Women shouldn't want to watch their man stuff money down some woman's G-string or wherever. There's just nothing sexy or entertaining about that. I guess it beats my man, when I have one, doing it behind my back. But are women really expected to actually want to go to the strip club with their man now? —L.D.
Since my Formspring account and email inbox filled up with questions about strip clubs late Monday night, I'm guessing a lot of readers watched the season two premiere of La La's Full Court Life on VH1. La La Vazquez-Anthony was shown debating whether she was OK with her husband, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, heading to a strip club and if she would go with him. La La said she was fine with it; her friends told a different story of La La's stance, indicating that she was uneasy with the idea and was just trying to be down.
Like La La, you seem torn about the issue, so I wouldn't encourage you (or La La) to go just to prove that you're liberal or open-minded when you're really not. And there's nothing wrong with that. One of my best friends has a saying, "Everything ain't for everybody." He's usually referring to invites to parties, as he can be a bit of a snob that way, but I think that air of exclusivity can also be applied here.
Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you should, too. And if you're not OK with your hypothetical man going, speak up instead of sitting passively by while something bothers you. Ask him not to go — do not demand or give an ultimatum. He just may be willing to give up strip clubs.
If he's not immediately willing to give them up, find out why. Does he enjoy unwinding with the boys? Do the women respond to him in a way you won't? Is he going to get a little variety? Hopefully, one of those is the reason, since they're all easily rectifiable.
He can unwind with the fellas when the plan isn't to head to Sue's Rendezvous in New York City, Magic City in Atlanta or King of Diamonds in Atlanta (or wherever you are based). He'll be all the more willing to skip a night out and spend a night in with you if he knows that on occasion you're open to fulfilling some of his fantasies — wig and sexy outfit on deck — at home.
Now, just because you aren't down for going to a strip club doesn't mean you should get up on your high horse to preach down to women who are up for it. Let other grown folks be grown and stay out of what works, or can work, for their relationship. For those ladies whose moral feathers aren't ruffled at the idea of their men getting a lap dance but are on the fence about attending a strip cub, I suggest going to one to see what all the fuss is about. You might find it deplorable, but then again, you might find you like it.
The first time I went to a strip club was during NBA All-Star Weekend in 2003. The dance clubs were too pricey, so the guys I was with suggested we hit the strip club instead. I, perhaps more of a feminist then than now, had to take two shots just to be convinced to go inside.
I expected to see defeated and exploited women imploring me with their eyes to run for help and rescue them from a Lucite-hellhole. What I found were women whose bodies did things mine could never do — like inch up a pole with no hands or simultaneously rotate each portion of my tush in opposite directions. It was akin to watching Cirque du Soleil, except, you know, there were only women onstage and they were entirely nude. (I go into further detail about this experience in my book, A Belle in Brooklyn, if you're more curious.)
Overall, it was like going to the regular club with your guy, except the sound system and DJ were better, and women actually asked permission from you before they flirted with your man. I found it entertaining for different reasons than the guys I was with did and was only offended by the lap dancing when a woman wanted to give me one. But I enjoyed myself nonetheless. Other women might, as well.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.