Dear Amy:

A while back you ran a letter from "Double Standard in Denver," who was very worried and upset that her husband had been invited to a stag party at a strip joint.

You were right to tell her to be honest with her husband about her fears and concerns. But I wonder if she'd appreciate one woman's experience in one of those places.

A few years ago, my best friend, "Dan," announced his engagement. When he told me he wanted me to attend his bachelor party, I thought he was joking. So did his male buddies, who arranged an evening in a strip joint for that night. But Dan insisted and said he wouldn't go anywhere I wouldn't go. It took a lot of coaxing on their part to get me to come along; I was afraid of how my male friends would act around a lot of naked women.

What happened in that den of sin? We spent about two hours drinking overpriced beer, chatting and occasionally commenting on the talents/physiques of the ladies on the stage. We were surrounded by other small groups of guys, all equally subdued, each with a sheepish-looking groom-to-be in their midst.

I realized that I was just about the only person in the place who wasn't a little bit afraid of the women on show.

As for the women, well, they were just women doing their jobs. I certainly didn't see any of them leaving with any of the male customers.

My advice to women is that they should lighten up. If your husband is a gentleman, he'll act like a gentleman wherever he is. If, as some women seem to fear, he can be peer-pressured into breaking his marriage vows, well, you've got worse problems than his invitation to a bachelor party.

Enlightened Jersey Girl

I, too, have been to "strip joints" (research, people!) and admit that my perception of the male patrons' behavior is similar to yours. However, I also happen to find these places quite boring, depressing and very demeaning to women. Dancers and club owners have told me that, despite what people may think, "a little green" does not get you any more than a dance. Dancers tell me that (depending on local laws dictating such matters) they do not have direct contact with patrons; nor do they want to.

What couples need to keep in mind is that the ideal is never to behave in a way that causes your partner pain, worry or sorrow. Partners should honor each other through their choices and actions.

If a wife can't wrap her mind around the idea of a strip club, or if she considers it "cheating," then a husband should respect her feelings enough to realize that he shouldn't trade in his wife's trust and respect for one night of idiocy, followed by vomiting in the bushes.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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