Dudes of America, This Is Why You Should See Magic Mike

Slate's Culture Blog
June 28 2012 3:45 PM

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.

John Swansburg John Swansburg

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.

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

Advertisement

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.  

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 10:44 AM Bull---- Market America is overlooking a plentiful renewable resource: animal manure.
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 30 2014 10:10 AM A Lovable Murderer and Heroic Villain: The Story of Australia's Most Iconic Outlaw
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 10:48 AM One of Last Year’s Best Animated Shorts Is Finally Online for Free
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.