(First gallery image via Chippendales, all others by Matthew Rettenmund)
I went to see the Chippendales in Vegas a few years ago, and was surprised how gay-friendly it was. Returning this past week to catch the final night of Nyle DiMarco's residency as celebrity host, it had only gotten gayer—while still maintaining its unique status as the premier male burlesque stop for ladies.
The show is a nonstop parade of irresistible, hypermasculine clichés designed to elicit scream after scream—Marines, construction workers, motorcycle gangs, they're all there, as are the mostly hairless, uniformly muscled, TALL, sometimes tattooed men who thrust their way through the numbers.
As bulky as they are, most of the guys are terrific dancers, the music is up-to-the-minute, the costumes are on-point (and half-off!) and the newly installed LED displays let you check out every flex.
Nyle was completely adorable, flashing his childlike grin from that Jon-Erik Hexum-handsome face and charming everyone with a candid interview (via interpreter) about growing up deaf ... and how the hell he dances without hearing any music. (His little hip-hop number was so cute I wanted to groan awwwwww! but held back.)
They let you take pictures during the bows, and it's also a must to get a pic seated on the guys' laps afterward. As I sat on Nyle's lap, I figured a way to flex my cheek to communicate to him that while a top, I could be sexually fluid in order to receive his sexual fluids. I don't know if he understood, but if it's true that deaf people's other senses are sharpened, I'm sure he smelled my thirst.
After it was all over, I got another, more intimate meet-and-greet with Nyle, who was dashing out and probably ready to celebrate a job well done after weeks of hosting the challenging show.
He couldn't have been nicer, signing four racy photos for me and reacting with excitement that I had his Attitude cover. Funny that he should be their cover boy—he has no attitude at all.