...it don't make her a ho, no. Strip joints. There must be more to life, but I canât for the life of me think what that would be. The first time I ventured into one, I was at the trembling age of 18 and 14 days. Thatâs an awkward age for a bloke to be, as you try to convey an aura of experience and worldly knowledge to your peers - all the time aware that the only tangible life-skill youâve actually learned so far is the ability to undo a bra single handed. At the time I would have been hard pressed to identify the clitoris with one of those metal telescopic pointers, but when a bunch my mates from training started proclaiming that we were âgoing to the strip club to get some pussyâ I acted cool and went with the flow. When youâre 18, acting cool and going with the flow bizarrely means becoming slightly Jamaican, bending your knees, moving a hand to an area near (but not touching) your groin and saying âyeah, coolâ in a manner that belies the fact that you have seen exactly 3 naked women in your entire lifetime. And that includes your mum and the time you stumbled in on your mateâs mum when she was having a shower. Weâd stopped to get some cash from the hole in the wall; to be honest the whole issue of money worried me. Sandhurst myth had it that a bloke from Blenheim Coy had spent a night in a similar establishment that had resulted in his being escorted to the ATM by large men of diverse ethnicity to withdraw Â£1500. I got paid Â£375 per month at the time, and thatâs not in Old Money, so I was beginning to ponder my chance of surviving the night. The one member of our party who had previously been anywhere near strippers was loudly proclaiming the wealth of his knowledge, like some fat ginger kid at a theme park who knows where all the best rides are. My confusion was compounded by the fact that I misheard his advice that we pay the girls by putting folded notes in their thongs (due to the fact that he was striding meaningfully ahead and I was still trying to walk like an unconcerned Jamaican at the back). I spent the entire journey there thinking that I had to poke the notes inside the girls. Too much beer and too few years under my belt began to really take the shine off the evening. I was in a very un-Jamaican cold sweat by the time we reached the club. We descend into what my C of E guilt was trying forlornly to portray as the 7th pit of hell. C of E guilt is like an effeminate version of catholic guilt. It doesnât actually stop you doing anything, or feel bad for doing it - but when Iâm around old people and people in cardigans I get flashbacks of the time I smothered Jenny Mc*****ty in Ben & Jerryâs and left dodgy stains on her parentsâ carpet. Itâs like PTSD and I blame one or all of the 4 times I went to church as a child. We pay our entrance fee and walk into the main bar like a squad of intergalactic soldiers walking into the cavernous nest of homicidal aliens: agape, huddled together and with weapons pointing outward. My ânaked women seenâ figure immediately became multiplied by, ermâ¦lots. One of the ladies walked up to me and introduced herself in much the same way as a Lioness introduces herself to a lame Widlebeest. Her name is âSapphireâ. âCool nameâ says I, sounding more Welsh than Carribean. My ânumber of life skills learntâ figure doubles as I buy a simply breathtakingly stunning woman a drink for the first time in my life. Iâm still blissfully unaware of how all this works, and my newly-promoted 18 year-old brain is trying to work out how Iâll get back to RMAS from her apartment at the end of the leave weekend. The pathetic nature of my lust is dispelled as the bar lady (âSkyeâ â âYou guys have all got such great namesâ says an RTFQ who still really isnât with the program so much) charges more than a dayâs wages for the drinks. As I pay, I notice the platoon of gorillas overseeing the business with a latent air of violence. With my life skills increasing by the minute in that place, I realise Iâm out of my depth and explain to âSapphireâ that I donât know what the hell Iâm doing. How I miss those days â ten years later and, if I were to say that to a woman nowadays, it would immediately be followed by the screaming sound of a burning spitfire headed for the ground. Back then it was hugely endearing. âSapphireâ takes it upon herself to educate me on how to ogle naked, gyrating chicks. As it turns out, Iâm a bit of a natural. A brief, confused look plays across her face as she tells me never to touch the ladies unless invited to (good advice generally, Iâve since discovered), to which I reply: âBut how will I put the money in you?â She lets it lie and soon, the whole lap dancing experience becomes clear. She commented that my big sh1t-eating grin and joyous tear running down my left cheek made a welcome change from the sullen, almost menacing leers she normally got from young lads. Iâm so impressed that I extend an offer to dance for her, which she accepts with the caveat that should I take one piece of clothing off, the bouncers will remove me and rearrange my significant features â a warning that has since been repeated to me prior to numerous weddings and a christening. Even better was that once I was done and I bought her what seemed remarkably like a post-coital drink, she brought over âDaisyâ, who had started work that day after her training course (they do a course!). I ended the evening with a dance from the recently TOS girl; two newly deflowered youngsters feeling their way through the grubby world of vice and sin. It was beautiful. I spent the rest of term 1 secretly wanting to jack it all in to run my own lap dancing bar. âRTFQâsâ would look good in neon eh? Come on then, letâs have your lap-dancing stories, and donât you girls start gobbing off, Iâve taken more than one woman to a quality establishment on Tottenham Court Road who had a whale of a time.