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October 11, 2007

Female Strip Clubs Are All the Rage

A hen party for Rachel (in wig)

A hen party for Rachel (in wig)

Photo Credit: Richard S.

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"We've got money, we have great careers, and we're having a bit of fun along the way," says Rachel, a bride-to-be sporting a bright-pink Afro and sipping a Jack Daniels and Diet Coke. Rachel is in publishing; her friends have jobs in finance and real estate. "Ten years ago, it was unacceptable for women to go out and get absolutely hammered," says a striking, sleek-haired brunette. "But now you've got to be able to keep up with your male peers." Just the other week, she joined the guys in her office at Stringfellows, London's best-known strip club for men. After putting up with "the boys" for the evening, she's happy to be at Madame Jo Jo's.

Others venture further afield for their hen nights. Companies with names like Last Night of Freedom offer to transport hard-partying women to such far-flung destinations as Prague and New York for a weekend of decadence. The women at Jo Jo's agree it would be worth it.

Perhaps not surprisingly, only 22 percent of Brits prefer their hen parties to be "discreet and harmless," according to a U.K. study. The rest would rather their fiestas be loud, drunken, and risqué.

Tricky Dickys is all three. The show's opening act is hosted by a transvestite named Miss Penny Tration — "we all like a bit of Penny Tration now and then, don't we?" — who stalks the stage in stilettos and a black-and-white sequined dress. "Are we here to see cock?" she bellows. "Who's here to see cock?" The crowd cheers.

Eventually, the male flesh appears, thrusting and flexing to bouncy tunes — Prince's "Kiss," The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" The uniforms are, well, uniforms. Police. Sailors. Firemen. ("Are you doing the fireman?" one flustered stripper asks another in the changing room, as a scrum of bare-chested hunks gets ready. "But I thought I was doing the fireman tonight!")

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