As ColuMn winds down Year Two and slowly transforms into a site with even less frequent updates, we’re getting a little nostalgic and appreciating all of the good times we’ve had. In that spirit, cmsof agreed to spring for a night on the town last Friday. It is only now that we will speak of it and never again.
As the rooster crowed, signaling the end of another exhausting workday, Sparks and I wandered non-chalantly into cmsof’s office. We were surprised to find O’Connor sitting across from the Chief, with some elaborate storyboards laid out. Before I could ask if The O’Connor Chronicles was coming back from cancellation, cmsof announced that he was treating the staff to all-you-can-drink PBRs (Pabst Blue Ribbons) at the corner dive. All-too-weary of the Saturday morning PBMs (Pabst Bowel Movements), I decided to stick with Vodka Red Bull.
As the evening flew by, I remarked to myself in my head that this was the first ColuMn drinking event that had not been ended prematurely by S.W.A.T., the vice squad, or one of us erupting into uncontrollable sobbing. Maybe we really were becoming men. I raised my head from the half-empty glass of anti-freeze-flavored vodka and allowed myself just a hint of a smile.
Like every other weekend in the history of weekends, it was clear that this little excursion would not result in any of us getting laid. Used to it, but now fueled by the seemingly bottomless pockets of our faithful leader, Sparks was the first to bring up the idea of hitting the strip club. “I could get behind that idea, if you know what I mean,” I said, attempting a sexual innuendo that sounded more gay than anything. “You guys have earned it, I guess,” cmsof said, still frighteningly sober. “What’s a club?” O’Connor asked.
Ignoring O’Connor’s non-stop questions about pretty much everything, we left the bar and headed up the street, to where the neon proudly announced “Live Nude Girl”. Either the “s” was burnt out or they only employed one exotic dancer. Either way, none of us raised any objections.
The exterior of the club was nothing special. A windowless eyesore that was a pox on the residential neighborhood that surrounded it. You could tell it was near the elementary school just by the reader board which proudly stated, “Let us swing on your monkey bar”. That sounded neither erotic nor safe. We nervously made our way inside, allowing our eyes to adjust to the dark. We were not prepared for the sight that greeted us.
I’ve been to a few strip clubs in my decades on this planet. Usually there is a party atmosphere, with loud pounding dance music, a good-sized crowd, and a cornucopia of dancers in various stages of undress. This was not that type of strip club.
We were greeted first by a smell best left undescribed (rancid tar is about as close as I can come). Once we got our gag reflexes under control (O’Connor never really did, but he tried and that’s what counts) we became aware that the place was dead silent. No music, no murmuring crowd. Nothing except for the sound of O’Connor expelling gas. Determined to make the most of a pretty weird situation, we filed in and took seats around the stage.
As we waited for a dancer to take to the stage, a waitress came by to take our drink order. I tried to order a Vodka Red Bull, but was informed that we couldn’t drink liquor. cmsof left immediately. By this point, seven Vodka Red Bulls in, I was sort of relieved and hopeful that my heart would stop racing well before medical attention was required. I ordered a water.
At that point, the DJ, who appeared to not speak any English, put on perhaps the most inappropriate song to strip to ever recorded (Extreme’s “More Than Words”) and a stripper who hadn’t seen her 20s (or her feet) in at least two, maybe three, decades shambled onto the stage.
The performance that we beheld is not something I wish to recall, even for you, ColuMn reader. With O’Connor in one ear babbling about not seeing a naked woman since his step-son tucked it for the stage adaptation of Silence of the Lambs in high school and Sparks violently dry humping the chair leg, it was all I could do to pay the $15 for my 8 oz. dirty glass of room temperature water.
As the “dancer” came off the stage, she made eye contact with O’Connor, who immediately jumped at her offer of a visit to the VIP room. Figuring that I’d better keep O’Connor in sight, I grabbed the first stripper I could and followed O’Connor back to the VIP room.
As I got comfortable, slowing sipping from my $15 glass of water, the stripper ran through the overpriced menu options. Three songs for $100? I was pretty sure that “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” wouldn’t be one of those songs. In fact, the two songs I’d heard since entering the club had spanned no more than three minutes. One thing about strip clubs. They’re not really concerned with artistic integrity.
The next option was the $300 “private room”. When I asked if that was code for “boning”, I did not receive the shy nod that I was expecting, but rather a boistrous laugh that will follow me to the grave. No, the $300 was basically an hour spent listening to strip club music and unspecified activities that would probably turn out to include awkward attempts at conversation and exotic dancing that more closely resembled the death throes of a paralyzed paraplegic slowly dying of a gut shot. Not that I’d take the offer of boning anyway, though it would probably be more enjoyable than just diving into a big vat of gonorrhea, if way more pricey.
As luck would have it, before I could commit and part with my semi-hard-earned money, O’Connor shat himself, resulting in our entire group being removed from the premises as the first notes of the immortal “Send Me An Angel” wafted from the depressing morgue-like solitude of the strip club.
As we walked slowly back to the Sparksmobile, we all emphatically agreed. This had been the best ColuMn office social gathering ever.