Frankly, I’m neither turned on nor entertained by half-naked men thrusting their pelvises and swirling their hips in my face. Nope. Not even the slightest.
I probably shouldn't divulge how I find male strippers unappealing because apparently I’m in the minority. As it turned out, last Friday swarms of young professional women filled Ess Elle Style Studio for their Friday Fling that featured the Midwest Heartbreakers – yes, male strippers were on the fashionable East Side.
I wanted to check out Ess Elle’s Friday Fling for months, but before I knew the theme for March I had already made plans to go with my sister. After receiving word of the night's entertainment, we both were a little reluctant to go when 7 p.m. finally rolled around.
During our short walk to Ess Elle, our conversation went something like this:
"I can’t believe we’re actually going to this. It’s so humiliating!"
"I know. We won’t stay long… We don’t have to tell anyone either."
Despite my promise, I decided to delve into the experience anyway regardless of how embarrassed I was because the fact of the matter is that Ess Elle really knows how to throw a party. Even though Terry and I were acting a little juvenile and slightly prudish by avoiding the strippers for nearly two hours, the Fling was a hit and everyone there seemed to be having a ball!
Ess Elle is part of the booming retail businesses that are quickly shaping the East Side neighborhood into a fashion district. Voted Milwaukee’s Best Women’s Clothing Boutique on WISN’s A-List, Ess Elle is a classy, fashion-forward shop that offers affordable and quality apparel that suits a woman’s everyday needs.
Not only does Ess Elle create amazing synergy in the neighborhood with seasonal boutique crawls through the North Avenue corridor, it brings local women together at special weekly and monthly events.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, Ess Elle hosts a Friday Fling. This event cordially invites ladies to shop and mingle while being treated to complimentary drinks and snacks as they are pampered and made to feel FABULOUS.
In March, women were able to meet Kobe and JJ from the Midwest Heartbreakers (who actually were quite attractive) while being spoiled with $5 eye brow waxing from Blush Beauty, $5 Tarot card readings from Miss Kerrie Clark and free massages from Tommy Dallas, plus desserts and refreshments until 9 p.m.
Upon entering the softly lit boutique, one of the men greeted us at the door and checked our IDs, and then gathered up our coats. Shortly after, another handsome man approached us with a drink – a mix of pink Champaign and strawberry vodka – as other ladies arrived in groups. Throughout the store young women clustered together amid racks of clothing. They complimented each other’s outfits and sipped on plastic cups of overly sweet sparkling alcohol while Rap music blared from the overhead sound system.
Terry and I polished off our first drink and were quickly poured another. Then, we decided to page through the funky dresses and bold print tops that hung on the sale rack for 70% off. What I like about Ess Elle is that the garments aren’t over-the-top trendy, but they aren’t basic either. Also, the boutique only carries a small number of each item, so it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t run into someone else with the same wardrobe.
While we browsed the racks of clothing, a friendly blonde clerk offered us her suggestions on the hottest trends for the season. She showed us what would flatter us and paired each item with a trinket from their vast selection of accessories. She wasn’t pushy, which I appreciated, just very accommodating. That’s the kind of service you’d expect from a personal shopper and although neither of us bought anything this time, I know we’ll go back, probably frequently.
Because Ess Elle and other boutiques are so unique and stylish, I was surprised when I read that only 15% of the population shops at them. I imagine it must be a struggle to draw young ladies into such stores. But, these Friday Flings and the other ladies’ nights at Ess Elle seem to be doing the trick, considering most women like to shop were they know fun things are going on. The Flings get women into the boutique, even if it’s only to peruse spring fashions or snack on chocolate covered strawberries and free cocktails like I did.
At 8:30 p.m. the lights dimmed and the hunky men went into the fitting rooms to prepare to show us their moves (blush). The women immediately shuffled to the center of the room, waiting in anticipation. I felt awkward. It was like I was rummaging through my older sister's porno magazines, afraid that I was going to get caught by my parents.
So, Terry and I immediately threw back the last sip of our mega sweet beverages and ducked out of the store. We didn’t stay to watch the show, but the Fling was certainly a great start to an entertaining Friday night on the town!
Remember, Ess Elle’s Friday Fling takes place on the first Friday of every month.
Friday Night Fling
Ess Elle Style Studio
1919 E. Kenilworth Pl.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Hours: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
(Bring your IDs)