Metro columnist Dan Casey: Dancers demean Roanoke menfolk

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Remember 202 Market, the downtown restaurant where River Laker did an unauthorized and banal strip act in 2011? It announced some exciting news last week: Next month, 202 Market will play host to the Chippendale dancers.

Surely you have heard of the Chippendales. Those chisel-chested exhibitionists have been famous for decades. They’re the Gypsy Rose Lees of male stripping. They take off more than the go-go dancers at the infamous Papa Joe’s did.

They have danced in Virginia before — Northern Virginia, aka “the other Virginia.” But have they danced before in Bible Belt Virginia? That is unclear. But they will on Sept.18. 202 Market must be trying to class up their joint.

Tickets ($15 in advance; $20 at the door) for the two-hour show went on sale Wednesday, and that morning there was a line of excited women at the door.

This raises several concerns.

First, it is an outrage. This six-man revue owes its very existence to the sexual objectification of the male physique.

Every feminist and church lady out there ought to be madder than Hades about this. They’ve never been shy about denouncing female dancers on stage, for the exact same reason.

Besides that, this is utterly demeaning to us men, especially portly and hirsute middle-agers like me.

How can we regular guys compete, really, with male stripteasers who have the physiques of Greek gods? Starve ourselves? Spend all our time in the gym rather than working to support our families? Must we stop exercising our beer-drinking arms?

Once the Chippendales finish bumping, grinding and pumping their hips suggestively while clad in little more than bow ties and gussied-up jockstraps, a new standard will have been set in town.

And we won’t measure up. Our wives will never look at us the same again.

Thus, this tawdry show will destroy marriages in the Star City. That is serious business, and that’s why the Chippendales must be stopped. Mayor Bowers, are you listening?

Second, you have to wonder: What has the management of 202 Market been smoking?

Have they forgotten that Laker’s four-minute, unapproved “striptease,” if you can call it that, cost them $1,000 and three days of selling liquor?

Don’t they remember the ridicule and shame they endured, and the fat fees they had to pay lawyer Tony Anderson for defending them before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board?

I spoke about this Thursday with Jo Jo Soprano, the restaurant’s event and marketing manager. Shockingly, he said the ABC had cleared the whole thing with a few requirements.

“They said no pubic hair or butt cheeks can show with the costumes,” Soprano said. “And there can be no physical contact with the patrons.” The dancers will strip down to their “bathing suits,” he said.

The men do not have to wear pasties, however, which means their entire chests will be exposed, which seems discriminatory. Women dancers can’t do that in Virginia establishments that serve alcohol. Soprano also said the restaurant has to have extra security between the dancers and the customers.

Security for the dancers, that is. Because there will be 250 or so liquored-up and squealing females in the room vs. a mere six male strippers.

The “no contact” rule is sure to put a damper on those gals’ fun, though. When I first told my friend Paula Beeman the Chippendales were coming to town, she did cartwheels. When I told her there would be no stuffing tips in their G-strings, she sounded crushed.

“How are we supposed to tip them?” she asked dejectedly. “That was all the fun.”

“Beats me,” I replied. “I suppose you can always make paper airplanes out of dollar bills and fly them over the security guards.”

Third, until I spoke with Soprano, I was under the impression that only a few tickets had been sold, and already I had hatched a plan to protect Roanoke’s reputation as a paragon of metropolitan modesty.

I was going to recommend that every guy in town go down to 202 Market and buy a ticket. After we had snapped all of them up, we’d skip the show. Instead, we’d go over to the Coffee Pot and drink beer.

The Chippendales would still get paid, from the ticket sales, but 202 would be empty. They wouldn’t sell even one $10 martini that night. So they would never invite the male revue back. Ha! It seemed like the perfect strategy.

Then Soprano told me they had sold 175 tickets by Thursday afternoon, and they had only 50 to 75 left. It’s probably sold out by the time you’re reading this.

Because the response has been so enthusiastic, chances are great the Chippendales will be invited back, Soprano said. So we will have to hold our plan in reserve, for next time.

In the meantime, for all you lonely guys looking for a little action on Sept. 18, here’s a tip.

Take a shower, and shave, and put on some clean clothes and a touch of cologne. Then head down to the Roanoke City Market area that night and hang out. About 9:30p.m., downtown will be flooded with tipsy women with one thing on their minds.

The odds will be in your favor.

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