The last time I saw the inside of a strip club was when Tony and Christopher were sharing drinks at the Bada Bing. They were a couple of characters, those two.
But after Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castaneda posted a message Sunday via Twitter (@Castaneda_Steve) about Eyecandy Showgirls opening on Bay Boulevard, I left watching the Chargers game to catch a glimpse of what Castaneda called a “nightmare.”
The scariest thing I saw when I arrived was a $6 charge for a tiny plastic cup of diet pop. I bought a serving of cranberry juice (because Eyecandy is an all-nude strip club no alcohol is served) for a newly acquired friend so the total for soft drinks that evening was $12. TWELVE DOLLARS!
My new friend Astrea (Aurora? Australia? Arabia? — even though there were only a handful of us inside I couldn’t clearly hear her name over the thump, thump, thump of the bass) told me she was excited about working there. She could make as much as $40 for three to six minutes of work. Over the course of an hour or two I guess that would add up.
One of the hardest challenges in writing about the nude entertainment business is not succumbing to the urge to run amok with bad puns and double entendres.
The other challenge is divorcing the issue from moral and emotional judgments.
The adult entertainment industry — strip clubs, bookstores and pornography — is a billion- dollar industry. In good times and bad, fools and their money are easily parted when it comes to matters of the flesh. Heck, even Republicans have been known to throw away cash at nudey bars, just ask any of the strippers who flocked to Tampa for the Republican National Convention.
City officials are in a snit over the sudden appearance of the strip club on the bayfront. They argue it creates a bad image for an area that Chula Vista has desperately wanted to revamp and make family-friendly. So much so that officials OK’d the opening of a card room that will be down the street from Eyecandy.
Will the strip club and the Village Club cardroom dissuade the right kind of people from investing in Chula Vista’s crown jewel? I don’t know. First we should define who is the right kind of investor. Gambling and girls, girls, girls certainly haven’t hurt Las Vegas’s image: that city attracts all sorts of people (Prince Harry, you know what I’m talking about).
Of course, there are peripheral issues attached to strip clubs. The potential for drug abuse and prostitution are ones usually suggested by law enforcement officials. But, as with any other business, laws are in place to keep them in line.
What’s the big deal?
Of course, that’s an easy attitude to adapt if you don’t have any skin in the game.