In what can only be considered the perfect example of a double standard, women are practically wetting themselves at the sight of Channing Tatum and his spunky co-stars dropping trou in the movie Magic Mike. And yet, should a man cock an appreciative eyebrow at a comely lass, he is instantly labelled a boorish pervert.

When I confronted my female Facebook friends about their disgusting behaviour, the answers ran along the lines of “It’s our turn to leer.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but if women are suddenly so desperate to treat men as little more than meat puppets, so eager to demean us for the sake of their depraved fantasies, then the least I can do is give them something to stare at. Which is why I’ve decided to become a male stripper, um, exotic dancer.

I mean, seriously, how hard can it be? I’ve done my research — and by research I mean I’ve watched the trailer for Magic Mike — and have narrowed down the attributes a successful exotic dancer needs to a mere three.

One: The ability to dance. No problem: I’ve been wriggling my booty ever since the Frug was invented. Why, just the other day I was gyrating around the bedroom with a look of pure intensity on my face. The routine featured me hopping on one leg while clutching my other foot with both hands. That particular shimmy may have been the result of a close encounter between a baby toe and a bed post but picture that performed in a thong and suddenly it takes on a whole new context.

Two: Muscular build. According to Gray’s Anatomy (the medical research text, not the TV series), all men possess the same muscles. Some of us just prefer to keep our six-packs wrapped in several layers of protective insulation.

Three: Hairless body. OK, this one could be a bit trickier, especially for those whose body hair most closely resembles a pelt. Once considered a desirable indication of virility, back hair is now somehow considered, well, gross. Apparently 21st century women prefer their men as sleek as an otter. Or as a 10-year-old boy.

But how does one achieve a fur-less body? Lawnmower? Line trimmer? Secateurs? A female acquaintance recommended laser hair removal. A full-body Brazilian, as it were. Maybe I’ve seen Goldfinger one too many times, but just the mental image of a red-hot laser scorching one’s nether lands is enough to cause me to shrink in fear. However, if that’s what it takes to make women salivate, then let the zap-zap-zapping begin.

So there you have it: I’m turning in my journalist’s notebook for a spangled g-string and taking to the stage. Prepare to be astounded.

There is only one small detail I have yet to work out. Magic Mike is set in America, a country which still uses $1 bills, perfect for stuffing into skimpy outfits. But no matter how skilled I am as a dancer, I still may find it tricky to shake my money maker with my stubbies full of gold coins. And then there’s that whole chafing thing to consider.

It will all be worth it, of course, when the women start screaming. Too bad the music will be so loud I won’t be able to hear what they’re yelling.

This column originally appeared in the August 8 edition of the Napier (NZ) Courier.


My daughter accused me of stepping on her feet during the traditional father-of-the-bride dance at her wedding. I don’t remember doing that but I may not have noticed, so busy was I praying that the song would end soon, allowing me to retreat into the shadows so people would stop staring at me. And snickering.

But if I did flatten a few of my darling daughter’s tootsies, it’s not my fault. According to a story by the Telegraph Group Ltd (published in the Dec. 17 issue of the New Zealand Herald), “dad dancing” is a direct result of evolution.

Nature’s grand design, according to the story, is that the older we get, the worse our dancing becomes, thus sending a message to younger members of the opposite sex that basically says, “Stay away, I’m not fertile.”

Women, the story says, “gauge the testosterone levels of their dance partners by the style and energy of their moves.”

In other words, bad dancing = withered, decrepit sperm = “Back away from the ovaries, old-timer.”

Thank goodness for vital scientific research. For a minute there, I thought it was simply the ravages of gravity and the passing decades and too many lemon cranberry scones from Starbucks that were responsible for the fact that the only females paying attention to me these days are the ladies living in the residential care facility where I work. And they only like me because I know in which drawer they like to store their clean knickers.

Let me get this straight — I’m not old, I’m just past my Boogaloo’s best-by date? Whew!

Actually, I’ve never been much of a dancer. Oh, I can waltz — one-two, one-two — but my repertoire is pretty much limited to what I like to call the White Man’s Funky Chicken. It ain’t pretty, but no one gets hurt. And you can use the same moves for every single song ever invented. I know, I’ve done it.

If the mood strikes me, and I’ve chugged back a few too many Diet Cokes, I’ve also been known to demonstrate my version of the duck walk. Chuck Berry does it while playing the guitar. I don’t have an ax to grind, but I can do it backwards. Take that, Mr. Berry!

Oh, and I do have one move from Thriller, although Viking Woman has asked me never to do it again, lest Michael Jackson roll over in his grave and break something. I think I look like a dancing zombie. She says I look like a bear trying to crawl out of an open latrine.

Brother #2 has a move I’ve always envied. It ends with him sliding across the floor on his knees. Which looks absolutely stunning. Unless, of course, someone gets in the way, and then it just looks like human bowling.

I did try line dancing once, back in the days when Viking Woman and I were in the dating stage of our relationship. You know those times — when the guy will do practically anything to get some lovin‘, including cuddling and watching Meg Ryan movies.

Anyway, a group of us from work met at a country and western club and joined the line. I stood deep in the back so as not to get in anyone’s way. It didn’t work. I turned left when I should have gone right and ended up with the toe of someone’s cowboy boot jammed into my prostate. Which pretty much ended my line-dancing days. And ruined a perfectly good pair of boots.

The good news is, I won’t need an exam now for another 10 years.

It’s really too bad about my lack of rhythm and coordination. Because I was there when all those wild dances were invented: The Twist. The Frug. The Mashed Potato. The Watusi. The Swim. The Freddie.

They’re all gone now. Dead and buried. Distant memories. Something like my chances of ever  hooking up with a younger member of the opposite sex.

And that’s a real shame because I’ve still got a few moves left.

Here, check this ou . . .  owww!

Listen, could I bother you to put the wheat bag in the microwave for me? Two minutes on high and I should be good.

On the agenda for today’s meeting of Planet Man: life insurance and crazy dance moves.

1) Life insurance

Alive, this is what I’m good for: making meals, washing dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming, hauling the rubbish to the curb, telling Viking Woman that, yes, of course, dear, you still possess the butt of a 17-year-old high school cheerleader.

Dead, this is what I’m good for: $200,000.

Which may explain why Viking Woman is prone to asking me how I’m feeling while reading over our mortgage contract with the bank. One false step in front of a moving bus and our house is paid for. Which may explain why I no longer let her hold my hand when we cross the street.

Because I tend to sign forms without reading them (it’s a Planet Man thing — what can I say), I really have no idea how life insurance works. I assume the basic concept is to ensure there is enough money available to pay for funeral expenses, followed by the surviving partner’s wild holiday on a beach somewhere while surrounded by suntanned models clad in tiny swimsuits.

Viking Woman and I have opted for cremation, something — as I’m constantly reminding her — I’d prefer to occur after I’m dead.

However, during our sojourn in the Cook Islands, we did entertain the thought of simply allowing our remains to be dragged into the backyard brush, there to be disposed of by assorted insect populations and the pig someone tied to a tree one night while we were sleeping. It was a perfect example of the no fuss, no muss attitude one tends to encounter in the tropics.

I have no idea what Viking Woman wants done with her ashes (again: Planet Man thing. Deal with it). As for my burnt offerings, I once entertained the fantasy of having them mixed with water in the bowels of a Zamboni and then spread across the ice surface at GM Place so NHL teams could skate on my face.

But then I remembered that, when they take the ice out, all that melted water is diverted into a storm sewer, meaning I’d spend eternity floating in a ditch somewhere while mosquitoes humped on my face.

I know — not a pretty picture. Which is why I’d rather think of . . .

2) Crazy dances.

Jenn was recently asked to put together a list of dance moves which could be used between stations at the gym where she and Viking Woman work out. I’m assuming the idea was that, at 26, Jenn would have a better repertoire of groovy moves than those of Viking Woman’s generation, who can do the Twist and, um, not much else.

Because my only purpose in life is to be tortured by women, I was often subjected to the sight of Jenn rehearsing her dances in our lounge. Which means I was forced to endure something called The Sprinkler. And the Shopping Cart. And other gyrations that so resembled convulsions that I was torn between admiration for her agility and dialing for the ambulance.

I know what you’re thinking: John, what does life insurance have to do with funky dances?

Picture this:

It’s night. I’m doing the dishes. The blinds are drawn on the window over the sink. I’m idly scrubbing away at the remains of our evening meal, brain in neutral.

When, suddenly, there comes a hammering on the outside of the glass.

In my version of this story, I drop the wash cloth and instantly assume a defensive position. It might have been the crane. Or maybe the turkey.

In Jenn’s version of the story, all she can hear from outside the window are screams and the sound of frantic movement.

In Viking Woman’s version of the story, I (allegedly) jump up and down several times while assuming the position of someone who has just lost control of their bladder.

The idea behind Jenn’s sneak attack was to have a bit of fun at my expense. To give me a bit of a fright. To provoke a bit of a laugh.

“But you could have killed me dead,” I protested. “I could have been flopping on the floor, gasping out my last breaths, turning blue and bleeding from every orifice.”

“What’s your point?” said Viking Woman, who, just for the record, does not possess the butt of a 17-year-old girl.

Yes, I guess the prank was all designed to add a bit of humor to what had been a dull night. Except I’m pretty sure I heard my adrenal gland pop a valve during all the excitement.

The good news is the ladies at the gym now have a new move to use between stations. It’s called the Heart Attack Dance.

Meeting adjourned.

Now pass the root beer.