My First (and Last) Lap Dance


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

Inside every man, no matter how rich or powerful, is a shy 15-year-old slinking near the bleachers at the high school dance, head-over-heels for a girl he's afraid to say hi to, cultivating a fantasy that she'll make the first move and tell him how special he is. At a strip club, the shy boy can buy his dream, for a price.

I suppose this is why some men pay for sex. All the recent stories about high-priced call girls mention the same kinds of clients – married men in their 40s and 50s who want a warm connection with no strings attached, a couple of hours devoted only to their pleasure. I guess they buy a little bit of delusion, too; even if I didn't think it was morally wrong to think I could purchase a woman's affection along with her body, I’d never be able to convince myself that she'd really sold it.


In Toronto, I had my pick – hair color and length, tall or short, busty or petite. It takes all kinds, I guess. I honestly don't remember her name anymore; I remember that I picked her because she looked like my girlfriend. I remember easing back on a red cushioned bench while she crawled up and down me, performed nude acrobatics inches from my face and told me how great it felt. She told me about growing up in the plains of Ontario, and asked me to buy her more overpriced glasses of zinfandel. And when I said I'd had enough, she said no, couldn't I stay for one more song?

It was stimulating, yes – I'm only human – but I walked outside that night feeling awful about myself. Everything that went on inside those doors was a perversion of what I've always believed about men and women: There, they pretend to like each other, but they are just trying to satisfy themselves. It's a sad bargain, and I had just taken part in it.

For a fistful of Canadian money, I was complicit.

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