A well-toned blonde in a red feathered headdress, a thong, and nipple tassels looks down from high above a long, narrow club decked out in cushioned gold walls occasionally licked by a swirling green laser light. Perched on a black swing, she pumps her shapely calves to the tune of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and soars from one side to the other as a well-heeled crowd gazes up from plush leopard-print couches.
Directly below the tassled beauty, Joey lounges on a chair snagged from a reserved VIP table. He's a double-chinned 31-year-old in a flannel button-down who's so preoccupied with the pendulum of flying ass that he's unaware of his awkward positioning in the middle of a dance floor.
"I find the butt the most intriguing part of the female body," he says as his irises, the shade of black-eyed peas, burn holes into the dancer's lovely lady-hump. "She's got a nice one, but it's a little small... definitely not the kind of booty that could launch a thousand ships. But I'd still hit it."
So what constitutes a Helen of Troy-esque pooper?
"I like my women like I like my food: supersize. I guess you can say I'm a chubby-chaser."
If that's the case, it's slim pickings for Joey at the Strip (330 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-532-2330), a new burlesque joint pumped full of Twiggy-like chicks fresh from the Pussycat Dolls factory. Despite the club's name, it isn't a strip joint — there's no nudity. But there is a full (and pretty pricey) bar. Because the combo of booze and bare breasts is illegal on the Beach, girls here employ more subtle arts and various styles of jug-covering to lure the Lincoln Road party set away from the bustle, across Washington Avenue, and onto an offensively touristy block dotted with neon lights, bums, and cheesy mega-gift shops.
Question is: Will this brand of siren song work? Because, really, how powerful is seduction anyway?
Daniela, a stunning 28-year-old brunette with ample cleavage pouring from a low-cut dress, doesn't seem particularly taken by the free show. She stands before a large, ten-by-ten-foot gold picture frame behind which two raven-haired beauties in black bustiers lick, tickle, spank, and occasionally motor-boat one another. Daniela gives the scene a side glance and continues texting on her iPhone.
"I don't have a penis... or a Loew's discount card, so all this," she says, dismissively waving her manicured hand toward the girls as they whip each other, "isn't doing much for me. But I do know firsthand that power of attraction. Actually, I have a clean driving record thanks to it.
"I was raised here in Miami, so I like to drive fast, and because of it, I get pulled over a lot. But I rarely get tickets. Before the cop gets to my car, I always unbutton my blouse, put on a pair of glasses, and act very apologetic, submissive, and sweet."
Why the four-eye action?
"I think I do it to offset my boobs hanging out. Besides, a lot of guys have fantasies about naughty librarians and secretaries, so where's the harm? And, hey, the innocent act works. I remember once getting pulled over literally five minutes from the address listed on my driver's license and telling the officer I was driving recklessly because I was lost and unfamiliar with the area. He was very understanding and let me off with a warning. When I got home, I realized that part of my nipple was kind of popping out. Thank God!"
So, what happens when a female officer pulls her over?
"I did say I rarely get tickets," she reminds. "Not never."
Upstairs on the second floor, a large balcony is outfitted with a bar and couches. A sleek black railing leads to a stage where a small crowd is forming. Suddenly, a girl dressed as Alice skips out with a man clad as the Mad Hatter. They sit at a table and begin to drink tea. After a few sips, Alice's eyes bug out, she drops her cup, and her cheek plops with a resounding thud onto the table. As she sits limply, the Mad Hatter grabs her by the hair and dunks her face into a cream pie.
"I know that feeling," says Matt, a pudgy 29-year-old in an Ed Hardy T-shirt.
He knows what it's like to be a running gag?
"No, I mean I know what it's like to be tricked by someone you trust," he says as the Mad Hatter drags Alice's unconscious body to the center of the table. He flips the little rabbit-chaser on her back, takes her legs, covered in white tights, and demonstrates her flexibility to the audience by pulling her feet to her ears.
"When I was in college, I was talking to this girl I really liked that I had met in a class. She was superhot and we were hitting it off. We had gone on a few dates when all of a sudden, she dropped off the face of the planet. I couldn't figure it out, but not long after, this other girl in that same class started talking to me. She wasn't as cute, but she was cool... and interested, so a few months later, we're a couple.
"A year into my relationship with my second choice, my girlfriend tells me that she knew I was more into that other girl. But she wanted me. So she told the hottie a couple of lies about me to scare her off, like that I had multiple kids with different women, anger issues, and — my favorite — only one ball."
"But whatever. Four years later, I dumped her ass."
Onstage, the Mad Hatter has configured Alice's body into a spread-eagle headstand. He shakes a can of whipped cream and sprays a neat little swirl on her crotch. The audience howls. He leaps onto the table, uses the can as a makeshift penis, pretends to masturbate, and squirts the sticky white cream wildly all over the stage. Alice wakes up, she and the Mad Hatter curtsy, and then they both dash offstage.
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Big-band drum beats sound as the swinging blonde in the red headdress and thong saunters onto the stage. In the corner of my eye, I notice Joey. Instead of ogling the dancer, like he was before, he's now staring down into an empty glass.
"I spent 12 bucks on this and I drank it in two seconds," he laments. He looks up at the stage where the blonde is now gyrating her ass. "Nice," he says, quickly forgetting he was just ripped off.
"But seriously, I think I'd find her a little more attractive if she was doing that while eating a Big Mac."