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More and more female patrons are coming to watch exotics in action and cabaret owners speculate on what makes them want to see other girls taking their clothes off.

"Why Women Like To Watch Strippers"

by Arch Ayers

Vol. 2, No. 3,  1956

    IT'S A WELL-KNOWN FACT among show people that women seem to get just as much fun out of watching a striptease as men do. Anyone who's watched a mixed audience in one of the country's better hot spots could guess it. And if you've ever had your date urge you to take her to "one of those places," you know the interest is genuine.
    Night club operators confirm this observation. "Night after night," they tell you, "we have nearly as many women as men in the place. Not just gals with dates. There are married women with their husbands, or in groups, without them. They all get a big bang out of it."
    While everyone--especially the club operator--is quick to point out this phenomenon, there are few who come up with anything like a satisfactory explanation for it.
    Some say that it proves that striptease is, after all, an art--something that can be enjoyed for its beauty by both sexes. Others say that it merely means the ladies are getting more broad-minded, no pun intended.
    But none is able to answer two basic questions:
    Why does a woman often urge a man to take her to the very place where she knows another woman will do her best, short of seduction, to capture his attention and draw it sizzling across the footlights?
And, why, if she does this, does she still seem to enjoy the show herself?
    When you speak of all this to Moe Rockfeld, a Miami Beach night club operator with two decades of experience behind him, he nods sagely and remarks: "They're all wet."
    To Moe, who is currently managing a new spot called the Little Club on the Beach, the answer is none of these:
    "It is very simple," he says. "It's a wonder no one ever thought of it before. The women come in because they're curious. They're curious to see what it is these girls have got that brings their husbands or boy friends in here.
    "So they come in to see if maybe they can learn some thing. Something they can use maybe to please their husbands and boyfriends more with."
    The ladies' willingness to be escorted by the very men they hope to charm is likewise transparent to Moe.
    Some are doubtless bashful about being seen in such a place alone, he feels. And, there may be a desire to keep an eye on the guy while enjoying the opportunity of seeing what in the show pleases him.
Though Moe doesn't say so, the implication is strong that their enjoyment of the show itself may be cunningly disguised amusement in anticipation of their own use of the enemy's ammunition.
    "Then, too, it's something different for them and the first time maybe they do enjoy it, like a good dog fight," says Moe. "Everybody enjoys having their curiosity satisfied."
    Much of the same opinion is expressed by veteran Chicago booker Bob Goodman, who arranges dates for dozens of exotics in Midwest clubs. Goodman believes that the increased female patronage at strip spots is due to the broadening of attitudes towards sex, which is reflected in Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies these days. "Women have been educated to accept sex and nudity as part of everyday life. They no longer have ideas that date back to the petticoat era."
    As for why women like to watch strippers, Goodman comments: "I think women get a sadistic kick out of watching another women undress. They like to pull another girl apart, commenting about her lacks as far as physical attributes. They like to be able to say: 'I got more than she's got.'"
    The trend towards bigger female audiences for strippers is confirmed in clubs from coast to coast. Out in Los Angeles one of the most successful new clubs is Strip City, which enjoys a large female patronage. Often the women customers come in parties, like the time a ladies bridge club from Pasadena occupied two complete front tables on one opening night.
    In Europe the same situation prevails and traditional nude shows at the Lido, Nouvelle Eve and Casino De Paris in France draw large numbers of female patrons.
    Night club operators have been studying the psychology behind the trend and many agree with the findings of the Little Club's Moe Rockfeld, an amiable, stocky bat-eared guy of 50 with a fighter's phiz and a gravel voice. He draws on his experience, starting with speakeasies in New York, and continuing through some of Miami's finest clubs, to oversee things at the Little Club to the owners' satisfaction.
    While he isn't running a charm school for fading wives, the girls who play in his bistro can give the ladies plenty of pointers on sex. Rockfeld took over the place late in 1955 and gave it a complete remodeling before the opening.
    "It used to be a real honky-tonk dive," he says. "Lowdown and dirty."
    Now, patrons find the whistle-clean little room manned by a brace of fast moving headwaiters, and a bevy of sprightly waitresses. The place is complete, in its 50-foot square, with bar, stage, bandstand and tables seating 175 persons.
    The show is a sizzling revue called "Strip-o-Rama," and is repeated thrice nightly, running about an hour even. The ten-girl show includes such novel headliners as Gene and her Genie, a combination dance, dramatic interlude and striptease that leaves the patrons throbbing and Gene a very tired little lady. It's the kind of strip act that seems to have a special appeal for female patrons.
    The act begins when emcee Don Costello wheels a huge version of Aladdin's lamp into the center of the stage. Gene enters attired in a scanty outfit that vaguely resembles something out of the Arabian Nights. She dances curiously around the lamp, examining it and finally approaching to touch it. She decides to see what happens when she strokes it.
    The lamp is so big, however, that her hand alone will obviously never do the job, so she uses her body. With a flash of flame and a cloud of smoke, the lid of the lamp falls off and a huge, eight foot mannequin of a Genie pops out. The tempo of the torrid music throbs louder as Gene dances to the genie. She approaches, she touches it. The genie appears to take her by the hand, draws her to him. It's love at first sight and their love is consummated right on stage.
    The act ends a few moments later with Gene's shapely form supine across the neck of the lamp, within an anklet of nudity.
    Other well-known strip names with much appeal for the ladies include the fabulous, green-eyed Solitaire, whose shape, say the audience, reminds them of the clean lines of a well-cut diamond, and Belle Starr, the so-called "Got It" girl.
    "I try to get the best girls I can," says Rockfeld. "Nothing's too good for my audience."
    This philosophy extends to personal attention, which is one of Rockfeld's strong points and the source of much of his knowledge of customer psychology. His formula is simple: know everyone, talk to them all, and listen to whatever problems they have.
    Rockfeld doesn't serve food in the club, not because it's not profitable. "But people just don't like to eat and watch a strip tease at the same time," he says. "They lose their appetite, they get so interested."
    The Little Club, he says, follows and improves upon a growing pattern in Miami Beach, where the bigger night clubs are going broke one after the other. "Before the big hotels had shows for their dining rooms, we all used to run legitimate shows in legitimate night clubs. Now the hotels have shows, and they can afford to bring fabulous acts down at fabulous prices. They write off the losses against the profits in room rent. Night clubs can't do that.
    "But in these smaller places we can have strippers, and the hotels can't have them. So this gives us a chance to operate."
    Looking a little wistfully around the room, he adds: "This is the only business I know. Whiskey and shows. And people. The people are the most fun. Once you get to know 'em and understand 'em."

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