Things that are bigger in Texas include its strip bars, judging by the Men's Club of Houston, which occupies dimly lit premises measuring no less than 2415sq m and employs dozens of female entertainers with ample proportions.
Sadly, for the proprietor of this and other nearby gentlemen's establishments, local authorities are about to force them to shoulder the burden of what will become one of the adult entertainment industry's largest and most punitive "sin" taxes.
Houston council voted last week to levy a US$5 ($6.25) fee on patrons who cross the threshold of the city's 30 licensed strip bars. The money will be put towards analysing forensic evidence collected from rape victims.
Supporters of the so-called "pole tax" argue lap-dancing clubs must shoulder some of the financial burden of rape investigations because their businesses foster misogynistic attitudes towards women, which can lead to sexual assaults.
"There are negative secondary effects associated with adult-entertainment establishments," Ellen Cohen, the council member behind the ordinance, told the Wall Street Journal.
It was passed by 14 votes to one.
Cohen and her colleagues hope revenue from the fee will help to reduce the time it takes police laboratories to analyse "rape kits", the name given to packets containing hair, blood and other samples that may contain DNA evidence which are routinely taken from victims of sex crimes.
Houston lacks the funds to properly support crime labs, and has a backlog of 6000 unprocessed rape kits.
The "pole tax" will generate around US$3 million each year, supporters estimate.
The fee also applies to bars and nightclubs which offer one-off events that could be construed as sexually explicit, such as wet T-shirt contests or "naked sushi contests", in which revellers are invited to eat raw fish off the body of a nude woman.
The patrons of Houston's strip-clubs now face a double-whammy: in addition to the city's tax, they already have to pay a US$5 fee to the state of Texas when visiting an adult venue, thanks to a law passed in 2007.
That fee was recently upheld by the state Supreme Court, after exotic dancers filed a lawsuit claiming it violated free speech rights.
The adult industry is lobbying hard against the new fee, arguing that it represents an unnecessary burden on job-creating businesses at a time of economic strife. Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents strip clubs, told the Journal the tax was based on flawed logic.
"There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen's clubs and rape," he said.
But Jack Christie, a councillor who voted for the levy, said he doubted it would destroy the strip clubs.
"When you look at videos and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 bills in their remaining clothing, I don't think a $5 tax will hurt anybody."
- IndependentBy Guy Adams