Ireland's Full Monties: 'It's not as simple as getting your kit off'
Anthony Brady struts his stuff (image modified to avoid identification of subject).
‘As soon as the weekend hits, I get the tan and the thong on and I’m out the door,” says 29-year-old stripper Anthony Brady. We’re sitting in the back of his van at a housing estate in a rural part of Co Carlow.
Brady changes out of his work clothes (he has a day job working with vending machines in the Dublin area), and into a fireman outfit. Inside the back of his van are fitted shelves like those you see in any tradesperson’s vehicle, except in his case the tools have been replaced with thongs.
Inside one of the rented holiday homes opposite, a hen party is awaiting his arrival, having booked him to be their scantily clad waiter and fireman for a night. I’ve tagged along to get an insight into a profession some men are considering as a way of earning extra income since the downturn.
Men at work
Brady is one of Ireland’s most experienced male strippers and in recent months, he says, there has been an increase in the number of men phoning him looking to get into the business. For some, the downturn has forced them to consider employment they might not ordinarily have chosen. Others have simply watched The Full Monty one too many times.
“People are asking us for jobs all the time especially since the recession kicked in,” says Brady, as he sprays on some aftershave and knocks on the door of the party house.
Brady is not the only one noticing an upsurge in Irish men eyeing up stripping as a way of earning additional income. John Lawless from Strip Ireland has been in the business since 1989, and he too has observed many more men looking to try their hand, and oiled torsos, at stripping.
“We’ve noticed loads of Facebook pages have been set up by guys claiming to be strippers,” he says. “People need to be careful though, as many are not in it for the money. They just want to meet girls on a Friday or Saturday night. Some of them will work for as little as €50 a night, and may be relatively inexperienced or have received little training.
“Anyone starting with us has to go through training. Just looking good isn’t enough. It’s not as simple as getting your kit off and everyone cheers and claps. You need to entertain.”
One of those new to the stripping game is 25-year-old former construction worker Andy Murphy. He moved to Ireland from the US soon after having a child with an Irish citizen, and found it very difficult to secure work in construction here. “I arrived in 2009 and had to go back to the US in 2010 to get some work,” he says. “I managed to save some money and return but there was still no work in Ireland. I was getting a day here and there, but nothing concrete, so I was spending a lot of time in the gym just to keep myself sane.”
In the gym one morning, a friend suggested Murphy try his hand at stripping, and, as Murphy’s finances deteriorated, he began to give the idea some serious thought.
As a youngster, he had taken part in talent shows in the US, and so performing in front of strangers wasn’t an unfamiliar experience for him. “My finances were so bad at the time that I didn’t have enough money to provide for my child,” he says. “I couldn’t even go out on a date once a month. So I did an online search of stripping in Ireland one night and came across stripireland.comand gave them a call.”