It’s risqué busi­ness for the Men of Steel master mind

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Real Life -

As New Zealand’s best-known male strip­per, with 15 years ex­pe­ri­ence in a niche in­dus­try, Dion Mur­phy has seen many things he can’t “un­see”.

The handsome “early 40-some­thing”, who owns and man­ages the coun­try’s only male strip club, Men of Steel, squirms as he re­calls some of the colour­ful char­ac­ters he’s en­coun­tered over the years.

“When I was just start­ing out, there was this lady who would come in and book one of us for a pri­vate dance. She’d say, ‘Take off your clothes,’ then hand you a scare­crow mask and we’d dance for her. It was pretty weird, but that’s what she was into.”

Then there was the “goth-look­ing woman” who propo­si­tioned Dion dur­ing a pri­vate dance. “She gave me her busi­ness card that said ‘dom­i­na­trix’,” re­calls Dion. “She said she loved my aura and wanted to take me back to her dun­geon so she could make lit­tle cuts in my skin, suck my blood and ex­tract some of it. It was an in­trigu­ing of­fer but I po­litely de­clined!”

There are funny mo­ments, but be­ing a male strip­per is of­ten no laugh­ing mat­ter for Dion and his seven dancers, who per­form ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day night to a room­ful of “scream­ing, horny women”.

“They seem to like lick­ing our backs and grab­bing our crotches,” he tells. “I don’t

think they re­alise how strong they are. I’m like, ‘That’s my man­hood and my liveli­hood!’”

Of Maori and Ir­ish de­scent, Napier-born Dion is a trained dancer and chore­og­ra­pher, who found small-screen fame in 2002 as an erotic dancer in lo­cal drama TheStrip.

De­spite en­joy­ing him­self on the TV show, star­ring along­side es­tab­lished ac­tors in­clud­ing Rob­bie Ma­ga­siva, he soon re­turned to the in­dus­try to start Men of Steel.

Since then, thou­sands of women, from 18-year-olds to 80-some­things, from “hen par­ties on a last hur­rah” to les­bians “hop­ing to get lucky with a drunk, horny lady”, have ven­tured inside his Auck­land club, wit­ness­ing saucy two-hour shows, of­ten fol­lowed by pri­vate dances.

“That 80-year-old,” sighs Dion. “Oh man, she was re­ally hands-on.

“An­other time, I was per­form­ing this in­ti­mate se­quence where I do a hand­stand and my parts were be­ing pressed up against this woman who’s against the wall, on stage. She grabbed hold of me and stuck her tongue be­tween my butt cheeks. I couldn’t do any­thing about it – I was up­side down!”

Dion says rau­cous crowds “come with the ter­ri­tory” for his dancers, all of whom also have day jobs – from per­sonal train­ing to IT work.

“There aren’t a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties for women to

go some­where en masse and cel­e­brate their raw sex­u­al­ity,” he ex­plains. “So in terms of us be­ing licked and groped and hav­ing the odd snide com­ment, it hap­pens.”

Fam­ily shock

The first of four sib­lings, Dion strug­gled to get ac­cep­tance from his Catholic par­ents. “It was re­ally hard for them,” he con­cedes. “Es­pe­cially when I went for an au­di­tion with Man­power Aus­tralia. My dad was at the lo­cal RSA with his mates, then up pops his son, naked, on the big TV screen.”

A serial monogamist and self-de­clared ro­man­tic, Dion loves cook­ing and giv­ing mas­sages, and prefers “girly tomboys” who wear over­sized shirts and base­ball caps in the bed­room rather than full make-up and sexy lin­gerie.

He and his girl­friend of two years met at a hip-hop dance class, but don’t live to­gether.

“I’ve got two rooms full of cos­tumes so it’s not very prac­ti­cal. And I work weird hours. Who­ever I’m with has to be cool with what I do. My girl­friend, my mum and my sis­ters have all seen the show, so they get it. I’ve lost a lot of dancers over the years be­cause their girl­friends weren’t cool with it.”

In­stead, he lives with his two res­cue cats Jet and Astro, walk­ing them in a nearby park ev­ery day at 4pm on the dot.

He de­cided to take his fi­nal bow as a strip­per around his 40th birthday. “When the po­lice come by to see what’s go­ing on, and you’re the boss, try­ing to talk to them in a pink G-string, it’s hard to be taken se­ri­ously. It’s the busi­ness side that needs me more now.”

So what makes an ideal Man of Steel? “All my men are gen­tle­men,” he says. “We have a strict ‘no w**kers’ pol­icy.”

He gets emails ev­ery week from prospec­tive dancers, but says he can tell “in­stantly” if a guy has what it takes. He says a lot of guys want to know if they have to be well en­dowed. “But it’s not re­ally about that. It’s about find­ing guys who gen­uinely love be­ing around women – which is dif­fer­ent from want­ing to have sex with them – who know how to treat women and talk to them.”

For the Men of Steel’s 15th an­niver­sary on Septem­ber 9, Dion is throw­ing a “trop­i­calthemed party to shake off the win­ter blues”, be­fore em­bark­ing on a coun­try­wide tour, for which he’s cur­rently re­cruit­ing. Stormtroop­ers danc­ing to Bey­oncé and hunks in lavalavas will be among the de­lights on stage.

“If you haven’t seen a show like this be­fore, it will blow away your pre­con­cep­tions,” he in­sists. “You don’t have to be sin­gle. You can love your hus­band, but just want to have a good girls’ night out in a safe en­vi­ron­ment, with guys with great bod­ies, with­out be­ing has­sled. It’s all about the women.”

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