I went to a male review this weekend. The word review has a bad connotation for me. I think of my former job and the dreaded performance reviews that were meaningless and painfully boring. The feeling that comes along with that word has not changed – I still feel a little nauseous, and now maybe like I need a shower. I’m also a little confused about why these shows are called a review. I didn’t get any score card to fill out. Maybe it is more of a review for the audience about what the correct body parts are or what a guy is supposed to look like naked. Either way, review is not a word that makes me jump up and say “I want to go to that!” Yet I did.

I have never been to a male review so I didn’t have a reference point. I haven’t even seen the movie Magic Mike, but I have seen quite a few memes with a bunch of half naked dancing dudes, so that was pretty much what I expected. This particular show was a group of touring performers, so I assumed the guys would meet a certain standard. None of my expectations were met. I felt like maybe the club owner walked onto the street and stopped random guys leaving the gym to see what they were doing that night. By gym, I mean the local YMCA. Oh, and he only found four guys. That’s fine though, the audience/performer ratio was still 5 to 1.

The audience consisted of a very drunken bachelorette party, a group of gay guys and their fag hags and us. The bachelorette and her posse were all wearing tight white dresses, and one of them was roughly the size of half of our group. She turned out to be the only member of the audience who really appreciated the attention from the dancers – so much in fact that she ended up on the stage with them more than once with her cell phone recording all of the incriminating evidence. The stripper/comedian on stage referred to these ladies as the “wasted white wedding” and us as “the sober divorce club” since we were the only patrons still able to stand up unassisted. He had no clever name for the gay guys which surprised me because I had about twelve. One of the gays was wearing a flannel shirt and what appeared to be a toupee. I had a half hour commentary about that guy alone before even looking at his companions.

Maybe the best part of the night was that we actually watched these yahoos setting up for the show. We arrived an hour after doors opened, right as a group of guys was hanging up a giant blanket on the back of the stage. This blanket was the highlight of the show. It was covered in dancing lights that mesmerized me for a full hour while half naked smarmy guys in cowboy hats danced around. It was magical. I spent the better part of the night trying to figure out how to remove this masterpiece from the stage and get it into my car without getting tackled by a shirtless guy with half a boner. I decided the odds were against me and left empty handed.

At one point my girlfriend turned to me and asked “where do you think they get these outfits?” My reply was “Walmart. Definitely Walmart.” They fit right in with the venue though. It was like a VFW hall outside of a trailer park. At one point I reached under my chair to move it and stuck my hand in something sticky. The makeshift bar may or may not have been on wheels and the ladies room was right outside of the dressing room for the dancers where they could be heard getting changed. At least they had a professional sound system or we may have missed all that witty banter from the guy with crooked teeth and cornrows. He announced he was from the south. No really!?

I was surprised at how many dances occurred with less than a half dozen men performing. They had group dances, individual dances, costume changes and even a few props. I think it was as entertaining as it could be given what they had to work with. From my understanding, a male review is supposed to be somewhat fantasy inducing, and my mind was definitely wandering. Unfortunately, my mind was reeling with questions like “I wonder how adonis ended up here, did he want to be a Juliard trained dancer but just couldn’t cut it?” or “I wonder if any of these guys were actually in the armed forces. Does putting on the military vest cause them to suffer PTSD?” or “who the hell picked this music? I heard the same songs at Drag Queen Bingo!” I mean seriously, when the song that is played repeatedly is pretty much the drag queen anthem, you have picked the wrong music to dance to.

When the country song came on, it was time to leave. I can only endure so much. Unfortunately, I think half of the audience was just waiting for someone to make the first move. I didn’t have to be asked twice. As soon as one of my friends made the “let’s bolt” face, I was at the door waiting. As we exited, the bachelorette party stumbled out behind us. A few other stragglers followed as well.The dancers were left with the gays and their crew which I think was right up their alley.

The woman who planned this event apologized profusely as we walked to our cars and we all assured her that the comic value made it a worthwhile night. She ended with saying “maybe we should stick to the arts and crafts…” Somehow I think we are going to end up in some DIY studio and they will also be playing “It’s Raining Men”.

**Photos have been withheld from this piece to protect the innocent.

There are only a few guys I want to see sweaty on a stage and Henry Rollins is one of them