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I meet Karen, 23, from Glasgow, visiting a strip club for the first time.She’d been persuaded to go by a man she found attractive.Black chairs cluster around circular tables facing one of two small stages at either end of the room, which are lit up like a theatre show with a pole reaching up to the ceiling.The owners have tried to make the decor feel glamorous, but there’s no way to mask the seedy nature of what goes on in here; women take their clothes off for money and no amount of gold gilt frames, crystal chandeliers and glittery disco balls can change that. Sam, 32, an events manager from North London, says: ‘I go to a strip club every month with a few female friends and sometimes a male friend or boyfriend. There are hordes of venues across the country where even the most stunning women can have a night out without being pestered.So I’m here, at the same club the young royal visited, to find out just what the attraction is.For the uninitiated, lap-dancing clubs are essentially nightclubs where women are paid to perform stripteases and pole dancing — either on stage or in a private room. Traditionally the preserve of men only, the past five years have seen a surge in British women visiting for fun with one chain, Platinum Lace in London claiming women make up a quarter of its membership.This is a male form of entertainment.’Fans may say it’s all just a bit of fun.But, in fact, the whole industry promotes a distasteful male-female dynamic and the image of a woman as a souped-up sex toy is one which can trickle into everyday life.‘His image of what’s sexy has been distorted,’ she says.
There’s pressure, as he feels let down when I say “no”.
‘I’ve spent £100 on a bottle of vodka,’ she winces.
‘It’s not what I expected and it’s not my idea of sexy.’ Peter Stringfellow opened his Covent Garden club in 1980 and has been in the business for almost 50 years.
She found women enjoyed how well strip clubs were run.
The next night I visit, For Your Eyes Only, is in the City and is popular with bankers.