The London Paper – 11 Dec 2006
If there’s one thing I can’t stand about my job it’s being dragged along to strip joints by clients. This is a particular problem in the run-up to Christmas when lunch-time boozing in the City reaches almost biblical proportions. Over the festive season, about once a week or so, a client, emboldened by a boozy lunch, demands that we patronise one of the numerous strip joints in the Shoreditch area. Seeing as the customer is always right I have no choice but to obey. I then have the hideous ordeal of crawling from pub to club in the Shoreditch area observing a glut of young, beautiful Brazilian and Eastern European women getting their kit off when I could be sat in front of my computer composing spreadsheets with my exciting colleagues. It’s a horrible task but someone’s got to do it and some time ago I took one for the team and selflessly volunteered for this particularly repellent aspect of my job.
Although to the untrained eye I may appear to be as happy as a turkey on Boxing Day when I’m at these strip joints, thanking the Lord that I have a legitimate reason not to be analyzing a company’s future cash-flows, this would be a major misjudgement. However, my main problem with this ‘pastime’ is not the related dubious ethical issues but rather the fact that getting reimbursed by my expense department for strippers makes peace in the Middle East look comparatively simple (and it’s still generally not acceptable to ask the client to dip into his own pocket). I accept that my own meagre salary can just about cope with putting the odd pound coin into the pint mug that is passed around after every ‘exotic dance’ in the cheap and cheerful strip joints that form The Shoreditch ‘Pubic Triangle’ (e.g. Browns, Metropolis and The White Horse). But if the client has the bright idea of venturing west to relatively ‘upmarket’ strip-clubs like Spearmint Rhino, Secrets or Stringfellows and he starts demanding private dances I can end up seriously out of pocket.
Over the last 10 years or so I’ve noted that the number of trips to strip joints has declined dramatically. This is strange because your average Cityboy still acts as horny as a dog with two dicks after a few lunch-time pints and because strippers’ behaviour still pleasingly confirms to your average cash-obsessed City buffoon that ‘money can buy you love’. In reality, because there are more women at the office these days Cityboys try to hide their old-fashioned politically-incorrect proclivities. Combine this development with potential sexual discrimination lawsuits related to this ‘hobby’ (as has occurred several times recently) and suddenly the whole tawdry experience seems a tad too risky. This is clearly great news for morally-upstanding citizens like myself particularly since I hopefully won’t have to once again endure the excruciating experience of claiming to my expenses department that ‘Secrets’ is actually a high-class West-end restaurant notorious for its lack of proper receipts.