Monetarily, that is.
According to this report from CNN, Tampa-area strip clubs are expecting a boom in business during the four-day-long conservative pep rally that is the Republican National Convention—and they should, considering how many conventioneers tend to go wild when in a strange city with their peers.
A strip club with a spaceship on the roof seems an odd place to expect Republicans. At first blush, one might not equate lap dances with the political party that wraps itself in buttoned-down family values.
But at convention time, even upstanding men seem to seek out undressed women. When the Christian group Promise Keepers held a convention in Tampa a couple of years ago, attendees flooded the 2001 Odyssey, co-owner Jim Kleinhans recalls. They had such a good time that "they kept their promise to come back the next night."
Many male convention-goers, regardless of political stripe, are drawn to the sexual underground, according to a study conducted by Baylor University business professor Scott Cunningham. He examined sex ads placed online around the time of the 2008 conventions in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Denver. Ads for prostitutes and escorts jumped 25% to 40%. Cunningham offers a range of possible explanations — chief among them anonymity, or what he calls "the reduced likelihood of future shaming."
As someone who has experienced new levels of confusion as a result of attending industry conventions, I can both sympathize and understand. Here's to hoping that GOPers who make it down to Tampa's flesh palaces take care of those young ladies—because according to that story, they're working for both tips and new hips.
Charles Harbutt, Departures and Arrivals continues through Sunday, Jan. 26. Visitors may examine unframed photographs chosen around… More