Monday, October 15, 2012

Learning lessons I already know

In spite of what I said a while back, I wound up in a strip club last the other night. And once again, I learned I'm not good at strip clubs. And when I say that, I don't mean I misbehave when I'm there, acting like some kind of jackass. I mean the way someone would say they're not good at golf. I just don't/can't get into it. Never have, guess I never will.
Here's what happened this time...
A former co-worker got in touch and said he had free VIP passes at Scores here in Tampa, which is one of the "nice" strip clubs my comedian friend was talking about. This meant getting in without having to pay the $10 cover. He likes to act like a big shot so I didn't mention that there was a coupon to cut out from the paper for the same deal. I was bored and figured "why not?" I got there, found a seat near the stage and felt uncomfortable almost immediately. For one thing, it's way too noisy. There's loud dance music that plays constantly but worse is a DJ who never shuts up. "ALL RIGHT GENTLEMEN, LET'S KEEP IT GOING AND WELCOME DESTINY TO THE STAGE!" Why is it necessary to  welcome destiny? It was inevitable that she would show up sooner or later. I wonder if these places ever considered quiet periods; 20 minutes of silence every three hours, so everyone can stop and reflect on where they are in life. Probably not.
As I sat there passively, like I've always done in strip clubs, I did my best to avoid eye contact. Of course, at some point a dancer is going to approach. Then I have to smile and come up with an excuse for why I don't want whatever special she's pushing. "No thanks, I have stitches that are still healing" or "No thanks, I have exactly zero dollars and 58 cents on me". One of them was really persistent, smelling like cotton candy and bending my ear as I stared at a television over her shoulder. Eventually, she got frustrated and said, "you're really into that ballgame, aren't you?" and I said, "the funny thing is, I'm really not". That finally drove the point home and she left me alone. 
This allowed me to take notice of the douchey dudes I was sitting among. There were really creepy douchey old guys. There were douchey young guys who will probably grow up to be douchey old creepy guys. There were middle-aged douchey guys who were creepiest of all because you'd think they were old enough to know better but not so old as to be pathetic. And we were all sitting there, what, pretending to be millionaires? Yeah, like that's how I would live if I were a millionaire; surrounded by a bunch of douchey dudes and scantily-clad women who would be there for the sole purpose of getting my money. Okay, so it's half right.
Then there were the the thick-necked, bald-headed bouncer types in tuxedos, the kind who I felt wanted to come up and say, "daaahh, the boss don't like it when youse just sits here and don't spend no money." To which I would have to stand up and reply, "Yeah, well your boss is not the boss of me, is he tough guy? Now, please don't rip my arms out of the sockets." All of that combined to make me feel sad and I started to get up to leave, regretting having gone in the first place.
As i did, I spotted the worst thing in the whole place. Mounted on the ceiling, near the top of the brass pole is a piece of wood, about an 8" section of two-by-four, painted black to match the ceiling. The dancers would shinny up the pole, get a grip on that piece of wood and push off of it to get themselves spinning. The black paint is worn off where it's been grabbed and there are what look like gouge marks in it. As I thought about how much wear and tear it would take over a long period of time to look that way, I imagined a dancer on her first day on the job, climbing up there and seeing that. I equated it with going into a jail cell and seeing claw marks on the wall where previous residents had tried futilely to dig their way out. Now I was really depressed.
I left after about a half hour and went home. The only reason I stayed that long was because I felt bad about wasting the valet parking guy's time.
I don't really have a right to complain; I had the choice to go or not and I chose to go. It was very nice of my former co-worker to hook me up with the discount (since I hadn't cut out the coupon in the paper). I just need to do a better job of remembering what I'm not good at. 

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