How about a strip club? It's fun this time of night

Special to The Times

There are too many shysters, "dating boot camp coaches" and third-rate advice yentas taking advantage of the single ladies in the world -- and although I can't get rid of them, I try to stymie them when possible. I do it because they bug me, because I think they're 99% full of it and, sometimes, because I know better.

In particular today, I am putting the question of "How do I get him to call me back?" to rest once and for all, because I have found the secret.

Ladies, if you want Mr. Fabulous Intriguing Could-Be-an-Excellent-Father-to-My- Children to hit you up after the first date or bar meeting or whatever, you need do only one thing. It takes very little thought, and as far as I can tell, it's foolproof:

Invite him for a nightcap. In a strip club.

As a woman who has always worked in male-dominated industries, I've spent plenty of time in "gentlemen's clubs." I find them relaxing: No one's paying any attention to me, there's massive security everywhere and the dancers tend to be very sweet. It's a great way to wind up a tense evening.

Not too surprisingly, my dates don't argue when I recommend the Spearmint Rhino for that one last cocktail.

But I'll tell you what is a surprise: Out of four occasions hitting such a club with a date (or a not-even-a-date . . . a couple of times have been ambiguous), I have conducted myself, during the rest of the evening, like a monster. I've declined the good-night kiss. I've made fun of one guy's pickup skills, quizzed another about whether he wanted babies and made another drive me around town in search of eggs Benedict at 4 a.m. I was a straight-up prude on all occasions. And yet . . .

Not only have I always gotten called the next day, but I have gotten follow-up calls steadily throughout the weeks, months and years. I just got a text from a (cute, successful, quasi-jerk but not nearly as bad as some) Rhino date from two years ago. It started off, "Thanks for finding me on FaceBook" and ended up:

"Why don't we hang out again? You can be my date to [name of large televised event withheld]. Remember our night, you know, at that one place? That was fun. You are the funnest girl ever! You are a sweetheart."

Excuse me? I was not a sweetheart! I recall that this guy asked me, panicked, not to tell any of his employees where we'd gone together, and I responded by taking incriminating pictures of us on my camera phone and posting them on the Internet.

Baffled, I called my trusty friend Caro, who is (A) a dancer, (B) a psych major and (C) therefore an expert on the workings of the male mind. She broke it down like so:

"Going to a club proves that you are very confident in your sexuality and in the way you look."

(OK, I like this so far.)

"Plus, you sort of put them on the spot -- you're entering a quintessentially 'man's world' and making it your own."

(I beg to differ. Since when do men like women putting them on the spot?)

"Hanging out in a situation like that -- it's like you're going through something together. Had a shared experience."

(Could bonding really be this easy?)

"And finally . . . no matter how unavailable you're acting, you're definitely more attainable than us. We'll ditch him the second someone richer comes along."

Ahh. Now there's the painful but crucial nugget of wisdom: Ladies, in order to make Mr. Right appreciate your many fine qualities, just torture him for a few hours with visions of what he'll never have. Darwinism + reverse psychology = true love.

Thank you. That'll be $20, a two-drink minimum, plus tips.

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