Several years ago, my niece and I attended our first Thunder from Down Under (TFDU) show.
Both of our cherries have now been popped. Hah.
My reason for going was 50-50: 50% book research and 50% because I’d never seen the show–local or Vegas–and wanted to see how it compared to Chippendales.
Sadly, I was underwhelmed.
Overall, Chippendales put on a better show for the following reasons:
~ The guys get naked. O_O. Yes, you read that correctly. You didn’t see any twig and berries, but they stripped down to their birthday suits and covered those parts with a towel. Years later and I’m still blushing. <fans face>
~ They have musical interludes. As part of their act, they had one gorgeous guy who would come out during the major costume changes in nothing but jeans and boots and sing! And he was really good.
~ Their energy was amazing. They kept us ladies pumped up the whole time.
The only two good aspects of the TFDU show were:
1) Dylan. This dude. He was the MC and everything about him–hosting personality, his solo routine (he singled out an older woman, Grandma type), and his demeanor when I got my picture taken with him after the show–was completely on point.
2) You can touch. The ladies were highly encouraged to smack and/or squeeze asses, and feel up rippling torsos. If you were lucky enough to be pulled up onstage, you might’ve gotten to feel a throbbing cock. For the record, my niece and I did neither of those things. :) We made sure we were far enough away to see the action, not get pulled into it.
I know what you’re thinking, “Um, what lessons could a romance writer possibly learn while watching half-naked men?” You’d be surprised.
1) Inspiration is everywhere. Duh.
I gave it away at the beginning of this post. You might’ve missed it, so I’m going to repeat it here: My reason for going was 50-50: 50% book research. While everyone’s out there writing about a station house full of firemen or a secret security agency filled with badass former military dudes, you could be writing about a bunch of h-a-w-t guys who strip at a nightclub. BAM! I just gave you an idea for a series. You’re welcome.
2) Don’t half-ass it.
In the opening group act, the six guys looked like they were phoning in the routine. There was no energy, like they were going through the motions and throwing off clothes to get through it. Maybe they were tired. They were in town for four days (Thurs-Sun), had shows each night during the week and two on the weekends…I get it. But if you don’t bring your A-game, someone is going to call you out. Publicly. Like I’m doing right now.
If you’re serious about making a career out of writing romance novels, then you need to be all in. Are your romance writing skills a little lacking? Brush up by taking courses or reading books. Do you want to publish independently or traditionally? Research it and see what route fits you best. And before you hit send, don’t skimp on the editing services. Your readers will thank you.
3) Image is everything.
Let me preface this by saying that TFDU is big.
They’re a well-known entity.
They’ve entertained millions of women across the globe.
And only the Sexy People are invited to be a part of this special club, so it’s not like they take any Joe Bloke off the street.
They’ve got a rep to protect.
They’ve got an image to uphold.
These guys who shake their groove thang are the faces of this company, so you know they have to abide by the perception of sexy, sexy, sexy.
Especially when something else could be perceived.
During the course of the two hour show, Dylan tried to banter with a couple of guys after they’d mingled with the crowd during their solos.
“Tried” being the key word here.
When asked the simple question of “How did it go out there?” in his sexy Aussie accent, all us ladies got was stammering.
Yes, stammering. It was like that cable commercial where the cable guy is talking gibberish and the little girl says “Use your words.”
There was no witty “Crikey, there’s a lot of crazy-sexy sheilas out there” type of comeback.
There was no quip spiked with sexual innuendo.
There wasn’t even a shock and awe “I wanna fuck that blonde in the red dress” kind of comment.
Just a stammering Oh-shit-I-wasn’t expecting-this moment. It’s not like Dylan asked their opinion on climate change.
It was a simple question.
He laughed them off, thinking the stammering was funny, I guess?
[Plot twist: laughing at a person with a real stammer/stutter/whatever is totally uncool]
Maybe the women thought it was funny, too, like they did such a great job acting crazed, the guys were speechless.
I just thought they conveniently slipped into the Stripper Misconception: fabulous bod, no brains. But these guys aren’t dumb. They didn’t get hired by this company without having something goin’ on upstairs. HOWEVER…you’re sex on a stick. You ooze sex from your pores. You just got back on stage after practically having your G-string ripped from your body by a showroom filled with screaming women and when someone asks you how it’s going out there, you got nothin’? <shakes head in disbelief>
Then again, maybe these two were new and they really had been stunned speechless by all the screaming women. One of those “see it to believe it” dealios they’ve never experienced before.
[Plot twist: Chippendales handled the dancer/MC banter much better. Maybe TFDU should take a page from their book. Just sayin’. And if that whole stammering/speechless/catch them off guard shtick was supposed to be part of the show, they need to work on that so it appears more natural]
I felt this was a great reminder about self-representation and public perception. As a writer, you put yourself out there with your work and interactions on social media and your website. You now have a brand, you have a rep to protect, so keep in mind how you present yourself and how you want your readers to perceive you.
4) Practice makes perfect.
So the pattern of the show is that group dances segue into solo routines that involve the guys pulling a female on stage as well as quickly mingling with the ladies in the audience.
[Plot twist: TFDU flashes the dancer’s name on a screen so you know who’s dancing. That came in handy later when you got your pictures taken with them, especially if you wanted a pic with a specific guy. Like I did. Chippendales doesn’t do that. So, good on ya, TDFDU, for being proactive like that].
That’s all fine and good, but it works better when everyone’s on point. In addition to lack of energy during the opening act, one of the guys looked like he didn’t quite remember the steps and had to watch the others. Another guy appeared to have learned the routine that day. Kinda hard not to notice mistakes when there’s only six guys on stage.
I understand that it’s all about shedding the clothes.
I understand that it’s all about showing off the flatter-than-roadkill abs, the glistening pecs, the rock hard legs, and the high, apple-shaped asses that are so tight you can bounce a $1.50 in quarters off of them.
BUTT…er, that is BUT, it has to be more than hip rolls and pelvic thrusts.
This is advertised as a professional show.
This company has a permanent presence in Vegas. The “show” capital of the U.S.
I paid $25 to see a professional show and that’s what I expect to get.
Practice makes perfect, gentleman.
If I wanted Amateur Night, I would’ve hit up a local male revue. And paid nothing because it was Ladies Night. Then again, I did pay only $25, so maybe I did get what I paid for.
If you’re a new indie author, don’t expect to be on Amazon's #1 Best Seller list the first time out.
Don't expect to get a lot of sales the first time out.
Don't expect to gain a lot of readers with that first novel.
Expect the worst, but hope for the best.
The romance genre is a billion dollar industry and the competition is fierce. If you want to run with the Big Dogs long term, you need to keep putting skin in the game. Literally and figuratively.
So there you have it. The next time your Girls Night Out ends up at a place where men strip down to their underwear, you can tell your significant other that it was part of your education as a romance writer.
Who knows? It might end up being a great night for the both of you [wink, wink]
Have you ever checked out one of these male revues? Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments below.
Keepin’ it romantic,
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