New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
I confronted him and he confessed he went ALONE and got a lap dance. He said it’s nothing serious but he’s sorry he hurt me. Now I feel stupid and disgusted with myself and embarrassed to be naked around him and less desirable because while I was home crying about our fight a beautiful naked girl was taking his money and dancing privately for him. Am I over-reacting or is this why guys do? — Strip-Tease
Is going to a strip club alone weird? Yes. But doing something weird doesn’t automatically make him a weirdo. Sometimes people just do weird things (You know, like eavesdropping on your boyfriend’s pants phone call for a full six minutes before you even hear him talk. Weird right?). I do, however, feel confident telling you that guys who go to strip clubs by themselves on a regular basis are in no uncertain terms weirdos. But it’s unfair to assume that that’s the case with your boyfriend based on one overheard conversation.
To me, the weirdest part of your letter is that your boyfriend thinks Lady Gaga is hot. No offense to Lady Gaga — she seems very nice and I’m sure in person she’s quite attractive — but let’s be honest, she makes herself up like a drag queen and the fact that your boyfriend finds her hot is a little weird. I would even go so far as to say it’s weirder than sitting all alone in a strip club.
In summing up: while your boyfriend is definitely kind of weird, it doesn’t necessarily make him a weirdo. Congratulations!
Jarek: Ah, the strip club debate — one of many in which men and women will never see eye-to-eye, like picking bathroom tiles or the health benefits of beer. Guys don’t go to strip clubs to fulfill some sort of emotional or sexual gap in their lives. We go because we like seeing naked women and it’s a way to see them without being intimate.
It’s a lot like internet porn, only it’s live and you don’t receive emails for penis enhancement pills after visiting. In all actuality, our time would probably be better spent banging our head against a wall and tossing money down the sewer. That way, when we wake up, we still have the raging headache and no money, but at least we’re not covered in glitter.
My guess is your guy, being kicked out and told “don’t call or visit,” was just looking to shut out the world. Strip clubs are the place to do this. They’re usually dark, no one bothers you, and girls pretend you’re attractive. It’s like going to a dive bar, only instead of watching football and playing Kino we watch naked women do some pretty impressive upper body strength on a brass pole. It shouldn’t be equated with a brothel house; we don’t go there looking to get some.
I know it is not an easy concept to grasp, but trust me when I tell you that your boyfriend is absolutely not comparing you or your body to any of the strippers. He was being honest when he said it was nothing serious, but if it’s really something that you feel uncomfortable with, just tell him you would prefer it if he didn’t go. He’ll probably stop.
If he breaks your request, then there are issues that need to be addressed. But in the meantime, try not to associate strip clubs with emotional attachment or desire, and please don’t feel self-conscious about your own body. I guarantee your guy doesn’t think any different about you or your body, and it’s extremely unlikely that he’d even be able to pick out a girl who danced for him in a line up. Unless, of course, Lady Gaga was in a line-up. Then that’d be pretty funny.
Joe: I don’t understand strip clubs at all. To me, they’re like going hungry into a restaurant, watching the chefs prepare a meal, seeing it, smelling it… but then going home without eating. That said, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with them.
However, in your case, to me it’s not so much an issue that he went and got a lap dance as it is that he is likely 30 or older and in the midst of a long-term relationship when he got a lap dance, that he did so while the two of you were in a bad fight, and that he was bragging to a co-worker about it. He’s not some single guy in his early 20s. He’s in a relationship and he should be more mature than the lap dance and bragging imply, and he should be more upset over the fight than going to a strip club implies. I don’t think it’s the act that matters here. I think it’s what the act and following behavior imply. You need to ask yourself if the man you’re looking for is the type who would get lap dances during fights and then brag about them to people he works with. It’s childish.
On the other hand, I’m sure he’s being honest when he says it’s nothing serious. It was a lap dance. It was a momentary fantasy. She means a sum total of nothing to him. Giving him too much benefit of the doubt, perhaps she was simply a way to distract him from the pain he was feeling over the fight. But I doubt it.
Art: First of all, don’t get too mad at him: strip clubs have awesome buffet deals. Maybe he’s just trying to save you guys some money! But really, I feel like strip clubs are like porn sites: they’re OK because they’re not real. They are fantasy women doing fantasy things. But you are not overreacting at all to feel uncomfortable with your boyfriend having his gentles massaged by a stripper’s ass.
That is physical contact aimed at arousal (and maybe culmination? No one has been able to confirm the endgame of a lap dance for me), and that sounds a lot like cheating to me because it’s crossing a line. It’s touching instead of looking. Regardless of whether he was alone, or in front of five of his friends, or in front of 1000 strangers, it doesn’t matter: he was touching someone with his junk (through his pants) with the idea that it was erotic. That’s just icky.
Also, if your boyfriend is bragging about a stripper who looks like Lady Gaga, you should run like hell out of that relationship. He’s got something wrong upstairs.