AUSTIN, Texas — You know the real reason the San Antonio City Council has approved a new rule requiring topless dancers to wear permits on stage while performing?

Getting paid to ogle.

Oh, they’ll tell you that the law — called the “Human Display Ordinance” — lets police do background checks on the strippers.

They’re not fooling me. I have a feeling that what’s really going on here is the creation of a coveted new position at San Antonio City Hall — Gentlemen’s Club Permit Inspector.

Guys, tell the truth. Wouldn’t you love to land this job? It’s kind of like building inspector, except you don’t have to wear a hard hat.

Another part of this ordinance says that during table dances, dancers can’t get within three feet of the clientele. This wouldn’t affect me because at my age I can’t get within three feet of anybody anyway. All of my table dances these days involve a knife and fork.

The permits, which will display a facial photo of the dancer and her stage name, will be about half the size of a credit card. That’s another plus for the Gentlemen’s Club Permit Inspector. Since the permit is tiny, he’d have to get up close to inspect it properly.

What’s next? If permits are required, could a written test be far behind? And what’s the essay question? How about, “Define biker chick.”

“I don’t have any problem with human display; I just wish they wouldn’t lower my property values,” said Chip Haass, a San Antonio City Council member.

He’s promoting the rule because he says topless clubs bring down home values in his district. Haass sees this as a big problem because his district has 15 sexually oriented businesses, “and nobody else has more than two.”

So if you’re in San Antonio and you’re looking for some action, visit his district.

Personally, I don’t think topless dancers should be required to wear permits. Permits are generally displayed by workers so we’ll know they have the skills to perform the task at hand and to identify them as a person who is engaged in that sort of work.

In neither case is a permit necessary for a topless dancer. You can tell immediately by looking at a topless dancer if she has the necessary, uh, tools. Besides, topless dancers are easy to spot — with or without a permit. You can’t miss ’em. They’re the ones hanging onto the pole without no pants on.

John Kelso writes for the Austin American-Statesman.

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