Pearl Gabel for New York Daily News
HunkOMania Club in midtown Manhattan has a real-life ‘Magic Mike’ atmosphere.
Backstage at HunkOMania in Times Square, a half dozen male dancers put the finishing touches on their already perfect physiques: greasing their washboard abs with oil, making their biceps bulge with resistance bands and adjusting their postage-stamp-sized Speedos.
A chorus of “Take it off!” builds to a frenzied crescendo outside as the club full of bachelorettes and birthday girls rub their singles together.
But that’s where the similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” end. Unlike Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey in the male revue movie, who engage in plenty of gratuitous sex and drug use, the Big Apple’s burlesque dancers are perfect gentlemen.
“We’re here to entertain. We’re here to fulfill fantasies — but we’re not here to actually make out or have any type of sexual contact,” says Armand Peri, a former dancer who runs HunkOMania and its male strip club satellites, including Times Square Hunks, Manhattan Men and Avalon Male Strip Club.
“We are very focused. These guys are the cream of the crop,” agrees Tracy James, a former Chippendales dancer who now runs the Savage Men strip shows in Manhattan and Atlantic City. “If you do drugs like that and drink, you are going to be short-lived.”
So what makes real-life “Magic Mikes” tick? Three beefcakes reveal the tricks of their titillating trade.
Jose Mateo, a dancer at HunkOMania, says his style is to be ‘a seducer (Pearl Gabel for New York Daily News )
Jose Mateo, 26
North Bergen, N.J., originally from the Bronx
Stage name: “Jay” or “The Cuban Hunk from Miami” with HunkOMania
Experience: Almost four years.
How he got in the game: “I had a roommate who stripped that told me about it. I always went to the gym, and I’ve been working hard on my body all my life, so I gave it a shot.”
His mojo: “I make the best of it for the girls. I want them to feel excited and thrilled and entertained. It’s fun and it makes people happy, so why not?”
Perks: “Some nights I get $600 to $1,000. The average is $200 or $300. I used to work as a sales representative for Verizon. This is much easier money.”
Signature move: “Jay is a seducer. He looks them in the eye, and there’s sexual contact without having any actual sexual contact.”
Relationship status: A girlfriend of five years. “She wasn’t okay with it at first. It all comes down to trusting your partner.”
New York Daily News