Jamil Daher .
(photo credit: Media Line )
Jamil Daher claims it all began rather innocently.
"It wasn't my idea," he tells The Media Line. "I was at a
bachelorette party and some foreign girls dared us to do something for the
bride. None of the other guys did anything, but they pressured me to do
something cute because I have the look and the body for it. So we had some fun
and I danced naked for the bride and her friends."
Daher thought of the strip incident as a one time stunt, but within weeks he
says he was inundated with calls from women who had heard about the party.
"The word got out and women started calling me, lots of calls one after
another," he remembers. "I was shocked but I decided to do it as a
Daher bought some 'work clothes', took on the stage name "Jimmy",
made a promotional CD and was in business.
"I basically became 's
first male stripper," the 32-year-old says. "Now there are other
amateur male strippers, but most of them are not professionals."
"You need to be in good shape, attractive and smell good," he says.
"But the most important thing is the skin."
"Personality is a big part of stripping," he adds. "You have to
believe in yourself and know what to do and how to do it. You also have to be
strong, because girls like you to lift them up and do tricks."
'Jimmy' says both his skills and wardrobe have grown over the years.
"I have many outfits: I can be a gentlemen, waiter, cowboy, mechanic,
pilot or teacher, but the most popular is the policeman," he says
laughing. "Everyone likes to be handcuffed."
The seductions of the single 32-year-old seem to have worked.
"The women flirt with me a lot," he says. "But I have my limits
and I don't date people I entertain."
A personal trainer by day, 'Jimmy' says he has made a killing off his second
"I charge $500 for 20 to 30 minutes," he says, adding that he plans
to raise the rate to $750 this summer. "In the high season from June to
September I have a gig almost every day and sometimes three events in one
Jimmy says that while his stripping started at a foreigner's wedding, today he
dances mostly for locals.
"Most of my clients are Lebanese but I also have many English speaking
clients," he says. "I dance for Christians, Muslims, Druze and women
of all ages from 18 into their 60s."
Jimmy's only limit is gay men.
"Lots of gay men ask me to strip for them but I only strip for
women," he says. "I don't dance alone and I only dance with
"I don't want to be people’s bitch," he says. "I do this for fun
and extra money, so I have my rules and I want to be seen as respectable."
Jimmy says he hasn't suffered any serious rebuke from his family.
"Even if my family doesn't like it, I am a free man with a free mind and I
don't base my decisions on my family," he says. "So they have come to
respect me and my decision."
is not like it was 15 years ago," he adds. "Everything has changed,
not just in the entertainment industry."
Sari Hanafi, a professor of sociology at the
says that 's
unbound, uninhibited culture revolves increasingly around the body.
is historically a very consumer-based society compared to other Middle Eastern
countries," he tells The Media Line. " has often been seen as the cultural
capital of the Arab world."
"Meanwhile since the Lebanese civil war there has been a severe
political disillusionment," Professor Hanafi says. "Most of the
Lebanese population seeks a distinctly apolitical lifestyle. This has led to a
lot more investment in culture and is extremely important for understanding how
the human body became the base of consumer society in ."
"When we study the cultural script of
- meaning the norms and behavior of Lebanese - we have to remember that has a
very complex, diverse and global culture, influenced by Western culture, Arab
satellite channels, the Koran, the bible," he said. "Lebanese have
this exposure to these vastly different, diverse norms. This allows people to
transgress whichever of the cultural scripts that they don't like."