It could be said that no other single event impacts a man’s life more than the birth of a daughter. While all children making their way into his life forever alter its course, the birth of a girl should so radically change that trajectory he becomes indistinguishable from the person he was before.
I still have lucid memories of the first time I walked into a strip club. The smell of cigarettes, alcohol, and testosterone combined to produce a smoky sticky aroma of excitement and shame. I recall the interior resembled the lounge of a cheap cruise liner with colorful neon lights and floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
While I had witnessed the splendor of female anatomies in the pages of Playboy and the occasional Penthouse – I was still a virgin – I had never seen it in living color or in such magnanimous fashion. My first reaction was to escape through the nearest exit for fear of bursting into flame. Somewhere in Sunday school I was sure they had warned us of this fate. My fraternity brother saw to it we had sufficient libations for making my virgin experience less worrisome and provided the financial means ensuring my lap was occupied with any number of vixens. Dakota from Detroit was especially appealing. By night’s end I was a shoe-show veteran familiar with all of its do’s and don’ts.
This first rendezvous would grow into an on-again-off-again liaison lasting for the next fifteen years. During the occasional bachelor party or when I found myself out of town on business she and I would hook up – just for old times. Yet by the time we should have bid sad farewell – after the birth of my first child, a girl – it seems the flame reignited, pushed along by disposable income and an unhappy marriage, and soon our rekindled romance burned with the hotness of seven suns. Divorce only helped to add fuel to the fire and I found myself in the arms of this mistress any weekends I didn’t have my kids and the bonus checks were more abundant than expected.
In one particular classic movie from the 70’s (later remade) I recall a scene where the beautiful maiden, captured by heathens, is bound and presented as human sacrifice to the insatiable beast King Kong. Viewed as a god the tribesmen hoped their gift would satisfy his demonic cravings. Peppered with eroticism and a sprinkle of BDSM the scene will forever remained blazoned in my mind. It would have made for a matchless strip club routine.
Much like those pagans who worshipping their great god through offerings whenever his fury demanded, many of today’s men have set about playing the same role to near perfection. The only difference now is their god reigns from the main stage encased with flashing lights and loud music while the goddess rules her subjects striding a brass pole. Like worshipers paying homage to their deity, these men sacrifice money, character, and soul in the same temple where for many years I was high priest.
For the life of me I still don’t understand how I could hold my daughter’s hand then later use it to to shove a greenback down a stripper’s G-string. I honestly don’t know of a better illustration for man’s ability to compartmentalize than the one who will profess to love his wife and child while he’s covered in glitter smelling like Victoria Secret Body Spray. On the way home for the club he turns from being a womanizing Neanderthal to a loving husband and father, who in a moment’s notice would commit any number of capital crimes if it might keep his darling princess from becoming the next Bambi from Hoboken. Strippers are great as long as it’s not his daughter taking her clothes off.
My hypocrisy landed full force one day as I watched a television show with my kids and an overly risqué commercial aired that sent me scrambling for the remote. Sensing the obvious double standard, I had to stop and ask myself if I was truly being a father to my children, especially my daughter, teaching them to respect others and themselves if I spent my off weekends buying 2-1 table dances at The Pink Pony?
It’s been almost four years since I stepped foot in a strip club and after that time the urge to darken its doors fails to register. I don’t judge those men and women who have convinced themselves it’s all just innocent fun because I used to be right there kidding myself with them. But that was until I finally realized if I want be the blueprint my daughter will use judge the men in her life then I need to act the part. And if I hope to be the lover and husband my Queen deserves, who not only loves but honors her with my actions then I shouldn’t sacrifice myself in temples of pagan gods.