Private Eye: Demeaning Dancers 

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Without admitting you’ve ever been, did you go to a “gentlemen’s club” (strip joint) for the naked dancers or the booze?

Lisa Hines:
I went to see pretty ladies get naked, or as close to naked as they get in Utah.
Scott Renshaw: Why would anyone want to get liquored up at a strip club? I’d want my vision to be as clear as possible.
Nick Clark: So the pleasant social company of others is not an option? Oh, well. I guess my vote goes for the pasties. The DABC doesn’t offer those yet, do they?
Jackie Briggs: What? The nakedness of course! Oh and on a side note, always get booze in bottles at “gentleman’s clubs.” You just can’t trust the glass. Yes, I go often.
Stephen Matney: Somebody says “strip club” and I think of the olden days when some of my burly friends and I would get together with a can of paint stripper and just break it down, baby. The paint, that is.
Faith Burnham: Dude, I’ve only been to a bar once in my adult life … and it was a just-booze bar, no boobies. I know, I know—I am the lamest of the lame!
Brandon Burt: Why would I want to go to a strip club when I can drink and get naked in my own back yard? Saves a lot of bills, although the neighbors have started looking at me funny.
Derek Jones: As a gay male, I can never get enough T&A. (The booze definitely makes the experience more enjoyable, too!)
Tyler Bradshaw: Lindsay Larkin and I are going to the strip club to find people to put in the trunk of her El Camino (which is Spanish for “the camino”).
Bill Frost: There are no “naked” dancers anymore; pasties are holding back the downfall of civilization, among other things. And I actually go to Trails for the burgers and the music.
Justin Healy: All I am going to say is that in San Francisco, it is a $50 touching fee even if the lady takes your hand and puts it on her hip. That was seven years ago, and I have not been back since.
Annie Quan: I think everyone in the staff should be able to respond to this one. We’ve had a staff bachelorette and three birthday parties there … including mine.
Chelsie Booker: Neither—I just go to pick up my paycheck.
Jesse James Burnitt:? Since I can get either in my own home, I would go primarily for the atmosphere. Playing pool with a bit of skinscape scenery is never a bad thing.
Derek Carlisle: They say the best memories in life are those of innocent youth, so if going to these clubs and ordering a big chilled tall glass of milk and starring at those bare breasts in hopes of recovering some of those memories is what ya have to do, then I must be the guilty party. My answer is the milk, not the ladies—however, they do go hand in hand nicely.
If I really kick it in gear, if I really smack the keyboard, I might be able to finish this column in time to be one of the first to buy the movie 300 which is being released on DVD today. For those who missed the movie or their world history classes (most of Utah), 300 is a uniquely stylized rendering of the story of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors who died fighting the Persian army at Thermopylae. That battle not only changed world history, but also gave all free men an epic rallying cry for the ages—when we’re not betting on the amount of cocaine in Lindsay Lohan’s vial, that is.

I watched 300 at Larry Miller’s IMAX, and it was one of the best movies I saw all year. I’m only saying that because I’m Greek. I’m also saying that because Vince Horiuchi didn’t. In his snippet review of the 300 DVD in the July 31Salt Lake Tribune, Horiuchi (who usually writes about TV—you know, the deep end of the video entertainment pool) claims that 300 is a “vacant tale.” YGBSM, Vince! The subhead to Horiuchi’s B-minus rating says 300 “lacks heart.” Such a bipolar rendering not only of Thermopylae, but of any battlefield, makes it easier to understand why, among TV critics (City Weekly’s Bill Frost excepted), Nicole Richie is better known than Betsy Ross.

If all goes well, I’ll have this column knocked out, bought the movie and watched it while many are yet to enter the myocardial infarction of clogged freeway arteries on way home from work. By then, I’ll be in a local private club with a refreshing toddy at arm’s length and, if I choose the right club, I’ll perhaps spy Salt Lake County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi’s cigar smoke two arm-lengths away. I’ll ask him to give his little brother a kindly smack to inspire a bit of “emotional resonance.”

Then again, if I choose another club, a nearly naked women will be dancing about three arm-lengths away. Truth is, I haven’t been to such an emporium in years. When I was young, my buddy Jeff Tibolla got to know the operator of the Phoenician in Midvale. She used to let us watch the go-go girls and drink beer long before we were legal. Ah, the good, old days.

I never really warmed up to dance clubs but neither did I avoid them. For me, a shy person by nature, I knew I was wasting my time. I had a hard time asking girls to dance at all, let alone asking a dancer to talk. Plus, before I was 30 years old, I’d spent a couple of go-rounds working in Nevada casinos, so I became used to viewing such women as dedicated professionals who were not about to waste time on me.

It really is basic. Women dance for the same reason that men become plumbers: There’s good money to be had, and there’s opportunity for some good, old exhibitionism—though it can be said a plumber’s butt crack is not considered attractive. If ever there were a dancer-plumber operation, it would be a gold mine. Forget the clogged sinks—men would be purposely breaking their shower heads all over town.

Lacking dancing plumbers, Utah law generously gives those who want to partake in a smattering of clubs where women can earn a living by entertaining mostly men (yes, Martha, women go to see women dance, too) who have more money than common sense. In the upward spiral of social Darwinism, I think it’s damned fine that dancers separate those louts from their Jeffersons. Not all the men in dance clubs are louts. Just the louts. If you’ve ever been to a dance club, you can tell the difference. I can tell the difference.

I doubt that people like newly appointed liquor Commissioner Bobbie Coray, who openly admits to being a Democrat and a feminist, can tell the difference. On her first day on the job, she cast the lone dissenting vote against renewing the liquor license for Trails Men’s Club. (Just as Coray refuses to call Sexually Oriented Businesses “SOBs,” I refuse to call places in which women dance with poles “strip clubs.”) Coray also voted to deny license to an Ogden club that features “exotic dancers”—in both cases because such places are “demeaning to women.” Not all women who work in SOBs would agree.

Anyway, SOBs are equally demeaning to both sexes. Ever seen a dirty dollar bill twisted around a man’s tongue, for instance? Or stuck between the gap in his teeth? I have, and it isn’t pretty. But Coray’s solution to rid Utah of demeaning environments is not based in reality. Her rationale for removing liquor is this: “You wouldn’t have much of a business if all you offered was Diet Coke.”

n{::INSERTAD::}How would she know? Serving liquor in places like Trails keeps out a certain kind of duplicitous riff-raff who quietly reside in neighborhoods like the one Coray must live in. Those righteous men won’t go anywhere liquor is served. That’s evil. Yet, sans liquor, they still find women on the sly and ask them to do the kinds of demeaning things that don’t actually occur at SOBs.

If Bobbie Coray wants to harm a legal business, she shouldn’t be on the liquor commission. There were no crimes committed at Trails. The only crime I can see is against the makers of Diet Coke, who must be wondering why they were singled out as being unable to sustain business viability in a room full of bouncy women. But at least we know Coray is, indeed, a Democrat. Otherwise, she would have laid such guilt at the heels of Mountain Dew.
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