The Woman I Love and I went to Buffalo on business [dr. appt's] this morning. On the way, we saw a sign for a "gentleman's club"...
...no, not the gentleman's club pictured at right [if memory serves me right, one of the more famous clubs in 19th-Century London]...
...this kind of gentleman's club [for the unaware: "gentleman's club", in this context, refers to nightclubs where women strip down as far as local ordinances allow, then dance for an almost exclusively male audience. Not that there's anything wrong with that]. The sign referred to the club as being "world famous", and noted it would be open for business in a few months. Now, I'm not as "hip" as I once was, but I think this kind of situation is covered by the term "fail". "World famous" and "opening soon" don't seem to go together in the same sentence. When I pointed this out to TWIL, she said "Maybe it's a franchise".
A franchise? They franchise this sort of thing? Of course, the thought has crossed my mind before. Anyone who's been in more than one such place in a lifetime will note the similarities; poor lighting, over-priced drinks, [mostly] unenthusiastic "dancers" [for some reason, most of said performers around here are advertised as being "from Montreal". It turns out that I'd gone to grade school with a couple of them, and I certainly did not attend grade school anywhere in the Canadian province of Quebec], even the disinfectant [strawberry-scented] used to "freshen" the places seems the same from locale to locale.
I guess my next question is: where do they sell these franchises? Do they have a booth at traditional franchise fairs, sharing space with Mrs. Fields' cookies and Stanley Steemer carpet cleaning offers? Or does one have such a deal presented as an "opportunity" in the back room of such establishments? I'm really not looking [even if I were, who could afford such a business?], but I admit to a mildly-unhealthy curiosity about the whole thing.
Come to think of it, just what does one get with such a franchise? I know traditional franchises usually include a name, a list of "standards" that the franchisee is supposed to maintain, tips on operating the business, and generic advertising, which can then be tailored to the home city of the new operation. (I can just picture some of the advertising: "fine print" phrases like "Breast size is based on weight, not volume. Contents may have settled". Or headlines like, "You deserve the b[r]e[a]st!". Let's face it, it's 90 % of what most guys go to these places for.)
For what it's worth, my favorite story about "Gentleman's clubs" involves a certain establishment in Pittsburgh, PA during the 1950's. The owner, under the laws of the time, was not allowed to open on Sundays. One Sunday, he noticed that a local TV station was running old short films featuring the Three Stooges. He found that the old films were quite popular, especially with children. Inspired, he brought the Stooges to the Steel City, featuring them in Sunday afternoon shows that were open to families. He is said to have made a fortune, and the appearances were instrumental in reviving the Stooges' career. In another surprise, did you know that one of the "Stooges" who replaced Curly Howard actually had a "no touch" clause in his contract? Moe and Larry could gesture towards him, abuse him verbally, but no touching! A "Stooge" you couldn't hit? That's like a gentleman's club without...well, you know.