Confessions of a male stripper

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014
Aiden
TOUGH JOB: 'Women try to pull your G-string down or grab you but at the end of the day it's part of our job and you just have to expect it.'

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Gropers, guns and G-strings. Direct from Las Vegas, Manpower, the No 1 male revue show in the world, is touring New Zealand this month.

In the last 20 years, the strip show known as "Thunder from Down Under" has gone from small shows in a Surfers Paradise nightclub on the Gold Coast to a residency at the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas.

Manpower has toured in over 15 countries in front of over 8 million women.

"Life is pretty good. I am more or less living the dream," says Aidan on the phone from Las Vegas.

"I don't work a lot, I get paid well and it leaves my days free to do other things like play golf."

We have chosen not to print Aidan's surname as he has ongoing problems with stalkers.

"I had to deactivate my Facebook and Instagram," he says. "It just got too weird."

His family lives in Hamilton and although he doesn't usually tour, he's pleased to be coming home for the first time in five years and is looking forward to "proper KFC".

An average day in Las Vegas means he wakes up sometime between 11am and 2pm and heads to the gym.

"I don't like the gym much, I try to be in and out in 45 minutes. I had enough gym when I was playing rugby in Waikato."

He started stripping in Hamilton. A girl he had a crush on asked him to help her out with a show she was putting on which eventually led to the job in Las Vegas.

"Before the first show I was freaking out, sweating. It was February, the start of the busy season, I went on stage in front of 500 girls and it was loud and packed."

The busy season involves hen nights with braying packs of terrifying women.

Aidan believes that, in terms of stripper etiquette, women are more badly behaved than men.

"I guess maybe they feel like it's OK because we're guys and that's our job. We get used to it but the women are definitely a lot more crazy and full-on than guys.

"Women try to pull your G-string down or grab you but at the end of the day it's part of our job and you just have to expect it.

"If men do it it's sleazy and they get kicked out of the club and possibly beaten up in an alley. If women do it it's fun."

Something of a double standard Aidan?

"It's finally a double standard that works for women.

"Generally in this job you end up having eyes in the back of your head. You can feel when something like a G-string grab is about to happen. I usually try to keep one hand on it at all times. If you let go someone will grope you."

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He deals with the violation by trying to smile and move on.

"You can't let it bug you."

In Las Vegas, Manpower do 12 shows a week, often two sold-out shows in one night. The showroom holds 500 people.

It's not just the female fans who behave crazily.

"Last week there was a guy that broke in backstage. He was high and wearing my personal boxers.

"I detained him and was trying to get the gun off him. The gun went off and my room-mate got gunpowder burns on his face."

The man had told friends he was going to be in the show.

Police later found a box of ammunition in his briefcase.

Aidan says most of their fans are harmless.

"We have a lot of fans that will come to the shows a lot. Some are a little bit crazy, when I say crazy, just not normal, but they love the show. Most of them are harmless, but then you get a couple that will be a bit much. It comes with the job, I guess."

Keeping the title of No 1 male revue show in the world is hard work. Hours of choreography go into the routines.

"We've been voted the best three years in a row. We've got competitors like the Chippendales."

He had his milkman costume especially made. His preferred songs are by Usher and Justin Timberlake.

"I'm a stripper, I like the sexiness of the music and the sensual stuff."

He grew up doing kapa haka and says it has helped him learn new routines quickly.

There is one fan who has been to over 600 shows.

"She is in her mid 80s. We had a lady the other night who got pulled on stage. She was 103. If you're 103 and you're going to go, what better way to go?"

He has appeared on TV, on Spartacus, Outrageous Fortune and, more recently, on Project Runway.

"We came out and did a little routine and then we were the models. We're out there and on TV a lot. They like to use me, they need people who are comfortable being nude on TV."

Aidan is single and although he might take his clothes off in front of 500 girls every day, he's personally still searching for the right one.

"I can't date Vegas girls. Guys in the show hardly ever go out partying. The only time I meet women is at work, generally they don't live in Vegas so it's a long distance thing.

"At the end of the day my job is taking my clothes off in front of girls every night."

One day he'd like to open his own motorcycle shop in Las Vegas.

"I'm doing a mechanics course at the moment to get my tickets. I ride cruisers like Harleys and choppers, I love them.

"When things get crazy I get on the bike and go for a ride and it makes everything disappear."

THE DETAILS:

www.thunderfromdownunder.com

- Canterbury

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