Tampa, Florida - A reputation can sometimes be hard to shake and the city of Tampa has a reputation it would probably like to eliminate. For the past decade some have called Tampa the lap dance capital of the world.
Paul Allen, the founder and publisher of NightMoves magazine, says he hears about the city's reputation all the time. He believes the shear number of strip clubs in the Bay area has undoubtedly contributed to the city's rep.
Photo Gallery: Tampa - Lap dance capital of the world
"In greater Tampa Bay, I think the last count is around 56 different clubs that are adult-oriented," he said.
Another reason for the reputation is the city's role in the adult industry. "If you own a club in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and you want to book a feature (dancer) to come to your club, there's basically four people you can call. Three of those four companies are based right here in Tampa," Allen said.
But the biggest reason for Tampa's lap dance reputation is because of an ordinance the city enacted about 10 years ago. Called the "six foot rule," it requires customers to stay six feet from the dancers.
"In hindsight, I think we did a poor job of explaining what it was that we were doing and as a result of that, this thing took on a life of its own," former Tampa city councilman Bob Buckhorn recently told 10 Connects. "It wasn't necessarily about lap dancing and it wasn't necessarily about the Mons Venus. It was as much about shutting down the body scrub places, the lingerie shops and the massage parlors as it was about the adult-use clubs."
But once the ordinance was on the books, the city arrested dozens of dancers who violated the six foot rule and the arrests generated national publicity. Buckhorn believes in the following weeks he called Tampa the "lap dance capital of the world" and the moniker stuck.
Ironically, the six foot rule is still on the books today, yet the ordinance is not enforced, which some believe only contributes to the reputation.
"Out-of-towners, they don't have places like this. So when they come in here, it's just like you know, this magical place for them," said Allie, a dancer at 2001 Odyssey, a totally nude club on N. Dale Mabry.
Some might also be surprised to hear that the owner of Mons Venus, another totally nude strip club located on N. Dale Mabry, doesn't like the reputation.
"I kind of wish it would go away, because the only time I ever hear anybody say it, it's people who want to put the adult industry down," Joe Redner said.
However, as long as the lap dances are allowed and with so many adult clubs in the Bay area, Tampa's reputation is not likely to be stripped away anytime soon.
* Stripper Mobile in Tampa
* Photo gallery of the Stripper Mobile
* StripperMobile parked, but strippers to return
Preston Rudie, 10 Connects