There’s a scene about halfway through Magic Mike XXL – although it’s blasphemy to skip right to it, unless you’re using it for masturbation fodder – where Mike has to ask his old boss and lover Rome, played to silky perfection by Jada Pinkett-Smith, for help. These days, Rome runs a “subscription-based pleasure” house, and her male entertainers are remarkably innovative. Donald Glover does a customized rap for a divorced woman who loves alcohol (when he asks her, “What do you love most in this world?” and she responds, “Alcohol,” it is the saddest moment of the whole movie). Mike Tyson jumps over a lady on a chaise lounge! Women, mostly black women, line the hallways and fill the rooms of this southern mansion, there to enjoy being worshiped. Rome calls them “her queens” and y’all, if you think hearing Jada purr out the word “queens” over and over doesn’t get a woman sopping wet, you know next to damn nothing.
Anyway, Mike needs Rome to do a favor for him, and she makes him dance for it. And, oh lord, dance he does. This scene, where he grabs a series of women and dances ALL up on them, using their bodies in a dominant way at the same time that it’s clear his only goal is their pleasure – watching this is the best way to understand how fucking hot consent can be.
Let’s take a minute to unpack the layers of consent and sexual desire here.
All the women at Rome’s club have paid to be there. Most of them have probably been there before, and they know what they’re getting. They know they are going to be touched, used, sexualized, and adored by the male entertainers. The don’t know how, and they don’t know by whom, but they are women who understand that they are there to watch and take pleasure in watching, but that also at any time they may be touched, tossed around, grinded upon, even kissed. They are there because it is a place that recognizes the value of the female gaze, and how powerful the fulfillment of that gaze’s desires can be.
“Watching this is the best way to understand how fucking hot consent can be.”
Let’s look now, for a moment, at the male entertainers. Later, as Andre drives Ken to the convention, he tells him, “These girls have to deal with men in their lives every day, they don’t listen to them, they don’t even ask them what they want. All we gotta do is ask them what they want. And then when they tell you, it’s a beautiful thing.” These are men who take their job very seriously, and their job is to make women feel good. That’s it. The main plot arc of the movie has the strippers discovering – while on molly, because molly is the best, seriously go take MDMA right and eat candy and learn truths and tell your friends how much you love them – that the more they enjoy their routine, the more women will enjoy it, because what they’re connecting to is the creative and sexual and human energy being put out there. I love these little sparkles of hippie shit sprinkled throughout this ab-tastic movie, but, well, I am from Humboldt County.
You guys, these strippers love their job. They have the ability to see every woman, EVERY DAMN WOMAN as beautiful and deserving of pleasure and joy and attention. There are no jokes about fat chicks – in fact, women of every size and race and age and whatever are featured quite heavily, with zero commentary. They are treated as women, because in the Magic Mike world, women rule.
This is not a movie review – though if it were I would give Magic Mike XXL five million stars because, not to be hyperbolic, but if you haven’t seen it yet, especially if you are a man, you are not living your fullest life – and so I won’t get into the simple and true ways the movie deals with friendship and romantic connection, correctly realizing that the first is the real love story and the second is about taking risks and learning things from the people who appear suddenly in your world and then grind all up on your face on a money-covered stage.
Let’s get back to consent. We’ve all heard the complaints from moronic men about how women say they want a “nice guy” but then end up dating assholes. But here’s the thing – women want a man who is capable of treating them like a human being as well as a sexual object. We want you to tell us we’re pretty and that we smell good and are smart and funny and all that ish, and then we want you to throw us on the ground and tell us what to do and pull our hair and ravage us like a goddamn animal.
“We want you to tell use we’re pretty and that we smell good and are smart and funny and all that ish, and then we want you to throw us on the ground and tell us what to do and pull our hair and ravage us like a goddamn animal.”
That’s what’s so hot about the scene with Mike dancing at Rome’s. Consent is built into the idea of the club – the women consent, the male entertainers consent, everyone just wants to make someone else feel good and feel good themselves while doing it. And so when Mike tosses a woman into a chair and thrusts his upside-down crotch into her mouth-region…when he bends two women over and uses their backs to support his massive arms as his hips swivel around, dry-humping every booty in sight…when he pins her to the floor with his mouth breathing hot on her clothed pussy and you know she can feel his semi-erection sliding down her face and body…that is the very definition of hot af, y’all.
Not all women want everything the same, and it’s silly to think in such generalizations, but I think it’s safe to say that a large majority of straight and bi and queer American women want to feel the power that comes in giving up control to someone safe, to someone whose own pleasure comes from her pleasure, to someone who wants to own her and take her and hold her and kiss her face after he makes her cum and cry and scream delightedly in all the best ways.
Watch Magic Mike XXL, dudes, and apply its many lessons to your own life. Do it for the ladies, do it for your heart and brain and dick, those three crucial parts of you just in there yearning for a way to reconcile all their different feelings. Let Magic Mike XXL heal you as the strippers heal the women at the clubs. You don’t have to have seen the original. The first one is good, but, like a female orgasm, the second one is even better.