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Get Down On The Floor (Or, Did She Take All Her Clothes Off?)

Apart from lending credence to any future assertions that I am, indeed, a man, my visit last Friday night/Saturday morning to one of Perth's newest, but no less seedier, strip clubs was an unnerving mix of cliché-ridden confirmations and lost souls. It was hedonistic, at best, and downright filthy at worst, and in between were myriad punters gleefully paying to gulp the perfume and feel the invigorating warmth of a stranger.

Leaving any hope of redemption at the door, and ethically-sheltered by the umbrella of a buck's party, I climbed and climbed and climbed until our current excuse for rhythm and blues clung to my clammy skin like a dog in heat. The sexual frustration was palpable; the men, amongst other things, were no oil paintings. Due to countless cinematic portrayals I was not even marginally surprised by the scene ... what you expect is precisely what you get. It's a shame, really, because with the loss of anticipation goes most of the attraction, but ultimately it's the girls that get you in. A dimpled ass floats by, transforming a listless gaze into a steady focus and spawning another case of grave longing. Still, it's this absence that prolongs the hunt; not the possibility of skin on skin. A strict 'no touching' policy is enforced and adhered to on account of the seriously cut announcer and his band of gnarled knuckles. As one of my co-attendants recounted to me later, he had had to do his utmost to remain restrained as a private room leg-straddling morphed into a serious headfuck. Jealousy burgeons as lap-dancers repeatedly entertain in sequestered spots, gushing praise on the not-ultimately-satisfied customers while another pseudo-sexual situation crashes and burns. The drinks get easier to swallow but harder to buy, and the understanding that there are ten men for every woman is equally gritty and acceptable.

The women are not, by any stretch of the imagination, unpleasant, but they are definitely not desirable; the environs put paid to that. Outside the darkness has set in and the performers, away from their poles, are starting to talk culture, kids, ambitions and, when the conversation necessitates, very, very dirty. It's utterly engaging but concurrently entirely wrong; a simple paradox that tugs at the carnal instincts of most men who are swept up in the interminable desire for those things they can't have.

A married man's remark that "the only thing that changes when you get hitched is that there is one less pair of breasts you want" explodes in neon lights in front of my face, causing a rare moment of clarity and the possibility of an honourable ending. Longings are rarely satisfied, it's true, but always replaced.

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