By Scott Hyatt
It’s a famous phrase every serious partier knows. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But the marketing people for the Las Vegas Tourism Department never invented that phase. You know who invented it? The guys at the last bachelor party. Every guy knows the pact. Never reveal what takes place behind closed doors and I’m not about to start.
I am going to tell you a true story that took place two months ago. I wasn’t expecting to find material for 212Access at this party but it seemed to fall from the sky after I started talking to the head Madame, fittingly called “Belladonna.”
Belladonna used to be a stripper, but in 2002, she put up the lace and went into management. She now advises strippers on how to react and respond to any testosterone-filled environment. She also collects the money and recruits the pretty faces who support her lifestyle.
Belladonna would have made a great coach in any sport because she knows how to motivate people. She could have been a great director too because she knew how to choreograph men like they were little boys.
After my fourth Jack and Coke, I started getting curious about Belladonna so I asked her a few questions. I think she was high on coke when she started talking to me.
“We see men at their worst, when they’re most vulnerable,” Belladonna said. “A lot of strippers are caring and nurturing because they see how men really are. They are men, but they are puppies to me.”
Belladonna would also have made a great sociologist because she dissected the men at this party down to a science. She knew which alpha-male she had to control before all the other men fell quickly into place.
“Most men assume they hold the power over strippers,” Belladonna said. “They don’t. We do.”
As Belladonna said this, I couldn’t help but see the uncanny timing to her observation. The naked stripper was on all fours, begging for a ten-dollar bill.
“If that’s power, I don’t want it,” I said.
“You’re seeing this from a shallow man’s perspective,” she said. “The control happens when women are dressed and the smartest women know how to exploit that.”
I was intrigued.
“Whenever I get a new girl, I tell her you’re the cat, and they’re the mice. They’re scared of you. These football types, it doesn’t matter how big they are, they’re scared when a woman takes off her clothes like that in front of men. Can a woman manipulate a man during a performance? I wouldn’t call it manipulation. Manipulation is deception. No one is deceived at bachelor parties. You know what will take place and how much it will cost. Deception takes place at strip clubs.”
I asked for more explanation.
“In a strip club, these girls need to make money. These girls have to pretend that they like these guys and they flirt with them. They need to get the fat cats in the VIP room. That’s how they get the guy to spend thousands of dollars. They sit down and say, ‘hey Sweetie,’ and that’s manipulation. They are playing mind games at strip clubs. They don’t like these men.”
Belladonna says she discourages emotionally unstable women from stripping. She says the most successful strippers are women who feel confident with their minds and bodies and who are emotionally stable. Yet she admits, she will hire an emotionally unstable woman if she fits the label and wants the work.
“In this country, it’s so hard to make money,” Belladonna says. “The education system sucks and women especially are not taught to be empowered. I hate to say this, but not all women in this profession are that bright and emotionally mature to realize this could be an empowering experience.”
And then came the statement that made me realize I had a great article for 212Access.com.
“Most women in New York City would make great strippers. They’re empowered, emotionally secure and they know how to get anything and everything out of men.”
“That’s not true,” I said quickly before Belladonna had a chance to finish her thought.
“Most women in New York City will tell you that they can’t get men to commit here,” I said.
“That’s because they’re afraid to take the gamble of losing it all,” she said with a wry grin. “If a woman wants a man to commit, she needs to be emotionally secure enough to walk away. If she does that and he loves her, she’ll get him.”
I couldn’t help but think of an old publicist friend, Amy, who revealed over drinks that she used to be a stripper. She told me she left her stripper job for good after she got her degree in public relations. I never would have guessed she was a stripper in her earlier years.
She told me after a few strong cocktails how her seductive techniques helped her move up quickly through the professional and political corporate world. She got anything she wanted from men.
“I think you learn how to master that by dancing,” Amy said. “You make him feel wanted and attractive. Before long, he’s dropping twenties in your g-string like they’re dollar bills. The real world is no different than that. The smartest women will always have power over men if they know how to use their sexuality.”
Her words are tattooed into my memory because I still remember the feeling when I got that $187 tab.
She was right.
The smartest women will always have power over men if they know how to use their sexuality. The question is – where is that boundary and at what cost must we sacrifice our dignity.