Brow Beat

Straight Dudes of America: Go See Magic Mike

Still from Magic Mike

Matthew McConaughey strips down in Magic Mike.

Photo by Claudette Barius © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. 2012.

To: Dudes of America
Re: Magic Mike

There is a new movie coming out this weekend called Magic Mike. Perhaps you’ve seen the trailer. The movie is set in a Tampa club where Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and other muscle-bound men perform dance routines dressed as firemen, sailors, and cowboys. Or at least they start out dressed—each number concludes with a guy gyrating in g-string that barely contains his manhood and contains his buttocks not at all.

At first blush, you may have decided this movie is not for you. You may prefer the sight of women taking off their clothes. You may not relish the opportunity to compare your physique with that of the lithe McConaughey or the beefy Tatum. You may think this is a woman’s movie, particularly if you happened to catch the preview in a theater and heard gasps and catcalls from the females in attendance. Perhaps one of the females gasping and catcalling turned out to be your girlfriend and that made you feel uncomfortable.


To the dudes harboring such reservations about this film, I say this: Go see Magic Mike. You will love it. For the following reasons:

1. Dudes, there are naked women in this movie, too. One of them is Olivia Munn, who plays a love interest of Tatum’s stripper, Mike. Perhaps you were too embarrassed to buy the issue of Playboy in which Munn appeared. Magic Mike is a girlfriend-sanctioned opportunity to admire her beauty—and a good deal more of it than appeared in that Playboy spread. (Also, she conveys an impressive amount of emotional depth despite her relatively small role.)

2. Dudes, you know how you sometimes go to a movie to get a vicarious thrill? Maybe you checked out the most recent Mission: Impossible installment because you were having a tough week at the office and wanted to spend a couple of hours imagining what it’d be like to drive fast cars, visit exotic locales on clandestine business, and rub elbows with beautiful women. Well, there are plenty of vicarious thrills to be had in Magic Mike. Indeed, the first two-thirds of the movie are dedicated to depicting the ostensibly enviable life of the male stripper. Consider the perks: Good pay, all in cash; every night, a room full of women thrilled by your every pelvic thrust and pec pop; a trusted team of fellow performers to bond with backstage and party with afterhours—one of them even owns a cool boat! Granted, Mike eventually comes to find this lifestyle hollow and unfulfilling. But that’s not till the last act. In the meantime, it’s wildly fun to imagine what it’d be like to ditch the suit, buy a shimmering codpiece, and dance for your money.


3. Dudes, we’ve seriously been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to strip clubs. At least in the U.S., gentlemen’s clubs tend to privilege nudity above all else. You might see some acrobatic pole work at a finer establishment, but as often you’re asked to make do with some decidedly desultory dancing. Of course, for an additional charge, a dude can procure a private dance—but dance really isn’t the word for what he’s buying.

By contrast, the male revue depicted in Magic Mike is meticulously choreographed, rigorously practiced, and enthusiastically performed. Elaborate costumes are worn. Some of the dances have dramatic arcs, like the one in which two cowpokes face off, high-noon-style, before tearing off their chaps. Others are wonderfully comic, like the one in which a stripper dressed as a doctor pulls a lady from the audience and pantomimes torrid love as she lies on a gurney—la petite mort indeed! No offense to the hard-working women out there putting themselves through college by moonlighting on the catwalk, but these guys are on a whole different level. Dudes, it’s time we demanded more of our strip club experience. Go see Magic Mike and become a more refined consumer of adult entertainment.

Dudes, go see Magic Mike to acquire an appreciation for Channing Tatum’s skill as a dancer and, yes, an actor. Go enjoy Matthew McConaughey’s company more than you have since Dazed and Confused. Go get a glimpse into a world you know nothing about. Go see Magic Mike because Steven Soderbergh has made an extremely fun movie and it’d be a shame to miss it just because you’re afraid of a little butt cheek.