Let me set the mood for you: The back room of the Refectory
is filled with women, ages 30 to 70, sipping alcohol and listening to Michael Jackson's “Smooth Criminal” while fully clothed Chippendales dancers
pose for photos. A male server in a vest with nothing underneath towel pops another server. The grandmas at the table in front of me ask their server for the price of every single drink option, and the 35 year-old woman at the table across the stage can't move because she probably used a lot of duct tape to squeeze her massive boobs into her teeny tiny shirt. Aside from the servers, clothed dancers, and the organizers taking tickets at the door, not a single man in the entire room. The estrogen is palpable. The Chippendales are here.
Finally, the strobe lights come on and five Chippendales dancers in skin-tight black shirts start doing a choreographed number. Clothes start coming off. And then the dancers leave the stage. What?! There has to be more, I think to myself. And I was so right.
Story lines included all of the clichés - firefighters, a stockbroker, naval officers, and construction workers. Some of the stories were punctuated by lap dances. At one point, there was a dating game skit in which three women had to vie for the Chippendales attention by simulating an orgasm and demonstrating a favorite sex position.
When the server came over to ask if I wanted another drink, it was the only time in my entire life that I wanted to use the line, "I'll have what she's having."
By the end of the night, it was controlled chaos. Women were rowdy and tipsy, dancing with the Chippendales and squealing with delight as they bought their friends a few seconds of one-on-one attention. The Chippendales were grabbing hands and running them up and down their washboard stomachs as they were grinding on lustful women, leaving smiles on faces and baby oil on hands.
Three important things I learned from my night of observation, ladies:
(1) Don't blow your monetary load right away on a lap dance. Spend a round observing the Chippendales dancers to see which one works the hardest for his money, going further than any of the others. He's the one you want.
(2) You can learn a lot about yourself at a Chippendales event. Halfway through, my friend turned to me with a horrified look on her face and said, “I've decided I'm a prude.” A little while later, I bought her a lap dance because I discovered that someone else's discomfort makes me laugh.
So she learned that she's a prude and I learned that I am evil.
(3) No matter how many clothes these ripped Chippendales dancers took off, our very sweet, fully clothed server was the cutest guy in the room.
His name was Jason Kimble and should you ever go to the Refectory, ask for him by name.
Image of Samantha Herman (left) and Chippendales at Portland's Refectory courtesy of the auth