Some people think the world of the college stripper is fun, games, and eager paying customers. I wish this was the case. Aside from being hard work and long hours, there are difficult clients that took advantage of the struggling artist that has nothing to bring to the table but himself. Rusty and I faced this when a particularly powerful customer demanded free product in the form of auditions. We responded as only the truly emancipated artist can, with colorful cats and blond wigs.
Consider that in the 80s there was no internet. A college town in the Deep South did not have an alternative paper with the “adult entertainment” section. Maybe in Hotlanta you could advertise in “male exotic dancers” sections. That was such a laugh. We didn’t have funds to spend on a collection of Village People outfits. Besides, my housemates would wonder why I had a police officer outfit with rip-away pants in the closet. How I got the rent money was my business! So, aside from a bit of seasonal stage propping, what you saw was what you got, and what we had was advertised by word of mouth.
One of the most productively vocal client bases was also the most problematic. The Greek Houses, fraternities and sororities, were collectively known as “the greeks”. These fine institutions kept us busy between the pre-marriage parties and risque birthday bashes. The greeks’ money was green and the biz was steady. Some greeks were great to work with and others, well, were a necessary evil if the word of mouth was to continue. A particular greek insisted on auditions for their events.
If you think “casting couch” you’re close to the truth. This greedy client basically wanted it for free, complete with show and shake. We usually put in a half-hearted effort and let the gig go to somebody else, usually one of the chip groups. Chip is short for “Chippendale wanna-be”. Damn beefcakes. One year we really needed the money. The next quarter was coming up and there were books to buy! We found out that the greeks were abusing their privilege, and our good nature, by having two chip groups audition along with us two skinny white guys. We had to find a way to prevail without giving away all the goods. Rusty reached way back into his closet to implement our ace card, plan ADQ.
Two blond wigs later, cut to shoulder length, we arrived at the audition dressed in tall white boots, cat imprinted shirts, and white short-shorts. One of the chip groups strutted their stuff, flexing and posing while showing off their loined graces. Like I said, any other time we would have gone through the paces, cutting it short of the big reveal, and then just gone home. This time was different. We were there to take it all, standing side-by-side on as our song’s intro led to “You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life”. The hair bobbed in a way that would make Scandinavians everywhere proud. What followed was a motion-by-motion mimic of a taped video straight off of MTV. We put hands in the air, swayed side-to-side, lip syncing to the infectious lyrics “You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen, dancing queen”. Fun fact, neither Rusty nor I looked like we were seventeen, though I was closer than Rusty given his dark shaggy beard and fake blond hair. We spun around and teased our audience with some hot bun action as we finished the act, “Having the time of your life, ooh, see that girl, watch that scene, dig that dancing queen”.
Did we get the job? Sadly, no. The second chips group did have Village People outfits. Nobody can resist as muscled hunks spell out “Y M C A” while shaking what nature gave them after the outfits had hit the floor. We hung our heads in defeat. Either the chips had much more expensive textbooks or they had gotten wind of our flanking Abba Dancing Queen (ADQ) attack plan. The effort wasn’t entirely wasted. Word got around about our effort and we got steady booking dancing as a show-it-all Abba tribute group. “You’re a teaser, you turn ‘em on, leave ‘em burning and then you’re gone”. You know it baby, with the help of ADQ.