JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Stripped down

The other day, while driving through Los Angeles, I passed one of the city’s 8 gazillion strip clubs. It was late at night, I was bored and lonely and—for the splittiest of split seconds—I thought to myself, “Hm, strip club.”

Then I returned to my hotel.

In my life, I’ve gone to a strip club three times. The first time came when I was an intern at The Tennessean in Nashville. I was 21, and a bunch of us were going. I felt awkward about it, then entered and felt even more awkward. I remember drinking (glub) two grape juices, which probably cost $8 a pop. I didn’t shove any $1 bills in g-strings or get a lap dance.

The second time was in Florida. I was driving from somewhere to somewhere, covering Spring Training, and I spotted the glowing sign of a place called, I believe, The Tool Shed. I immediately recognized the sign as one of the places that appeared in the Motley Crue video for “Girls, Girls, Girls.” I was 26 or 27, single, entered by myself. Looked around—probably five guys in the whole joint, the stench of cigarette everywhere, one sad-looking chick on a stage, dancing to a Motown tune.

I left.

The final visit came about a decade back. My friend Dan was getting married, and one of his cousins or friends was insistent the bachelor party take place (post-dinner) at a strip club. Dan clearly didn’t want to go, and neither did most of the rest of us. But this guy was somewhat older, somewhat louder and, best I recall, capable of killing us all. So we went … and it was mortifying. This tool was tossing dollars left and right, making inane comments about one stripper after another. Could I have hid under a stiletto, I would have. Alas, I just sat there.

Those are my strip club stories.

Thing is, I’ve got no real beef with strip clubs. I mean, I’m not a particularly big fan of exploiting women. But I understand sexual expression, and sexual relief, and sexual finances (ie: strippers can surely make shitloads of money). It’s just, well, I can’t really picture myself sitting there all alone, breasts wobbling in my face, my wife and kids home without me.

PS: One thing: Just realized—I actually went a fourth time. Was reporting the Cowboys book, and many players used to hit up the Men’s Club of Dallas. So I spent an hour there. Expensive drinks, gorgeous women, a relatively empty notepad.