Stripped: Free Beacon Scribe Visits Gentlemen’s Clubs

The Washington Free Beacon is a workplace where you can enjoy a striptease and still call it work.

Yesterday Free Beacon reporter Bill McMorris published a lengthy story about strippers in the Washington-area and nationally who have filed suit against strip clubs. The lawsuits take issue with the clubs for treating the “dancers” as contractors rather than full-time employees.

For his report, McMorris spoke with plenty of strippers, including one named Vanilla and another, Coco. He went to strip clubs. He sat in for shows. What makes it all the more interesting is that McMorris, 26, is married and has a 1-year-old daughter.

Understandably, there are questions for McMorris that need answers; like whether he had ever heard of any of the places he went and what his wife made of it. So we asked and he answered…

FBDC: Had you heard of these clubs before embarking on your story? Had you been in them?

BM: When I was 17 I went to a strip club for a friend’s birthday. One of the survivors of the Giuliani purge. The first thing I saw was the sign by the champagne room saying “soliciting is illegal…” A guy walked out from the curtain buckling his belt, his hair in disarray. I left 10 minutes later. Hadn’t been to one since. I attached myself to some chaperones with a bit more experience (some guy in a Devil’s Rejects T-shirt and another who wore too much hair gel and aviators). They made sure I didn’t get fleeced out of my money.

FBDC: What inspired you to write a story about the DC-area stripper industry?
We saw the [Washington] Examiner‘s report on the suit and wanted to see if this was an individual incident or an industry-wide trend.

FBDC: How did you decide which strippers to talk to?
I talked to any stripper who walked my way, but for the more in-depth interviews I chose the girls wearing camisoles. That’s about the most clothing you’ll find in a strip club and I had to do something to make it up to my wife.

FBDC: Which stripper was the strangest? And why?
The one who told me that she would begin taking guys up on their strange requests (e.g. Kicking guys in the crotch, spitting in their mouths, selling her panties) if she lost out on the opportunity to strip at other clubs. Members of the 12 p.m. crowd were stranger than the strippers. I saw a gentleman wearing a purple sweater vest walk in, drop a three-inch stack of singles on a table — roughly $700 — then say “congratulations grandpa” to an elderly compatriot. It was surreal.

FBDC: What about the strangest stripper name?
Sarah. What kind of stripper chooses a real name?

FBDC: Did you have to watch any strip shows while researching?
Yes. Then I went home and read 20 books to my daughter. I’ve also resolved to call my six sisters once a week.

FBDC: What were you surprised to learn about the strip industry?
I was surprised by how sanitary everything was. This was not the case in my first experience. You’re suffocated by cleanliness from the moment you walk in. Archibald’s [strip club] had bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere, Windex and a waste basket on the stage. You felt like you could eat off the floor until you realized that you could pay a girl to do it for you… another weird request.

You’re married, right? What did your wife think about you covering this? Was she put off by it?
BM: I called her before entering each club. Took her out on an apology date. She was more put off by the fact that I spent the entire weekend writing it. First draft was 4,000 words.