Friday, 3 August 2012

Pageant At A Strip Club

So I went to pageant (for strippers) at a strip club

These are the moments that make my time in BIM so memorable.
You haven’t really experienced one of life’s greatest situational ironies until you have attended a stripper pageant. There is nothing like a stripper donning an elegant (by some standards) evening gown and walking onstage to Celine Dion’s “I’m Your Lady” or Rihanna's California King Bed.

This was something I wish I could have gotten pictures or even video of so I could share with you all but recording of any of the night’s events was strictly prohibited. While being able to say I was ejected from a strip club would have also been a great story to tell, I decided to adhere to the rules.

They had 3 segments- stripper wear, lingerie and evening gowns.

These ladies took the entire show seriously. I could smell the scent of broken dreams and desperate clinging to a semblance of what could have been in the air. Each of these women had a story- somewhere there life took a turn and they haven’t since been able to get on a different path so they made due with the journey they were now on. But still, they remained hopeful and carried within themselves some quiet dignity that allowed them to get up on that stage and pretend that they were not one notch below “women of the night” but instead one step away from being ambassadors of the entity which would, at the end of the pageant, crown one of the queen. To be honest, the only difference between that pageant and the typical beauty pageant is the known backgrounds of the strippers, the location, the encouraged interaction with the pole and the absence of a question-and-answer portion. I must say that it was very classy pole-dancing- the type that women from all walks of life buy DVDs or attend classes to learn how to do.

During the breaks from each segment the strippers that did not participate in the pageant did their usual form of entertainment. Overall, there wasn’t much to be fascinated by except the music that they chose to dance to. Maybe they were disappointed about not being a part of the pageant. They may have felt that the crowd was not really there for them that night. All the same, I could have done without the seemingly pregnant stripper though. I was uncomfortable and so were those I came with. Not simply because she was pregnant but because it seemed like she was due and I really could not imagine the trauma that would take over everyone if her water broke. I also felt really bad because no one tipped her, not even her fellow strippers and I had seen from previous sets of other strippers that it was commonplace for the girls to encourage the audience to start tipping by tipping each other.

Pregnant exotic dancer aside, I did enjoy the show. It was great to see that strippers have refined sides to them. J The lingerie segment was disappointing. It seemed some of them equated pageant classy with boring or outdated because some of their pieces should not have been approved by an establishment for sale even for the sake of a prank. The evening gown section reminded me of the typical formal wear at any urban event in the ‘90s, actually to this day (think Jamaican or Yaadie boat ride). They insisted on posing beside the air conditioner as if it was a necessary prop in their performances. A photographer (who could not photograph, for reasons I told you before) found this amusing when he thought about how the pictures from the club’s official (and only permitted) photographer would turn out. But for women who are used to using their hands to grip a pole or…some other kind of activity, I guess it’s hard to stand still against a blank canvas. It’s not like they were posture lessons and taught how to walk like women of mainstream pageants.

This was definitely an experience I had never had back home and I always love these because they inspire me to be more adventurous and open to new things both abroad and at home. I so sincerely wish I had some pictures but I wouldn’t want to expose these women on a level on which they would not be comfortable. Say what you will about their career choice but they are still people and entitled to choose when, where and how much they expose themselves. I wish the queen a lovely reign. She received a basket as well as cash prizes. But the club owners were the real winners because they got a new demographic of customers. They made tons of money that night. They inspired their workers to give back to the club because they allowed their workers to show a different side to themselves that they clearly had been waiting to express. They gave away toys and other knick-knacks to parents for their children and had an audience dance competition which resulted in a woman ripping her pants from the crotch to the waist. It surpassed the seemingly pregnant stripper for trauma-inducing moment of the night.

P.S. The women wore stripper heels with all outfits. It really spices up an evening gown. I don’t know how they do it. I can rock me a pair of high heels but this is another level. Hats off to them…or should I say shoes off?

Much love ‘til next time, readers. Thanks for stopping by. Comment and subscribe if you feel so inclined


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