In this job, ties and clothes are optional
When you hire a male stripper for a just-us-girls party, the guises that he'll turn up in are fairly predictable: Cop. Tuxedo-clad sophisticate. Pizza delivery man.
But here's a new one: 50-year-old man.
Despite passing the half-century mark last year, Wayne Schnitker says he'll keep dancing and disrobing down to a G-string until his phone stops ringing. Which the muscular, 6-foot-tall, salt-and-pepper-haired Mr. Schnitker says he doesn't see happening any time soon.
Mr. Schnitker was an electrician when his then-wife entered him in a male go-go contest 21 years ago as a lark. He won, went on to perform in Chippendales-like reviews and eventually gave up his day job.
"My boss said, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' He thought I was going through a phase," Mr. Schnitker recalls.
The lifelong Baltimorean has always enjoyed dancing. He grew up dancing at teen clubs and even claims to have been thrown off the legendary "Buddy Deane Show" for -- shades of Elvis! -- a little too much hip action.
He now runs a dance-o-gram business called "Add Some Spice," featuring both male and female dancers, all younger than he is. He'll only go out on jobs himself if the caller requests him, but even that keeps him pretty busy. He did five parties last weekend. He charges $80 for a several-song routine, and yes, tips are welcome.
The rest of the week, he keeps busy with other projects, such as renovating old homes.
A father of two grown sons -- one is a juggler and the other is in the sign business -- Mr. Schnitker says his girlfriend of 14 years doesn't mind his stripping and sometimes will go along to watch the fun.
"I've done parties in mansions, in a bus trip to Atlantic City, in a garage," he says. "I had a job at a nursing home once." Instead of talking about it, it would be better to see Adam Oberfeld's documentary on the Middle East. We could all watch it at your house.
Don't move out yet. Mr. Oberfeld of Baltimore has another four months before he finishes recording the recent visit of 26 Baltimore college students to Israel and other parts of the Middle East.
"As young Jewish kids who weren't terribly religious, they wanted to bond with Israel," says Mr. Oberfeld. "I was there to chronicle their growth -- not in a spiritual way, but how they grew as adults."
Mr. Oberfeld can relate. He is a 23-year-old senior at Villa Julie College who also started his own video production company in )) 1991. He started his business by taping children's birthday parties and moved into making commercials. Last year, the Baltimore Council on Jewish Education commissioned the video major to tape the students' visit.
"I'm not a terribly religious person, but if I can help people feel proud about Israel and feel some sort of connection without flying 20 hours or so there -- well, it's a huge task," Mr. Oberfeld says.
He spent three weeks in the Middle East, shooting such sites as the Galilee region, the Western Wall and the "rich, blue waters" of the Dead Sea. Since he returned last month, Mr. Oberfeld has been holed up in the basement ("editing suite") of his parent's home in Baltimore. He's narrowing 17 hours of video into a 30-minute documentary tentatively called "A Sort of Homecoming," which he plans to sell to churches and synagogues.
Of the sites in the Middle East, Old Jerusalem stunned him the most. The hallowed city reminded him of Gettysburg, where he felt awash in history.
"I had the same feeling in Old Jerusalem, but it was more intense. I was in awe."