Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dancing at "Flash" 6: Finale McBeal?

WARNING: Adult situations and sexual themes are discussed 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:

Checking out Toronto's "members only" strip club Flash became a regular habit of mine due to an alluring dancer I call "VinTatum" (named after Jersey Shore's Vinny and Channing Tatum.) What started as a fluke turned into a puzzling infatuation that I couldn't shake. (Check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four and, yes, Part Five for what led up to this!) The drama continued with my perpetual urge to create a satisfying "finale" to my encounters with VinTatum. Would that moment ever come? Or would I turn blue waiting? Stay tuned...

March arrived and the first weekend of the month gave way to yet another trip to Flash. Most of my friends at this point steered clear of joining me for fear of enabling or encouraging my addiction. (Many of them are seriously ready to stage an intervention...) But as luck would have it, I had coffee with a pal who had never been to Flash before and he agreed to be my partner in crime for the night.

My frustrations from my last visit to Flash led me to create a mental list of talking points I wanted to bring up. Once again I was hoping to create a "grand finale" so I could try to break free from an increasingly costly habit. I really wanted to try telling VinTatum about some of the impact he was having on me, even if I couldn't confess everything. As my friend and I approached the entrance, I was determined to keep my wits about me and hit the right beats when we made our way in.

As soon as we entered, I Flashed my membership card and my pal signed in at the front desk. We then headed downstairs to the coat check area. Bounding out of the dancer's dressing room was VinTatum himself, sharply attired in a hat and vest that made him look like Magic Mike. (The guy who reminded me of Joey from Friends was also wearing a bow tie and cuffs, furthering my opinion that he and VinTatum are buds and may have co-ordinated their outfits that night.)

"I'm glad you came to see me tonight," VinTatum said with a huge grin as he paused to grind on me for a moment.

I can wax poetic about these encounters for days after they occur, but during the moment itself my brain goes tilt. Whatever his flaws, VinTatum posesses a killer charisma and often uses it to full advantage.

I introduced him to my pal, to which he replied, "Hi friend!" Then he was rushing back up the stairs to where the mayhem was.

My friend and I had trouble finding a good spot to catch the show, but eventually grabbed a table in a back corner. We got a couple of drinks and he enjoyed the blend of lights, music and men that I found so intoxicating. Shortly after we settled in, one dancer was strutting his stuff to Samantha Fox's 1980's hit "Touch Me (I Wanna Feel Your Body)." It was surreal to see a song previously associated with the exploitation of women getting recast as an anthem for men to strip to. We've come a long way baby.

The energy remained high as the fabulous drag performer Carlotta Carlisle came out and did a routine to the song "Hey Big Spender." (My friend noted the cheekiness of her song selection...) Carlisle also owned the stage with funny quips about testing out the private dances to ensure "quality control" for the club. She remained on stage to MC the "One Minute Flash" and gave sassy commentary as the boys stripped down.

When VinTatum came up, I let out a loud shriek and clapped for him. Subtlety is my strong point. Not too long after VinTatum's exposure on stage, he came by our table. I told him I was definitely up for some dances, but that I wanted to spend some more time hanging with my pal first. "I'm gonna kidnap you soon," he promised. VinTatum is one of the few guys that can make abduction sound sexy.

After checking with my friend that he'd be okay on his own for a bit, I was off to the races with my stallion. VinTatum and I went to the back and he teased me about heading over to our "regular" spot. I started to make a joke about carving our initials into the booth when his face suddenly turned sour. "It smells like old people and farts in here," he grimaced before leading us to a different room. His comment seemed a bit harsh given his flirtation with some of the silver foxes outside only moments earlier.

We finally settled into a more scents-ible booth where I could totally drink in one of the sexiest looks he had ever sported. "You look great tonight," I praised. "You want me to leave the hat on?" he asked before the clothes started to peel off. My eyes bugged out when his jeans came down, revealing a tight pair of Emporio Armani briefs in lieu of the Diesel shorts he favoured. He was such a knockout that I felt like I was being chloroformed by his sensuality.

"I'm hooked on you," I murmured at one point. "That's a good thing," he replied with a suave, assured demeanor. "It's good for you, but it's not good for me," I countered, trying to shift our banter into more realistic territory. "We both get something out of this," he reasoned.

I couldn't really argue with that, since the feeling he was giving me was a fiery inferno of delight. Whatever felt "flat" the week before was replaced with an energy that crackled between us. There were times when he'd tilt my chin up to look at him and his lips were inches away from mine. "It's too bad you don't kiss," I said, feeling an electric spark within the tension of being so close to what I wanted. He masterfully eluded my mouth, but allowed a kiss to land on my forehead. Soon he worked his way down to my neck, where he smooched with such ferocity that I was worried I would have hickeys later on.

The action was soon underscored by "DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again," which throbbed almost as much as we did. "This song is sick!" VinTatum declared in a voice so butch I almost asked, "Do any of your bros know what you're doing right now?" Appropriately, our bodies were rocking side to side as we sang along with Usher's ode to clubbing.

The only thing that briefly took me out of the moment was when he began pounding on the wall when he heard voices near our booth. "I like to scare people," he explained. "So you're a prankster? I like that," I said, more or less on autopilot since I didn't really get it. Maybe it was a display of that hint of Jersey Shore I sensed in him? Who knows?

At any rate, the dances were superb and I was about to pass out from the sensuous stupor that had overtaken me. For an attempted "grand finale" it really did feel like I was going out with a bang. We then began to settle up for the night.

"Thank you for your loyalty to me," VinTatum commented as we hugged.

"If I don't see you again, thank you for inspiring me," I said, getting in at least one of the major points I wanted to tell him.

"Don't worry, I'm still gonna be around," he reassured.

"I really have to start watching my money now," I countered, knowing full well I had said the same thing several times before.

Part of me started to realize that creating a "finale" would be always be difficult. After all, why would VinTatum want to say goodbye to a guy that helps pad his finances every few weeks? I might never get that cinematic farewell I dreamed of, where we'd chuckle and give each other a sincere blast of well wishes for our respective futures before parting ways.

After coming back from my dances, my friend and I spent a bit more time watching the other strippers before getting ready to go. We soon travelled back down to the coat check, where I saw VinTatum coming out of the change room with his jacket on. He and I hugged one more time before my pal and I bundled up and prepared to head out.

As soon as we exited, I gasped when I looked down and saw VinTatum having a smoke with a couple of guys on the sidewalk in front of Flash. (Although I had just seen him with his coat on, I wasn't expecting him to be right outside when I left.) I suddenly saw the potential for a moment that would take my "grand finale" over the top. My nerves tingled as I headed down the front steps, gathering the courage to approach VinTatum with my idea.

"I know you're probably gonna say no, but can I get a picture with you?" I asked earnestly.

VinTatum paused, with a sly smile creeping across his face.

"Anywhere but Church Street," he replied.

We hugged again, but the disappointment quickly set in when we parted. My pal and I then walked away from the relative darkness of Flash's entrance, heading towards the glow of the Hero Burger down the street. Once inside, I consoled myself with a Diet Cherry Coke, while my friend ordered a burger and we talked about what just happened. Part of me expected VinTatum to say "no" to a photo, but it was the phrasing of his answer that confused me. I can understand the fear of being outed as a stripper, but why did he single out Church Street as the place he couldn't be associated with? Would something overtly gay be a threat to the non-Flash reputation he's cultivating?

I sometimes forget what a slippery slope identity can be. I've been out and proud for over a decade and generally wear that as part of my everyday life. But VinTatum's comment made me wonder how fragmented his own persona is with different groups of people. Is he straight, bi, gay-for-pay, heteroflexible? I know we all tailor ourselves to different audiences, but what made him choose to work in a venue that's so in-your-face with its homosexuality? How does his secret career at Flash fit into the larger picture of his life?

There will almost always be more questions than answers. (If I was a bit braver, I might try asking VinTatum himself for some responses to my queries.) But he really doesn't owe me anything. It was my own choice to invest more than a thousand dollars into a potent fantasy that captured my imagination. In fact I probably learned more about him than I should have, which made it easier to justify going back so many times. Intimate sensuality combined with human curiosity and attraction can be a dangerous combination.

In the past, I've had my share of infatuations with guys that I couldn't have, but I still wonder why VinTatum was the first to trigger that feeling in such a long time. He definitely had a beautiful allure and charm that he exuded, but how did it go from casual fun to full on addiction so quickly? Maybe it was the challenge of trying to win him over, thinking it would only take a clever gesture or two for him to like me for real. Perhaps I longed for him to recognize or appreciate something about me aside from my money before I could fully let go of our encounters. (Though, to be fair he did acknowledge my love of music, my "happy" personality, noticed my Sketchers shoes and complimented my cologne.)

I also imagine VinTatum is eager to be appreciated for more than his body and seems to be charting the course towards his true goals. I really do wish him well and imagine him being very successful. I don't think I would have become so hung up on him if there weren't a real spark underneath the sexy image he portrays. For my part, I hope to have a grand musical, novel or even a finished song or two to represent this era of my life. VinTatum really did inspire me in a lot of ways that he probably never expected to and I appreciate that. (Not sure how he'd feel about all these blogs, but I hope he'd be flattered in some way if he ever does stumble across them.)

I can't say with any certainty that I won't go back to Flash, or that I won't see VinTatum again. But I am finally starting to understand that I might never have the perfect ending for this set of experiences. At times, it felt like a puzzle I was trying to solve, since the moments I shared with VinTatum resonated more deeply than I expected. Figuring out where all the pieces fit and understanding what everything meant was a journey in itself. Despite the concerns, criticisms and loose ends involved, I still feel it was a mission worth investing in. My wallet may be a tad emptier, but I think I've come out richer from exploring the multitude of feelings that VinTatum and Flash teased out of me.

Until next time, stay Frothy and fabulous everyone!

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