Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Strip Clubs

I was at dinner tonight with two priest friends.  As we were enjoying our meal, I heard a guy tell his female date - "Yeah, I went to a strip club..." and he went on to describe how much certain things cost, and I couldn't help thinking "This guy might be the dumbest person I've ever been in the presence of."  I also thought about how I thought when I was younger I wasn't the smoothest of talkers with the ladies, but this guy made me look like a regular Don Juan.

Talking to your girlfriend about a strip club???  Not many people could get "how to talk to girl advice" from a priest, but I could have helped this guy out a TON!

It also got me thinking.  You obviously have to be a complete moron to talk to your girlfriend about going to a strip club, but you also have to be an absolute moron to go to a strip "club" in general, whether or not you talk about it with your girlfriend or wife.

Jason Evert makes the point that, like little kids, we change the name of things to make it sound okay.  So we call it a "Gentlemen's Club" or "Adult Entertainment."  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  People who go to strip clubs are the complete opposite of both the word "gentleman" and "adult" because every virtue of manhood is violated in going to a strip club.

Men are taught to protect the feminine, even give one's life for the feminine (our wife, our sister, our Church), but a strip club is the height of the opposite of everything that it means to be a man.

Porn is obviously a horrendous plague afflicting our country right now, but even porn is better than a strip club.  Porn is treating the image of a person as an object, whereas going to a strip club is treating a person right in front of you as an object to their face.

"They need the money" - really, well then give them the money when they have their clothes on before they show up for "work"

"It's just a little fun" - the classic line of people blinded by narcissism and unwilling to accept the fact that their actions impact anyone's life besides their own.

"It's just guys being guys" - no, it's "guys in men's bodies who lack the most basic virtue of self-control" being "guys in men's bodies who lack the most basic virtue of self-control"

If you know of someone going to a strip club, knock them over the head and tell them they're a moron and a coward.


  1. Well said, Father!

    Have you heard of men who go to strip clubs to help women? I've heard of a few men who say they go to the clubs in order to "help" the women get out of a bad situation. Seems like they could find another way to help the women instead of paying to go in those places.

  2. "Knock them over the head and tell them they are a moron and a coward."

    I certainly agree with you that strip clubs should be outlawed, and certainly a man detailing his visits to a date is not a smart idea.

    But I worry, Father, that telling people to call these men who view pornography and go to strip clubs hurtful names isn't ever going to be the solution. There's a significant proportion of men in our society today who have fallen prey to compulsive pornography viewing, which has then led to strip clubs, prostitution, etc. But these men are not inherently morons or cowards or not men. In fact, they are often men who have been abused and neglected as children and have levels of shame so deep that they isolate themselves into a world of fantasy to cope with life. I know this to be true. I am a devoted Catholic who is married to a recovering sex addict.

    Why is the answer to call them names and shame them? Why isn't the answer to offer resources like professional help and spiritual counseling to deal with the underlying issues that drive someone to seek out meaningless sex? Why isn't the answer to offer hope and healing through the Church?

    Sure, it may have no effect on the guy who likes to brag about a strip club visit to a date, but the point is that we don't really know his story. We don't know where it comes from, and unless we do, I firmly believe that name calling and shaming is only going to perpetuate the problem.

    I want to point anyone reading to a few resources.

    After experiencing some of my deepest hurt when I tried to turn to my Church during our family crisis, I cannot remain silent on this issue. I do not know any person, no matter what atrocities this person may have committed, that deserves hate.

    1. The answer is healing and hope, but I think a few words can be sprinkled in to describe the problem so that people can understand the severity of the situation. The VAST majority of people that I work with on pornography are not struggling with porn because too many people are speaking the truth to them about their addiction, but because not enough people are telling them the reality of what they are doing.

      Flannery O'Connor said you have to shout to those who are nearly deaf, and I'm not sure there is something that needs shouting more than "porn is killing people's souls". It isn't name calling nor shaming, it is saying "if this is you, and you're in to this garbage, you need to wake the heck up"

      There is a great teaching for priests (I can't remember the saints name) that says "A priest must be a lion from the pulpit and a lamb in the confessional." I don't call people morons when I'm working one on one with people, but from the pulpit, and when speaking to large groups of people, it is best to use language that will awaken people to the severity and stupidity of what they are doing.

  3. As I sit here waiting for someone to throw my bail for simple assault, I'm thinking zeal for the Lord might have been tempered by the virtues of prudence and temperance.
    While the guy was waiting to get his three stitches, he thought about what I said, that he was a moron and a coward and agreed to drop the charges.
    Postscript: ...the judge ordered me to stay away from strip clubs.

  4. Yes, I agree that a message like "porn is killing people's souls" should be shouted repeatedly. In fact, there is a popular shirt from an important movement to fight pornography that simply states "porn kills love". The importance of THAT message cannot be understated.

    But I respectfully disagree that name-calling from the pulpit will "awaken people to their stupidity". My husband has been called a moron, a coward, and worthless, for most of his life. That was the primary force behind his drive to disconnect from reality. My husband, and many other men, have done some outright stupid things. But there are many ways that one can point people to the reality of the destruction they are causing that don't involve calling them morons. For example, showing zero tolerance for their behavior, allowing them to experience the consequences of their choices rather than rescuing, even including more shocking educational evidence about the way that women are treated like objects in the industry.

    This issue obviously hits home for me because of my experiences, but I think that we are actually discussing a broader issue about the best way to create behavioral change in people. And I would argue that research points to name-calling one of the least effective form of influence.

    I appreciate your response and passion on this issue. Respectfully, Eleanor

  5. Actually, men often respond well to blunt talk as opposed to treating them like a hothouse orchid and being soft-peddled into an endless labyrinth of therapeutic culture.

  6. What happened to love the sinner, hate the sin?