Old people should not order strippers. For most of you, this goes without saying— who wants to see grandpa’s false teeth go flying across the room because he gets too excited? But I mean old as in the collective old of those of us over 30. We can be in the room while the show is occurring, but there comes a time, usually about 10 years after college, when we adults lose the edge necessary to do the actual hiring. I am one such adult.
It was my girlfriend’s birthday and a couple of high school friends were in from out of town, so we were throwing a small get-together. It was nothing fancy, just some appetizers with sangria and margaritas around the pool, starting at 3pm, ending whenever. Very casual. Breezy. Come when you can.
Well, the week before this event was to occur, my friend Caroline and I shared a bottle of wine and got the bright idea that the birthday girl deserved a special treat in the form of a hot, oiled, and probably hairless hunk of man gyrating towards her lap. We laughed at the vision. We clapped because we’re still fun. We called our friend Julia for approval.
Somehow, probably because I don’t have a “real job”, I was given the duty of ordering the entertainment. At first, I didn’t have a problem with this. I’d never ordered a stripper before, and the last time I’d seen one was nine years ago at a sorority house party, but really, how hard could it be?
In college, if you wanted entertainment at your party, you called one of three numbers, loosely described what you were looking for (usually in the terms of: hot, tall and hairless) and just kind of accepted whatever it was that showed up at your door. If you got an oily midget, or gangly snaggle-toothed Brit, you still cheered, gave him money and cocktails, and had yourselves a rowdy time. This may sound sad, but we also thought beer chugging frat guys that lived in glorified filth were at the top of the dating pyramid. Our standards weren’t that high.
I did not want this experience for my friends (clearly, we’re classy ladies), but I didn’t have anyone to ask for a recommendation, so I turned to Google. I typed, “San Diego male strippers” into my browser and immediately 10 pages of explicitly named websites appeared, each promising to be the best time I’d ever had. I went to click on SanDiegoStrippers.com (because I like a website that states its purpose), and I immediately thought of Anthony Weiner. Then Casey Anthony’s chloroform came to mind, and then I thought of the pedophile teacher who was arrested at my mom’s school because he looked up child porn on his laptop.
“I’m going to need to clear my browser history.” I’m fun, but I’m not that fun.
I perused a few options, not really knowing what I was looking for, or how men from one company were different from another, and finally ended up at a virtual stripper super store. I thought my head was going to explode. There are pages and pages of male models, some with long hair, some with short, some had on tight t-shirts, some were bare-chested; they were white, black, blonde, Italian and all were wearing their bedroom eyes. The website suggested I pick six of my favorites and call the 1-800 number.
But online shopping gives me anxiety (I mean how do you know what it actually looks like) and there were just too many guys to choose from, so I decided to call them while the screen was up and see what happens. Maybe there would only be one dancer available on such short notice? Maybe the operator had a favorite she could recommend?
“Entertainment, how can I help you?”
“Hi, I need a dancer in Leucadia for Friday.”
“And who did you have in mind?”
“Well, I wasn’t really sure…they all look fine…maybe you can tell me who’s available and we can take it from there?”
“Ok, why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for?”
“I’m looking for a stripper.”
“I know, but what kind of look?”
“Oh, I don’t know—it’s for a birthday.”
“Ok….” I could hear her rolling her eyes through the phone.
“Um…her ex-boyfriend has brown hair?” My fun meter was dropping.
“Well, we have lots of dancers with brown hair. Do you at least have a particular race in mind?”
I panicked and scrolled down the computer screen, picking six at random.
“Ok, now what kind of personality are you looking for?” Personality? People talk to their strippers now?
“How about the kind that takes their clothes off?”
“But do you want a bad boy?” He’s a stripper. Isn’t “bad boy” part of the equation? We’re not setting her up on a date. I double-checked the site to make sure this wasn’t an escort service.
“Um, sure, a bad boy sounds good.”
“Ok, and what kind of underwear would you like him to wear?”
“But do you want boxers, boxer briefs…?”
“What, no shiny leopard print g-string thong?”
“Yea, no one does that anymore. That’s like, way old school.”
From the haughtiness in her voice, I could tell I had just given myself away. I wanted to say, “Well it has been 10 years since I’ve seen one of these, and I’m sure fashion trends have changed,” but I kept my mouth shut and played along.
“So boxer briefs then.”
“And hairless or hairy?”
“I would like him completely devoid of hair; including his legs.” Why not go for broke?
“And what time would you like him to arrive?”
Here I fumbled. I didn’t know when the birthday girl was arriving, but I knew that two of the eight guests had to leave by 6pm, and while getting a stripper with eight guests meant we were fun, getting one with six was just weird.
“How about 5pm?”
The reservation was completed and I felt accomplished.
Then, as I sat at my kitchen counter I wondered, “Is it weird to have a stripper when it’s light out?”
I pictured the sad faces at the strip joint noon buffet and what Julia’s backyard would look like to the exotic dancer as he walked out in his tight police uniform, blinded by the setting sun. He would see the table nicely set with cheese, bread, crackers and dips; the pitchers of red and white sangria and the gathering of women around the pool that looked more like a book club than a pack of saucy minxes, looking to spice up their night. I was already embarrassed for him.
Then I got a vision of Julia’s neighbors who are in their 50’s watching from their upstairs window as he handcuffed the birthday girl to her chair and began to pump and grind his hips. Who’s idea was this?
I resisted the overwhelming urge to call back and cancel.
“No, we are not boring book club types. We are fun, damnit.”
But then I worried that the other girls (two of which were pregnant) wouldn’t be into the stripper…or worse, that they would be offended. So I sent texts and Facebook messages desperately seeking approval from the party go-ers and over the course of the day, received a tepid response. They were all trying to be fun as well.
It had been 10 hours since I’d placed my order and I was feeling increasingly worse about my “fun” idea, but I was determined to stick with the plan, no matter how awkward it was going to be.
Then the day before the party one of the expectant moms had her baby and another one of the guests canceled, so the audience fell to the unacceptable number of six. I wasted no time in calling the 1-800 number.
“So, why are you cancelling?”
“I-I just got an email from the hostess and she had a baby! So, we’ll have to reschedule.” It was kind of true.
“Oh, wow. Amazing how that just happened.” Her tone was anything but “amazed”.
“I know, crazy! Thanks anyways.” I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.
I sent a text message to all the girls telling them about the canceled stripper, pretending that it just wouldn’t work out logistically. They, in turn, pretended to be disappointed, and we all went back to believing we were still fun, even if we’d lost our edge.