Monday, September 21, 2009



I was over at Vintage Stockings Archive and banging around in the Strippers section when happenstance lead me to this image and it brought back some memories.

The first time I saw a strip show was during the summer of my 16th year. I was young and bold and there was a strip club in Breslau, Ontario called the Hawk's Nest. It was in the basement of a diner club establishment that was known for it smorgasbord and probably did better business pandering to the needs of lonely men and the odd brave teenager. I looked older than the then legal drinking age of 18 in Ontario to get into some of the local bars that had staff that looked the other way and as long as you did not get stupid or do something blatantly uncool one could partake in a tasty beverage without fear of legal retribution.

The Hawk's Nest got its name after Ronnie Hawkins. I have no idea how the bar got the name and sadly a quick bit of research on the internetwebbie does not seem to offer an confirmation of the existence of this bar but it did exist and I did go and see strippers in it.

Not having any recollection of my first visit and my impressions of this event I can only surmise that in my nervousness of going there my brain shut down and selectively truncated my memories of that moment but I do remember the dancing. In most cases each set from each dancer involved four songs. The first song involved the stripper parading around in some form of lingerie or costume and doing a rather mechanical show of her body and its various and sundry parts. The second song involved a quick strip down to panties only followed by the third song leading to the complete removal of the stripper's clothing. The "climax" as it were was the "fur rug dance" where in the stripper would mimic sexual intercourse using the rug and smoothly transition from position to position in her repertoire of oft mimicked positions. Seriously it was that predictable.

Then, and not often, there was a gem of a dancer. A REAL dancer that combined fluid motion with sensual teasing and was devoid of those robotic and mechanistic motions of the other dancers. She would sing with her body and eyes to tempt and engage and may I say in come cases engorge her audience. Sadly such performers were rare and wholly and heartedly appreciated.

Certainly I am not condoning going at my age but I would be a liar if I did not admit to liking the rough and ready camaraderie of going there with my friends. Eventually my core group of high school buddies got up the nerve to go and it was not at all uncommon for us to go 2 times a month to the 'rippers' as we called them. It was not until later that I heard the usage of the term 'ballet' as a code word for going to a strip club.

The image above has the tone and sense of that time. Pity to think that some photo from the late 70s is vintage and if it is then I must be vintage too.

It was a time of curiosity and testing our limits and rebelling against the conceptions of our parents. The most likely conversation at each boy's home later that night was something like this:

Q:  "How was you time with your friends?"

A:  "OK. Hung out at McDonalds all night. 'Night mom and dad."

If only they knew!

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