Dancing With Myself

Photo by James BunoanEverything is "honey" or "hon" at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in Westminster, where women take some of their clothes off for money.

When I call to confirm that Wednesdays are, indeed, White Collar Wednesdays, so I can get in free with my generic, no-name OC Weekly business card, the woman who answers says seriously, with just a hint of longing, "So, we're gonna see you in a little bit, honey?"

I assure her that yes, we won't be separated much longer, and she brightens up with a perky "Bye, hon." If I can make friends this easily over the telephone, why do I need to go to a strip club? Because I'm working, of course!

I've always found an excuse for going to a strip club—bachelor parties usually, and once because a bunch of us actually knew one of the dancers. Maybe this makes me a bona fide cad, in the rakish '50s-girlie-mag sense of the word.

If I am, though, I better work on my timing. Going to a strip club at quittin' time on a Wednesday is like going to a bar at 6 a.m.: you're not there because you like to drink; you're there because you need a drink.

After my eyes adjust to the dark inside the hideously pink-painted building, I need a drink.

The carpet is festooned with neon-hued legs in fishnet stockings, which glow gaudily with the help of strategically placed black lights throughout the club. Between dances, a waitress sprays Windex on the pole, then wipes it down. How sexy is that?

But mainly, this place is as empty as an abandoned building, with none of the safety in numbers guys need when they're looking at nekkid wimmens. It's just me and about 10 of my new best friends, none of whom is actually wearing a white collar. We're a mix of tattooed, T-shirt-wearing construction types who probably didn't work today and older business types blowing off a bit of steam before heading grimly home to The Wife. They don't look at me, and I try not to get caught looking at them.

Stone-faced, we watch the girls strip down to G-strings, rising only to tip occasionally. It's like I Walked With a Zombie in here, with a soundtrack varying from Nine Inch Nails to Simple Minds. Only one man is emboldened, midstrip, to sit at the rail until the dancer's done. He must really like her, I think.

Every quarter-hour, the announcer breaks in—in a Mickey Thompson Supercross voice—to tell us lap dances are two-for-one until the next stripper starts. Which means it's open season on the guy who looks like he'll be starting college in the fall: me.

I'm approached twice by a tanned, taut dancer with big, fake bazooms, natch, and a name like a luxury Japanese car—and I'm struck by how remarkably friendly she is, in a platonic sense.

(Friendship in the non-platonic sense costs $20 for a lap dance—$25 for two dances if they're two-for-one.) When she's not dancing, the woman says, she's teaching our nation's Republican youth at a school district somewhere in Orange County. Way to strike back in a subversive sort of way—do the Democrats know about this? She's also a parent, she says, and as I listen, any lust in my heart dies a quick death.

She's in her late 20s, a few years behind me, but she has the mature, seasoned patter of any other white-collar professional—never mind the heels and the glorified swimsuit. She could be refinancing my house right now.

Aside from telling me I look like I'm 23—which I hear a lot at Ralphs—there's no fake flirtation. She offers a dance in approximately the same tone as the waitress who gets me a second Corona. This evening has become as stiff as its theme—a starched, white collar.

Experience White Collar Wednesdays at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, 7000 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster, (714) 891-1181. Get in free with a business card and matching ID.


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