The naked truth STRIPPER DION BARES ALL
It’s risqué business for the Men of Steel master mind
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.”
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.”