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G-strings at the Boardwalk
Lesley Reppeteaux

G-strings at the Boardwalk

Last Sunday about 10 p.m., a two-car caravan of girlies was shaking with bass and peenie-happy energy and flying down Federal Highway toward La Bare (2750 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). The group's avowed intent: to ogle nearly naked members of the dominant half of the population. The secret goal: to determine whether women are as crass as men when it comes to the strip-club thing.

We were mildly disappointed when Lola, a veteran of the 3-year-old male strip club, disclosed that we were not going to get the whole package but rather wire-enhanced packages hidden away behind G-strings. That was OK, though, because we were going to get to see a little sumpin', at least.

Then we pulled up to La Bare to find the doors sealed and the parking lot, well, bare. A sign posted on the door disclosed that the club was open only Wednesday through Saturday and was closed on New Year's Eve, a tough fact to swallow for a single female with an itch to scratch.

Next, we went to Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen's Lounge (3411 N. Federal Hwy.) to beg directions to an open male revue. The front-desk girl and manager were stumped. It seemed odd that she couldn't come up with anywhere in Fort Lauderdale for ladies to assume the voyeuristic role when her club was littered with fully nude women whetting the appetites of table after table of jolly-seekers. As we were driving from the parking lot, a group of pervy, frat-boy-looking mofos tried to wave us down and thumb a ride. No thanks, boys. Tuck those beer bellies back inside your belts, 'cause we're just looking tonight.

There was only one hope: gay men's libido. So we drove to Boardwalk (1721 N. Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale), with Lola ranting the whole way: "A dude can go and see a bitch ride a pole any time he wants, but if a woman wants to see a guy swing his shlong, she can't do it. That's not right."

When our fabulous foursome arrived at Boardwalk, formerly a Flanigan's restaurant, we were anxious. After all, a party girl is welcome in the more upright gay bars, but when it comes to the underbelly of the scene, she might find herself pushed to the fringe.

"May we enter?" we inquired at the front desk.

The thin, dark-haired man behind the counter pulled out a form and said, "First, you'll have to sign this." Attached to a clipboard was a special release for females stating that we were at least 21 years of age, would consume at least two beverages, and would refrain from touching the dancers. Later, I talked to Annie, an older, husky, no-nonsense blond, who informed me that the document was part of a club policy meant to protect women from being approached by the dancers.

Upon jotting our John Hancocks and peeling five bucks from our less-than-thick wads, we were permitted passage through the black velvet curtain. The entrance opened into a crowded midsized bar lit by blue Christmas lights wrapped around the rafters. There was a hunked-out stage on either end of the large, centered bar. On the front stage, a beefcake "top" type -- a guy with pitcher appeal for those unhip to the lingo -- wearing black, short briefs was bouncing in rigid, tame motions that shook his abs and thighs yummily but revealed little evidence of dancing talent. On the back stage, a bottom boy --- one with catcher appeal -- was dancing with his ass stuck out toward two older, heavy men who were feeding bills into his strap.

The slender, tank-topped MC screamed into his mic as we passed the stage, "Fish are in the house." Despite the flagrant rip on vaginal odor, we whooped in the expected girly tones, acknowledging our status as a novelty, and made a space for ourselves at the bar. He continued, "Why don't you come up here and play with the sharks?"

That's a tough one: maybe because we had to sign release forms promising we wouldn't?

There is, of course, the issue of feeding the talent, and we weren't sure whether we could even approach the sharks. Dollars weren't exactly flying around the club's main room. The black curtain behind us at the bar, where the strippers kept disappearing, concealed a place where I suspected the real dough was made. Tex, a midheight, hulky blond man in black cotton underwear emerged from the, uh, VIP room to bum a smoke. He asked me if I liked his thong. How could I reply but in the affirmative? He said he was going to party at the "Life's a Drag" event at VooDoo Lounge (111 SW Second Ave, Fort Lauderdale) afterward and said we should go.

Then his name was called and he took the stage. He pulled his undies down around his knees to reveal a red thong. Then he grabbed a metal bar overhead and did a chin-up, pulling his panty-wrapped knees up in front of his chest.

"Look at his underwear," one of my girlfriends said. "That's not sexy. Why doesn't he just take them off?"

I suggested it would be sexier if he had them around his ankles.

She pursed her lips and shook her head. She was right. If we wanted to see men in bikini-bottom underwear, we could just go to the beach for free. A lesson learned. If these boys didn't do something worth our while and money fast, we were gonna make like a tree and get the hell out of there -- leave, I mean. Leave.

Just then, Sammy, a short man with dark-brown buzzed hair, took the stage. He was wearing a black thong and combat boots. He turned around and shook his smooth, hard buns before grabbing the bar overhead. As he pulled his legs up over his head, his G-string disappeared, and it was "Hello, Mr. Well-Shorn Ass Crack," which didn't exactly delight the ladies. Somehow, he hooked his combat boots around the pole and hung upside down, making small rhythmic motions. His performance couldn't be denied; it was so American Gigolo chic.

I walked over to a heavy-set, light-skinned black woman sitting at the bar with two preppily dressed, white gay boys. She was probably just a fruit fly dragged off the couch by her two gay best friends, and thus a voyeur only by association, but I tried to incense her anyway: "Did you know that we just came from the male revue La Bare, which is closed tonight because it's Sunday? In fact, it's only open Wednesday through Saturday. Don't you think it's ridiculous that women have to go to a gay club just to see some men dance?"

Her friends glared at me.

The woman shrugged indifferently and replied, "Yeah, I guess it does suck that there aren't any strip clubs open for women tonight."

That simple point being spoken, the conversation died. Unsurprised, I returned to my third cocktail.

Auntie Mame took the stage next. She was a large, worn-out drag queen dressed all in blue with a baby-blue bouffant wig reminiscent of a beastly cotton candy. She started performing a number based on Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" about tired old drag queens. Did we detect a hint of irony? Her lip-sync performance was so off that it was hard to be sure whether the humor was deliberate.

Just as we were about to duck out, Kelis' "Milkshake" came on, and an MC with an attitude pointed a spotlight at our tiny but muscular brunet bartender and said, "A girl can dance hip-hop too. Get to the ground, bitch." Mikey grabbed the edge of the bar and stuck his tush out. Then he wound his hips down so low that his groin was nearly scraping the ground.

"Show us your ass," Attitude screamed, and Mikey pulled his little black briefs down to reveal his buns. "You better put that thing away before I come over and eat it like watermelon on a hot day!" Yikes, we were wildly entertained but, a round of questioning the ladies confirmed, decidedly unaroused. The entertainment, of course, wasn't tailored to trigger the female sex drive.

Mikey slipped his briefs back up over his hips, and the spotlight moved to another bartender who would show nothing more than his tightly cut abs.

To get things going, Attitude called all the strippers to the bar top. Meanwhile, a slight blond boy was on the stage up front doing back handsprings and dancing like he was at a Star Search audition.

Suddenly, a big Reebok sneaker was planted between our empty cocktail glasses and an ashtray, balancing the six-foot-something-or-another frame of a dancing dude on the small counter. I looked up and instantaneously was contemplating the merits of environmentalism. Like a beacon of nature in this sexually artificial world, there stood the only stripper in the house with a woolly chest. Despite the dark-haired man's seductive gyrations, one of the girls was unimpressed, saying, "He looks like he could be a math teacher or something." Then he squatted down in front of me, and -- careful to uphold my contract not to touch him -- I held a folded bill out at full arm's length and placed it in the elastic strap of his briefs.

A pair of Adidases passed by, followed by a pair of combat boots, but it still didn't quicken the female pulse. As we were gathering our things, a bartender came over and -- echoing the VIP stripper -- said that we should go to "Life's a Drag" at VooDoo afterward.

A bunch of men running around in their undies wasn't doing it for us. But finally, after feeling unwelcome all over town, we were getting more invitations than a homecoming queen with condom earrings.

Ladies, no matter where we go, it seems, we always end up receiving attention. Girls got so much game it ain't even funny, but what do we want? I think an open strip club seven nights a week is in order.

As we were walking out of the bar, the little blond dancer was standing outside in his street clothes. We complimented him on his gymnastics, and he said, "Thanks. Hey, you know you guys should really come to..."

Oh, let us guess: "VooDoo."

Next week, a visit to La Bare.

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