Why The First Lap Dance I Ever Got Ended Up Being My Last

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Why The First Lap Dance I Ever Got Ended Up Being My Last

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.

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.

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Every Boy's Fantasy

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.

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.

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I suppose this is why some men pay for sex.

All the stories we hear 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.

A Lesson In Disappointment And Regret

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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