But what about the guys? The only things any of us know about dudes who get naked for money come from watching Magic Mike and the occasional “secret crush” episode of the Maury Show. And, honestly, we have no idea how accurate either of those are.
Which is why we decided to find out and clear up some common misconceptions about what male strippers actually do. To shed some bright neon stage light on the subject, we talked to a private-show stripper, some guys from the Floppy Rooster club in Miami, and one of the Chippendales -- who, as a male revue, are actually not strippers and more like what Channing Tatum does on screen. This is what they told us...
There’s a BIG difference between strippers and a “male revue”
And you probably know what that “big” thing we’re talking about is. Male strippers are like female strippers -- they take it all off. Or if they don’t, they’re still performing lap dances, private dances, table dances, you get the picture -- all the stuff guys drop cash on at the local female strip joint. A male revue (like the Chippendales), on the other hand, is what you see in Magic Mike: a semi-clothed dance performance with no full nudity or private dances.
The audience is diverse
The stereotype of the frustrated old aunt trying to reach in the G-string is pretty outdated. While the audiences at male strip clubs/revues were once comprised of mostly older ladies, today more younger women are showing up. As are more gay men. Mostly, it’s just people there to have fun and let loose, and tends to be a lighter, happier environment than in most female clubs.
Channing Tatum did not play a stripper
He was a male-revuer. And a very good one judging by his moves. He could absolutely go back to doing that if he wanted to. Stripping, on the other hand, requires a lot more than just a great body and some hot moves -- and the jury’s still out on how good he'd be at that.
Magic Mike is frighteningly accurate
In terms of the male-revue lifestyle, anyway. As one Chippendale noted, “It’s like somebody has been following me around for the last four years, and now I’m seeing it up on screen.” Male strippers, however, described the movie as a G-rated version of what they do.
Unlike the adult film industry, where the male-to-female pay disparity is jaw-dropping, male strippers make just as much as their female counterparts. Why? Simple, how many female strip clubs are there in your city? Now how many male clubs? All of those bachelorette parties need SOMEWHERE to go, and typically there’s only one game in town. It's not uncommon for male strippers to pull in six-figure incomes just like the ladies.
Things get weirder than at a female strip club
Probably because the "clothed woman, naked dude" dynamic is a lot less threatening, patrons feel more comfortable doing weird shit. Whether it's a Steve Aoki wannabe covering a stripper in birthday cake and asking to lick it off, a customer eating a discarded G-string while sitting at the tip rail, or a female patron getting a dancer's name tattooed on her body, you're probably better off asking a male stripper what the norm is.
That’s not to say that if Chris Farley were still alive he could really be a Chippendale, despite his sick moves. It’s saying that women are generally not like men, and they don’t demand physical perfection from their strippers. That said, you do have to be good looking and in shape, and you must have SOMETHING big. So if it’s not your biceps, dance moves, or on-stage personality, well, that kinda narrows it down. To your feet, of course!
Dancers CAN have relationships with patrons
But it’s not recommended. If you’re in a traveling male revue, it’s almost like being a rock star. And folks tend to act accordingly. For those who do home shows, many date other strippers, since they understand the work.
The job can get you laid, but it doesn’t always end well
The opportunities are always there, sure. But there are horror stories of mixing fantasy and reality, and many male strippers don’t want to take the risk.
They do not "stuff"
And if a guy got caught stuffing, he’d never live it down. It's kinda like living in a frat house, except it's not just the pledges who get naked and dance for people.
It’s insanely high-maintenance
Even though you don’t have to look like Channing Tatum to get the gig, you can’t let yourself go either. The other dancers who work hard won’t stand for it, and eventually you’ll find yourself out of work. In addition to near-daily trips to the gym, you also need to do stuff like tanning, teeth whitening, bleaching, hair trimming, moisturizing, manicures, manscaping, and other things construction workers and non-strippers really don’t worry about.
At its core, it's still just a job
And while there are wild nights and parties like you see in Magic Mike, most evenings you go in, you get to work, and you stop at Taco Bell on the drive home. Only catch, you have to spend an extra hour in the gym the next day working off those three chalupas.