A kiss goodnight to Seattle’s Lusty Lady

Today is the last day of shows for Seattle’s legendary Lusty Lady peepshow: tomorrow they are closed forever. Ladies, stay lusty! Possibly one of the best articles I’ve read in years (and one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read on strip clubs and peepshow sex work) is in Seattle Stranger’s Veni Vidi Veni: Inside the Lusty Lady, Seattle’s Most Famous Peep Show, During Its Last Month on Earth by Brendan Kiley. It’s a nice big chunk of writing, like a New Yorker piece that you can really sink your intellectual teeth into. The article defies stereotypes; it includes all kinds of things that are sure to make everyone both uncomfortable and compassionate toward all elements and characters in this line of work. What a great examination of the Lusty Lady’s institution, and Seattle’s waterfront culture. Freaky sex acts by patrons, dancers explaining their lives, vivid descriptions of live shows, the erectile dysfunction endemic to the jizz moppers’ jobs… and the funny stories, the characters, the street thugs who wear lingerie under their clothes. Don’t miss this one. Here’s a snip from the middle:

(…) They start talking about what has kept them at the Lady all these years: flexible hours, which they can arrange around class schedules, travel plans, or volunteer work. A dancer named Hexe—a tall, dark, tattooed beauty in scuffed black military boots—uses her time off for wilderness EMT training and volunteers as a street medic during large-scale protests, treating people who’ve been gassed or beaten by police. She served at the Republican National Convention in New York and the G8 summit in Scotland, and did some disaster relief in Haiti after the earthquake. Another has been studying yoga therapy and doing dominatrix training, a career she wants to pursue once the Lady closes. Another is finishing up her second master’s degree, in cultural studies, and wants to get her PhD at Indiana University’s gender studies program and work with the Kinsey Institute.

They tell war stories of legendarily bad customers who harass the dancers, piss in the booths, and smoke crack in the corners. “The hardest thing is negotiating drunk dudes out of the toilet at 4:00 a.m.,” one of the jizz moppers says. “They’re always 300 pounds and just got out of jail with a bunch of fresh facial tattoos. You try to be nice and say, ‘Sir, you gotta go now,’ and then they’re all, ‘You talk to me like a little bitch!’ Then you gotta pull out your Maglite.”

Other customers they remember fondly. “There was this regular, Lou,” says one dancer. “A very drunk and beloved regular who died, and everyone was bummed. We all wanted to go to the funeral, but they’d probably ask how we knew him. What would we say? ‘Uhhh… we’re his stripper girlfriends?’ He would always shout things: ‘Woo! Take it off! Woo! Take it off!'”

“He’d shout that even when there was nothing left to take off,” adds another dancer. “Like, what more can I show you? You want me to take off my skin?” (…read more, thestranger.com)

Photo: via The Stranger’s slideshow for this article — I can’t find photo credit. Please tell me if you know.

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  1. Dang. I do live in Seattle, but it’s been years since I visited the Lusty Lady. I’d heard they were closing, but I didn’t realize it was this soon.

    I remember once when a dancer came out who was quite visibly pregnant… she was hotter than hell. And another dancer who smiled and waved goodbye when I left, which I thought was a sweet gesture to a random guy yanking it on the other side of a sheet of glass.

  2. Iamcurious, always great to see you here. I’ve heard amazing things about their shows, and I’m seriously regretting that I never went. I haven’t been to Seattle for a few years either, but I really should have stepped out of my last constraints (was visiting ex-boyfriend’s family, no ROI there) to go do something I really wanted to — see the Lusties. I’m headed to Seattle in August for a speaking gig, and when I read this article I was selfishly wishing they could’ve stayed open just…. a little bit…. longer….

  3. Damn, wish I’d known! I haven’t been back to Seattle in something like 10 years, but I’ve been meaning to return, and one of the places I’ve wanted to take in was the Seattle Lusty Lady. If I’d known that was going out of existence, it would have been all the more reason to make a trip.

    I used to live in Seattle and take in the LL quite a bit. Frankly, I’ve always liked it better than the San Francisco one (yeah, I know, I know, the San Francisco one is worker controlled, etc). The Seattle one, in all honesty, has prettier dancers and very sexy live shows that I’ve never seen the SF one match.

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