Last Wednesday afternoon at the three-floor strip club Rick’s Cabaret, seven strippers in stilettos and skimpy animal print garb were popping their tops. They were there so early to be photographed for PETA’s latest iteration of “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur.”
As “This is a Man’s World” played loudly overhead, Michael McGraw—the nonprofit’s PR whiz—calmly gave the dancers stage directions. The photog announced, “Good, nice, your ass looks great.” A curvy Asian chick with a butterfly tattoo and a blonde wig winked at me and playfully lowered her thong a few inches. Oh, hello. A tanned Italian girl with huge boobs and fishnets brought me a Coke and bent down low to deliver it. Whiplash.
“This will lead to a more serious discussion about fur,” McGraw told me as the girls started to really get into it. He may have confused my eye on the jiggling assets for skepticism. “Look, we’ll work with just about anyone,” he admitted with a smile, as the gals piled off the stage to powder their noses and change. “Like me?” I asked, pointing to my leather motorcycle jacket. Etro suits notwithstanding, this guy has a reputation as a hardcore activist, but he doesn’t preach. “Oh, not at all.” Big Lonnie, who works at the club, asked if I want to go down to the dressing room with the girls. My man!
“I’m such a vegan.” After deciding to use her real name, Stefanie, a 23-year-old East Village punk with a Monroe piercing, gave me the 411. “I’ve been one since the end of the summer when I read Skinny Bitch.”
Who else should I talk to, Stef? She pointed to the winky one with the butterfly tattoo and whispers, “Hmm, anyone really. Definitely not her though.” Stef’s pal, a nude, blonde Kazakh joins the fray, “Fur is bad in my country, I leave a diamond home that I got, after I saw Blood Diamond.” So what would you do if a man gave you a fur? “Oh this is a hard question, maybe sell? Or I know! I’d give it to my mother.”
Saki—a lithe Asian American—walked over wearing a thong and a silver belly button chain. She flew in from Chicago for the shoot at the behest of Big Lonnie, but she wasn’t on script.
“Yeah, I would keep a fur then. If a guy bought if for me then it’s special.” Has your boyfriend bought you one? “Which one?” She asked, giggling. “I have two, one for work and one for play!”