havean have orgasm fromit.a body thatwouldandcouldperforrn sexuallywhenthe opportunity needarose.it wasso up Oh muchfun!" .. given the prominence certainstrandsof feminismand of ideas about "political correctness" populardiscourse.moraldiscomfort. an attractive body. but yet that there's stigma women this that think if a mandoesn't that havean orgasm didn't he havea goodtime.1997). as and that the majority the regular of customers were men agedor older. Many men ambivalent were towardsexualarousal the clubs.. in whereas peormances of desirewereeneouraged some in situations.and politicaldiscomfort. menalso their other argued that their commodified interactions not affecttheirbodies. port Any in a storm. As Stevensaid. yet claimedthatthey wantedto be able to be excited by them.The clubs.however. At The samethingoverandover. he'sa walking erection." get.Althoughthese men's could possibly have contributed visits to their wives' partners' or insecuritiesabout aging or sexual attractiveness severalinterviewees (and explicitlystated that believedtherewere connections). self feel younger moredesirable a and is privileged position (andone theirwives mightnot be ableto occupy. . I canbe turned but on still not erection. think youget older7 I as though.. of the to This referencewomens bodies was not simply an to exercise in male privilege or misogyny. in smoking dopeand havingfun drinking whisky. relaThe tionship betweenthe dancers' bodies. least. .."customer me during tabledance. and depending on one's religiousbackground one's otherrelationships and with women..Stock.for a variety reasons).. Youthfulness something was thatthe men desiredfor themselves not simplyin thebodiesthattheychose and to view the clubs. Roger. Not everyregular claimedthatinteractions the in improved sexualrelationship homeor were clubs his at related to his ideas about sexual performance.They also cautiously visits discussed importance theirwives' losses of the of youthand beauty to themselves. visitswerealso of the intertwined with the men'sown insecurities aboutlosing a youthful body. a told a "because you're young. of "This doesn't affect me physically. to for example.thoughthe youthfulness the in of dancers helped facilitatethis fantasy.forexample.. especially around materials experiences and associated masturbation with (evenif masturbation not actudoes ally place). . men find theirdesirefor Some commercialized sexual experiences materials be an unpleasant or to compulsion (Brooks." Herb.

CONCLUSION Men have many differentmotivations visiting strip for clubsthat although related malesocialpower.for example. havingto 'ipayfor it" is demeaning othermen if can (presumably) the same femaleattention free. simplytalkingto a beautiful womanwho appears to be genuinelyinterested boost a man's ego and can restorehis securityin his masculinity. unpartnered" the instead to menin a variety of of positionsand with varyingprivileges(Queen. for some men feelings of masculinity -and function reminders his needfor to as of continuedor futuremonetarysuccess. in Thatis." a desireto feel desirable leastin fan(at tasy).63 on Mon. therewill almostalwaysbe another womanwho will tolerate viewssimplyforthefinancial his gain. Some of the interviewees went out of theirway to pointout to me thattheirsex life was enjoyable. Customers seldom are askedto challengetheirviews. for example. Some visits. Thoughthey may visit spaces that pose challengesto dominantideas placesthatdisplay publicnudity." and Alex termed desirenotto be seenat theclubswhenhe his visitedalonea "healthy paranoia. Further.Most of the men discussed the needfor theirvisitsto be "private entertainment.rejection.it maycometo pervade otherareasof men'slives andprevent emotional sharing malefriendin ships.attractive. Men'sconsumption as practices in these kindsof stripclubs are premised a rangeof on possibledesires:a desireto publiclydisplaya particular masculineself free of obligationsand commitments. and especiallyif they visit alone. and Someof the servicesandconsolations a manmay that seek in stripclubsarenecessary becauseof his pnvileged position.complito catethisconnection well.and too ostracism from friends. Increasing commodification concerns and aboutauthenticity progresare sivelymorein conflictin consumer cultures moregenerally as well. Manymenclaimed feel guilty. as sources but of desire. 1990). freedom. perhaps even in a way calculated makeothersaround to them (especially women) uncomfortable. Customers tended makesenseof theirvisitsby drawto ing on particular masculinetraditions on dominant and cultural ideologiesof sex and gender.If men do endup questioning sexuality theirdesires.'family money" private on entertainment triedto findways and to justifytheirvisitsto themselves. of privatedances. 130).visits to stnp clubs were usuallypremised on the abilityto spendsignificant amounts moneyon tips. get for Thereis still a forcefulstereotype .forexample. classstereotypes underlie and may someof theerotic chargeof the men'sexchanges. Becomingand remaining customer a then.they their or maylookforother formsof entertainment developother or sexualpractices.74 Masculinity StripClubRegulars and tionsof masculinity interact also withideasof clienthood to create anxiety for some male customers.isexworkers that providesexualreliefto society's'wretched': old.168.and thus. the otherhand.conversations with dancers.There are times. seenas sociallylegitimate are and even as normalmale behavior. or a desireto have a sexualized interaction with a womanthatdoes not involve the vulnerability actual of sexualactivity.families. to becausetheyknewtheirwives or girlfriends woulddisapproveof theirvisitsto stripclubs.52. intensifying potential uneasiness the for with such transactions. and Certainly." Further. placesin for or whichfemale sexualitycan be expressed almostaggressively theyalsomovethrough thesespaceswithunquestionable privilege. Thereare indeedprivilegesassociated with being ableto availoneselfof the servicesofferedin stripclubs. othertimesas vulnerable.such behavior be ladenwithconflicting may personal emotional meaning. can also serveto maintain imbalanced powerdynamics perin sonalrelationships women especially with whenvisitsare usedto shame anger or wivesorpartners. Whenstoicmasculinity idealized the workis in place.theunatthe tractive.menwho desired longer ormorepersonal interactions expected pay(somewere to timeshighly)fora dancer's time. malepractices consumption of in stripclubs. therearesomemenwho.drinks. mayoftenbe a woman.and covercharges.forexample. but recognizing the subjective feelings of vulnerability that infUsesuch practiceswith meaning is essential in trying to assess their place in social life more generally.visits to stripclubs offeredthe men opportunities thinkof theirbodiesnot as '4prison to houses" (Ross 1989)or working machines.men On who visit too oftenor who talkaboutusingany sectorof the sex industry openly risk censure. it Manydancers spend timewithregulars discussing men'swivesandfamilies the andthediff1culties joys related them. pleasure. Negative gender? racial. independent. of Others guiltyspending felt .or in the sex industry moregenerally. suchas bachelor parties. Finally. Sucha systematic appropriation women'semotionallaborby men can of indirectlysupportmale dominanceat a societal level (Bartky. Although somemenmightvisit a cluband spendonly a few dollarson tips.Whena manneedssomeoneto turnto for emotional support.Visitsto strip clubs.As partof each customer's repertoire of masculinizing practices.As mentioned and to earlier. talkopenlyandwithprideabouttheirvisitsto stripclubs. possibly anticipating tryingto deflectthis stigma. couldservebothto enhance man'sfeelingsof financial a power and status. sometimesas powerful. 1997. even if a dancershunsa customerbecause of his sexist or racist opinions. visitsalsooffered and The the men an opportunity experience to theirselves in pleasurableways:as youngS virile. a touristic desire for adventurethroughmingling with Others who areseen as "wild" visitingspacesbelieved or to be "dangerous. 12 Nov 2012 16:39:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .then. lovers. is a complicated processthat is rife with ambivalence. although talk aboutwomen'sbodiesis often a meansof bondingwith other men and may reflect misogynisticattitudes. example. p. whenavailing oneselfof commodified sexual servicesis seen as a deE1cit one's masculinity.on someoccasions.evenat thesametimeas they enjoyedthe male camaradene the sexualized and nature theencounters. Thisis not to say thatcommodified sexual exchangesare inherently aboutthe preservation and This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.employers.

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