For some time, dancing naked for entertainment has been a preserve of female entertainers. But that, as it turns out, is not the case anymore. As we have discovered, male entertainers have jumped on the bandwagon and are now giving female strippers a run for their money. Much as our investigations have revealed there exists no all-male strip clubs in Nairobi, the demand for services male strippers offer are on the rise.
And with the advent of male strippers in Nairobi, all-female parties have never been the same again. Take, for instance, what now happens at bachelorette parties.
Besides the bonding, intimate pre-wedding advice to the bride-to-be, cooking tips and classes and drinking games, hen parties have now been turned into nights of debauchery, where male strippers, in some instances, feature not just as dancers but as naked butlers, chefs and caterers.
With all this male strippers' madness, very weird and hilarious things have been witnessed. Take, for example, drama and culture shock that a certain Pam* experienced at a long-lost friend's pre-wedding party this past May. Pam — who confesses that together with three friends she tagged along had never been to a hen party— says she had no clue what was in store for them.
"It was a night I will never forget. It all began like any other all-female party at a private up-market venue, until it was show time for male strippers who had been hired for the night," recalls Pam.
She says the half-naked male entertainers were welcomed in the room with wild cheers from the tipsy women, with each jostling for a piece of them. Immediately they popped on to the scene, they got down to business; dancing around, booty shaking and playfully dangling their male members, only covered with a sheath-like piece of cloth, in the faces of the cheering women.
"One of them reached where we were and began to seductively climb on my shy friend, throwing her in panic. After three or so minutes, the scared lady maneuverer herself and slithered out of his grip. The unrelenting stripper immediately jumped on the next girl who was so terrified and nervous that she peed on herself, scaring him away. It was crazy," laughs Pam.
Pam says the show went on as the strippers, some of them in thongs, went round, straddling the excited women and gave them lap dances. In moments of reckless abandon, some of the naughty women tried to playfully spank, grope and fully undress the strippers, eliciting wild cheers from other party-goers.
"Some of the party-goers lost their marbles, leading to unimaginable breach of what I suspect is 'stripping protocol'. The got too physical and began playing with the strippers' bodies, going all oral on them and demanding for more than lap dances," says Pam.
George*, another victim of this culture shock, only discovered months later the scandalous details, involving male strippers, of what happened at a pre-wedding party organised for his wife. It was his wife's sister, who had attended the party, who showed him the crazy pictures of what transpired there.
In the photos, George says, the strippers were at different stages of undressing. "Some could be seen getting all touchy with the strippers, simulating intimacy and engaging in all manner of crazy antics as the rest cheered them on," remembers George.
"I don't like the thought of what my wife might have done on that night. Considering the fact that bachelorette parties are held in honour of the bride-to-be, she gets subjected to most of the reckless and daredevil stunts," agonises George.
He says that the bride's wedding line up, consisting of her sisters and her childhood girlfriends, teamed up with few female co-workers together with some of her female cousins to give her one last night of madness.
He was later told they hired a house in Kileleshwa for the night, enlisted the services of male strippers and engaged in all sorts of madness. Even though he also had a stag party, where, obviously, nastier things happened, he says he was shocked at the raunchiness at his wife's hen party, especially that bit about male strippers. "Who knows, someone might have messed with my wife that night!" he moans.
Further investigations reveal that male stripping has increasingly become very common, not just in Nairobi but also at the coast, in Kisumu and Naivasha, among other places.
They do pretty much what female strippers do. They do seductive pole-dancing, strip-tease their audiences, do so-called grinding and offer lap dances. What's more, they simulate intimacy while on stage and, in some extreme cases, kiss, snog, 'use their fingers inappropriately', and even get laid by some of their audiences.
We spoke to a 26-year-old male stripper who gave a riveting explained on how they go about their business. Hear him: "We perform at strip clubs, at all-female private parties and occasionally private parties held by gay men. We do what the client wants and charge them for it". The naked dancer who only requested to be identified as Donald* went on to add that their rates depend on the nature of the event.
"Stripping at a club goes for between Sh10,000-Sh12,000 per night," calmly says an unfazed Donald.
He says it always gets nasty, especially at the VIP sections, in most strip clubs where male strippers perform. "Most patrons at VIP sections of strip clubs tend to be very ratchet. I have seen some of my colleagues get intimate with female strippers live before a cheering audience of men and women," sneers Donald.
He says wedding-related events (bachelor's/stag party or bachelorette/hen party) pay the most. He says clients always get what they want. Hear him: "Clients can be crazy. There are those who normally request us to dress like police officers, or chefs, or firemen, or watchmen, or construction workers or even pilots. And who are we to say no, especially if they are paying top dollar for it?!"
From the look of things, this sort of entertainment is expensive, hence only common in upmarket areas. Donald says, at a bachelorette party, strip teasing goes for anything between Sh7,500 to Sh15,000 per hour, depending on the client.
In what seems like proof that male strip dancing is a rich woman's kind of entertainment, Donald says is the male stripper takes off all his clothes and performs butt-naked, the amount can shoot up to Sh60,000 an hour.
Meanwhile, if the ladies at the hen party want him to, crazy as it sounds, get intimate with the bride to be, or one of the bridesmaids, or one of the female strippers at the party, it can cost up to Sh100,000 without any recording. Or about Sh120,000 if they record (on video), with the strippers in masks.
Seemingly, there are no standard rates in the industry, perhaps because the trade is relatively new. Because we also met Yvonne Wanjiru, a Nairobi-based 28-year-old event organiser who had an almost different story in as far as payment is concerned.
Wanjiru says she has so far organised more than five pre-wedding parties, where male strippers were hired to perform. "I have used agencies that offer exotic dancers before. Their rates are about Sh7,500 per male stripper per hour and goes down if you hire more guys.
Like if you take four male strippers, you'd end up paying Sh20,000 per hour for all of them. Butt naked stripping would go for Sh35,000 per hour per stripper," she says, in reference to strippers hired from agencies/bureaus.
Wanjiru, however, says male strippers who manage themselves and operate independently probably charge differently. It is hard to verify if Donald's rates are as he says. What is not different, however, is the extent to which male strippers can go.
"I've seen married women do all manner of strange things with male strippers. I mean, I have, for instance, seen some get intimate with random male stripper as people cheer them on. Of course, once you see such, you never look at such individuals the same way again. You sort of lose respect for them, but then again there is no room for judging, it is business," sighs Yvonne.
Donald, fondly recalls a bachelorette party where he performed almost a year ago. He says, to his shock, a lady in his audience insisted he gets intimate with her as everyone watched.
"It began as usual with a bit of strip teasing. But as time went by, the crowd began cheering me to completely strip. Before I knew it, one of the tipsy ladies from the audience, armed with a condom, was daring me to get intimate with her, as the rest cheered," he says.
Interestingly, perhaps to avoid scandalising the profession, most male strippers don't refer to themselves as such. They prefer calling themselves 'exotic dancers', 'seductive dancers', 'adult entertainers' or any other esoteric name. Donald, prefers being called an adult entertainer, says he makes more money from stripping performances than his actual daytime dancing gigs.