My First (and Last) Lap Dance

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My First (and Last) Lap Dance
One man's visit to a Canadian strip club reveals the selfish side of love.

You can touch a stripper in Toronto. You can fondle her thighs, squeeze her boobs, kiss the nape of her neck as she arches her back in pretend ecstasy. Unlike the American clubs where you’ll get beaten by a bouncer and tossed in the alley if you lay a finger on her, you can do almost anything you want in Toronto.

"You can touch me anywhere except my pussy," the blonde told me. "That's my job."

She was curvy and ravishing. She smelled like hand sanitizer. She charged $20 a song to sit naked on my jeans in a dim upstairs room, making conversation and moaning, and I suppose she was beautiful. But it was excruciating.

Why do men want lap dances? In my case, I was curious. I was out of town in a city with lax rules and willing to try something I'd never done before. I'd been in my share of strip clubs over the years – I certainly don't mind watching pretty women take off their clothes – and I'd seen countless men pulling out $20s as they leaned back to lock eyes with a stripper. Some of them looked like they were falling in love; some of them were leering, laughing, joking about her in the third person to their friends. But in spite of all the scantily-clad dancers who had put hands on my shoulder asking if I wanted to buy a drink or a private dance, I never did anything more than watch until that night in Toronto.

The feigned closeness is part of the appeal, of course. Gentlemen, how often does your wife-girlfriend-date push you back in a chair, strip off her underwear and straddle your legs? How often do you ignore her eyes, stare at her chest and ask her to smother you in her cleavage? Would you dare? Could you do it with a straight face? And even if she's up for doing that now and again, could you just demand it when you saw her, without worrying whether she was in the mood, without first asking how her day was?

For $20 a dance, you can. And if you squint just right and ignore the brass pole and the thumping music and the slack-jawed guys all around you, you can pretend that she really cares about you and you've made some sort of connection – maybe even that you're different from all the other creeps who come schlumping in the door.

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