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We’d managed to put off this day for three months. Ever since we first decided to strip for the night with the Adonis Cabaret, we’d been looking for excuses not to do it. The Christmas period helped a lot; thanks to the lack of weddings – which meant a lack of hen parties – the male strip circuit was relatively quiet. But by the middle of February the crowds were back and Tristan – the owner of Adonis Cabaret – insisted that now was the time. After one final, pleading meeting, we were on our way. Tristan had offered to provide everything but the underwear, which I’d, bought myself; three sparkly, silver thongs with Velcro rip-off straps. When I phoned him to tell him, his response was typically encouraging; ‘Brilliant…you guys are gonna look like complete idiots!’

Our first glimpse of Brighton’s Babylon Lounge is through the taxi window, paying the appalled driver (who has just sat through a fifteen minute conversation about willy’s – we have, in fact, been obsessively talking about our genitalia for three months), we go inside to get our first glimpse of where we will be displaying ourselves to an unsuspecting world. A Nightclub, a stage, a bar, and a DJ booth; it looks like a pretty good set-up but the stage seems not nearly sturdy enough to contain the fury of three hundred girls in the grip of hen-night dementia. It’s only two in the afternoon, and the fear has already set in; with nearly eight hours still to go until the strip, we start drinking.

At this point, Tristan arrives, with him is Dave, tonight’s Drag Queen Compere. It’s hard to imagine a less likely Drag Queen than Dave; a polite guy in a navy blue fleece and cat boots, he is quietly-spoken and just, well…nice. Tristan, on the other hand, is every bit the male stripper; short, muscley and tanned to buggery. Grinning all over his face at the sight us, he leads us outside to his car to show us our costumes.

He opens the boot and laughs as we spot the three fireman’s costumes inside, carrying them into the downstairs practice studio, Dave puts on our chosen music; ‘Do You Want To?’ by Franz Ferdinand. We fight over uniforms, then strip down to boxers and socks and put them on. As we look at each other, the whole hideous ordeal becomes real. Tristan is still laughing his arse off. But then Tristan laughs his arse off at everything; it’s as though a decade of getting his cock out for a living has eradicated all worry from his life. It makes sense…if you can deal with that, you can probably deal with anything. He’s been in the business for eleven years, successfully running a male strip show that goes on simultaneously in several cities every week, and although he doesn’t always perform, he’s more than happy to jump in and do a twenty-five minute show - dressed as the Pope and Austin Powers, when he has to. This is a man with some serious balls…and he’s got a few hundred thousand witnesses to prove it.

Costumes on, we start learning our routine. Tristan has devised a fairly simple one; it’s more about taking the clothes off in the right order than it is about dancing. We just have to work from the outside in until we’re left standing, naked, clutching our (fireman’s) helmets. We leave our boxers on for the practice session, which makes us look even more ridiculous; my baggy, BHS boxers resist all attempts at sexiness as I gyrate around like a sack of mashed potato on a rickety turntable. As we’re running through it for what must be the twentieth time, the doors open and a dumpy, middle-aged woman walks in, carrying an enormous flan. We’re about to stop, but Dave – who has been the reassuring voice of comfort next to Tristan’s barely concealed glee at our mounting terror – tells us to keep going. He’s got a point; if we can’t do it in front of a quiche-wielding granny, we’ll never do it tonight. We keep going. The woman stops and watches us for the length of the routine. Tristan has told us that we have to keep shouting at the audience to keep them excited; we practice by repeatedly whooping at the bewildered woman setting out the sandwiches for her own birthday party. At one point, she shouts back, but her strangled, ‘Wahey!’ is less a yelp of sexual excitement than the kind of cheer you’d normally reserve for a particularly bad effort at the Special Olympics. When her three large sons join her and stare up at us in open-mouthed horror, we call it a day rehearsing.

Clothes on, we head for the pub. We’re slightly comforted by the knowledge that at least we have the routine down, but now the rest of the preparation looms before us. This involves more than just having a quick trim downstairs; preparing to strip is one of the most ego-crushing and bizarre experiences imaginable. In the trade, it’s known as ‘tying off’; and leaves you with that weird, floppy wang that male strippers have…in theory, at least.

Back at the club, we’re introduced to Paul Grant, tonight’s other stripper, (Tristan is also performing tonight). Another short guy (‘All strippers are short-arses’, says Dave. ‘That’s why their willies look so big’), Paul is a tiler by trade, but stripping pays well enough for him to be doing it almost every night after work. With muscles that look like they’re going to explode any second and a penis that would put a particularly well-endowed elephant to shame (he can actually tape it to his own back), he’s in always in demand and gets around two hundred quid a show; not bad for half an hour’s work.

We ask them about tying off, but it’s not something most strippers want to talk about – it really is like a cabaret act, with the performers unwilling to let everyone know how the magic happens. They are helpful enough, though, to rip the elastic bands out of our hands when we show them. ‘Get rid of those bloody things for a start’, warns Tristan. Instead, we are given lengths of elastic cut from a pair of Dave’s tights, then left to fend for ourselves. I ask Tristan if he has any more advice for us. ‘Yeah’, he grins. ‘If you can’t manage it, don’t get it out.’ Great.

As the show starts, Martin and I lurk in the shadows at the back, watching Dave go to work on the crowd. Now going by the name of Davina Sparkle, all traces of the quiet, helpful bloke we met earlier are gone. In his place is a towering, huge-breasted monster, all purple sequins and enormous hair. He booms at the shrieking girls in the audience, whipping them up into an estrogen-fueled frenzy. As Tristan and Paul head for the stage in matching monkey costumes, Jimi appears behind us, beaming. ‘I’ve done it!’ he shouts over the blaring theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. We look at him, puzzled. ‘Done what?’ shouts Martin. ‘Tied off!’ Jimi shouts back, happily. Martin looks at him in amazement. ‘Jimi…we’re not on for another hour. If you leave it on that long your cock’ll fall off.’ Jimi’s face falls. ‘Shit!’ he exclaims, and runs back downstairs.

‘It’s lucky I tried it first’ he tells us, ten minutes later. ‘I tied it really tight and it didn’t work at all. We’re going to have to tie it really fucking tight.’ Fifteen minutes later as I begin to try it myself, I see what he means as I take my cold, shriveled member between my thumb and forefinger and try to massage it to life. By this time we’ve scattered; Jimi is in another room, while Martin is sitting in the only cubicle in the gents, while bouncers urinate noisily. After a quarter of an hour my knob looks like it’s been stuck on the end of a pencil. It’s just wrong; I look around for someone to help me, and see Davina striding past the door. I squeak after him, ‘Dave! Dave, I don’t think I’m doing it right…it’s gone all blue…’ Without stopping, Dave booms back over his shoulder, ‘That’s fi-i-ine, darling, it’s supposed to go blue. That means it’s working.’ Reassured (slightly), I try again with my flaccid member, Jimi walks in with Simon, the photographer, and they begin chatting. Stressed and edgy, I shout them out of the room. ‘Can you fuck off? Just fuck off! I’m trying to get ready.

Jimi comes back in and, since we’re both uncertain how it’s supposed to look, we come to a decision; we need to show each other our cocks. By this time, it seems almost normal. It occurs to us that we haven’t seen Martin now for nearly forty-five minutes. As we’re putting the last bits of our costumes on, he walks in, flushed but triumphant. ‘I did it! I thought I was in real trouble there…’ He lowers his pants and we crack up laughing at his knob looking like a badly-wrapped Christmas present. At this moment, Davina barges in and shouts, ‘you need to be upstairs in thirty seconds, boys and ready to go on’ Martin, who is still just in his pants and a fireman’s jacket, panics and begins throwing his clothes on.

We get upstairs to find the girls going crazy. Davina explains who we are and introduces us, as the music starts we march towards the stage. The huge, heart-bursting blast of panic I’d expected never happens; all three of us are oddly calm, despite being mostly sober. There is just so much to do before you go on that you don’t have a chance to be too scared; by the time it’s your turn, it happens with a dream-like inevitability.

To get to the stage, we have to run through the audience. Our arses are slapped mercilessly, and as the song kicks in, we start our routine. It begins fairly smoothly, but soon enough things go wrong. As the jackets and shirts come off and we get to the belt-removing part (one of the biggest bits of the strip), I hear Martin shout, ‘I’ve forgotten my belt!’ As Jimi and I hump our own belts, Martin improvises and does a strange little dance of his own invention. It’s at this point I look at the audience; up until now I’ve been facing into the middle distance, but when I look down I see the girls in the front row are only inches from my jerkily swiveling hips. I turn to my left and recoil in surprise as I see that this side of the stage is also crowded, the girls on a raised bit of floor so that we’re face to face. I trip back over my belt as I step away, wanting to escape, and try to remember what comes next. Fortunately, Jimi seems to have gone temporarily insane and is loving every minute. He shouts each item of clothing as we get to it, prompting me and Martin. ‘Shoes!!’ he screams in my face. I kick my shoes off. There’s a scream of laughter as Martin’s shoe goes into the front row and he begs them to throw it back. ‘Trousers!!’ comes another demented yell from my right. We all bend down, arses towards the audience, and slip off our trousers. Martin and Jimi kick theirs off, effortlessly, but my feet, sweaty with fear, are completely stuck. Flailing about, I hop on one leg like Mr. Bean, trying to wrench my foot out of the damp, clinging leg as the girls relentlessly chant, ‘Off! Off! Off! Off!’ I feel like a complete tit.

As the song reaches its climax, we’re in our thongs, covering ourselves with the helmets. We rip the thongs out from underneath and hurl them into the crowd; I watch mine sail through the air before landing smack in the middle of a really beautiful girl’s face. We scream incoherently at the crowd, then Martin begins a count-down. ‘Three! Two! One!’ The girls scream along with us, and then we’re there. After a day of humiliation, worry and painfully pulled pubic hairs, there’s nothing left to fear. We whip the helmets off and wave our willy’s at the girls. In the elation of knowing it’s almost over, I even give them a little wiggle and I hear Jimi burst out laughing as, on the other side of the stage, Martin does a star-jump.

Afterwards, dressed and lurking round the bar like vultures (despite trying until four AM, none of us manage to pull) I somehow end up talking to someone’s mum. ‘Well done’, she smiles. ‘I thought you were…very brave.’ I thank her, and she leans forward and whispers, ‘And I thought you had the biggest willy out of all of them’. She says it in the manner of a mate’s mum who’s just seen you come fifth in the school sports day and tries to comfort you by complimenting your trainers. I don’t think I’ll ever look at my cock the same way again. ..

see more @ www.AdonisCabaret.co.uk

MAXIM Editors learn to be Male Strippers!

Nick, Jimi and Martin are three guys who write for Maxim Magazine, They decided they wanted to Strip with the Adonis Cabaret, and do an article on us for their Mens magazine, so we let them, it was a hysterically funny evening, here’s their story …….

STRIPPNG

I’m standing in a nightclub basement in Brighton, my pants round my ankles, listening. Above me, three hundred screaming, stamping girls are waiting expectantly to see my frightened, quivering willy. The door opens and an eight-foot drag queen bellows, ‘You’ve got about fifteen minutes, love, is everything alright?’ My semi-on loses another inch. No, everything is definitely not alright.

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