A male stripper who has been taking his clothes off for 38 years has bared all about his career – including the time he performed at a 250-person funeral.
Mike Stratton started stripping in 1986 and throughout his career he’s performed a Full Monty dance routine at a woman’s funeral, had to have a tetanus jab after being bitten on the bum and was even once booked by the Russian Mafia.
The 55-year-old, who runs his own stripper agency, says he has no plans to slow down as he’s still receiving bookings and wowing crowds.
Mike, from Wigan in Greater Manchester, said: ‘You can’t beat going on stage. The adrenaline buzz you get is incredible. I think that’s kept me young.
‘I call adrenaline a youth drug. If you met and talked to me, you wouldn’t think I was a 55-year-old man. In my head, I’m still 25 and I’ll do my best to act it.
‘These days, when my agent phones me up and says “Do you want to do this birthday gram?” I’ll ask “How old is she?”
‘If they’re under 25, I’ll say “Listen, that’s a bit young for me”. But I’m all over the pensioners. They love me. To anybody over 50, I’m like catnip.’
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Mike was 18 when he got his first job straight out of school as a male ‘kiss-o-gram’, after impressing his ‘seedy looking’ first boss.
He spent nine months as an Ibiza party rep in the late 1980s, before returning to the UK and joining the Dreamboys in London.
During the late 1990s, he founded his own group called The X-men, with frenzied women going wild for the lads as they toured the UK and Europe.
And he recalled one specific incident in South Wales where one affectionate fan even bit him on the bottom.
The dad-of-three, whose solo stage name is ‘The Hustler’, said: ‘I always said I wanted to be in Take That, but I ended up in the Dreamboys.
‘Several times in the early days, when we were one of the only groups doing it in the country, we had to be rescued by doormen and ferried out the back exit.
‘I was once stood there having a picture taken and all of a sudden I had this mad pain in my bum. Turned around and there was a girl on her knees. She’d bit my bum.
‘She drew blood and I had to go and have a tetanus shot.
‘I’ve still got scars on my back from where I’ve been scratched. I don’t know what is with women but they seem to want a piece of you.’
In his most bizarre booking, Mike and his troupe performed a Full Monty dance routine next to a woman’s coffin in 2006.
They were booked to fulfil the woman’s last wish to re-enact the iconic dole queue routine from the cult classic film in front of 250 stunned mourners.
After a smattering of applause, he says the raunchy dancers hot-tailed it out of the church and drove home in silence.
He said: ‘There’s a scene in The Full Monty where they do a Donna Summer “Hot Stuff” routine. She put in her will that she wants a team of strippers to do this for her.
‘At the church, I said to her son, “So everybody knows this is happening?” He went, “Oh no, there’s only a couple of us who know”.
‘People were crying, saying what a wonderful person she was. Then her son got up and said: “She had a great sense of humour, as you’re about to find out”.
‘The music came on, and we had to walk up to the coffin – there were two of us on either side of it – and we did the routine.
‘People were just looking at us gobsmacked. We finished the routine and there was a “clap, clap, clap”, and we walked out.
‘Normally, when we finish a show we’re all buzzing and chatting about it. But we all just sat there in silence on the motorway, driving home traumatized.’
However, Mike revealed he didn’t just peak the interests of lusty female fans, but on occasion, sinister underworld groups as well.
And he remembered how in 1996, his group were unwittingly booked to perform for prostitutes who worked for the Russian mafia.
He said: ‘We didn’t know – we just got a gig off an agent in this country.
‘We turned up in St Petersburg, and we were doing the Friday and Saturday night – it was a ladies’ weekend.
‘The first night, we were backstage, and we were spying through the curtain.. All these women were coming in dressed in 1950s Audrey Hepburn-style ball gowns.
‘We did the show. It was a little bit weird but alright. But turns out that all the girls worked for the mafia.
‘They were “ladies of the night”. We were there as a treat. When we came back, we told the agent off for letting us work for the mafia without us knowing.’
Happily married Mike said he’d racked up hundreds of pounds in tips with his troupe by getting his wife, Donna, 52, to start the ‘bidding’ process at some shows.
He went on: ‘Sometimes my wife would turn up at the gig, and I’d say, alright, when I’m doing this part of the show, put your hand up in the air with £5.
‘She’d do that and we’d all jump on her and do loads of stuff. And then they’d all have their fivers up in the air.
‘It was like a shield bidder in an auction at a market, where the first bid gets other people bidding. It was a little cheeky way of making extra money.’
Besides his career in stripping, Mike has also incredibly managed to make £70,000 by going on dozens of TV game shows – from The Weakest Link to Bullseye – and he’s currently working on a tell-all memoir about his life as a male stripper.
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