Strip club tourist reports comes in two main forms: I’m Not That Kind Of Guy and I’m Not A Guy. This week, I learned about a third type: I Was A Strip Club DJ For A Night, in the form of Eric Spitznagel’s “I Was (Almost) a Middle-Aged Strip Club DJ” for MTV Hive. Spitznagel went to Chicago’s Admiral Theater to shadow the club’s DJ for a night, and the results are fairly predictable, if a bit nastier than I was expecting. He feels old. He feels like a fish out of water. The girls have stage names that amuse him. They take off their clothes. He finds it fascinating that one of the dancers likes British indie rock, which means he’s definitely not following me or my stripper friends on Twitter, because jesus fuck, if there’s one thing strippers like, it’s Britpop.
I wasn’t terribly familiar with Spitznagel, so was surprised to find that a guy who wrote such a disingenuous piece on being a strip club DJ for a night has written two books about the porn industry and interviewed Charlie Sheen for Playboy. Such experience would seem to make a guy a little less inclined to be all “Whoah! Naked women and cheesy lines!” Apparently he’s considered a humor writer, though, so that explains the tone.
I can’t put into words just how weird it is to be in a room with half-naked women with names like Serenity and Isis, who are moments away from walking on a stage and showing their genitals to strangers, and you’re the one who feels like maybe you made some wrong life choices.
I’m at the Admiral Theatre, one of the oldest strip clubs (sorry, “gentlemen’s clubs”) in Chicago. As a middle-aged husband and father, it’s been years since I’ve been at a strip club (sorry, “gentlemen’s club”) at 1AM on a Saturday morning, and I’ve never been in the dressing room of a strip club (sorry, “gentlemen’s club”) trying to impress strippers with my disc-jockey skills.
Some original shit, that, suggesting that strippers have made poor life choices (more so than freelance writers in 2013? We’re all in the same boat, Eric, be kind) and that the term “gentlemen’s club” is used to gloss up the sleazy (?) term strip club.
Writing humorously about a night at the strip club without insulting everyone there, customers, staff, and dancers alike, is apparently one of the harder things to do in participatory journalism, but it’s not imposssible. The Rev Jen’s piece about stripping was compassionate while pulling no punches. For a couple of stories about strip club DJs that won’t inspire eyerolling, I suggest Zac Crain’s classic profile of Dallas strip club DJs (including the legendary Dr. Rock, the longtime MC at Dallas’s Clubhouse), and “The World’s Worst Strip Club DJ,” a series of diary entries about his time in the business by Jerry DeCicca of the Black Swans.