Can you touch strippers at a strip show? If you have been to a strip show anywhere in NSW, you’ll know that ‘touch and go’ doesn’t refer to the climactic scene in an action movie where the hero comes out alive by the skin of his teeth. I’m referring to the policy in these establishments that if you touch the stripper, off you go, you’re gone buddy. Out the door by the scruff of the neck with a size 12 boot print on your arse.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve seen a few strippers. In clubs, pubs, birthday parties and bucks nights, public performances and private. The girls are usually very nice, with beautiful bodies, lovely faces and they seem to enjoy their work. And, perhaps strangely, I’ve also seen a few male strip shows. It’s never been deliberate, just happenstance, but I’ve never felt the need to shy away. In fact, it can be quite entertaining when you’re out with female friends to watch them react to male strippers and it has provided me with some insights.
The first male strip show I saw was many years ago and I was out with a friend and her girlfriends. I didn’t know strippers were on that night but they all certainly did and got very giggly when showtime came. I found it fascinating to see all the girls clambering at the stage, almost climbing over the top of each other to get the closest. The men in the audience made an arc from one side of the stage to the other, never getting within 20 feet of it. It might hurt their manhood to get too close and they didn’t seem all that impressed that their girlfriends were salivating on the lip of the stage like they hadn’t eaten in a month. Out comes the first performer and it turns out I know him. I didn’t know he was a stripper, he was just a regular customer at a retail outlet I worked for at the time. He was performing his routine and reached out into the crowd. The girls went nuts, all hoping to be the one brought up on stage to get close to “the hunk” (as the girls later referred to him). Me, my manhood safely in check, I was standing right behind my friend, my hands planted firmly on her arse trying to get her up on the stage. She suddenly got all embarrassed. I thought it was hilarious.
I’ve never had a problem with women stripping. I’ve never had a problem with men stripping. What I do have a problem with is the inequity between the two. The women are all over the male strippers, touching them, groping them and rubbing themselves against the guy’s legs like they’re in heat. The men at a female strip show are reserved, quiet, sublime even. And the reason? The ‘touch and go’ policy. If you ask Jamie Durie about his shows with the all male revue, Manpower, he’ll tell you how the women used to drag them off the stage and claw the living daylights out of them. The guys would have to put makeup on their chests and arms to hide all the scratch marks from the women at the previous night’s show.
‘Touch and go’ has guys scared. They practically sit on their hands while a lady performs her routine. It’s shameful to see so many men essentially beaten into submission and while being entertained, are barely able to break into a smile when the lady comes near them, for fear the management might kick their arse out on the street. If you go to any sort of show, you quickly learn that the audience is just as important as the performer. The audience, by being enthusiastic, making some noise and having a good time, makes the show more entertaining. If the crowd is sitting around like a limp fish, it gets boring very quickly. Now, I’m not saying that men should go wild and start pawing the women whenever they get the chance. I firmly believe that men should show women the utmost respect and without permission, you should never touch a performer. But when a stripper decides to make you part of her show, you should be allowed to join in. I’ve seen guys shy away so much that the stripper has apologised to them and ended up feeling embarrassed at trying to put on a good show.
New South Wales has some of the strictest laws in the country. While ‘touch and go’ is promoted in Victoria, it’s not an offence. In Queensland, it’s almost anything goes. Sydney-siders are some of the most liberal people in Australia (take Mardi Gras for example), yet we have the toughest laws on adult entertainment. NSW Licensing laws prohibit “indecency” on licensed premises. The definition of “indecency” is so generic that it means a stripper cannot remove clothing beyond a g-string. The clubs and pubs are so fearful of losing their licences that they are extremely strict on both this and the ‘touch and go’ rulings. There will be a bevy of beautiful women skilfully strutting their stuff at the upcoming Miss Nude pageant and I was looking forward to getting some mates together, going to see these lovely ladies perform and having a great night out. But then I thought about the NSW laws and that this nude pageant won’t actually be nude. There will be no full striptease – there will be very little tease indeed. The grand prize is denied. I’ve not even told my mates that the pageant is on.
You can view just as many lovely ladies, stripped down to their g-strings and strutting their stuff by going to Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. If you’d like the full view, there are plenty of full nudity beaches around Sydney. I must admit that I don’t have a female stripper’s viewpoint on this, and quite frankly, I would like one. Maybe they much prefer the way things are, that it is mandated that no-one can touch them. Maybe it makes their working conditions that much better. But it does seem very sad to me that they have to work so much harder at putting on a good show for the punters, when the punters are actually too scared to enjoy themselves.
I wouldn’t like to think that each man is being turned into a mouse, but men are being wimps. They’re being pushed around and it’s gone on way too long. The politicians and bureaucrats are running our lives. Political correctness has gone mad. Yes, there should be equality, but to have equality it must extend to all aspects of our lives. You can’t have a ‘touch and go’ policy for men and not for women. It isn’t fair, and it certainly isn’t equal.
Have respect for women, absolutely, but as adults we should still be allowed to have some mutual adult fun. The sad thing is that the government would rather legislate to enforce ‘touch and go’ on women too, rather than relax the laws and trust adults to behave as adults.
© Antony Healey