Maureen Lubao wraps her long, tanned legs high around a pole in the middle of a bar full of men and slithers to the floor.
She's wearing five-inch stiletto heels and a neon-orange, one-piece bathing suitconsisting of a G-string connected to two narrow strips of fabric glued to her breasts with spirit gum. On her feet, she gyrates to the music, then steps off the platform and puts her leg on the bar so the men can shove dollar bills in her garter.
Some of the dancers at Memories, a bikini bar in North Point, look alternately vacant, seductive and teasing while they're entertaining. But Lubao oozes energy and enthusiasm more than raw sensuality. She smiles -- a real, radiant smile -- the whole time.
"I always loved to dance," says Lubao, 24, a Glen Burnie resident and a second-year business student at Anne Arundel Community College. She also loves the money. And the attention.
So, when two women visited the bar last winter and asked her to perform in a video instructing wives and sweethearts on how to do a striptease, she didn't think twice.
Thevideo, called, "Take It Off: Kindling a Romance," was recently released by Candlelite Entertainment Inc., a tiny company created by the two women who hired Lubao, Virginia Kirby and Marge Troy of Baltimore.Troy is 38 years old, has been married 13 years and has two children; Kirby, 33, has been married 11years and has three kids.
"We wanted to find something special we could do for our husbands, and dinnerand a movie weren't cutting it any more," says Kirby.
What happily-attached-but-bored women all over America need, they decided, is a crash course on how to be sexy.
Hence, this video, which includes tips on how to set the mood with candlelight, champagne and strawberries; how to pamper yourself with bubble baths, makeup and seductive lingerie; and, finally, how to perform a "tastefully choreographed striptease."
In search of someone who could choreograph, dance and who looks good enough to wear a "stunning three-piece bra and garter set" or a "silky bustier with G-string," Troy and Kirby headed to Memories.
"It has the best reputation for strippers," Kirby explained. "In some of the other places, most of the girls are pretty wired out."
After watching a procession of women dance around the pole, theypicked Lubao. "Of all the girls," Kirby said, "she had the most clothes on, made the most money and was the least threatening to women.
"We didn't want a blond bombshell with a big set of knockers. Womenwould say, 'I can't do that for my husband, because I'm not built like that.' "
Lubao, sitting backstage in her nearly non-existent orange costume, laughs when she hears the part about wearing the most clothes. Then, quite pleasantly, she agrees with Kirby's description of her as "average-looking."
"I know I am average-looking," she says. "I don't have highcheekbones and blue eyes."
What she does haveis a fashionably athletic body, generous curves, long dark hair and a great tan.
About a year ago, Lubao was tending bar at Hammerjacks and enjoying some success in competitions like the "Naughty Negligee" contest. Some of the Memories dancers, who occasionally make guestappearances at the well-known Baltimore nightspot, told her she ought to become one of them. Lubao tried out and got the job.
Today, she dances at Memories four nights a week, from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and makes a bundle. Her sister, Monica, 26, who shares a house with Lubao in Glen Burnie, tends bar at Memories and earns just as much.
Lubao makes no apologies: She's in this for the money. "Maybe it was the way I was brought up, in a middle-class household (in Pasadena) where we didn't have money for anything. At Christmastime, I never hadmoney to buy people nice gifts. Last year, I bought a lot of nice gifts."
Lubao is saving her dancing earnings to buy a business -- something that makes a big profit, like a coin-operated laundry. "I want to work my butt off, get married, have kids and have a huge farm," she says.
Aware that most dancers' careers end by their late 20s, Lubao plans on dancing until she's out of school. The prospect of being on display for two more years before dozens of men -- including some who make downright lewd overtures -- does not bother her.
"It'skinda nice," she says. "I am the ugly duckling of my family. That's why I like doing it."
It was a lot harder, she says, performing infront of a camera for the video than dancing in a bar. "I had to look at the camera all the time. I'm not used to that. I had to pretend (the camera) was a man."
She loved the white lace dress she wore in the striptease (which ended before anything was exposed) and all the sexy lingerie. "But I had to wear a wedding ring. That was funny."
So far, Lubao has earned nothing from the video deal. Kirby said Lubao's contract calls for her to receive 5 percent of the profits.
About 20 copies of the $29.99 video have sold since it was released earlier this month, Kirby said. Spencer's, a chain of novelty gift shops, plans on test-marketing the tape in 20 stores; the video should hit the shelves in nine weeks, she said.
If "Take It Off" sells, Kirby said she and Troy have an idea for another video. "It would be called, 'Feeding a Romance: An Evening of Aphrodisiacs.' It would be planning a whole meal around things that are sexually stimulating."
If the video doesn't sell, it won't be Lubao's fault, Kirby said.
"She was great. She had a great sense of humor. One afternoon we called out for pizza, and she was wearing a little bra set. When the delivery man came, she popped around the corner and said, 'I want to thank you very much for bringing this pizza.'
"The guy almost droppedthe pizza on the ground."