Strip clubs were a weekly part of my social existence. But once I realized that “escape” was only holding me back from my personal social goals, I determined that it was time to come back to the efforts of reality.
As explained to me by a dancer, here are the reasons why strip club exist.
One, to give women (and men) an option to make money when alternate routes for similar income are low. Two, to offer a means of fun and entertainment for those intrigued by what society considers taboo. And three, to offer men a reprieve from real life.
If you go to the strip club (or are thinking about doing so) and belong in that third group, it’s time you reconsider. Strip clubs do a great job of letting men escape from reality. But if you are going because something is lacking in your life, I would suggest you turn back around.
My first visit to a strip club was with a friend and served to continue the long-standing tradition of inviting low-nature sexual behavior as a means of celebration. Every visit after that, however, was selfish as I began going by myself and going rather frequently.
These visits were about me trying to capture happiness through temporary fulfillment. It was about filling the voids I had in my life. It was about escaping the reality of my struggles in what I perceived to be an increasingly hyper-sexualized society.
Someone with that mindset has a lot to lose at a strip club, and it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy.
As a club manager once told me, on a basic level, “Men like seeing boobies.” The fantasy is in the visual and knowing you can get it without the effort, but for me, the fantasy was in the stimulation those visuals gave off. It wasn’t enough to merely see beautiful women; I wanted to experience and “feel” their presence.
The calm social atmosphere that strip clubs offered allowed me to escape from my issues outside those walls. Real world dealings with women, dating, and relationships were angst-ridden. They required me to be charming, socially (and physically) attractive, and daring.
Strip clubs didn’t ask me to be any of those things. As long as I had money and could hold a conversation, I could be approached by a lovely, half-nude woman and enjoy her company. For one night, the pressure could be taken off me.
It’s amazing how quickly things escalate when you find yourself drawn to something as a temporary fix to a real-life struggle. I wasn’t going to the strip club to be entertained; I was going in hopes of having my issues cured. These places served as a hospital for my loneliness, and each physician had a new means of treating me.
I stopped caring about what I wanted in my real life. I preferred the acceptance of a simulated relationship than the effort of starting a true one. I preferred to take the easy road.
Strip clubs were never going to satisfy the things I truly wanted out of life. They were only going to bury me further into the depths of my own pity, leaving me less equipped to reach whatever personal social goals I had. I understood I had to come back to reality because this world wasn’t going anywhere.
Bending the realities of intimacy and companionship was screwing with my head and causing me to lose touch with how relations actually operate. Strip clubs made the art of socializing with women very easy, but nothing about those interactions were genuine or sincere. I stopped grasping how real conversations and real connections with real women work, causing dependency on an environment that stripped away (no pun intended, or maybe it is intended) those concerns.
I had to pose the following question to myself: what does it say about me that I prefer to spend my nights at the strip club, alone, than to shoot for real opportunities of socialization? I was using these women to make myself feel better, all the while losing respect for myself as a man. I didn’t want to be “that guy” any longer.
A place meant to serve as mindless entertainment (for both men and women) really makes its living on men like me hoping it will cover up areas in my life that are lacking. We have long-term goals in the realm of relationships, but the impulse of settling for something guaranteed yet faux is always tugging at us.
The fight for those missing areas is difficult, but shouldn’t be dropped in exchange for devaluing ourselves. Strip clubs are not an inherently bad place. But they can be toxic for men wanting something beyond what’s offered on the surface.
A couple of hours of bliss is tempting. But stay within reality. The fight is ultimately worth it.
This article was originally published on Elite Daily on April 16, 2016.