I have been contemplating this blog for some time, unsure where to start so I guess context is the best way to go about it. Firstly I don’t consider myself over conservative or prudish but this self assessment was sorely tested recently and I realised something. I think sex is private, something you do in the bedroom, or the backseat, or on the couch….or in the scrub on the heads at Manly preferably when the local army barracks haven’t decided to do a mid morning cross-country march…..oh wait that last example was not meant to be in there. Wherever you want to “do it” is fine by me so long as I don’t have to watch. This is not because of morals, or religious beliefs or anything that deep. It’s mostly because no-one really looks that good ‘doing it’ except models and movie stars. And even they can balls it up and make it look tacky.
Where was I? Oh yes context…Recently I was invited to a 21st birthday. These invites are now rare seeing as my friends kids are young and my friends are old. And this girl was an ex student and as brave and compassionate a human soul as one can encounter. So I said ‘yes, I would be delighted to attend’. Did I mention she is a lesbian. She decided this when she was 16 and I was privileged to be one of the people she first outed herself too. This is also totally fine with me as long as I don’t have to hear the details. Any details, be they hetero or homo or all other diverse categories. I just don’t wish to discuss it because I did that endlessly when I was in uni to shock and impress boys and alienate myself from pious women. Now it either bores me or makes me squirm with discomfort because people are just not wordsmiths when it comes to sex. It seems populated by a vocabulary of awkward, crude, crass and ugly words stumbling towards a noisy climax that does not make music. But I digress.
My friend, lets call her Kathryn, had decided to have a pole dancer at her party which was great. I had a myth dispelled. I often wondered how pole dancers could get away with all that thigh work and not suffer massive chafing but it seems the pole has an outer shaft (awkward, ugly word) that spins. Making it easy to turn yourself around for even the most graceless of novices. It wasn’t long before the timid onlookers were getting right up there and showing off their abdominal strength and that their pelvic floor exercises could pay off. It was fun, silly and moderately entertaining.
But then Kathryn said she’d had a stripper booked and to tell you the truth I have never seen a stripper, male or otherwise. I have seen topless ladies pole dancing and when I was younger I used to watch porn very occasionally in my teens with my boyfriend. It’s true, it’s arousing – for about the first ten minutes, then it’s as boring as batshit because men write the “scripts” and there’s no story, no build up, no romance, just here’s your pizza now would you also like to see my giant schlong, followed imaginatively by would I ??? (enthusiastic reply from wanton women, with equally giant breasts)
The stripper was female, obviously. And while waiting for her to arrive there was much jocularity at this gender bender party where the sexes were supposed to dress as their opposites (my partner’s were not the only refusals). There were footy jocks dressed in nightmarish nighties and balloons stuffed up where apparently women are supposed to have breasts but which kept migrating in other directions.
I was not keen on the whole stripper thing but thought I should be supportive and get over my aversion to the idea. I chastised myself for being a prude and bravely entered the entertainment arena, the well lit and neatly decked out carport, and sat on the lap of my husband because there were no other available seats.
Suddenly there was a commotion and a burly guy stepped in issuing orders, no cameras, no photos, no children. (arrrrrrgh – yes there were children there, relatives of the birthday girl, don’t go there with your judgement) The door was firmly closed after a tall lithe, spray tanned blonde women sashayed in wearing a sparkly pink bandana boob tube and matching panties. She was a walking archetype.
Hang on. What the hell? What is she going to strip down to if that is it? Okay so I naively imagined giant feather fans or long draping veils, at least seven of them, or Olivia Newton John-esque black body suit. Nope. No build up, no story, no…Anyway I should have seen the warning signs right then and opted to remain outside the shed with nan, a startlingly good conversationalist, who had wisely set up residence in the warm living room in front of the massive telly.
This girl had an amazing figure and no cellulite. She had two small wings tattooed to her shoulder blades. She had the same suspicious, even, orange tan every where. Yes everywhere. And no hair so it was impossible to tell if the curtains matched the carpet. She was presumably bottle blonde with long lustrous curls that hung jauntily down her back. Her face although, no more than 25 years old, looked hardened and sharp. Angular features that threatened to turn up the edges and age without warning.
She began her routine with the predictable writhing and lap gymnastics which Kathryn seemed to be enjoying. It wasn’t long before she was prancing about in the complete altogether. Lying in cat position and arching her bottom gracefully up towards onlookers I was suddenly perplexed to find finding myself rhyming labium with solarium.
She moved on to lathering her distinctly enhanced breasts with shaving cream which was good because her nipples were pointing in an alarmingly southerly direction which was so incongruous with the youthful, rest of her. She whispered to Kathryn who later told me she had asked whose face should be rubbed vigorously into the shaving cream, now adorning her magnificently discordant breasts. And Kathryn , being a rake, suggested her astonishingly homophobic sister, who genuinely screamed in terror as the stripper approached, but stoically took the face pounding with aplomb.
Then, said stripper, proceeded to apply shaving cream to her buttocks, walked away from Kathryn and skilfully executed a handstand and timed her landing so that both her butt cheeks landed with a emphatic slap either side of Kathryn’s dainty nose.
So by now I was seriously uncomfortable. Especially being in the contrary surrounds of a suburban shed with harsh lighting and a cacophony of guffawing and cheering bordering on jeering, from several young men. As the unfolding drama before me continued, it seemed to me it would appear more at home somewhere like the “Crazy Horse”. After 15 minutes of this I was thinking surely it must be ending soon, but sadly this is only the beginning of this tragic tale.
Kathryn regarded the women before her on the floor, legs splayed. She saw what she believed to be a piercing and announced to the crowd this observation, particularly for those not privy to the view. To which, our burlesque beauty replied, that’s no piercing and proceeded to produce, presumably from her vaginal cavity, a string of what seemed to be never-ending silver pearls that she tied around one stiletto and hoisted into the air.
The magic did not end there, marshmallows were place and eaten off her skin in some very close quarters, then a chuppa chup disappeared from whence the pearls came and reappeared only to be thrust into a somewhat bemused Kathryn’s mouth. ‘Oh that can’t be healthy“, I found myself musing. The grand finale involved the most wretched of events, the insertion of a large, obscene, vibrating plastic, purple penis device.
At this stage I was hiding behind my hat and had broken into an uncontrollable sweat which was related to menopausal hot flushing and extreme anxiety, which others may have, appallingly, mistaken for arousal.
I observed the girl performing this dance of the dick, with such discomfort. I felt as though I was complicit in her degradation and participating in girl on girl crime. And whether this is just a case of middle class English manners, or puritanical judgement, or feminism for the bourgeois I just couldn’t see any beauty in it.
And isn’t that what sex is supposed to be?
She left looking remarkably more attractive in grey yoga pants and a blue singlet with her hair tied neatly in a bouncy pony tail. She was paid $250 to publicly expose herself and simulate sex with real penetration. And I am irritated with myself for judging her. Is she not choosing to objectify herself, thereby subverting the sexual oppression that creates a market for “strippers” in the first place, and to obtain economic gain, therefore staking a claim on her power? Or is she really being objectified and paying a huge personal cost? $250 just doesn’t seem enough for that kind of public apotheosis of the sexualised female form.
I was conflicted. Still am. I left shortly after and feel as though those images are forever burned onto my retina. More power to her. But I just did not feel good about myself. Crazy? Judgemental? Prudish? I don’t really care. Sex for me is a private act. It’s not one you take to a suburban back yard and charge others to watch. And there was no movement from beneath me, as I sat perched on my husbands lap, so I guess it wasn’t that erotic for him either.
It’s so disquieting, for me, when the private is dragged so un-gracefully into a public arena, stripped bare, exposed, vulnerable and shared amongst strangers.