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I Partied With The Robot Strippers Before The CES

Human strippers with robot strippers. (photo via The Busty Bruiser)

When hypnotizing videos of robot strippers went viral recently, the internet was abuzz. (At least it was in my circles, comprised primarily of current/former sex workers and horny writers who never miss an opportunity to crack a Philip K. Dick joke.) People marveled and hypothesized about the potential implications these gyrating mannequins might have on the strip club landscape: Were these robots here to replace ladies who dance for a living? Were men actually like, into this? Should your friendly neighborhood strippers start worrying about being usurped by rechargeable batteries and knees that will never need replacement? It seemed that everyone who encountered this quirky bit of tech-lore was either mesmerized, amused, or vaguely hostile to the idea; but was anyone actually turned on? (Turns out, the answer to all of these questions is basically: not really.)

An old friend with tech media connections was able to score an invite to an exclusive media-only event being held at Sapphire, a major pillar of the Vegas strip club scene. We were lucky enough to check out the robots up close and personal before they make their debut on the CES Expo floor later this week. I spoke with the robots’ creator, Giles Walker, about their inception and how they came to be the most buzzed-about attraction at the biggest tech event of the year.

Despite all of the jokes and speculation about emotionally-stunted nerds in basements building girlfriends for themselves, Walker doesn’t even come close to the socially-awkward engineer I had envisioned. In fact, he’s a British sculptor with deep roots in the London punk and art scenes. With his spiked ear-gauges and cheeky fedora, Walker looks more like the guy who wants to sell you rare Japanese Sex Pistols b-sides on eBay, not the Dr. Frankenstein of sexy late-stage capitalism. An active member of art collective, The Mutoid Waste Company, which erects guerrilla-art installations all over Europe, Walker first began incorporating motors into his found-object sculptures in the mid-1990s using scavenged parts from junkyards. “When I first started I was just a broke punk, you know? I didn’t have $10 in my pocket, so I had to use whatever I could find on the street.” Today, the robots are constructed using mannequin limbs, windshield-wiper motors, a gate-opening motor, and CCTV cameras.

The dancing fembot concept first began to take shape for Walker after the broadcast of an infamous “sexed up” report on British television convincing the nation to go to war in Iraq.At the time, Walker says, “I started noticing these CCTV surveillance cameras on every single street corner in London, it was nuts. And those things are total garbage! They don’t even protect people, they only protect f*ckin’ property!” 

Today in Questionable Strip Club Advertising: Recruiting High Schoolers

Emperor’s Palm Beach is advertising that they’re taking applications from soon-to-be high school graduates. Seems like a questionable strategy, since another location operated by the same owners was sued for allowing an underage dancer to work. It sounds like the club might be a nice stop for traveling (legal) dancers, though. An article in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times points out that the club’s website offers hotel accommodations and “guaranteed funds.” Of one thing we can be sure: This sign undoubtedly reached more Reddit readers than potential strippers.

I Pretend I’m Horny, You Pretend You’re A Dog: Performing Consent In The Club

(Image via Comically Vintage)
(Image via Comically Vintage)

There was a post going around the stripper tumblrsphere about what is probably one of the most common lap dance rejections of all time:

“I would love to but I just don’t think I could control myself.”

It’s the perfect way for customers to say no; phrased as a compliment (of sorts), it expresses interest and desire, encouraging the dancer to continue her attempts to sell and thus give the customer more attention without him committing to anything. They usually deliver this excuse with a cute smile, like it’s a joke.

I recognize that they are trying to be charming—even trying to compliment me on my attractiveness!—but it’s so hard to bite my tongue and not ask, “In what world is having less self control than my chihuahua something you want to admit to?” If I’m having a good enough night and don’t need the money or energy, if I really can’t stop myself from beginning a profitless (literally and figuratively!) interaction, I’ll try to answer in a way that highlights what a stupid, embarrassing, insulting and creepy thing that is to say.

“Oh, you’re an adult, I’m sure we’ll be fine. I mean you’ve gotten this far in life!”

“No, no, you’re too hot, I wouldn’t be able to help myself.” This response is accompanied by a sad, regretful face. It is my fault that my sex appeal will make them lose control.

“Really? You have less self control than my dog?”

“Men are dogs.” Another sad, regretful face.

Blond Leading the Blind: Dating Secrets From A Stripper

1. Don’t get too comfortable. Or rather, do get too comfortable, but don’t let him find out just how comfortable you are. I’m not talking about clipping your toenails in front of your boo. (If you think that’s ever acceptable, you deserve to die alone. I even hide my PedEgg™ in a tampon box.) I’m referring to passing gas in front of a significant other. Strippers fart during dances all the time. All. The. Time. However, we take precautionary measures to ensure that our customers are never the wiser.

The two elements of a fart that alert people to its presence are noise and smell. Take those away and your gas is a tree falling in the woods. Make sure that you blast loud music at all times. Anything by artists with ice cream cones or ultraviolet stars on their faces will do just fine. (Songs about butts happen to have the best bass for disguising sounds emitted from butts.) You have to douse your chest region with body spray every hour on the hour. Think powerful enough to mask that spray tan barbecue sauce smell or trucker sweat (or in the least, transform it to cucumber melon trucker).

Stripper Music Monday: It’s Initiation Time

Welcome to the club! (image via flickr user dustout)
Welcome to the club! (image via flickr user dustout)

Starting a new club is never easy. You have to contend with the management, the staff, and a whole new crowd of customers. It takes a while, but eventually you adapt to the new atmosphere. So long as you make it through the initiationthe unspoken way a tight group of strippers sometimes try to break the new girl in. Try to not to take it personally. Use the music you dance to as a passive-aggressive tool to protect yourselfand impress everyone in the process. Here’s how I do it.

Once I feel comfortable at my new club, I’ll begin requesting changes to my setlists. The retaliation begins when dancers giggle and request a couple of my freshly incorporated tracks into their stage sets during our shift together, as if it will get a rise out of me the way it riles them up, seeing stacks thrown at another dancer “ruining their song.” You know, “Pussy Liquor.” Their song.

When this situation occurs, I wait for my eyes to return to their proper position post-roll and gather songs from these dancers’ elementary school days, ensuring that they either don’t know them, or would never think to request them because it’s much too difficult to pout at yourself in the mirror as they’re played. The following list contains songs that aren’t necessarily obscure—but if the club DJ still used vinyl or CDs, these tracks’ albums would be the ones covered in dust.