My stripper suite, courtesy of Craigslist

I call it: The love shack.
Illustration: Bethany Acree

Certain words and phrases exist in the English language that, when staring at you in the form of a blue link online, you must click on. “Stripper room” is one such phrase.

Needless to say, when I came across these words while cruising Las Vegas Craigslist for bedroom furniture for an upcoming move, I was instantly intrigued. Not punctuated with an excess of exclamation points or typed in all-caps to emphasize its importance, the phrase stared blankly at me as I conjured up images of leopard-print sheets, drawers overflowing with G-strings and shoe racks specially built to accommodate Lucite heels taller than three inches. But what awaited me after I clicked was something even better than the phrase “stripper room” implied:

King-sized, heart-shaped waterbed. With free stripper pole.

A photo provided proof of the bed’s existence. Red velvet upholstery outlined the heart while black Playboy bunny silk sheets covered the mattress.

It was a dream bed for anyone with a taste for the tacky; for me it was eighth wonder of the world. The Craigslist listing explained the bed had been purchased around a year ago at five times the seller’s current price. A quick Google search of waterbed Web sites confirmed: It takes a lot of money to make your sleeping sanctuary look like the set of an ’80s porno.

What a perfect guestroom bed, I thought. If my out-of-state friends want to use me as their personal Motel 6, I might as well make my spare room look like a honeymoon suite. I could already visualize a matching red velvet bureau prominently displaying my formidable collection of call girl trading cards and a yard-long margarita glass serving as a vase.

I had to have this bed.

One phone call later and the owner tells me the stripper pole is a “spare" owned by her roommate, who hosts ‘stripper parties’ for bachelorettes. It’s a gently used stripper pole but still in good shape, the clients who used it for a party opted not to take it back with them on the plane. I briefly wonder where they might be from and why they would pass on a perfectly good pole. Maybe in Nebraska it isn’t acceptable to have a party pole in your home, even if you only set it up for special occasions.

Growing up in Las Vegas, however, sex isn’t a taboo topic; it’s a part of life. It’s on billboards, taxi toppers and Industrial Road. When I tell my friends I’m considering buying a stripper pole, nobody thinks it’s a joke. Instead, they ask how tall the pole is and when they’ll have the chance to see it.

As for the bed, the owner tells me she purchased the bed from a vintage shop in Downtown Las Vegas, but it was built in Washington. Now, she’s moving to Montana to go to beauty school, and she doesn’t want the hassle of transporting a king-sized heart-shaped work of furniture design genius across state lines. Deceptively, it has many more parts than your boring rectangular beds. Her loss is my gain, she says, and I agree.

The bed’s more suited for Vegas, anyway.


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