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April 02, 2008

Strip Development

Strip development

By Elaine Viets

My dentist has an office in a 1960s tower in Fort Lauderdale. It’s true mid-century architecture: spacious, wasteful, and a little weird.

Slapped on the glass front door was something I’d never seen there – a sheriff’s order demanding that a business vacate the premises.

"What happened to your neighbor, doc?" I asked.

"He’s been evicted for not paying the rent," the dentist said. "He has that big space on the second floor."

Ah. The real estate black hole, sucking money and careers into nothingness.

"Another failed restaurant?" During the time I’d lived in the neighborhood, at least four restaurants had died there.

"Uh, not quite. He wanted to open a strip joint."

On the second floor of a mostly medical building? "You’re joking, right?" I asked.

"No. The guy owned another strip club. The building owners tried to write it into the lease that he couldn’t open a club here, but that was illegal. Something about zoning and freedom of speech."

Well, if we were all disrobing in doctors’ offices for major money, I supposed the guy had a valid complaint. Though I doubt we had much entertainment value, showing off our bunions and bad backs.

"Instead, the building owners said if he opened a strip club he’d have to pay triple rent. You know what? He paid rent on an empty space for one solid year."

But even the wages of sin are not bottomless. The man decided it was time for his strip club to take off. His rent was tripled and he was out – lock, stock and G-string.

Now I’m worried about the quality of Florida sleaze. Our state’s sex entrepreneurs have always been clever. They know you can make more money here taking off your clothes than leaving them on.

But a strip club in a doctors’ building?

You can practically smell the ether in the halls. After you get a root canal or have your bad knee examined, would a man be in the mood to watch semi-naked women?

I can hear the doc now: "Uh, sorry there, George, but it looks like shoulder surgery for you. But if you want to watch body parts that really work, the strip club is two floors down."

This wasn’t the first Florida sex-based business in an odd location. My local chain bookstore had a hooker set up business in its coffee shop. We’re not talking feathers and fishnet stockings. This working girl was rather matronly.

She’d nurse a cup of coffee and thumb through magazines she never bought. Men wearing jeans and belt buckles the size of dinner plates would sit down at her table. The next thing anyone knew, the couple would be out the door.

After awhile, the woman would reappear. The gentleman would not. She’d resume her watch over her cooling coffee until another book lover showed up.

If you thought about it, the location was brilliant. What woman would be suspicious if her husband said, "I’m going to run to the bookstore for the new Field & Stream. Can I pick you up a copy of Martha Stewart’s Living?"

Except that’s not how it worked. If this woman’s gentlemen friends had actually bought books along with sex, she might still be at her post in the coffee shop. But no. They were too cheap. Soon the store manager figured out what was going on and asked the woman to conduct her business elsewhere.

This was one time when a prostitute should have been booked.


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The bookstore prostitute story sounds like bad marketing by the book store management. Here you had someone who was just dying to get customers into your business at no cost to you. Given the general cost of customer acquistion, this could have been a win-win. All you needed to do was enter into a co-marketing agreement with her, writing not required (a verbal contract is still a contract): she could stay so long as her johns bought a certain amount of merchandise at the store. Monitoring could be informal, since this probably wouldn't be the kind of thing that should be written down. Maybe she could offer store frequent buyer cards or something like that.

No wonder this country is going to hell in a handbasket, when businesses throw away business opportunities like this.

Anyone here used to watch Ally McBeal? I always thought it strange that this law firm was in a building with a nightclub/bar on the first floor. Since I'm not a lawyer, maybe legal firms and alcohol go hand-in-hand!

At first, I thought a strip club on a second floor of a building might be strange, but the more I thought about it, men (and I'm assuming we are talking about female strippers-call me sexist) could park and go into the building and no one REALLY knows where they are going, as opposed to parking in the lot of a building that used to be a pit Bar-B-Q restaurant but now has neon silhouettes of nude women dancing in place of the dancing pig. (yeah, that was a real place in Memphis)

With the decline in book sales, maybe if every bookstore was staffed with one hooker with a sales quota, reading might take over video games as the number one activity!

In New York, many brothels are located in nondescript looking office buildings at mid-town to let the guys visit on their lunch breaks. Makes sense, doesn't it? Not everybody has Eliot Spitzer's flexible schedule. But brothels are usually trying to be discreet. A strip club, on the other hand, is a bit more -- uh -- in-your-face.

I've never been to a strip club in Florida - I mean, during Spring Break, every bar is potentially a strip club, but that's a different story.

In PA, there used to be more of them. I've only been in a couple of them - many years ago, and out of curiosity more than anything. Depressing as hell. I wonder if the Internet is responsible for so many of them shutting down?

One of the oldest in Pittsburgh is still open - it has changed names - was known as The Edison Hotel (that was the name of the building) for a long time. Then they re-decorated it and now it's called "Blush". The reason I mention it is that it is right next door to my daughter's high school, which is also downtown.

We always tell her and her friends that if there is ever any trouble on the street - head straight for the strip joint - it's the safest place around. There are a lot of cops there - for security reasons, only.

Josh, that is a brilliant business strategy.

Uh, Michele, you may want to find a good lawyer for Josh...isn't that facilitation?


"After you get a root canal or have your bad knee examined, would a man be in the mood to watch semi-naked women?"

Yes. A man is always in the mood to watch semi-naked women, assuming he is not actually deceased.

I am sorry, J.D. I underestimated the gentlemen who read this blog. How about this question: If a guy can't run too fast, due to a bum knee, will his wife catch him and kill him if he gets caught in the strip club?

Brilliant idea, Josh. You could save the ailing Borders chain.

"If a guy can't run too fast, due to a bum knee, will his wife catch him and kill him if he gets caught in the strip club?"

This appears likely. Maiming is also an option.

I am doing nothing for Borders. Sarah had an issue with them, and I have to show solidarity with the Sisterhood. Elaine, Michele, Harley, you I've never met and may never meet. Sarah, we see each other from time to time and she may know where I live.

As for facilitation or whatever it is called, my legal department is not a sales prevention team, as other legal departments may be. We are here to help make the deals work within the limits of the business, and, of course, applicable laws.

First, what's the story with Borders? This is Teacher Appreciation week, and I need to know before/if I go.

Vegan strip club in Oregon doesn't allow leather or fur ("no murder victims") on stage. Another site indicated it's already up for sale though.
My mom used to buy us a treat at the dime store near our dentist's office if we were good -- This may be a way to get more men to take care of doctor/dentist visits, a special treat for going. Or maybe bring the strippers in to make the waiting less stressful, or little beepers so they could go to the club and be called when it's really their turn (I almost wrote vibrating beepers, but there could be problems with that).
This goes way beyond the substitute dentist singing the "Pain" song from _Little Shop of Horrors_ while working on my filling. He didn't last at that office; I wonder why . . . . ;-)
I still think that scene could work in a book -- and I hereby give permission to use it (as if anyone needed permission).

Elaine, I needed a good laugh this morning, and your last sentence produced one! Josh, so did your post. There's a certain, er, logic to your thought process.

A lot of office buildings have clubs in them, or at least cool restaurants with bars. It's a good business idea, since the white collar workers often need a place to entertain; why not right there in the building?

JD wrote:

'"If a guy can't run too fast, due to a bum knee, will his wife catch him and kill him if he gets caught in the strip club?"

This appears likely. Maiming is also an option.'

But wait -- isn't this another business opportunity? Only this time for the medicos. "Oh, man, that root canal is going to hurt as soon as the novacaine wears off. Why don't you go down to the club and take your mind off it?" Then, when the wife comes to pick the guy up for his ride home, the endodontist's receptionist points her to the club (this job would be beneath the endodontist himself, of course). Instant business for the orthopedist (for the knee she kicked once she tracked him down).

Plus, let's not forget that the, um, working girls probably also have recurring medical needs. I'm no expert, of course, but surely they have, oh, I don't know, joint problems, not to mention other, er, occupational hazards.

Sounds like another win-win-win to me!

Oh -- except for the guy who had the root canal and now has a bad knee and a pissed-off wife . . .

What I imagine is the reverberating bass beat as you're in your doctor's office getting the news you have three months to live. Pound, pound, pound from above. What red blooded male wouldn't hook a left and head directly upstairs?

Frankly, I think it's brilliant.

I'm imagining the conversation in the elevator. "The drool, miss? Oh, I just had a filling done."

"Yes, Mr. Dreeblefeetzer, this exam will be painful and humiliating. But if you're a Good Boy, if you don't whine, howl or claw at my eyes, then we'll give you this Free Pass to 'The Recovery Room' downstairs, and a coupon good for one free tasty lemonade. Won't that be nice?

"No, Mr. Dreeblefeetzer, you will not feel up to a lap dance. Parts will be tender for a while. Enjoy your lemonade and the show."

Do I have this right, Elaine? For want of the whores, a Borders was lost?

I'm seeing endless scenarios with the strip club in the med building! Will the ob-gyn and urologist offices be on the same floor? May need the cardiologist close by too, to revive the old farts!
Dr. Lorena Bobbit can have a first floor office, for the guys that get caught, neuter them!

We prefer the politically correct "sex workers," Tom. Or even "sales enhancers."
Though I do like the slogan "a whore in every store."

"We have the hooker. Book 'er."

Ho's and mo.

I don't know why, but this whole blog has inspired me to book my annual mammogram.

my office building in downtown Vancouver has an escort service on the 2nd floor.
just found this out recently but had always wondered about the lovely young ladies in their skimpy dresses and 4 inch heels in the dead of winter.

Nah, the slogan could be:

The Ho in Bo.

Interesting blog, Elaine, as always!

I can just imagine a poor yoga studio owner or a massage therapist signing a year's lease in a medical office building thinking that her neighbor is a full body spa known as "Body for You"...or maybe the office of "Doctor Phil Gude"...quite a shock when the "thumping" begins. ;-)

Great gift idea for the man who is afraid to go to the dentist. Free admission to the strip club with every root canal.

***Boom chicka wow wow***

"Mr. Ladslow, Your root canal is finished. Don't you think four in one week is enough?"

***Boom chicka wow wow***

Thanks to you all, I'll never look at going to the dentist the same way again.

Just back from getting the permanent crown put on my tooth -- the idea of a strip club on site cracked the dentist up!! He also asked me to come back next week with my storytelling CD so he can be my first customer. ;-)

Mary, his patients will definitely need your storytellng ability.

I think a dentist office and a strip club are a great combination -

Drilling and Filling, no?

Gives a whole new meaning to Root Canal too. Just saying.

Margie. I am shocked, shocked, shocked. This was supposed to be a blog about unjust zoning laws, not an opportunity to talk dirty.


After reading this, I think I have changed my mind.


back to regularly scheduled hilarity.

uh huh.

I mean, sorry, boss. But you know, SPOCHFTS.

You, Margie - I'm only shocked that you said so little about sex...since we all know YOCHFTS.

Lawyers and alcohol do go hand in hand. And head to head, toe to toe, and face in gutter. I'm a lawyer, and just about the only time I drink anymore is at the office. We like to have cocktail parties about once every month or so, for whatever reason we can come up with. We once had a luau for King Kamehameha Day (it's in June, I think -- I was drinking). One time we threw one party celebrating Yom Kippur, Ramadan, and the first day of fall. We decapitated a pinata with a golf club for Cinco de Mayo. I still have his head; his name is Skippy. No one but me ever drinks beer, so for St. Paddy's Day this year we made Melon Balls. I've been lobbying for two years to let me decorate with headless barbies for Bastille Day.

There are only four of us in the whole office and we're in the middle of nowhere (well, not nowhere, but we are surrounded by residential) outside of Portland. We have to keep ourselves entertained somehow.

Cilley, I love the headless Barbie idea! LOL
Margie dear, I had another old fart telling me how he still likes sex! I wear baggy sweatshirts & jeans in there, so I'm not dressing to seduce anyone! The owner thinks it's hilarious, these old guys making asses of themselves. I told her the next one that hits on me I'm going to tell them they can't even afford me for an hour! geez!!!

Mary, my dentist offers a CD player while he does work. Maybe yours can offer a choice of a story to his patients!

What's with it with old men? Do they never look in the mirror?

Karen, I like your thinking. . .
Of course, it's also true that storytellers need good dentists, and allergists, etc., so it's very symbiotic.

Forward from a friend (I haven't been able to make it work with this slow dial-up)
SJN: What Rev. Jeremiah Wright Really Said


Young whippersnapper Karen asked:

"What's with it with old men? Do they never look in the mirror?"

Yes, we do; often enough that we've gotten used to ourselves.

Karen- around here they sure don't look in a mirror to brush their teeth! Oh is it disgusting! They make meth heads look like poster children for Crest!

Beautiful last line to your blog, Elaine! I'm still laughing.

Finished MURDER WITH RESERVATIONS recently and really enjoyed it. Best, Karen

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