Texas beefcake share the secrets of strippers (Big news? They’re all straight!)
Between them, Taylor Cole and Justin Whitfield have been getting naked (or nearly naked) professionally for more than 30 years. With that much skin in the game, it naturally made sense they would share their experience with the world — both the fans who like to watch them, and other men who want to be them. The result was the book Take It Off: The Naked Truth about Male Strippers.
Originally planned as a self-published e-book, Take It Off had the good fortune to come out just as last year’s male stripper film Magic Mike opened, triggering a tidal wave of interest.
“We were in the process of editing the e-book when the movie came out,” Cole says. “Writing a book, the problem is always getting a publisher. [After the success of the film], everyone was saying, ‘Send us over what you got!’ They gave us a contract,” which resulted in the print version. (The movie was very accurate about the business, Whitfield says.)
“We get asked that probably three or four times a night,” Cole says. “It gets old quick.”
It’s not that gay guys don’t like to strip, they insist — and there’s certainly no homophobia on their parts. It’s that, in general, gay dancers can make a helluva lot more money in gay clubs than in straight ones.
“They make probably five times the money we make,” says Cole, who notes that many strippers in women-only clubs often get started in gay bars. “It’s probably because gay men have more disposable income, and usually don’t have a wife milking them dry. And no kids!”
Of course, that begs the question: Why not stick to dancing in gay clubs? Of course the answer to this is simple: Women.
It’s not unheard-of for strippers to pull down six figures, but that’s not necessarily all in dollar bills shoved down G-strings. There’s a science to it (and gay or straight, the book provides some insights into what it takes to be a dancer, what it takes to succeed at it, and even the proper etiquette to observe when tipping).
Both men insist that the most successful male strippers have common attributes — unexpectedly among them, humility and brains.
“The ones who are cocky? We push them out,” Cole says.
“You learn a lot about humility,” adds Whitfield. “You have to put yourself out there for people to judge,” and not every dancer suits every taste. “The best looking guy doesn’t mean he’s the best earner, and the best dancer is not necessarily the best looking. People bring different things to the table.”
And the brains? Neither of these guys are dummies. Whitfield (a UT grad) tosses around big words casually, and says his highlight on the stage wasn’t dropping trou, but when he did Chekhov in college.
Another key factor? You have to want the attention.
“The thing the dancers love the most is the moment or the rush — it’s more important than the money,” Whitfield says. “I like the roar of the crowd, to be the center of attention,” adds Cole.
And a rockin’ body doesn’t hurt.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 5, 2013.