Monday, September 15, 2008

One less debt

First of all, I am sure that a few of you have been wondering about what happened to this post as it made a brief appearance in y'alls readers this weekend. Yes, I meant to post. Just not at that time. Remember how I am prone to write stuff days, sometimes weeks, in advance. I just kind of hit the wrong button. But on with it all...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned exotic dancers in a post. That same week Hilly wrote a whole post about them. In my comments to her, I said that perhaps I should share a story. So now I'm sharing.

My first exposure to dancers was through a college roommate. If there was a Chippendales review in town, then she was there. And after we became roommates, I'd tag along. That same year I dated a guy who belonged to a certain fraternity.

This guy announced after a month of dating that he had been watching me for a year. I know this because he was able to describe outfits that I hadn't worn in about a year. Over this time, he had decided what kind of house we would have when we were married -- and the names of our children. I was going to say, "And for some reason," but I know the reason. When I met him, I was barely hanging onto life. I was looking to others for my reason to stay around. And so we "learned" how to be cruel to one another off and on over a two year period. I say "learned" because I know that at least on my part it was not something new. I may have not exhibited it previously but I knew long before I met him how to be cruel to another person.

This is not the story though. I mentioned this guy because his fraternity had an annual Chippendales night as their big fundraiser. I still joke to this day that that was the only night each year that all of the guys in the fraternity got laid. Really. Right before I left the place, I headed to the bathroom. To see some chick who had one of the brothers pinned to the floor while her friends were trying to drag her off of him saying, "But she has a boyfriend." Yeah. Right.

A few years later I ended up in a summer school program in England. The first Friday night found me and a few classmates walking through the West End. We'd pass by clubs and they would say that ladies didn't need to pay the cover. Well, our group of six was half female. And the female half? We were adventurous. We eventually told the guys that if they paid for a round for us in a pub, we would go with with them to their strip club of choice.

I remember our shock upon entering the club. They had a one drink minimum. And that two pound pint? Was eight to ten pounds in the strip club world. And then the girls started dancing. And the first chick had totally not taken care of her bikini line. Ewwww. I would have had more drinks if they had not been more expensive. But I had had enough drinks to warrant a trip to the bathroom. And while I was in the stall I got to hear the chicks talking about the cheap bastards in the club. You should have seen the looks on their faces when I stepped out of the stall. After about twenty minutes of this, during which we got to witness the girls literally clean out a German tourist's wallet, my guy friends decided that they had been cheated. One headed back up to the door to complain. The door guy was not there but the roll of entrance tickets was. My friend ripped off a long strand of the tickets before returning to find us. When we finally made it back to the dorm, all six of us were wearing a "boa" of these tickets. I'm sure the other students with whom we met up in the lobby after they were returning from a night at the theater and four-star dining thought that we were extra classy. I know this much. Our story is probably much more interesting today than theirs.

The last time I set foot in a strip joint is the most memorable by far though. It was during the height of my partygirl days in San Francisco. Every Friday night after work, I'd head to North Beach. To this old Italian bar. I still think of it as one of the safest places in the City. I was seated at the bar next to an older guy. He looked at me and asked, "Sweetheart, why you look so sad?" Now at this point the bartender, who I knew well enough to call "Uncle," had told me to not talk to this guy. Something about his fear that one day I would end up dead in an alley. Whatever. (Jade on the other hand used to ask me why I always told these guys that I understand Italian. I told her because I've seen the movies. First to go? The accountant and the girlfriend. Just didn't want folks saying things in front of me about which I shouldn't know.) I told the guy, "Some guy just insulted me." And then I pointed out the guy to him. I caught the offensive guy's eye as I pointed and smiled really nicely. Because I can be a bitch like that. The nice guy sitting next to me said that no one should ever insult me.

As the evening progressed, we started talking about smoking -- specifically cigars. Turns out his friend owned a place with cigars. So we decided to head on over. Turns out the place was a strip joint. All that mattered to me was that they had Jack and cigars. The girls were a wee bit classier than my previous encounter but I didn't really notice that much.

How does one follow up cigars at a strip joint? Playing pool. By the time our pool game ended, I realized that I was quite intoxicated (OK. Maybe I realized it when I was puking in the ladies room at the strip club but the night was young. And my stomach was empty.) and explained that I should probably go home. Especially since I had not eaten much that day.

"You should have told me you were hungry. Next time I'll buy you dinner."

And then he called the bartender over to get a cab for me. And pressed some money in my hand. I tried to give some of it back because it was more than what I knew that the cab ride home would cost. He wasn't having any of it. After reaching home, I briefly thought to myself that if he had given me five dollars more, I could have broken even for the evening.

The next week I was out with a friend and her coworkers. One of her coworkers had grown up in San Francisco and knew all kinds of interesting types of people. She mentioned a former classmate who had been acquitted on a hit. I told her that her classmate had the same last name as the guy I had met the previous weekend. When I told her the guy's full name, she said that he was the uncle of her classmate. And that I had not been mistaken in pegging him as a made man.

Every now and then I wonder about the guy who insulted me. Because I haven't seen him since that night. Oh, but he probably just moved out of the area. Yep. That's it.

Ummm. And now maybe you understand just how wild and out of control I was back in those days. Because stuff like this? Kind of normal back then. But I had a lot of fun.

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