The movie Magic Mike was a box office success.
It wasn’t a movie made for the readership of this fine website but more than a few of us probably watched because of wives, girlfriends and a broken remote control stuck on a cable channel.
Joe Manganiello, one of the stars of Magic Mike, learned so much about male stripping during the shoot he decided to produce and direct a documentary of his own about the male stripping industry. La Bare, in theaters now in limited release, follows several real-life male strippers. Esquire talked to Manganiello about the movie and the beefcake industry.
Even after staring in a movie about stripping, following strippers around for months, and doing a documentary about stripping, Manganiello sounds like he knows zero about the profession. Take this first quote from the interview as an example.
“Their job is to treat women the way they wish they were treated at home and in the world. As you can tell from the testimonies of the fans, the groupies, the regulars at the club, they get a companionship from these guys that they don’t get out in the world. There’s a wide variety of women who go to the club for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe these women are taken for granted at home or they aren’t made to feel pretty or special or wanted at home.”
Got it. And men go to strip clubs for the buffalo wings? Wrong. They go, of course, to stare at naked women but also because for some dudes it’s the one place in the world where women actually pay attention to them. I’m not talking about the guys who stumble into clubs drunk with a bunch of buddies, I’m talking about the dudes who hang to the point of loitering in strip clubs, know every woman by her stage and real name, and think one day they’ll make an “honest woman” out of their favorite featured dancer.
Manganiello’s research also brought to light the “huge difference” between male and female strippers.
“There is an underlying feeling of resentment at a female strip club that women have to do this job. They have to take their clothes off to get men to pay them and this is how they have to make money. There usually is some sort of dysfunctional family background the girls are coming from. And that’s really not the case when you get the guys. The guys love being there. They love their job. It’s the best possible job you could have as a young straight male in your 20s or 30s — or even, in one case [in the documentary], in your 50s.”
I won’t pretend to know every single stripper in the world so Mangiello really shouldn’t speak for every single human taking his or her clothes off for money. I highly doubt every female stripper comes from a dysfunctional family and every male stripper absolutely loves his job. Some do. Not all.
And as far as the dude in his 50s, he might love doing what he does, but it’s probably because there are few other things that a 50-year-old stripper is qualified to do.