A fun fact about me: Magic Mike XXL is my favorite movie of all time.
It’s not something I’m proud to admit at dinner parties with my parents’ friends or on first dates, but it’s the truth. The combination of hot, naked men and 90’s R+B is basically my dream (especially when the men are Channing Tatum and Sophia Vergara’s hot husband “Big Dick Richie”)
So when I found out “Magic Men Live” was in town (which is basically the budget, non-trademarked version of Vegas’s “Magic Mike Live”) I absolutely had to go. I texted everyone I know who still live in Rhode Island (3 people), all of whom said “no, Zoe,” (prudes) until I finally convinced my childhood-babysitter-turned-surrogate-sister to come with me.
The show took place at the Providence Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, which happens to be where my fourth grade class went on a field trip to see “Madame Butterfly” and where I’m pretty sure I won some childhood poetry award (#memoriez). I felt a little icky knowing that I was going to be watching male strippers from the same seats that I tried to flirt with my 9-year-old boyfriend in 2001, but I guess life really does come full circle.
Steph and I walked into the venue, immediately realized we were too sober to spend the next two hours watching strippers-dressed-as-firemen take their pants off, and ordered two bottles of champagne and a bag of Twizzlers (which was best dinner I’ve had all week). We also bought $40 T-shirts that said “My Goal Weight Is Male Stripper On Top Of Me,” which were worth every penny.
We were officially ready.
I had bought the absolute cheapest seats they had available, ($28 a pop, which is $28 more than I can afford as an unemployed writer) which were wayyyyyy up in the balcony. Knowing that we wouldn’t actually get to touch any strippers from up there, which defeated the entire purpose of the outing, we snuck past the ushers and made our way into seats in the third row.
As we sipped our champagne and took selfies, w realized were the only people in the crowd not wearing tiaras and “BACHELORETTE!” or “BIRTHDAY BETCH!” sashes, and were also the only ones wearing flat shoes and clothes that covered our entire asses. I felt very under (over?) dressed.
We thought we were in the clear when the lights went out and we hadn’t been kicked out of our seats, but then an entire bridal party came and yelled at us because we were “ruining their friend’s last night of single hood” so we had to move to the back of the auditorium (yes, it was an auditorium) where there was no chance of us ever getting to touch a stripper’s six-pack. It was heartbreaking.
The show started the exactly the way you’d expect (aka exactly how Magic Mike started) — with six shirtless men in raincoats and underwear gyrating their perfect, oiled bodies to “It’s Raining Men.”
Let me tell you — they were hot. Like, so hot that I would have swiped left for them on Tinder because I would be so intimidated by their naked bodies in real life. They kept their teeny little undies on the whole time (by the way, does American Eagle sponsor male strip shows? Because this was every guy’s boxer brief of choice), so I didn’t get to see any of the really good stuff, but they did give occasional glimpses of their tight little butts which was a prettttttttty great consolation prize.
After the intro, things continued to proceed exactly as you’d expect: There was a sexy army man set, a sexy fireman set, a sexy cowboy set, and “The Chocolate Boy Wonder.” My personal favorite was the Fifty Shades of Gray inspired set, where I am 99% sure a stripper in a business suit had actual sex with a bride-to-be behind a red screen.
I’m not proud to admit this, but trying to get noticed by male strippers brought out a very ugly side of me. I was absolutely convinced that they could see me from the stage (despite the fact that I was in the dead last row) so I used my sexiest dance moves to try to seduce them so they would offer me a lap dance. I was literally imitating what they were doing on stage, which seemed totally normal until I re-watched my Snapchat story this morning and realized I looked like a total creep.
Every time one of them would come up into the aisle, I would elbow past all of the brides to be to make sure I was right up front in case one of them had seen my dancing and wanted to grind up on me (spoiler alert: they did not). I “accidentally” pulled on a girl’s veil, which I definitely don’t feel great about, but it got me close enough to “Enrique the Latin Lover” to smell his Axe Body Spray, so it was totally worth it.
Eventually, I got my turn to get up close and personal with the “performers.” Before intermission, the cast offered $20-a-pop lap dances on stage to anyone who wanted them. Naturally, I grabbed every dollar bill and coin out of my purse (which totaled $21, another expense I can’t afford) and sprinted to the stage for the moment I’d been dreaming about. I was so excited, I tripped and fell climbing up the stairs.
Getting grinded on by budget Christian Grey was pretty sexy, but I was so nervous all I could do the whole time was giggle like a pervert .The one thing they don’t show you in Magic Mike? Strippers are really, really sweaty. Like, I was completely soaked (and not in a good way) after my lap dance, and smelled like a middle school locker room, which was a litttttttle bit nostalgic but mostly gross.
After he was done, he gave me a hug and said, “Baby, you are the most beautiful girl in the room tonight.”
I was on cloud NINE, until I realized I had just paid him the last $21 in my bank account for the same compliment he gave to every other woman in the audience. Le sigh.
Feeling satisfied that I’d gotten to touch some muscles, I settled back into my seat to watch the sexy Navy men (which was somehow different than the sexy army men). Moments later, though, I found out that I had won the #magicmenlive selfie competition – in the MC’s words, “how could we not pick the woman with the word “Weiner” in her Twitter handle — and had to return to the stage for another lap dance (#whitegirlproblems).
This one, obviously, was to the song “Pony,” and featured six men wearing hat’s that said MAGIC. I was literally living in my dream movie scene, but without Channing Tatum’s bad acting or Alexander Skarsgaard’s drug problem.
After a few minutes, one of the dancers pulled me out of my chair, which I thought was to dance with me (he had DEFINITELY noticed my moves in the crowd!), but as I started gyrating on him he politely said, “You need to get off the stage.”
When I got home, I took a 45-minute shower while listening to “Pony” on repeat to cleanse myself of the sweat, Axe Body Spray and sin.
…. I’ll be seeing the show again in NYC on July 18th.