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Whooping it up with the girls

Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2000

The emcee introduced the Men of Seduction Male Dance Revue with a request.

``Without a little magic, we can't have a show. Let me know those three little words that make it happen...''

The women cheered in unison.

``Take it off.''

Friday evening, Marlintini's Lounge featured a special kind of Ladies Night. About 140 women, mostly groups of friends, spent almost three hours screaming, laughing and buying each other 30-second cameos on stage - an up-close performance the dancers call VIP treatment.

The four dancers with Men of Seduction hail from Indianapolis, Ind., and they drove to Juneau with a trailer full of props and costumes. Dancer Rico Rhodes said the show is not quite what it appears to be on the surface.

``When women walk in that door, they come to see naked men. But what they really want to see is men taking their clothes off. For them,'' he said.

Jamiann Stevens, 28, was not a first-timer. She's been to eight male strip shows, she guessed, and thought this was one of the best. Part of the reason was that the Men of Seduction dancers did not completely strip, but kept their G-strings on.

 

Audience members, from left, Jamiann Stevens, Edna Abbott and Marilyn Peratrovich cheer on Adam West's batman striptease act.

BRIAN WALLACE / THE JUNEAU EMPIRE

``I've seen the full monty before. It was too much,'' she said.

Her friend Marilyn Peratrovich, 29, agreed. She's seen two shows before, and said one was particularly bad.

``They were not my fantasy men. They were gross and nasty and all over the women. They were more interested in pleasing themselves,'' she said. ``These guys are cute. They're fun and exciting to watch. They take them to they point they'd like them to be, not where you have to push them off.''

Rhodes said fantasy is a big part of stripping.

``If you give them everything, it kind of spoils it,'' Rhodes said. ``There's nothing wrong with being nude, but when you do a production, they want some fantasy.''

Rhodes, 27, has been in the business seven years and worked with several companies. Rhodes said he put himself through Ball State University in Muncie, Ind, dancing as a stripper. He has a degree in architecture and may join his brother's architecture firm someday. But for now, he said he's making too much money and having too much fun to switch careers.

Jeff Michaels, 32, a dancer who served as emcee for most of the show, has been in the business 15 years. He's owned the company for about 12 years. They charge between $1,000 and $1,500 for a show, and make between $100 and $300 apiece each night in tips.

Each of the four dancers had a routine with a theme - Adam West was a leather-clad cowboy, Brian Styles was a construction worker with a hard hat and tool belt. Three costumed dancers launched each routine, then left the one to solo on stage. After a 10-minute strip routine, the emcee began calling the women to the chair center stage - the alter of lust - for the personal performance by the g-string clad dancer her friends had set up.

``As you approach the girls, you get a sense of what they're willing to do. When you're dancing for them, you're dancing for all her friends, and the crowd,'' Rhodes said. ``The women are the stars. The show is not us.''

Edna Abbot, 27, became part of the dance when she got on stage.

``He flipped me up and around like a rag doll,'' she said, still laughing. ``He is so sweaty. I came back and gave my friend Jamiann a hug and wiped it off on her. He is so strong for a short guy.''

She commented on how the dynamic is different between male and female strip shows.

``If a woman could come in here with a bunch of guys like this, and lift them up and swing them around, it'd be different,'' she said.

Marlintini's co-owner Jim Cashen said the club has hosted eight or nine male dance shows, and maybe twice that many with female strippers. He said the male dance shows are a lot more fun to work.

``The guys are all standing around cracking jokes. But the women, they get out of hand, screaming, carrying on, it's pretty wild,'' he said. ``You'll see women in their 60 and 70s. Women drag their moms or grandmothers out. They'll sneak a table dance for them,'' he said.

``It's mostly groups of girls, a girls' night out thing. A totally different girls' night out.''

With a few exceptions, there's no men allowed at the show, Cashen said, and there are no women allowed at the female revues.

``It's the dancer's rule, and it is a good rule,'' Cashen said. ``We don't want to have some gal's jealous boyfriend in the crowd. She'd be inhibited. If there was a bunch of men hanging around, they're not going to let their hair down near as much.''

Jason Vein, the floor manager at Marlintini's said the women are five times wilder than men at strip shows.

``Men drink more. But a crowd of 100 women are louder than 300 men. They cut loose a lot more. There's this appreciation of friendship.''

At about 11 p.m. the band Funk Mighty Five started up and men were allowed in the bar. One might think this would be the time for predatory guys to pick up the revved-up women. But it was not the case. The girl power in the room was so strong, after three hours of buying each other dances, poking and laughing and teasing each other that their solidarity seemed invincible.



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