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
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."
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
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."