The Sketch: Don't call it lap dancing, he told MPs. It's adult entertainment

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The Independent Online

One generation cometh and another generation passeth away. In front of the Culture Committee's Lap Dancing Investigation we had Peter Stringfellow on one side with his silver hair flowing over collar and a face that looked like his reputation. And on the other, Sandrine Levêque, a fragrant young professional whose job was given as an Anti-Objectification Advocacy Officer.

If a daughter of mine revealed she was an anti-objectification advocacy officer I would still love her and there would always be a home for her but, in the name of God, I would ask myself what I had done to make it so, and whether I should turn myself in.

Straddling the generations: Nadine Stravonia de Montagnac, Screenwriter, Journalist and former Lap Dancer. "With all due respect," Stringfellow said, "if she is an ex-dancer it must have been a long time ago." (Cries of "Oh!").

By way of compensation let me report her fully. She said lap dancers only did what they did for the money. A great painter or doctor would still paint or perform operations without being paid, but what woman, she declared, would take her clothes off for free?

That had us rifling through our black books.

Stringfellow himself didn't like the term "lap-dancing club", saying that it was derogatory. He called it "adult entertainment" (political correctness gone mad!). But alone in giving evidence he showed in a phrase that he had grasped the essence, the single most important fact about the issue. The phrase was: "a flash of her little white knickers".

He had stepped in to save his colleague from the Lap Dancing Association – a gentleman built like a brick bouncer with a head full of cement. Asked about the sexual content of a lap-dancing club he said: "In our premises it would be contrary to our business plan if there was sexual stimulation."

Had he been a lap dancer whipping off his pants to reveal four buttocks he couldn't have pleased us more.

He persisted. "It's to provide entertainment. It's not about being sexually stimulating, and would you measure sexual stimulation?"

Nobody wanted to go into that. But Stringfellow said of course it was sexy – like discos and dancing and Chippendales. But there was CCTV ("for checking," he said, to be clear, "not for having fun with"), an "incident book" and inspections, and anyway it's all a fuss about nothing because licensing authorities can apply a "no-nudity clause".

Ms Levêque obviously loathes strip joints, but caught up in the strictures of modern discourse she couldn't object on moral grounds. If she says it's a moral question she loses. So she has to say, "It's an equality issue, not a moral issue."

An interesting distinction. She needed the help of a Gender Equality Specialist (my other daughter, to really do me in).

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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