I broke down and watched “Magic Mike XXL.”
Look, it made it onto an unreasonable number of “best movies of 2015” lists and was being widely and weirdly lauded as a feminist triumph. I’m not sorry I indulged, exactly, but it’s hardly anything other than Exactly What You Think: a simple movie full of airbrushed meatheads doing sensitively-manly things while gyrating to Ginuwine. Accompanied by champagne/peach moonshine cocktails, however, it was a fantastic way to spend a girls-night-in. (Also, the cocktails are now called “giggle juice,” and my new inspirational mantra is “Any God worth believing in certainly sends you men in thongs when you’re in need.”)
Man-Friend pointed out that the most notable difference between male strip clubs and regular (lady-stripper) “gentlemen’s” clubs is that women seems to be unreasonably turned on by men dressed up as firemen, carpenters, police officers, etc. – his theory being that women want to make sure that guy has a JOB in addition to being a beefcake (can you imagine how much groceries cost for a paleo-diet-based Chippendale?!). On the other hand, men are happy that strippers have a job… the job of being a stripper and taking their clothes off for money.
I think he’s being overly simplistic. Women aren’t turned on by the mere fact that you have a job, even if that’s an extremely lucrative job. (When was the last time you saw porn featuring network engineers? Rule 34 says it exists, but it’s up there with “Sluts Packing Nuts” in the “porn I’m comfortable with never seeing again” category.) An inordinate number of women are turned on by a man in uniform. Two dedicated couch potato friends just signed up for a fun run featuring beer, chocolate, cupcakes, AND “the finisher’s medal placed around your neck by a fireman” – clearly, the uniform is a significant motivational tool.
I’m not a uniform junkie, myself, although Baby Sister is certainly a devotee. In my favorite Freudian auto-correct ever, I attempted to text her: “Have you been downtown lately? It’s Meet the Fleet week!” (The week when the Navy ships pull into the harbor, disgorging swells of swol little kippers to enhance the syphilis transmission rate and satisfy the yearnings of bored housewives for live-action sailor porn.) My text was corrected, most appropriately, to: “It’s meet the fleet suck!” and she was on her way downtown as fast as she could drag up the anchor.
Partner In Moonshine Consumption theorizes that a uniform conveys respectability, class, or power, but I disagree. It doesn’t seem to make a significant difference what the uniform is, as long as it in some way represents “authority.” A friend related once that a paramour who found success writing smutty erotica memorialized their trysts in a tome featuring him as a riverboat captain – based on his summer as a theme park boat ride operator, complete with jaunty cap. (File this under “why you should bring gallons of hand sanitizer to Cedar Point.”) And homeowners have been misled for decades about how quickly you will, in fact, get a serviceman to respond to your call by porn featuring Henry the All-American Plumber “fixing your pipes.” (I was pretty sure I had accidentally hired the erotic version of handyman when Henry informed me that the reason my disposal was backed up was that the drain valve was installed upside-down and was draining to the roof. Disappointingly, the most action he brought to the evening – despite the attention of two women and a bottle of Beaujolais – was an impressive pratfall on the moss-covered veranda.)
Despite my ambivalence, I find that uniformed personnel are in fact overrepresented in my archives, from boy scouts to firefighters and cops to military and former military. The uniform isn’t what turns me on about them, but somehow, the characteristics that make me drop my thong are apparently learned in scout or boot camp. (Although, in fairness, there’s also a coincidentally larger-than-expected history of gingers, Jews, and engineers, compared to their share of the general population, so maybe the whole thing is just coincidence.)
But that part in Magic Mike where he interrupts his evening of designing and crafting some gorgeous custom furniture to gyrate around the workshop? I’m gonna be much more moist if you get your pelvis off the lathe and finish whittling that masterpiece. As a proponent of usefulness and efficiency, I like a man who is able to do things well (chief among those “things” being “me”). (The current world heavyweight champion won my undying devotion when I realized he was actually cooking me dinner while fucking me in the kitchen – not a euphemism.) Maybe a uniform is just indicative of a man who is able to get a job done. In that case, bring on the firemen!