TAMPA — The controversial stripper mobile returned to the streets this weekend, cruising Tampa's party zones with dancers spinning around a pole in fishnet stockings, high heels and thongs.
Only these dancers weren't your regular strippers from Deja Vu. They were club security guards, dressed in drag and shaking their booty in between laughs.
The club decided to take a more comic approach Friday night after some locals objected to strippers grinding in the back of a plastic-sided truck. Instead of girls in bikinis, they created their own exotic dancers: singer Meatloaf after a sex change, a big-breasted girl jumping out of a cake, and Cher. They even had a Tiger Woods look-alike in a Nike hat and glove.
The three dancers depict the "ugly ones" in Deja Vu's nationwide motto: "1000s of beautiful women and three ugly ones."
"Everyone always asks, 'What's the deal with the three ugly ones?' That's what everybody remembers," said Deja Vu general manager Eric "Ice" Terrell. "Now they get to see it."
The stripper mobile took off from the Adamo Drive club at 10 p.m. Friday and drove up and down Ybor City's Seventh Avenue and South Howard Avenue. People cheered and snapped photos with their cell phones as the dancers pressed against the plexiglass and beat Tiger with a golf club. Most everyone stared and smiled, including the police officers.
"We've really toned it down and made it kind of ridiculous, and we're still getting a positive reaction," said Terrell, who was thrilled with the experiment.
Even women on the streets who might be offended seeing strippers spread eagle behind a window appreciated the twist.
"They obviously know comedy," said Shannon Coughlin, 22, as she waited in line outside club Czar. "If I were going to go to a strip club, I would go there."
And even though some of the men said they would have preferred the real dancers, they understood the message.
"I think it's really funny that they made a mockery out of the strippers," said Arimus Dixon, a bouncer at the Lodge.
Deja Vu, which is part of a nationwide chain, started the stripper mobile in January as a way to drum up business for the club. The truck went out for a few weekends before it caught the attention of authorities, who weren't so amused.
Tampa police said the vehicle had an invalid title and registration out of Las Vegas, where public outcry put the vehicle in park several months ago. Until Deja Vu fixed the problems here, the stripper mobile was grounded.
Deja Vu planned to swap the guys for the female dancers over the next few weekends in the hopes that objections don't flare. Then the stripper mobile heads to other cities.
The next stop: St. Louis, Mo. — the "Show Me State."