I just stumbled onto your blog, and while male stripping isn't a subject in which I have a keen interest, a question does come to mind. It is whether all (or most all) male strippers are the muscle-bound guys I always see, and if so why?
I'm pretty familiar with what guys look for in women, and it's amazingly diverse. Some like 'em fat, others thin, and so on. Three guys entering the same brothel will invariably happily choose three different providers simply because their tastes are different. True, female strippers normally conform to conventional average standards of sex appeal, but even female strippers vary a lot. I remember one super fat one (who went by Eartha Quake) who was quite popular. More to the point, while most female strippers are in some kind of shape (dancing is good exercise) few give the kind of evidence of serious gym sessions that male strippers do.
I'm also reasonably familiar with women's tastes (although of course no male can ever fully understand these) and they are diverse too. Specifically, some women aren't attracted to the muscle-bound stripper physique but rather prefer the skinny rock star look or on occasion even the fat, bald accountant look.
Thus I wonder if my impression of male strippers all having to conform to the same standards of muscle-bound attractiveness is true, and if so why.
If true, my total guess is that the explanation lies in the much smaller market for male than female strippers. That is, standards of attractiveness may be more lax for females simply because there is a greater demand for them and the market must compromise, whereas the lower demand for male strippers may raise the standards for the men in the occupation.
However, I also wonder if maybe prejudice is operating--even male prejudice. That is, I suspect that men more than women affirm the muscle-bound physique, so maybe men are setting the standards for male strippers? If so, this would help explain why most of your offers for side work come from gay men rather than women.
Male strippers tend to be muscular because the degree of muscularity has a strong association with testosterone, the male hormone. Therefore, society associates big muscles with masculinity. Some examples of this include super heroes from Marvel and DC comics; all the male heroes have a bodybuilder's physique. Athletes exemplify masculinity, and society glorifies them. The same trait applies to male strippers. When customers want to hire a man to take his clothes off, they want someone who represents the epitome of masculinity with muscularity added in the package.
It's true that what men look for in women is quite diverse, but the same applies to the other side of the coin. Most men look for feminine traits in female strippers, such as breasts and hips, rather than muscularity and independence. Having sexy breasts or curvy hips don't require extensive training sessions at the gym at all. In fact, most female strippers can get away by showing off their femininity while being overweight, thin, etc.
You make a good point about the high standards for male strippers. There is a much lower demand for male strippers, although the popularity of male strippers has been on a steady rise during the last two decades. The low demand results in fierce competition where the better male gets more work based on his looks. In this case, muscularity makes up a large portion of how the man looks besides his face, so it's very important to have a decent body.
Men often place more emphasis on having a muscular physique, but that does not affirm the standards of male strippers. The women, or customers rather, choose the standards, and they often choose the guy with a muscular physique. If the customer preferred someone skinnier or fatter, then the skinnier or fatter guy would get the job... But that rarely occurs, otherwise just about every skinny or overweight guy would be spilling into the industry. Keep in mind that the customers are women in my case, and I'm not covering what the gay male audience wants.
Some women may say that they do not prefer muscles, but they often hire a muscular man as their stripper. Whenever I go to parties, I see posters of muscular men tacked up on the walls. Companies market muscular men to women all the time. Next time you're at the book store, pick up a romance novel and look at the cover. You often seen a feminine woman cradled against a muscular man. Target audience? Female readers. So females affirm the standards of muscularity in a more subtle way.
Another point you brought up is the "side work," often referred to as "gay-4-pay" in the industry. Exactly as you imply, the side work often comes from male customers, or gay male customers. It's a simple concept really. Gay men act like straight men: they hire out of sexual desire, hence the side work. You very rarely ever hear of women buying prostitutes to satisfy their sexual urges. If a woman wants sex from me, she usually expects to get it for free. Another example, if you want to see a female stripper take off more clothes, then you pay her more money. Most of my female customers would find it absurd to pay more money for me to take my thong off, and even more-so to charge for side work. Why? Because they're often the gatekeepers to sex. It is difficult to reverse that concept overnight. That's why male strippers and female strippers are quite different.