Top 5 auckland strip clubs
The first are squealing shyly and the second are booty-popping on the table. The stage is at the front, the bar at the back and to the right, and the walls are bordered by plush benches. Tables are stacked with cocktails. Lap-dance rooms, with the same plush benches, are club a black curtain off to the side of the stage. Giggling punters steadily disappear into them during and after the show.
When I first walked into the club I was disappointed by how small it was. The air con gives out 20 minutes in and the male air seems to turn everyone insane. Not that they needed much help with that. They always are. The earlier shows, at 6pm and 8pm, are tamer, with more strips and fewer plastic penises. For the 11pm show, they arrive screaming. The women are squeezed in more tightly than they are into their leather bustiers. By By midnight, a skinny brunette has her arms around me and is kissing my neck. Oh god, this is so fucking hot. Every show, every night, the room burns with heady, wild energy.
Downstairs at Hush Hush, the female strippers are bored, the punters are listless and everything from auckland floors to the air feels greasy. A stripper comes up to one who recoils. And god, are these guys worth seeing naked.
Well, almost naked. The G-string or strategic bowler hat is never taken off. When it comes to flirting, they seem to excel at sitting in a corner and making awkward eye contact. All six are ripped — Slash expects them to work out pretty much daily.
The first night I went just to see the show. They grab your chair, spin you around, grind into your face and up your legs, run their hands through your hair. They start there, dancing and writhing. But after a while — actually one minute and 14 seconds precisely — they start taking things off.
Then they move into the crowd.
New zealand's only male strip club & original and best male revue
Even women like me, who go in thinking they can remain a bit aloof, buy in deeply. Then I went backstage and listened to him discuss where to buy hydraulic screws. He was just a bloke. Well, I am! Backstage, nothing hits you harder than their normality. No one is a professional dancer except Slash. He trained as a contemporary dancer and choreographer, but started stripping for the cash and the sheer fun of it. He tried to quit and get a real job but after six months male to stripping, starting the Showboys male revue club infollowed by Men of Steel in This is his business, his world and his way of life.
Until he gets too old, that is. Stripping is a well-paid hobby that makes them feel like rock stars. And it lets them buy their partners something auckland at weekends. And, Sonny Bill says, it lets them buy their wives and girlfriends something nice at the weekends. Their partners seem to have come to terms with their club jobs, in part because Slash insists they see the strip.
Sonny Bill is married — much to the disappointment of every young thing in the club — with two young.
But they are acting, and their characters are mirrors held up to the face of female sexuality. Once you realise that, you look at them not to tell you about stripping, but to tell you about ourselves. So what do they do?
And what does it say about us?
For a start, they act more as hosts than as dancers. Before the show, the boys are all suited up, moving through the crowd. It takes the women by surprise. I watch Slash chatting to a pair at the bar. Then they smile. Thank you! He takes the drinks, pulls out their chairs and they settle into them with a little sashay. But they also like making the punters feel good, according to Slash.
I watch Sonny Bill and Taylor take women up on stage with them. The mum is the best. I ask Taylor how he picks them. Why would they? A man coming over is nothing special. You bring them out of their shell, take them on a journey, you know? I want her to have the good time for once!
They go crazy! I saw it during the interval, when the club morphed into a full-on dancefloor. A woman whose tired face was flushed with exhilaration and cocktails started dancing with me.
Welcome to the gold standard of male strip shows.
The club has a large chunk of blonde, thin somethings who reek of sexual entitlement. This is the point when the trouble starts. Then they get shitty. I see it at the 11pm show. Leave my son alone! Glasses get smashed. They want to see Tabitha.
They want to see Slash. Security gets called. The police are called. Eventually, it takes the security guys, the police and badass stripper Macklemore to move them outside. After trying unsuccessfully to get back in for 45 minutes, they settle for abusive Google reviews. I had one, who was under the impression I worked there, pull me aside to ask how much it was for a quickie. An hour? What do you do in a lap-dance room for an hour?
Ping pong? A really difficult Sudoku? So what do they do for an hour? The standard lap dance — grinding, hands allowed everywhere except the crotch and stripping off to the G-string.