When a friend invited me over breakfast to watch male strippers with her, a number of thoughts went through my head. The most important was: Do I really want to see men gyrating at me for more than 15 minutes?
A few glasses of pinotage, one banned Instagram post and a lost voice later, turns out I did.
This would be my first experience of male strippers outside of chic-flick type movies. The Magic Mike South Africa show, which was started in 2015 by Kim Davidoff, boasted about being “SA’s best and exclusive revue show” on its social media pages.
As always, I was sceptical. What did these fellas know about Channing Tatum?
I thought it would be a half-baked show with the promise of a glimpse of penis but I was wrong. It was choreographed; there was pole dancing; there were women who were picked up and spun around with their legs in the air; there were men called Tarzan, Dark Chocolate and Magic D but it was hard to keep the names straight; there were cowboy hats, undulating and body waving and, yes, there was baby oil.
The Magic Mike boys kept it right and kept it tight, looking as though they spent their days doing pull-ups in some secret government lab somewhere tasked with building superbeings.
The DJ took it old school and women got lap dances to Ginuwine’s Pony. Classic.
There was pure sex in the air and the women breathed it right in.
That is what struck me the most. How much the women loved the show and its pure sexual energy. They loved the sex. In this space they could be unabashed about it for just a short while.
It was also quite a mix of women: from university students to chartered accountants and HR managers, and even a doctor. Wives, sisters, friends, mothers. Apparently one of the dancers’ mother’s organises people to see her boy dance.
There was also a good dose of racial diversity. I had expected it to be mainly white women trying to live their best lives. I was very wrong. Clearly the need to see sexy men knows no racial boundaries.
I made many a friend that night because apparently naked men who can pole dance and gyrate bring women together.
It was interesting, though, how the women had to dress it up. I mean literally dress it up. They wore Minnie Mouse ears, unicorn horns, bridal veils, sashes, you name it.
Most of the women seemed to have planned for the evening as though it was the next lunar landing. This suggests that, for women to participate in this level of overt desire, it must be an occasion — a bachelorette party, a wild (but well-organised) night out, a team-bonding session or a re-enactment of a girls’-night-out movie.
The women couldn’t simply show up for a good time and enjoy these Adonises, who moonlight as personal trainers. They seem to have to have an excuse for loving sex.
That an evening like this must be a prized moment is deeply expressive of the relationship we think women should have with sex.
Sex for women is a big event, everything from the way we masturbate (the wine, candles and bubble bath narrative) to the way we have sex (slow, sensual yet full of love and longing).
The idea that we could just want to rub one out, have a quickie or see a sculpted ass on a Saturday night is a far cry from the lustful leeway that is often afforded to men.
There is this idea that for women sex is somehow sacred that should be kept in a box and brought out only for special events.
Yes, the music was sensual and, yes, there was sometimes an element of romance but none of the women there was looking for a husband or a boyfriend, none of them was looking for Mr Right. They simply wanted to see nice things.
This is the idea we need to have about women and their sex — not only do they own it but they love it as well. It is in understanding this that we can see women as active sexual beings rather than recipients simply waiting for coitus to come their way.
Women love sex, and good sex: none of this mediocre “I brought the D” stuff either.
So I shall return to the Magic Mike show, and I shall not be wearing bunny ears or a sash to see my sex.
Kagure Mugo is the co-founder and full-time curator of HOLAAfrica!