Hump Day: An introvert's guide to Silk Exotic Madison
Post by Lizbeth Wilson on 7/11/2012 2:30pm
This Wednesday we revisit our Hump Day series, which focuses on local sexual health and adult entertainment businesses. While no longer a regular column, some of the ladies couldn't resist visiting the area's newest strip club. Happy Hump Day!
Story by Lizbeth Wilson and Molly Evers
With the sun slowly setting on the fields behind me and the temperature dropping below 70 degrees it seemed the perfect evening for enjoying the majestic countryside. The scene was so redolent of a perfect summer evening in Wisconsin, all that was missing was a microbrew and some cows in the background.
Smack in the middle of all of this loveliness is Silk, a gentleman's club formerly known as the Outer Limits, which is now part of the Silk empire, joining locations in Milwaukee and Juneau. As reported earlier when we visited the Outer Limits, the building fails to impresse on the outside. It still looks like a warehouse, even though they have embellished the outside with some tan decorative bricks and a larger sign with the new name.
Outside, we were greeted by several well-dressed bouncers in suits and ties. Even though this was my fourth visit to a strip club for Dane101, I still couldn't shake the uncomfortable feeling I get before I enter a strip club. I don't know what it is, my social anxiety or intimidation from a predominantly male-dominated patronage, but I feel strange and uncomfortable until alcohol enters my bloodstream. I guess I'm not comfortable in highly-sexual, public situations, but as a self-proclaimed nerd who wore Tardis earrings on her trip Silk, is this so surprising?
Cover is normally $10, but Friday nights are a great night to go to a strip club if you have a vagina and don't have to show it off onstage. Ladies (and couples) get in for free, and also get a complimentary glass of champagne (not the best, but a step above Korbel, according to our champagne connoisseur in the group).
Besides the bubbly, martinis are $5 on Fridays, which is a hell of a deal since martinis are usually one of the most expensive drinks on any bar menu. And these are actually good martinis, with Godiva chocolate, Bailey's, etc. I ordered an apple martini even though it seemed cliché, but it was fresh tasting and tangy and served in a curvy martini glass. The cocktail waitresses are amazing, holding a full tray and pouring each of our martinis at the table while wearing heels and skintight dresses, refilling water glasses and managing to come back just at the moment when we thought about ordering another round.
One of the differences between men going to a strip club and me going to a strip club is the conversations most likely will tend to focus on different topics. I'm fairly certain the table behind us were talking about the tits on the redhead onstage and the Brewers game in between dancers. My quirky group? After we took turns visiting the remodeled ladies bathroom to admire the glittery pink floors, it was mostly about personal hygiene. For example, our adorable tiny upholstered cocktail chairs we coveted were the subject of both admiration and disgust.
We tried to not think about how often they were cleaned as we observed dancers plop their sweaty, G-stringed bottoms on the chairs after performing. It's really interesting how fixated on hygiene we were, as we thought about the chairs and also the poles on stage. Most of the dancers made an effort to wipe down the poles before starting their dances, and even the bouncers would occasionally wipe down the poles in between sets. I wonder what cleaner they use? I didn't see a spray bottle onstage. Surely they don't only wipe with a dry towel?
We were very excited about a petite dancer named Vixen. Vixen has very delicate features, slim with several tattoos and beautiful (natural?) breasts. She had almost elven features, and one of our group was inspired to solicit a lap dance from her (she's pierced everywhere and very contort-y and it is only $20 per lap dance). Not surprisingly, not many dancers are minorities--it's mostly white girls, but it was nice to see some curvier girls. I like a dancer with some curves, and if I can see a little belly, who gives a shit? I also found it interesting that the club has a matriarchal backstage manager who “suggests” outfits for the girls. Many of the outfits unsurprisingly emphasized the assets of the women. A cute plaid skirt on a dancer with a young face, a white unitard for a dancer with endless legs, and a low-cut dress for a curvy blonde.
We were hoping a patron would take advantage of the enclosed shower in the center of the stage, but no one was ready to spend $150, even if boxers and undergarments are provided for use. On either side of the shower are rows of circular lights which change color with the tempo of the music. It's actually a pretty neat trick. The walls that aren't covered with TVs or lights have large pictures of naked women, tastefully obscured in the dark light.
So, would I go back to Silk? Absolutely. Give me $5 martinis, free admission and a glass of champagne and I’m going to come back, especially with my girlfriends. -Lizbeth Wilson
Introverts shouldn't go to strip clubs. Nor should the, "I'm just looking, thanks," type go. Because these women mean business: They're here to get close, and sell you the once-in-a-lifetime chance to shower with them on stage--for $150. I don't blame them, though. Given how many different women seem to work at Silk--we were there for at least two hours before we saw any repeat dancers--it's clear the money they depend on is not in the vanilla stagecraft, no matter how skillfully, breathtakingly they spin around that pole, but in the extras: things like lap dances, and the aforementioned shower.
To that end, it's possible to follow basic strip club ettiquette--don't sit right up by the stage unless you plan to tip--and still feel guilty. Like any good customer service enterprise, the women stop by frequently to see if you need anything, and will stay and chat in case you need some time to decide that you want to see them more naked. So we four clustered around a table far from the stage, drank our drinks, talked our talk, watched the stage, bought a lap dance, and chatted with a couple women who stopped by to visit our table.
The last part is always awkward for me: I'm not good with strangers in ordinary situations, and in this more mercenary setting, I got even more awkward. "$150 divided over three people isn't that bad," pointed out Vixen, who had previously given one of our compatriots a lap dance and was now sitting with us, trying to sell the aforementioned shower. She didn't give up easily. And we weren't sure what etiquette was, this far from the stage, besides the most general rule of human interaction--don't be a dick. But is it a dick move to go to a strip club and not shell out for any of the extras? Especially on Lady's Night, when they'd already offered us free champagne and discounted martinis just to get us in the door? I don't have an answer for that. For Vixen, anyway, we kept saying no, politely, and eventually she wandered off to find more lucrative customers. And I still feel kind of like a dick. -Molly Evers