My Brief Wondrous Career as a Male Stripper in Guatemala
By Donny Kestler
“So, what do you think?”
My eyes shifted in and out of focus as I thought about the offer. Multi-colored lights were flashing in time with Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me”, which blasted from speakers at an obscene volume. Everything seemed blurry and my head was spinning. The added stimuli were not helping me to consider the proposition.
“I dunno,” I yelled, slurring, “I can’t really dance.”
“That’s fine—they just want a cute guy to strip, to get naked. Come on.”
The offer seemed to good to be true. Walk a few blocks to a bachelorette party, take my clothes off for a group of stranger-ladies, and make roughly $50? I didn’t exactly have my wits about me, but something told me the whole thing was a scam. I knew exactly how it’d probably unfold. The gringa and her Guatemalteca friend would walk me out the door of La Parranda, pull a couple of blades out, and fleece me of my last Q100 and my bank cards. I’d be fucked—forced to go back to the US on traveler’s checks or something. My mind fought against toxins to make the right decision.
“Pues,” I said, “I have a friend who’d totally be down for this. I think he’s ripped and fairly attractive too. Can he come along and dance with me?”
The gringa furrowed her brow and turned to her friend, unleashing a torrent of fluid Spanish. I knew enough of the language to barely understand that she was explaining my idea. The friend nodded and smiled. They both had really dark hair and morena complexions, but the Guatemalteca was much shorter and had beautiful, round Mayan eyes. I wondered what the gringa’s story was. She introduced herself as Carla, I think. Her English and Spanish both seemed perfect to me.
“Yeah, she likes the idea, but it’s still only gonna be about Q400 in tips, so you’d have to split it with your friend.”
“Fine by me,” I half-shouted, “I’m not in it for the money anyway.”
I told her I’d find my friend, and then meet her by the entrance in about 10 minutes.
I stumbled around the club, scanning for the computer programmer, Casey. He was a nice guy. He struck me as someone who had probably been a child prodigy—22 years old, already working a high-paying job, clearly very intelligent. He was fluent in Swedish too. He’d already traveled all over the world apparently. He seemed to have a wild streak in him and I assumed he’d be into this plan. I found him drinking a Cabro in a dark corner with some of the boring people from our language school. I waved him over to the far wall. He looked confused.
“Look,” I said.
“Looook,” I shouted over the music, “do you wanna make some money tonight?”
Casey’s face told me he was concerned.
“No, it’s not anything like that,” I yelled, “It’s these two girls—they need strippers for a bachelorette party down the road. They asked me, and I wanna do it, but I don’t want to go alone. I’m worried they might rob me or some shit.”
“Do you know them?”
“No, they just approached me about 15 minutes ago and asked if I’d do it. I don’t even care about the money. It just seems like something you should do if offered the chance.”
“Yeah, totally. I’m in. Just let me finish this beer.”
It’s easy to trip and fall while walking down Xela’s streets because they’re made of uneven cobblestone. It’s even easier to trip and fall while intoxicated.
“Ta-da!” I yelled, catching myself mid-fall, breaking into a jog to stay on my feet. The girls and Casey laughed.
Casey and I made small talk with our new employers throughout the blurry hike to the party. We did our best to speak in Spanish for the Guatemalteca. I sensed that we were both trying to impress her.
“Ummm, ustedes van a matar a nosotros?” Casey joked, nervously. The girls laughed. I laughed—nervously and drunkenly.
“Solo con diversión, chico,” responded the Guatemalteca, closing one of her beautiful Mayan eyes. We all laughed.
We were led through a dark garage to a tiny room with a bar. Balloons and bottles of alcohol were everywhere. A group of some ten ladies sitting on small couches and chairs began cheering and whistling when we stepped in. They were mostly really hot and I suddenly became worried about getting a boner while stripping. But maybe that’s exactly what they wanted? I really had no idea. We waved at them, smiling. I remember wishing I had sunglasses.
We were introduced to the bride-to-be and some of the other ladies. Our new gringa friend poured massive tequila shots for us and suggested we start the show in about five minutes. She would provide the music. And no dicks, we were told—it turned out the girls just wanted us to strip down to our boxers, which was kind of a relief. We mingled with the ladies for five minutes and it was showtime.
The song “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya started through the speakers. The lights went down a bit. The girls started cheering. I couldn’t dance, so I just slowly began removing my clothes to the beat of the music at first. Luckily, I was far too drunk to be awkward and I ended up dancing a little anyway. Casey was a pro. He seemed like he’d done it before and I was glad I’d dragged him along. The ladies began pulling Quetzales out of their purses and whistling at us. We took our shirts off. They crowded around and slapped our asses and tugged at our pants. I pulled mine down, partially at first, and shook my ass a bit. The response was positive. The ladies stuffed Quetzales into the waistband of my boxer-briefs and my pants came off entirely. Some other song came on that I didn’t recognize. The ladies formed a line to take turns slapping our asses. They were screaming and laughing in Spanish. Quetzales were raining on us. I remember thinking we’d be millionaires by the next song.
The whole act lasted about 15 minutes. After we finished, the girls moved onto some kind of pin-the-penis-on-the-man sort of game. We were invited to stay and drink for a little longer. The girls were really friendly. In English, one of them asked if we’d danced like that before. We laughed and told her no. I’m sure she wasn’t surprised. The partygoers were trashed but not particularly flirty. Casey and I assumed that most of them were probably married or had boyfriends. Or maybe they just thought were total sluts or something. Either way, we were having fun.
Before leaving, we thanked everyone in Spanish for the great time, and they thanked us. Some of the girls were falling over. The bride-to-be was nowhere to be seen and the gringa told us she was in the bathroom, puking.
Luckily Casey remembered the way back to La Parranda and we stumbled over the cobblestones laughing about the whole experience. Casey suggested we start a business there in Xela. Los Hermanos del Fuego, he offered for the name.
In La Parranda, we counted our earnings. Just over Q400—roughly $50 to divide between the two of us. We laughed and split the money up.
“Not bad for 15 minutes of work,” Casey said, grimacing.
I turned to look him in the eyes with my best deadpan face.
“For me, it was never about the money.”
We both laughed some more.