Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dancing at "Flash" 4: The Stuff That Sweet Dreams Are Made Of...

WARNING: Adult situations and sexual themes are discussed at...er...length. Once again, this blog includes details about my encounters with male strippers! Readers' discretion is advised!

Greetings Frothy friends, here's a quick Flash-back of previous events:

A fluke visit to Toronto's "members only" strip club Flash led to my increasing interest in one alluring dancer I call "VinTatum" (named after Jersey Shore's Vinny and Channing Tatum.) Long...er...very long story short, he is one irresistible mofo. (Check out Part One, Part Two and Part Three for what you missed!) Between the music, the atmosphere and VinTatum, I finally bought a one year membership to Flash for $25 instead of shelling out $5 each trip. I was also still trying to make sense of the mesmerizing, conflicting swirl of feelings that occurred during my visits.

Just before the new year I came back to Flash to pick up my membership card. I wasn't planning on staying long, since I was meeting up with a friend. But the few minutes I was there reminded me of everything I hate about strip clubs. My mistake was coming relatively early in the night, so the place was pretty empty. One dancer saw me and immediately zeroed in. He introduced himself, shook my hand and then the questions came a mile a minute. "What's your name? Where are you from? I haven't seen you before!" I was pretty taken aback, but explained I was only staying for a few minutes. He followed that up by saying he could "take care of me" right away. "Maybe next week," I replied. He countered with, "I'll get you next time!" It almost sounded more hostile than sexy.

There was another dancer who was very cute and really worked the pole on stage. He was playing to a quiet room in what looked like an undress rehearsal for the full stage show that would happen later. Even the laser lights looked more depressed without the energy of a full crowd. He ended his set and went to the bar fully naked, which made me take notice of his muy bien derriere. I came up and tipped him $5 for his efforts, saying something cheesy, like, "Great pole work up there!" He wasn't as pushy as the first dancer, but he was also curious about who I was. "Have you been here before? Is there anything I can...do for you?" If I wasn't so hung up on VinTatum, I might have been persuaded, but I also told him, "Maybe next time..."

The following Saturday arrived and I was determined to have a Happy Nude Year! I was trying to recruit a friend to join me, but he was hesitant. "I don't like seeing you get taken advantage of," he explained. "Will you at least come for moral support? What if I paid your cover?" I countered. "And a drink?" he bartered. "Sure!" I agreed. With that settled, we met up with another friend and the three of us made our way to the club.

At the door I proudly presented my membership card as my pals signed in to the strains of Alexis Jordan's "Happiness." We were bopping along to Jordan's belting, which made the doorman comment that he was glad to see enthusiastic visitors. "It's a great song," I said. "Yeah, it's only my fourth time hearing it tonight," the doorman deadpanned.

Once inside, the energy was palpable. It was a marked contrast to my brief, early evening visit the previous Saturday. The crowd was overflowing and my friends and I made our way to the bar to partake in some shots of peppermint schnapps. I also broke tradition and ordered a Rev instead of my usual Bacardi Breezer. We soon snagged a table and observed the show.

At one point the DJ announced that all dancers had to come on stage for the "One Minute Flash." It became a chorus line of men getting up, being introduced and then quickly showing off the goods. There was a large round pedestal next to the silver pole on stage that the dancers climbed onto before dropping trou for the crowd. One of the newer dancers stepped up and almost lost his balance, causing the others to gasp and shout like sports fans watching a risky play. Some of the Flashers seemed bored or annoyed that they were pulled away from working the room to assemble like a manly buffet for all the onlookers. It really was the largest gaggle of strippers I had ever seen in one place. Eventually VinTatum showed up in the rotation, prompting me to poke my friends and squeal, "There he IS!"

Shortly afterward, VinTatum came by our table and I fluttered like a schoolgirl. "I finally got some of my friends to come back with me," I said. "Bonjour," he replied, turning to my pals. We then talked about our respective New Year's celebrations. He mentioned spending his with family, which made me feel slightly trashy when I declared, "I drank a lot, but I didn't get sick!" He noticed me sipping on my Rev and said, "I'll let you finish that, but I'll see you later?" My face beamed as I nodded in the affirmative.

I turned to my friends and jokingly fanned myself, but they were pretty much done with it. I didn't mind, since they stayed with me for at least a half an hour and I knew it wasn't really their thing. Aside from that, I didn't want to leave them by themselves when I went off for my private dances. We hugged, said our farewells, and then I didn't waste any time. I found VinTatum by the bar and tapped him on the shoulder. "Are you ready?" I smiled. He seemed a little surprised, but replied, "Yeah, sure!"

Fourth time was the charm as everything felt strangely relaxed when VinTatum and I settled into our private booth. I really can't explain the feeling I get when we have our visits, except that it's an overwhelming high. The buzz was momentarily thrown off, though, when he asked about my workplace. "How much discount do you get over there?" he inquired. "Not very much," I replied, hoping to change the subject. I don't blame him for asking, since it's a question I get a lot when I mention where I work. But it made me wonder if he was angling to take advantage of my perks as I was exploiting his.

He didn't press further, but the workplace talk got me into a confessional mode. "I cried when I got my credit card bills this month," I said, only half joking. I wasn't trying to sound so dramatic, but earlier that day I went through a mini meltdown over how much I'd been spending. "It's ok, we're just having fun," he said, trying to sound reassuring.

The music throbbed as usual, this time with VinTatum singing along in a humourous falsetto. He also mimicked the electronic beeps of the song, joking, "I sound like R2D2." I actually laughed quite a bit with him and relished the bits of facade busting that took place. Maybe that's why I liked him so much, since a man that can turn me on and make me laugh is something I crave. "I love the music here," I said. "It's kinda like Fly," he noted. "But it's not always like this. On Sundays they play really sleepy stuff."

Since he'd seen me enough times to know I enjoy his cologne, he asked, "Do I smell good today?" After confirming he did, I asked what he was wearing. "It's a secret," he teased before admitting it was Christian Dior. "You smell good too," he commented, making me do a back flip of joy inside. "It's Yves Saint Laurent," I explained. "I had to up my game."

My cologne revelation may have prompted the next question, which took me by surprise. "How much do you spend on clothes?" In between our gropes and grinds, I came up for air long enough to say, "Not a lot...I like sporty stuff like Adidas. Why?"

"I like to help people dress well so they feel good about themselves."

My eyes widened as another juicy piece of VinTatum's puzzle fell into my lap. Although it was funny to think that he saw me as the Brittany Murphy to his Alicia Silverstone. But it was a revealing insight into how his taste for designer labels extended into his overall sensibilities. Fancy clothes, though, have never been something that interested me, let alone something I'd use to boost my self esteem. Part of me wondered why he thought I didn't have a healthy sense of self in my current attire.

However, one common thread throughout our encounters is his desire to make people "feel good" in various ways. So maybe his questions about clothes were another manifestation of that goal. On one hand, I thought it was sweet that he was trying to use his sense of style to help me out. On the other hand, it was another example of our wires getting crossed. In our first visit he assumed I didn't go out very much, now it appeared he thought a makeover would help me feel better about myself. In my mind, I saw him as a sensual, funny, charm factory that should be putting his personality to use in stage shows or TV. So maybe we were both guilty of projecting different ideas onto each other that weren't always correct.

"Your friend out there really seemed to like me," VinTatum observed. "What have you told him?" I thought to myself, He reads my bi-weekly blogs about you and hates coming here because he worries about me getting ripped off. But my actual reply was the more demure, "He knows how much I like you." I still wonder what he would have said if I'd told him the whole story. There were many questions and answers on both ends that sort of got lost in between our writhing.

VinTatum then began throwing out some of those sexy animal snarls that I loved from our last visit. As much as the thrill was sexual, a lot of my intoxication was coming from the simplicity of holding another man close to me. There was an intensity to the massaging, the caresses and the feel of his hot breath on my neck.

"You're very theatrical. I like that," I praised, hoping he'd take my hints and become an actor. "Why thank you," he replied, breaking into some of his cute character voices. He even threw in some raunchy banter that had me laughing with high pitched glee.

"I know I've said it before, but you really are gorgeous," I gushed. "Thanks," he replied. "You should see me when I lose more weight." My jaw dropped as I said, "Stop that! You're perfect the way you are!" He appreciated the compliments, and it was another bit of reality slipping through the cracks. It still surprised me that a guy as hot as VinTatum could be worried about his appearance.

"You have a really nice smile," I continued. "Nice smiles always win me over." He then jokingly leaned against the wall, posing for me with that wicked grin, looking like a sexy pinup come to life.

When it came time to pay, he admitted he gave me one free dance because I've been so nice to him. I still added on a tip, but he quickly asked if I wanted it back. "I don't want to break your bank," he said, looking concerned. I told him to keep it, since, "I need to take a break from coming here for a bit." He understood and didn't put any pressure on me about my decision. "But don't be afraid to come back later on," he added.

Our goodbye hug melted into another round of us telling each other we were awesome. I felt like I was walking on clouds as I headed back out near the main stage. Simply Red's "Sunrise (Love To Infinity Mix)" was thumping as the lights bounced all around the venue. Normally I'd be analyzing the moody lyrics and trying to apply it to the club, but this time it just felt euphoric. I grabbed my coat and left Flash with a glow that felt akin to Madonna's giddy giggles at the end of the "Justify My Love" video.

By the time I got to Union Station to wait for my bus home, I could smell a mashup of both of our colognes. It was a nice epilogue to the intermingling I'd experienced with VinTatum earlier that evening. I felt less angsty and more satisfied than our last encounter, since I had learned a pinch more about him and enjoyed the rush overall. If it wasn't a perfect "bow," it at least wrapped things up enough for me to conclude my series of essays on Flash.

My adventures with Flash have been alluring, addictive and occasionally off putting. A lot of different buttons were being pressed simultaneously during my visits. I've volleyed between being cynical of the club and romanticizing my encounters there, but the reality is probably somewhere in the middle. Flash is a venue that brings people of all stripes - employees, dancers and patrons - into one place for a variety of reasons. As the great Annie Lennox once sang, "Everybody's looking for something..." We all have "Sweet Dreams" that we want to turn into realities, and Flash makes that happen for many folks. I didn't even think I was looking for anything when VinTatum overwhelmed me with his magnetism. But developing a crush on him seemed to break the concept of anonymously enjoying someone's company in the shadows of a private booth. "I didn't expect it to hit me over the head like this," I explained to a pal. "Isn't that what you're paying for?" he impishly replied.

There's always a price to pay for acting on desire, whether you invest in it emotionally or financially. Flash turned me inside out because I was guilty of doing both. VinTatum gets credit for sparking a feeling I haven't had in awhile. It's not hard to grow fond of a cute guy that displays massive amounts of charm, appears devoted to family, and has goals related to his stylish flair. (I also appreciated that he didn't want to "break my bank" after I mentioned concern over finances...) I may only be able to sketch a tentative outline of who he really is, but he seems like a decent enough guy. Even if I know I can't have him outside of our Flash-stravaganzas, I'm glad we crossed paths. Those fleeting, dizzying moments we've shared have inspired me a lot and there's something priceless about that, even in spite of the actual costs attached.

In some ways this all feels like part of a bigger journey that's taking place for me. It began a few months ago when Damon Suede's amazing novel "Hot Head" awakened emotions I'd locked down for years. Then Flash came along with a tantalizing infatuation that literally landed in my lap. As a result, my emotional spectrum was all over the map, but it was nice to know I was still capable of feeling and wanting certain things. The next step is to harness all that vibrant energy and bring it back down to earth. It's time to conclude my Gossip about Flash and "Move In The Right Direction" with my personal goals...

In the meantime, a huge thank you to Flash for being so provocative and the amazing, seductive, lusty scamp I call VinTatum for giving me so much to think about! More thanks are owed to all the friends that love me and watch out for me! We've had interesting debates about what this all means.

Stay Frothy and Flashy everybody...

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