The Bada-bing, Bada-boom Nursing Center

Many years ago, when we were only a few years married, my husband and I joined friends at a local club, for a New Year’s Eve celebration. As the night progressed, we discovered that part of the entertainment included a young woman performing a strip-tease, down to her g-string and miniscule pasties, which she proceeded to set “fire” to, as she vacated the room.

Perhaps it is because of my childhood history, but I have never been comfortable around such displays, which always strike me as stealing dignity and exploiting a person’s need, even if a woman thinks she “wants” to do this. I groused about it at our table of friends and was your basic buzzkill, even as I admitted that I was surely not without sin as relates to sex.

A short time later, in the interests of equality, a male stripper
began doing his thing and I rather vulgarly asked the table if he would be setting his genitalia on fire for the general amusement. I honestly don’t remember if, when he got down to his banana hammock, there was a flash-fire. I may have taken a powder by then.

A few years later, attending a cousin’s wedding shower, I was subjected once more to a male stripper routine, this time a fellow dressed as a cop. I drew as far away from the nonsense as I could, and when he approached me with his gyrations, my eyes met his and I knew he could see my discomfort. He very kindly moved away, allowing a cackling great aunt to shove dollar bills into his whatzit and spank his rear end.

As mortified as I was by the behavior of the women in my family — Catholic women all, (and some of them quick to whisper about the “slutty” behavior of other women) they jeered and called me a prude for finding nothing fun in the event — I felt even worse for the man who was spending his Saturday afternoon shoving his hips in women’s faces and allowing them to make an object of him. When our eyes had met, he’d seen my discomfort, yes, but I’d seen his, as well.

I imagine it’s much easier for a stripper to engage in the weirdly truculent dynamics of that game — “go ahead, granny, spank me and give me money” — than to deal with a serious, if silent “why are you doing this?” from the other chair.

I’m sure no one goes into the stripping business if they don’t need the income and feel they have no other options, but I think the ones in need of a real spiritual thwapping are the people who hire them, exploiting that need. I don’t get the joke, I guess, and have always wondered if the folks who find this so hilarious are simply lying to themselves, because they’re “expected” to enjoy it, or if they really are psycho-sexually stalled at about age 14.

One reason I’ve stopped watching Game of Thrones, despite being a fan of Peter Dinklage, is because of the predictable inclusion of utterly gratuitous nudity and sex in every episode. To my way of thinking, it hints at the producer’s disdain for their audience, and for their own product. If you think you have to continually bring the boobies and the full-frontal in order to keep your audience coming back, you mustn’t think much of your story, and you think even less of your viewers, and apparently nothing good of women.

Or perhaps HBO demands it, and if so, that’s what they think of you, folks: that you require gratuitous titillation to sit for a story.

Whether in person or on television, there is something repellantly aggressive and hostile in nudity that is shoved in your face and allows you no escape from it, and I don’t blame the elderly woman in this story for bringing a lawsuit against her nursing home:

A Long Island nursing home is being sued after staff allegedly hired male strippers to put on a show for residents.

The lawsuit was filed last month on behalf of Bernice Youngblood, an 86-year-old patient of the East Neck Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon. . .

Youngblood was subjected to an unwanted performance by a male stripper and “photographed by nursing home staff as a muscular, almost nude male dancer gyrated in front of her,” according to the lawsuit.

“He had a fistful of dollars in his hand and she was putting a dollar in his pants at his demand; he’s leaning over her, he’s not just standing there, he’s intimidating her,” attorney John Ray told 1010 WINS. “This might be great for 32-year-old single girls, but this is an 86-year-old traditional, African-American woman who doesn’t want white men sticking their private parts in her face.”

Actually, it would be pathetic for a 32 year-old single woman, but for an 86 year-old woman to have to endure this is outrageous, and I hope Ms. Youngblood doesn’t let anyone off the hook, because the photograph accompanying this story — which I won’t reproduce here — is appalling. The lady is surrounded and entrapped by this hulking, muscular man who is leaning over her, with his arms on the back of her chair. She is trapped there. Nothing can be more intimidating. In the background, you can see another elderly lady covering her face.

You can read the whole article, here. It’s more than appalling, particularly given the facility’s statement on honoring individuality and dignity. They also say this:

Part of the renewal component of your stay with us is embracing opportunities to have some fun and enjoy new things. That said, you will have a variety of day excursions and entertainment options both onsite and offsite from which to choose, all designed to help you live well and laugh often while you are healing.

A nearly-naked man entrapping an elderly lady; that’s a new thing! I have a good friend who is a recreational therapist working with elderly patients. She has terrific programs and has never once had to rely on bringing in a stripper to help them “live well and laugh often” as they heal. Perhaps this rehab/nursing facility should rethink what brings joy and healing.

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