Two Denny’s waitresses and I walk into a strip club . . .
Sounds like the setup to a bad joke with an even worse Moons Over My Hammy punchline, doesn’t it? If only. Instead, it was just the icing on a cake of a night. A booze-filled, stripper-flavored* cake.
Why was I doing something that I said I’d never do? I would love to say it’s because I’m tackling my fears or pushing my boundaries, but that would demonstrate a depth that, frankly, I don’t possess. No, the reason I did it is that when you go to Denny’s so frequently that you become friends with the waitresses, and when two of those waitresses, who happen to be very cute girls, ask you to go do something, you say yes, motherfucker.
The establishment that we visited is called Rachel’s World Class Adult Entertainment Complex and Steak House. I’m guessing the name is carefully crafted to create an impression of a high-class establishment for discerning gentlemen. That, and “Rachel’s Tits and Steak” was probably already taken.
Our evening began at 6 PM, which means that “evening” is a bit of a misnomer because it was still light out. Our drinking began at 6 PM, and at twenty-five cents per drink, it didn’t cost nearly as much as I expected to garner the strength to look up from the table to the stage. I mean monetarily, of course. It cost me just as much as I expected in dignity.
I would like to commend Rachel’s for providing employment, in this tough economy, for women of all ages, shapes, sizes, levels of droopiness, scarring, and number of teeth. I saw many . . . . ummm, what do I call them? “Girls” is probably condescending, most were too young to be “women”, “strippers” seems too dirty, “sluts” is a bit presumptuous albeit likely, and “ladies” only works if you say it with a douchey ironic lilt to your voice. Let me try again. I saw many dead-behind-the-eyes denizens of the night who were perfectly attractive females, if you saw them at the mall or your local discotheque. What distorts one’s perception is when a girl who looks cute at the mall like she’d totally go down on you at an Alanis concert gets up on a stage wearing nothing but clear band-aids over her nipples, a black sequined thong, and six-inch heels, you notice all of the same problem areas that you’d otherwise ignore if you were genuinely interested in her for more than just watching her gyrate naked in front of you.
As this was both an entertainment venue and a steak house, I would have been derelict in my responsibility to myself had I not explored the culinary options available. A small, limited menu was provided, and I chose a $45.00 filet mignon, served Oscar style (topped with crab and served with asparagus and hollandaise sauce). My black, cigarette-scarred table was topped with a white linen, adding a level of class that provides a good lesson: When in doubt, throw a white sheet on top of it.
The food arrived within 15 minutes, and I will admit that my expectations were far exceeded. Of course, I expected a piece of burnt meat that tasted like shit, but the steak I received was almost on par with any that I would order at Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s, or any other fine dining establishment that is not enhanced by the gyrating presence of thongs and techno music.
In addition, eating my meal gave me an opportunity to look somewhere other than the stage, allowing me to avoid deciding where to make eye contact. It’s an interesting dilemma. I couldn’t look at them in their eyes, because (a) I didn’t want to lose my soul, and (b) it’s important to avoid giving them any visual indication that I wanted them to come over and provide personal, probably expensive and/or skanky, attention and entertainment. I certainly did not want to focus my attention on their breasts or pelvic region, as it only served to make me feel like more of an exploitative pervert, and I tried to avoid spending too much time examining their shoes, as that would mean I was gay. Generally, I would find a spot below their eyes but above their breasts where I could safely stare without encouraging any interaction, feeling guilty, or perpetuating homosexual myths about myself.
In the three and a half hours that I spent at Rachel’s Tits and Steak, only one denizen of the night disturbed me emotionally, and that was the one who was pregnant. She wasn’t too far along – maybe four to five months, but far enough that her baby bump was distinctly visible as she stood less than five feet away from me, inhaling the smoke from every cigarette burning, moving her hips in such a way as to resemble (inadvertently, I assume) a Pilgrim churning butter. The hero in me (an apt nickname I received years ago that refers to Say Anything is Captain Boombox) wanted to talk to her, ask her if she had any other skills, give her a job and a place to stay if she needed it, defend her from those who would resist her change, and rescue her baby from a life of lap dances and syphilis. The pessimist in me sarcastically assumed that she was going to get an abortion anyway, so what did it matter. The idealist in me optimistically decided that she was doing her last shift and saving every penny to send her kid to Harvard, and so I just did the only thing I could do – use my teeth to tuck a dollar bill under her G-string*. You’re welcome, baby.
*No strippers were tasted or harmed. Well, harmed beyond the daily emotional deterioration of having a job where you get naked for money.
*No, I didn’t.