Hitting the Club

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grigjd3:

Hagi:
Wait what?

People actually consider these digital strip clubs titillating instead of just silly? I'm sorry but what else would you call the great Commander Shepard in a race against time to stop the Reapers taking a break at the local strip club to watch some tits and ass? Seriously? That's the savior of the universe?

I can understand strip clubs in games like Duke Nukem, it's designed to be silly so it fits. But strip clubs in more serious games like Mass Effect are just idiotic pandering that I do no appreciate at all, it only detracts from the game as a whole.

There is, as you say, nothing wrong with strip clubs. But neither are they so amazingly special and necessary that they're worth the effort of including in a serious game if you ask me. No more or less necessary than the option of including a dry cleaner and I honestly can't remember ever visiting the Citadel to get all the blood cleaned off my armor.

So Richard Feynmann, one of the more famous particle physicists of all time, regularly went to strip clubs. The guy developed the standard model of particles and had some lap dances while he did it. Honestly, far more silly is the idea of one person in an epic struggle to save the galaxy from an ancient evil fleet of AIs because they decided that there is a fundamental imbalance between biological and mechanical intelligence that will destroy everything. That's the unrealistic part. The idea of important people enjoying a strip club in their off-time, well, that just happens, no matter what most people prefer to believe about their heroes.

Was Richard Feynmann having to develop said standard model of particles on a very, very urgent deadline or else the entire human species would cease to exist?

I'm not saying it's unrealistic for important people to go to strip clubs. I'm saying that it's unrealistic that a character who, no matter whether you go renegade or paragon, is always portrayed as duty-bound and driven knowing that he's got no time to spare and that the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance decides to take some time off to stare at some random stripper.

It's the same kind of silly that exists in many games. You're on this grand epic quest to stop some evil wiping out humanity, it's constantly mentioned how dire the situation is and then you spend your time doing side-quests to deliver bread or find some pieces of lost jewelry, apparently lacking the attention span that right now there's a giant dragon/reaper/demon/whatever rampaging about supposedly killing thousands of people. And you're supposedly the only one who can stop him. And, being a duty-bound and driven character, you spend half your time utterly ignoring that threat.

That's what's silly.

Hagi:

I'm not saying it's unrealistic for important people to go to strip clubs. I'm saying that it's unrealistic that a character who, no matter whether you go renegade or paragon, is always portrayed as duty-bound and driven knowing that he's got no time to spare and that the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance decides to take some time off to stare at some random stripper.

It's the same kind of silly that exists in many games. You're on this grand epic quest to stop some evil wiping out humanity, it's constantly mentioned how dire the situation is and then you spend your time doing side-quests to deliver bread or find some pieces of lost jewelry, apparently lacking the attention span that right now there's a giant dragon/reaper/demon/whatever rampaging about supposedly killing thousands of people. And you're supposedly the only one who can stop him. And, being a duty-bound and driven character, you spend half your time utterly ignoring that threat.

Glass houses dude, considering all the superflous BS sheperd does in the games (playing FEDEX for every person in the galaxy that misplaced something ever, going to do non essential character quests, generally dicking around), theres a lot more to be riled up about if you really want to push the "hero is in a hurry to save the world so is totally unrealistic!" angle then stopping off at omega or cho on your way to meeting aria or fulfilling optional sidequests and staying a few mins to dance with the dancers or get a quick dance.
And in Me3 the sense of urgency of needing to go back to earth ASAP before the reapers destroy it is non existent regardless of the presence of strip clubs or not, you could take the strip club out and replace it by a bar or heck, a restaurant and it wont change a thing in the game besides there being no asari dancers and club music and people dancing horribly.

Callate:
As to the experience itself, it varies a lot- partly on the club itself, but to a much greater extent on the people who go with you.

This lines up with my limited experience. I can count the number of times I've been to a strip club on one hand, all for birthdays or bachelor parties. Save for the very last time, I found it boring or depressing. The last time was entertaining, but I wouldn't go again.

And strip clubs show up in games for the same reason they show up in other media: an easy way to introduce sex and grittiness at the same time.

If it's a story about mobsters or outlaw bikers, you're guaranteed to have at least one scene in a strip club. If it takes place outside of North America, sex slave trafficking might be involved.

If it's about cops whose investigation takes them into seedy territory, they're going to interrogate strippers or hookers.

If it's one of these modern "vampires who act like the Mafia" stories, there's going to be a visit to a strip club or goth-fetish club at some point.

If it's cyberpunk, use whichever of the above three options is the closest fit and add cybernetic implants and mirrorshades.

If it's a Vietnam War film, there will be a scene where the GIs proposition or are propositioned by Vietnamese prostitutes. (Or Playboy Bunnies, if it's Apocalypse Now.)

If it's a pulpy sword and sorcery story, they'll indulge in ale and whores at some point. If it's a more recent epic fantasy with pretensions of grittiness, the asshole main characters will indulge in ale and whores in between saving the world from slightly bigger assholes.

If it's space opera, there will be at least one sexually liberated culture to ostensibly demonstrate the "free love future", but more likely because the author is a dirty old git.

You get the idea.

I get enough seedy underbelly in real life, I don't feel the urge to visit it virtually...

I've been to one strip club in real life. It wasn't especially thrilling. Internet porn is much cheaper and more instantly gratifying.

I went to a couple of strip clubs in GTA simply because they were there, I happened to be driving by, and hadn't been in them yet.

It invariably proceeds in this manner. I think, it being a GTA game, "ooh an interior space!" Musn't forget that a building just having an interior in this series is enough to provoke a little curiosity. Then I wonder, "anything interesting in here?" I go inside. I see the lap dance prompt. I get a lap dance. I fail to see how it was really entertaining, more of a lame gameplay mechanic (if it can be called that) so the devs can get credit for being so edgy as to have it in the game.

I then kill everyone in the club. The firefight spills out into the street. Eventually I wind up with a little less money in front of the nearest hospital. I never really see the need to go back inside a strip club, because it's more fun to just drive on sidewalks and run people over en mass in my SUV.

I've never felt a need to analyze the experience enough to write 2 whole pages about it, but I'm not paid to write on a deadline, or at all.

Frankster:

Hagi:

I'm not saying it's unrealistic for important people to go to strip clubs. I'm saying that it's unrealistic that a character who, no matter whether you go renegade or paragon, is always portrayed as duty-bound and driven knowing that he's got no time to spare and that the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance decides to take some time off to stare at some random stripper.

It's the same kind of silly that exists in many games. You're on this grand epic quest to stop some evil wiping out humanity, it's constantly mentioned how dire the situation is and then you spend your time doing side-quests to deliver bread or find some pieces of lost jewelry, apparently lacking the attention span that right now there's a giant dragon/reaper/demon/whatever rampaging about supposedly killing thousands of people. And you're supposedly the only one who can stop him. And, being a duty-bound and driven character, you spend half your time utterly ignoring that threat.

Glass houses dude, considering all the superflous BS sheperd does in the games (playing FEDEX for every person in the galaxy that misplaced something ever, going to do non essential character quests, generally dicking around), theres a lot more to be riled up about if you really want to push the "hero is in a hurry to save the world so is totally unrealistic!" angle then stopping off at omega or cho on your way to meeting aria or fulfilling optional sidequests and staying a few mins to dance with the dancers or get a quick dance.
And in Me3 the sense of urgency of needing to go back to earth ASAP before the reapers destroy it is non existent regardless of the presence of strip clubs or not, you could take the strip club out and replace it by a bar or heck, a restaurant and it wont change a thing in the game besides there being no asari dancers and club music and people dancing horribly.

I'm hardly riled up...

I called it silly. No more, no less.

It is silly. All that you mention is silly.

Am I going to let silly things ruin the game for me? Of course not.
But I'm not going to pretend they aren't silly and I don't believe the game would've been improved without all the silly fedex quests and strip clubs.

It's nothing against strip clubs in particular as you seem so eager to claim. It's simply a complaint about the silly nature of strip clubs as opposed to the glorification in this article as some sort of hidden desire of malekind.

Strip clubs, like so many superfluous things, have no place in frantic quests to save the galaxy. Nor do bars and restaurants. Mass Effect was a great series, but I do think it could have been improved by maintaining a heavier focus on the central conflict instead of getting distracted by random people in distress, strippers and other things that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do in any way, shape or form with the Reaper threat.

stupenderifous:
After my play-through's of ME2, I have noticed that I would occasionally stop by the local dancer to unwind after a hard day of saving the universe (sometimes several times in a row). Christ, I never really thought about it until now but titillation was my way of rewarding myself in game.

Not too sure how to feel about that.

This is pretty much what I was working with. I get that not everyone thinks like me or stupenderifous here though.

Callate:
With all due respect, this article seems like it would have profited from a single visit to a strip club. Hey, you're never going to have a better chance to explain it off as research.

I contemplated it. In the end, I tried to make the article about how general societal perception of strip clubs clashes and/or correlates with how they're represented in games. So I figured not going would keep me on that track, I guess.

brmcconnell:
I expect more from the Escapist: this was a dissapointingly shallow article and lacked critical perspective.

*goes to strip club to relax and let off steam*

Moonlight Butterfly:
I guess you completely forgot about female gamers and what it might look like to them. I personally roll my eyes at the pointless aspect of video games pandering to male gaze and making me feel like the game wasn't even close to aimed at me. I usually grit my teeth and get it over with if I go in those places.

I make a throwaway comment in the last paragraph about it, but you're right. Things get left on the cutting room floor sometimes. That's all I say. It was in my mind the entire time I wrote this, but I had to stay on topic.

Thanks everyone for reading.

Moonlight Butterfly:
I guess you completely forgot about female gamers and what it might look like to them. I personally roll my eyes at the pointless aspect of video games pandering to male gaze and making me feel like the game wasn't even close to aimed at me. I usually grit my teeth and get it over with if I go in those places.

You're right, Moonlight Butterfly, GTA IV and Duke Nukem Forever are games aimed at men and not you.

This seemed to be a "no shit" article. Does the topic even need to be discussed? I thought everyone was on the same page. Of course it's us who receives the satisfaction of going to these virtual places, otherwise we wouldn't make the characters go to said places.

I'm a female and I will say that I think strip clubs in games offend me far less than real ones.

The game strip clubs are totally lame and unrealistic for the most part but at least they aren't real women being objectified and degraded. Those women in the games aren't really struggling with anything, like substance abuse, violent relationships, lifestyle hardships in general. They aren't feeling disrespected in any way, and people shouldn't feel guilty or morally troubled about going to the strip joints in games as long as they understand that those women don't look the way real women look and that it would be offensive to treat a real female that way. It would probably be better if they looked a bit more realistic but otherwise I see it as a relatively harmless way for people to visit a strip club. It's mostly pointless, at least in my opinion but it's not hurting anyone.

Just like killing a bunch of civilians, it's not real but as long as people know that and don't have unrealistic expectations of real life after playing the game then it's just harmless fun. It's that getting to be a thief/murderer/shithead character as a fantasy and knowing that you are not anything like that really. It's kind of the point of games.

yeah i'm not sure what the point of this article was, other than a good excuse for a titillating splash banner.

i've had good and bad experiences at strip clubs, but overall i enjoy them and i have absolutely no interest in pretending to go to a fake one in a video game.

Iron Lightning:

Moonlight Butterfly:
I guess you completely forgot about female gamers and what it might look like to them. I personally roll my eyes at the pointless aspect of video games pandering to male gaze and making me feel like the game wasn't even close to aimed at me. I usually grit my teeth and get it over with if I go in those places.

You're right, Moonlight Butterfly, GTA IV and Duke Nukem Forever are games aimed at men and not you.

Yeah but they are fine to play (well expect DNF which is a pile of tosh) until they go out out their way to rub it in your face that 'women aren't gamers' When we clearly are and have been since the early eighties at least. These devs need to grow the fuck up and get out of their treehouse mentality.

If anything it makes them look out of touch even Saints Row 2 and 3 have and option to play as a woman. The question they need to ask themselves is 'Okay this game is aimed primarily at guys but realistically, will women play this game?' since most of the time the answer is yes then they should keep that in mind.

One of the best ways to diffuse possible sleaziness is humour (actually funny humour shut up Duke) which is one of the reasons I prefer SR over GTA.

Moonlight Butterfly, I'm hearin' ya, and I agree about the humour. They need to aim for actual funny, not sleezy/misogynist funny. It's insulting for both women and men. There are loads more women gaming these days and it definitely needs to be considered.

I only used to frequent the strip clubs in GTAIV because:

1. Let's face it, they're hilariously bad.

2. In one of the dances an awesome Rick James song plays.

Hagi:
[quote="grigjd3" post="6.395785.16096284"]
Was Richard Feynmann having to develop said standard model of particles on a very, very urgent deadline or else the entire human species would cease to exist?

Again, this is the silly part - not the strip club. This whole X days until the end of life as we know it - that's the silly part.

grigjd3:

Hagi:
[quote="grigjd3" post="6.395785.16096284"]
Was Richard Feynmann having to develop said standard model of particles on a very, very urgent deadline or else the entire human species would cease to exist?

Again, this is the silly part - not the strip club. This whole X days until the end of life as we know it - that's the silly part.

That's the plot... The entire premise... It's what the entire game is about...

What if you were faced with a threat that could wipe out life as we know it. What if you and your companions were the only one to realize the full extent of this threat. What if you and your companions are the only ones who possess the knowledge and skills needed to stop this threat.

What would you do?

To which the developers apparently answered: why? Visit a strip club of course, what else?

Hagi:

But I'm not going to pretend they aren't silly and I don't believe the game would've been improved without all the silly fedex quests and strip clubs.

It's nothing against strip clubs in particular as you seem so eager to claim. It's simply a complaint about the silly nature of strip clubs as opposed to the glorification in this article as some sort of hidden desire of malekind.

Strip clubs, like so many superfluous things, have no place in frantic quests to save the galaxy. Nor do bars and restaurants. Mass Effect was a great series, but I do think it could have been improved by maintaining a heavier focus on the central conflict instead of getting distracted by random people in distress, strippers and other things that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do in any way, shape or form with the Reaper threat.

I actually agree with you there big time, a lot of the impetus of me3s story died out for me as soon as i left earth, it was really surreal... The sense of emergency had completely evaporated, you practicaly forgot the reapers were tearing apart your home planet.

Otherwise yeah misinterpreted you, i thought you were having a go ONLY at the strippers and dancers since that was the main example you used in which case i felt it necessary to add that they were the least of me3s pacing issues and dont feel they were particular out of character either depending on how you rped your shep. Between shep dancing, going to omega and playing illegal card games on the normandy with the engineering crew, there was room to view him/her as being more grimey and less uptight. But that was in me2 when there wast the reapers om nom noming planets. And in that game dicking around when collectors took your crew would result in tangible negative results.

Frankster:

Hagi:

But I'm not going to pretend they aren't silly and I don't believe the game would've been improved without all the silly fedex quests and strip clubs.

It's nothing against strip clubs in particular as you seem so eager to claim. It's simply a complaint about the silly nature of strip clubs as opposed to the glorification in this article as some sort of hidden desire of malekind.

Strip clubs, like so many superfluous things, have no place in frantic quests to save the galaxy. Nor do bars and restaurants. Mass Effect was a great series, but I do think it could have been improved by maintaining a heavier focus on the central conflict instead of getting distracted by random people in distress, strippers and other things that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do in any way, shape or form with the Reaper threat.

I actually agree with you there big time, a lot of the impetus of me3s story died out for me as soon as i left earth, it was really surreal... The sense of emergency had completely evaporated, you practicaly forgot the reapers were tearing apart your home planet.

Otherwise yeah misinterpreted you, i thought you were having a go ONLY at the strippers and dancers since that was the main example you used in which case i felt it necessary to add that they were the least of me3s pacing issues and dont feel they were particular out of character either depending on how you rped your shep. Between shep dancing, going to omega and playing illegal card games on the normandy with the engineering crew, there was room to view him/her as being more grimey and less uptight.

In that case we definitely agree.

The Strip Clubs were indeed a lesser problem, but nonetheless still part of the problem. I just took issue with this article claiming that including strip clubs in these games is somehow a good thing because some supposedly secret desire men have to visit them...

Since this article was exclusively about strip clubs they were the example I made.

Strip clubs don't automatically make a game better, only if they actually fit within the context, and not all men have some secret hidden desire to visit them it society didn't make it taboo. Especially since I doubt actual real strip clubs share very much at all with those seen in games where the dancers are excited and very happy with their jobs, the local crime lords lead glamorous lives and the clientele have content and rewarding existences. The atmosphere in strip clubs, from my admittedly limited experience, has been downright sad and depressing.

Hagi:

The atmosphere in strip clubs, from my admittedly limited experience, has been downright sad and depressing.

I'm not saying your wrong but you admit that you have limited experience so you don't really know what you're talking about.

PotatoeMan:

Hagi:

The atmosphere in strip clubs, from my admittedly limited experience, has been downright sad and depressing.

I'm not saying your wrong but you admit that you have limited experience so you don't really know what you're talking about.

I know exactly what I'm talking about. I know that in my limited experience strip clubs are downright sad and depressing. I know that I doubt that there are many strip clubs which are as some games depict them.

Since everything I talked about was either my personal experience, my personal doubts or my personal opinion I daresay that nobody knows better than I what I talked about.

Hagi:
snip

Well clearly some men do have secret desires that are repressed irl or this article wouldnt have been written, but yeh not all men for men are not a hive mind any more then women are.

As for rl strip club atmosphere and how faithful games depict them, well from my..wilder days, it depends. Been to some classy places where due to whatever factors (good security? good pay?) the girls really were enthusiastic and quite into their dancing, but this was at classy expensive places well located.
On the flip side been to some seedy places with that characteristic depressive atmosphere where the girls practically had a pleading look in their eyes as they scanned the room for tips from a crowd that wasnt paying much.
Oh and fun part: twas female friends who got me into that scene and going to those places.

Either way ive yet to play any game that recreates either the positive or negative atmosphere of these places, heck i didnt even consider mass effect to have strip clubs until clicking on this article as for me they were just clubs with blue dancers, hardly what youd call a strip club if they aint stripping, ive seen more erotic dancing and skin displayed at music festivals.

Apologies for double post.

Hagi:

That's the plot... The entire premise... It's what the entire game is about...

I am aware of that - in fact, that's my point. What I am saying is that the whole premise of the game is silly. I enjoyed the game (up until the last third of the third installment), but the whole premise of the game is still silly. Going after the inclusion of strip clubs into a game whose premise is that life ends in X days unless this one guy defeats them is like complaining that your coffee maker isn't working in the middle of a category five hurricane. There is a wall of ridiculous heading your way and you are complaining about some trivial silliness.

From a technical viewpoint, I always thought they are there to show off the graphics ,particularly changing lightning and crowds the developers have made and maybe have an excuse to have loud music playing in a fast paced, close quarters fight scene.
Notice that in shooters in such levels, it starts off with everyone being clam, then gun shots, then the whole crowd disperses, lights are blinking and enemies start shooting from behind chest-high walls.
The exact same levels are copied in Max Payne 3, Black Ops 2, Kane and Lynch 1(the best version of that level because then you go back in and the enemies use lightning conditions to hide more) and probably others that I can't remember.

grigjd3:

Hagi:

That's the plot... The entire premise... It's what the entire game is about...

I am aware of that - in fact, that's my point. What I am saying is that the whole premise of the game is silly. I enjoyed the game (up until the last third of the third installment), but the whole premise of the game is still silly. Going after the inclusion of strip clubs into a game whose premise is that life ends in X days unless this one guy defeats them is like complaining that your coffee maker isn't working in the middle of a category five hurricane. There is a wall of ridiculous heading your way and you are complaining about some trivial silliness.

To take your coffee maker analogy, if there's reason to rationally believe that your coffee maker should be working under those conditions, because you're a caffeine addict and you've hooked up your coffee machine to independent and hurricane-resistant power- and water-sources, then it's a completely valid complaint, no matter the silliness of hooking your coffee machine up to such devices. Your coffee maker should not act that way.

Likewise, given that all life ends in X days unless Shepard defeats them, it's a valid complaint if he's visiting strip clubs or doing other meaningless side-quests, regardless of the possible silliness of that premise. One does not exclude or invalidate the other. Shepard should not act that way.

Hagi:

To take your coffee maker analogy, if there's reason to rationally believe that your coffee maker should be working under those conditions, because you're a caffeine addict and you've hooked up your coffee machine to independent and hurricane-resistant power- and water-sources, then it's a completely valid complaint, no matter the silliness of hooking your coffee machine up to such devices. Your coffee maker should not act that way.

Likewise, given that all life ends in X days unless Shepard defeats them, it's a valid complaint if he's visiting strip clubs or doing other meaningless side-quests, regardless of the possible silliness of that premise. One does not exclude or invalidate the other. Shepard should not act that way.

I'm not calling the Reapers a hurricane. I'm calling the plot a hurricane. The plot is so much more silly than the idea of a guy going to a strip club while he has important pressing business to do (which, by the way, happens). I'm saying the plot itself is the hurricane, and it's headed your way, and you're wasting your time wondering why there isn't a working coffee machine. Look, I don't care that Raiden has absolutely ridiculous powers in Metal Gear Solid. I complain that the story is so far over the top and so self-referencing that you need a compendium to follow it. The character Raiden, motivated or not, doesn't cause an issue when everyone in the game has killer nano-bots in them triggered by somebody who comes across as bad representation of a Norse god rather than an actual human being. Similarly, if you're willing to accept a universe that has a race of evil space ships who actively mold the direction life takes so they can return every 50 thousand years to harvest civilization, all because there is some see-through person who believes that fleshies and metalies can't get along, then what the heck is your problem with the guy taking a few minutes off to go to the strip club? Seriously, you're complaining about him taking time to go to the strip club? Really? I mean, he also takes the time to help some random doctor deal with her shady past even though that has no bearing on the plot. He also spends his time scanning keepers. He also takes the time to go have a shooting contest with his old buddy while millions are slaughtered on earth. He even takes the time to check out every spare planet he can even if it has nothing to do with reapers at all. In fact, at no point does this character ever appear to be a man on a time-sensitive mission so much as a guy randomly wandering about the galaxy and you're complaining that he's spending a moment at the strip club?

grigjd3:

Hagi:

To take your coffee maker analogy, if there's reason to rationally believe that your coffee maker should be working under those conditions, because you're a caffeine addict and you've hooked up your coffee machine to independent and hurricane-resistant power- and water-sources, then it's a completely valid complaint, no matter the silliness of hooking your coffee machine up to such devices. Your coffee maker should not act that way.

Likewise, given that all life ends in X days unless Shepard defeats them, it's a valid complaint if he's visiting strip clubs or doing other meaningless side-quests, regardless of the possible silliness of that premise. One does not exclude or invalidate the other. Shepard should not act that way.

I'm not calling the Reapers a hurricane. I'm calling the plot a hurricane. The plot is so much more silly than the idea of a guy going to a strip club while he has important pressing business to do (which, by the way, happens). I'm saying the plot itself is the hurricane, and it's headed your way, and you're wasting your time wondering why there isn't a working coffee machine. Look, I don't care that Raiden has absolutely ridiculous powers in Metal Gear Solid. I complain that the story is so far over the top and so self-referencing that you need a compendium to follow it. The character Raiden, motivated or not, doesn't cause an issue when everyone in the game has killer nano-bots in them triggered by somebody who comes across as bad representation of a Norse god rather than an actual human being. Similarly, if you're willing to accept a universe that has a race of evil space ships who actively mold the direction life takes so they can return every 50 thousand years to harvest civilization, all because there is some see-through person who believes that fleshies and metalies can't get along, then what the heck is your problem with the guy taking a few minutes off to go to the strip club? Seriously, you're complaining about him taking time to go to the strip club? Really? I mean, he also takes the time to help some random doctor deal with her shady past even though that has no bearing on the plot. He also spends his time scanning keepers. He also takes the time to go have a shooting contest with his old buddy while millions are slaughtered on earth. He even takes the time to check out every spare planet he can even if it has nothing to do with reapers at all. In fact, at no point does this character ever appear to be a man on a time-sensitive mission so much as a guy randomly wandering about the galaxy and you're complaining that he's spending a moment at the strip club?

You've not been reading my posts have you... Here, I'll quote one for you:

Hagi:
I'm hardly riled up...

I called it silly. No more, no less.

It is silly. All that you mention is silly.

Am I going to let silly things ruin the game for me? Of course not.
But I'm not going to pretend they aren't silly and I don't believe the game would've been improved without all the silly fedex quests and strip clubs.

It's nothing against strip clubs in particular as you seem so eager to claim. It's simply a complaint about the silly nature of strip clubs as opposed to the glorification in this article as some sort of hidden desire of malekind.

Strip clubs, like so many superfluous things, have no place in frantic quests to save the galaxy. Nor do bars and restaurants. Mass Effect was a great series, but I do think it could have been improved by maintaining a heavier focus on the central conflict instead of getting distracted by random people in distress, strippers and other things that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do in any way, shape or form with the Reaper threat.

Susan Arendt:
You're not allowed to touch the girls (or boys) in the vast majority of US strip clubs. You will get thrown right the hell out if you try. You used to be able to touch them in Las Vegas, but I believe they were looking into changing that policy. They can touch you all they want, but you have to keep your hands to yourself. It's a safety thing.

Susan, Firstly, you do a great job for The Escapist. Keep doing it.

I live in Houston, TX--the strip club capital of the US. Seriously, we have more than any other city. (Also breast implants originated here, so that gave us a bit of a jump start.) We officially have the 3-foot rule enacted in 1997 to disallow patrons within 3-feet of topless dancers. Official club rules are always "hands off". So, you are correct--it can litterally be "touch and go...out the front door".

Dancers will use the rule if things get ugly. But in many cases, the application of your hand to their body parts will result in more patronage (read $) from you. I have seen only two people removed from a club because they were too forward with their dancer. But these guys were both a mess--blind stinking drunk (which is hard to get to without spending a fortune) and almost incoherent. They needed to go.

If you are polite and philanthropic, around your second lap dance, your hands may get guided to parts officially off limits under club policy. And once you're there you have squatters rights. But you have to treat it like petting a cat (Freudianed!). You have to let it come to you on its terms.

As a bit of a side note, apparently any rule can be hacked. It's been a while since my last bachelor party, but way back then, dancers here got around the 3-foot rule by applying a thin layer of clear latex paint to their nipples. They are officially no longer topless! Feel free to breach the 3-foot barrier.

Hagi:

You've not been reading my posts have you... Here, I'll quote one for you:

Actually, I have. The point is, people will attempt to keep living a normal life no matter what is going on. It's not like Pearl Harbor occurred and soldiers stopped going to strip clubs until May of 1945 (that would be silly to believe). Rather, with the increase in numbers of soldiers, strip clubs flourished during that time. Even while fighting in Europe, some soldiers managed to find time to have sex with women in France. It's not silly, it's human. All the little distractions are human. People just function better when they have some sense of normalcy. This is simply human - which is not nearly so silly as a fleet of evil space ships destroying advanced life on an arbitrary though clearly defined frequency due to the philosophical ramblings of some space-station/illusory boy/ridiculous and unnecessary plot device. The attempt at everyday life - that's a common human trait. The over the top plot based on some game designer's sad attempt at wrapping up weak loose-ends - that's silly.

grigjd3:

Hagi:

You've not been reading my posts have you... Here, I'll quote one for you:

Actually, I have. The point is, people will attempt to keep living a normal life no matter what is going on. It's not like Pearl Harbor occurred and soldiers stopped going to strip clubs until May of 1945 (that would be silly to believe). Rather, with the increase in numbers of soldiers, strip clubs flourished during that time. Even while fighting in Europe, some soldiers managed to find time to have sex with women in France. It's not silly, it's human. All the little distractions are human. People just function better when they have some sense of normalcy. This is simply human - which is not nearly so silly as a fleet of evil space ships destroying advanced life on an arbitrary though clearly defined frequency due to the philosophical ramblings of some space-station/illusory boy/ridiculous and unnecessary plot device. The attempt at everyday life - that's a common human trait. The over the top plot based on some game designer's sad attempt at wrapping up weak loose-ends - that's silly.

Except this is not normal life.

This is a guy on a mission that has an amazing sense of duty.

It's the equivalent of a cop getting a call that there's currently a bank heist in progress and stopping at the bakery on the way there. A soldier on guard duty in a warzone taking half an hour off to watch a funny TV episode. I'm sure some of them even do that, but not those with Shepard's personality.

Again and again in ME3 it's underlined how life isn't normal anymore. Not for anyone. There's countless refugees, constant Reaper attacks, terrorist strikes by Cerberus etc. And we're supposed to believe that a man, on whose minds are constantly the thousands of people dying back on Earth and all over the galaxy and whose constantly shown extreme willpower and sense of duty is going to take a few hours off to visit a strip club?

And you can keep on mentioning the silliness of the plot as much as you like, I even agree, but it doesn't magically make the rest not silly. One thing being silly doesn't somehow make other things perfectly normal.

The thing isn't that some other soldier is doing these things, they very well might have. The point is that Shepard is doing them and seeming to suffer from memory loss as he goes from stressing the urgency of his mission to relaxing at the local strip club the next moment. That's what's silly. In that exact context. Not in some other context, with some other person.

This context, a man we know would go to any length to do what he sees as his duty talking to his team mates about how he worries about the millions of lives lost every day, how there's no time to spare and action must be taken now before it's too late before embarking on whatever pointless side-mission's in the game or visiting a pointless strip club. That's silly and out of character.

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