One sleepless night, I got a call from my friend Chris, a night owl. A software programmer and an acquaintance from my University days, Chris used to be a church
boy. All that changed when he came to Lagos.
All things change when you come to Lagos.
So Chris called and said he wanted to visit a Gentleman’s Club, was I down?
Minutes later, we were heading to Ikeja in his salon car. A short while later, we were being patted down by muscle men flanking the gates before being ushered into a large arena with strobe lights and deafening-loud music.
Gentlemen were sitting and nursing their drinks, their eyes trained on a stage where ladies in different states of undress were pole- dancing.
Chris was unusually animated but a newbie, I was soaking the whole place in like a sponge. We were ushered to seats in the VIP section by body guards in ill-fitting suits. They were overly familiar, griots in colonial clothes asking for handouts at a nocturnal hour.
We had barely sat when dancers bombarded us. They wanted to shake our hands, coquettish smiles adorned their painted faces. They wanted to bum cigarettes. They wanted a light or a sip from our Vodka cocktails or to whisper something in our ears.
They all knew Chris. They were cordial with me but not courteous. It amused me how their politeness caved in when I refused to allow them give me a lap dance. I found it interesting how their proficiency in language lapsed the longer our conversations lasted. They were generally impatient when you refused them. They sometimes sulked but were never defeated.
One girl stood out for me. Beatrice, she said her name was. Dark and full-bodied, she filled her scandalous two piece rather gracefully. She didn’t take my usual no for an answer. She pressed; asked if I didn’t find her attractive. I said she was beautiful but I had a partner. She was genuinely interested in my partner. She lingered then laughed when I teased her that my partner was a guy.
She said I could never be a gay. She had been observing how my eyes roved from buttocks too breasts, she said with a trilling laugh. She leaned into me and with practiced efficiency examined my crouch. She laughed again and said my shawarma was even ready for eating. She said my shawarma had at least two sausages.
I was uneasy about edible metaphors but I laughed. She made herself comfortable then poured a drink. She seemed at peace with being rejected. Soon enough, she lit her cigarette and began to vibe to the music.
We got talking some more. This was not her first gig as a dancer. Her family lived in Kaduna. She had a daughter in primary school whom she supported by dancing nights. I asked her if she ever went into The Cabin. She offered a knowing smile and asked me whether I sleep with my partner.
Chris was at peace with the booze and babes. He was in sync with the music and perhaps the Disc Jockey. He was having so much fun, I wondered where the contrite Christ-like Chris of CASOR had gone too.
I looked around the room following the strobe lights that teased the faces of men. Men in their youth. Men in their middle-age. Well-fed men, sipping cognac and cradling the breasts of girls who, even though they lied about their age, were young enough to be their daughters.
My eyes strained to the neon lights that annnounced: The Cabin. For a few thousand naira, male orgasms could be attained here. Here female orgasms were not being advertised.
A muscle man shook my hands violently as he complained that I refused to tip him the last time. And that was the final nail for me.
The verdict: a Gentleman’s club is a transactional arrangement where the cock is teased till it succumbs. The dance of taking clothes off becomes a promenade, a gambit opening a sexual proceeding in the public space.
It was a paradox or at least tongue-in-cheek, calling this place a Gentleman’s club. It seemed to ask, how much of a gentleman can you be when you are turned on.
While I was waxing intellectual, Beatrice had rid herself of shoes and was sitting on my crotch. Finally, I was getting the lap dance I never wanted.