Boogie Nights

It was Friday following a long workweek, and after a casual dinner in the neighborhood, Natasha and I decided to get one quick drink before calling it a night. We stopped at a local bar we used to go to, because with its diverse crowd and good dance music, it was always good fun.
As we walked in and our eyes adjusted to the soft lighting, it became apparent that the once diverse crowd had shifted to an almost exclusively gay male one. What also became apparent was that the dance floor had been converted to a stage. And on that stage were scantily-clad male dancers.
“Uh, Nat?”
“Yeah. I know. ”
“No, but are you aware that-”
“Kind of hard to miss, Jen.”
“Holy crap!”
It’s difficult for me to write these next words, so I will try to be delicate. You see, although I won’t be coy and pretend that I have never seen a male exotic dancer before, I just had never… Here’s the thing. It was very apparent to me, and everyone in the bar, that the dancers were enjoying their work. I mean, that their work was making them happy. What I’m trying to say is that these men enjoyed dancing very much, and it showed. And we shall never speak of this again.
“Nat! You can’t leave me here!”
“Jenny – seriously, I have to pee. It’s a one-person bathroom – what do you expect me to do?”
“Fine. Go. But make it quick!”
Trying to appear as though I had a purpose other than leering at the twenty-something man on stage dancing to the pounding techno beats, I ordered a scotch that I neither wanted nor needed.
Natasha joined me at the bar a few minutes later, and wisely brushed off the bartender when he asked her what she wanted.
“Okay, let’s get out of here now.”
“But, I just ordered a scotch.”
“So drink it and let’s get out of here.”
“What the hell are we doing here?”
“Look, Jenny, we didn’t know. We couldn’t know. How could we know?”
“We couldn’t.”
I took a sip of my drink, turned back toward the stage and said, “He really is incredibly attractive, though.”
“Yeah, but is he even old enough to be in here?”
“God, I feel like a letch.”
“You are.”
“Shut up – you’re a letch, too, then.”
“I just needed the bathroom. You’re all bellying up to the bar watching strippers.”
“I don’t see you leaving.”
As the dancer gathered up his tips and stepped off stage, he flashed us a smile. Sensing what was about to happen next, I grabbed Nat’s arm and told her to look like we were deep in a serious conversation. It didn’t work.
“Hello, lyadies. How are you doink tonight?”
My expert linguistic skills told me that the handsome young entertainer was Russian. He was still in his tiny Speedo when he sidled up to Natasha and me, and put his arms around us.
I burned Nat a wide-eyed stare and said, “Uh, fine. We’re fine. And you?”
“Vyery good. I see you girls comink here before? What’s your names? I’m Nikolai.”
In stressful situations like this, it is at exactly this moment when Natasha’s survival instincts typically kick in. Sometimes she just slyly walks away, but often, she creates a distraction with a prop of some sort. Once, after accidentally spilling wine all over the table of people next to us in a restaurant, she grabbed our friend Dee-Dee’s glasses and put them on before turning around to ask our wine-soaked neighbors, “Oh, sorry! Did I get ya?”
What the hell did you do that for?
I needed a disguise.

This time, it was my scotch. Just as Nikolai’s hand settled on my shoulder, I felt my drink being ripped from my grasp. Natasha grabbed my scotch and stretched across the bar to get another straw. Then, like an alcoholic possum, she remained motionless at the bar, a white-knuckled grip on the glass.
“Hi, I’m Jenny and that’s Natasha. Yeah, um, we’ve been here before but not with… not with the dancing. Is this new?”
“Uh, I think maybe ees new. I’m dancing here Friday night for last few weeks.”
“Okay, well, uh… that’s cool. It was nice to meet you, Nikolai.”
And with that, he walked off to chat with a rowdy table of men toward the back of the bar just as another dancer was getting ready to go on stage. The next dancer strutted in wearing white fur chaps, a white fur vest, and a cowboy hat. He carried a toy horse with him.
“Dear god, we’re in trouble. And yet, part of me so wishes I had a camera right now.”
Nat’s eyes lit up, “I have a camera!”
“You’re kidding! Ohmigod – you totally need to take a picture! No wait – you can’t take a picture! Do not take a picture. No. Wait. You have to take a picture. But don’t make a scene – turn off the flash.”
As the dancer galloped around the stage on his toy horse, I watched carefully, waiting for just the right pose. “You have to be discreet about it. Okay, do it now. Go!”
Natasha is a woman of innumerable talents, but discretion is not one of them. She held the camera at arms length in front of her and about six inches above her head, looked away, and then snapped a shot.
I was horrified as I saw a red beam shine directly on the cowboy’s face, at which point he stopped dancing, turned to Natasha and smiled.
“Oh shit. Shit. He looked right at me.”
“He did? Oh crap. Oh. Okay. Grab your coat – we gotta go. We gotta go now!”
Natasha fumbled to put her camera away, and just as I was about to grab my coat, I stopped. “Wait, Nat. You can’t just take his picture and leave. He posed for you. You need to give him a tip.”
No way!
“Seriously, Nat. Give him a dollar!”
“You have to.”
“Nat, you took a picture of a stripper and he smiled for you. Give him a dollar!”
“I said no!”
“Okay, look. I’ll give you the dollar. Just take this dollar and go give it to him.”
“Jenny, no.”
“Natasha Louise! You are going to take this dollar, and you’re going to get up there, and you’re going to put it in that man’s underwear right now!”
“No! And that’s not even my middle name.”
“It isn’t? Well, it should be. What’s your problem, anyway?”
“I don’t… I don’t know how.”
“What do you mean you don’t know how? You just go up there and stick the dollar in his pants.”
“Have you even been paying attention? That is not at all what’s happening up there, Jenny. People are pulling the dancers’ underwear out like a cash drawer and stuffing the money inside. We’re talking full frontal view. I mean, what the hell kind of elastic do they even have on their underwear here?”
“They’re special stripper underwear, I guess. Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll give you five dollars, plus the one dollar if you just put this dollar in his pants. Just hand it to him.”
“I’m not doing it!”
Suddenly, Natasha grabbed the wad of bills from my hand and held it over her head, much like she had held the camera that had caused this whole problem in the first place.
“Christ, would you stop waving that money around? Give it back! What’s wrong with you?”
As if on cue, Nikolai bee-lined over to Natasha and her fistful of dollars.
“Oh shit, Nat. Put the money away. Put it away! He’s coming over here!”
At that point, Natasha shoved the money down the front of my shirt, grabbed my drink again, and stared at the bar with roadkill eyes. After quickly retrieving the bills from my bra, I exchanged a few more pleasantries with Nikolai, but he left abruptly once he could see what cheap bastards we were. As soon as he left, I whacked Nat on the shoulder and grabbed my coat.
“Nice frickin’ move, Nat. Here’s an idea – why don’t you take some more pictures of strippers, not tip them, and then wave a wad of cash around like you’re Dean Martin? Let’s go.”
“We can never come back here.”
“No kidding. Except maybe sometime on a Friday.”

26 Responses to “Boogie Nights”

  1. shari Says:

    /banging head on wall
    WHYYYYYY am I not going to TC’06??? WHHHHYYYYYY???

  2. Sarah Says:

    I have tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard…that was awesome, and not anything at all like what I thought it would be when you posted that creepy photo earlier.
    I’m so glad you made it out unscathed, for the most part! ;-)

  3. Pants Says:

    *smacking self in head for not living in same town as you*

  4. Tracy Lynn Says:

    DUDE! Totally tops vampire cowboys. And the idea that not only were there white fur chaps but a toy horse as well…sigh. It just slays me.
    Plus, I don’t think that there is such a thing as special stripper underwear. Pasties, yeah, but not underwear.
    They just are more used to keeping extraneous stuff down there, and I totally couldn’t even type that without grinning like an idiot.BWAH!

  5. jenny Says:

    Shari: I ask myself that exact same question every morning. Don’t worry – there’s always TC’07: Pacific Northwest!
    Sarah: Thanks! Yes, we made it out relatively intact.
    Pants: See previous comment re: TequilaCon ’07…
    Tracy Lynn: Are you sure? These definitely seemed like special underwear.

  6. Jessica Says:

    Considering I know the place of which you blog, I am SO JEALOUS!

  7. sween Says:

    Oh Jenny.
    Oh… Jenny.
    Our little Jenny… soiled.
    And why, might I ask, didn’t YOU slip the money in for your bashful friend?

  8. Dustin Says:

    “alcoholic possum”…this made my day.

  9. mike Says:

    Clearly I’m wearing the wrong kind of underwear.
    (Oh, and the “I needed a disguise” line nearly ruined my keyboard. Nice!)

  10. jenny Says:

    Jess: Wait – this isn’t the place I took you to. But I think maybe I pointed it out on our way back from the bar…
    Sween: Can you ever respect me again? And what I left out was the 10 minute debate over who was going to put the money in his pants: “You do it!” “No, you!” “You’re the one who took the picture!” “Yeah, but you’re going to post it on your site!”
    Dustin: Then my work here is done.
    Mike: Yeah, I’m not sure where you buy the cash drawer type underwear. They were very fancy.

  11. Caitlinator Says:

    Jenny, all I can say is… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Thank you.

  12. Camilla Says:

    Jenny, I would have tipped the man for you, just remember that time you don’t invite me for male strippers. :)

  13. Anonymous Says:

    EDIT: “remember that NEXT time”

  14. ms. sizzle Says:

    you and nat slay me. i love that she stuffed the money down your shirt. ha ha.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    Be assured– there are plenty of gay strip clubs in NYC– in case you get homesick.

  16. jenny Says:

    Caitlin: No, thank you!
    Camilla: Careful what you wish for – someday I may make you put your money where your mouth is. Oh wait. Ew. Never mind…
    Sizz: Yeah, it’s a real riot when you’re trying to pull cash out of your shirt just as an exotic dancer is walking up to you. Very classy and subtle. ;)
    Viv: Remind me again – why don’t I live in NYC?

  17. Karen Says:

    Funniest thing ever! I bow to your comedic genius.
    Gay strippers (for gay men) are so different. It’s hard to describe. :lol:

  18. trisha Says:

    I think your main blog column should be wider.

  19. asia Says:

    When I come to Chicago we are going fist-fulla-dollars to the front row. just so you know.

  20. jenny Says:

    Karen: Ha – thanks! And it is hard to describe, isn’t it?!
    Trisha: Yeah, I think a lot of things should be different on this site. Unfortunately I haven’t got the time, patience, or knowledge to fix them…
    Asia: All right then! I’ll call ahead to make sure Nikolai will be there. So, so cute.

  21. Peggasus Says:

    Ha! You make me want to be young and living in the city again. Or even for the first time….
    That picture is hilarious! The look on his face…
    but even funnier is the shadow it’s casting on the wall.

  22. Ryan Says:

    I am almost speechless. If this is the amount of fun you are going to be having at TC’06 and TC’07, then I am a little pissed that I will have to wait for TC to return to Chi-town in ‘O8.
    You have all the luck with strippers. I would have stayed to see how he danced with the horse on a stick. In all my years as an amateur cowboy stripper, I have never been asked to dance with a stick horse. That training takes years and a tremendous amount of dedication.

  23. jenny Says:

    Peggasus: Excellent eye! I was wondering if anyone noticed the awesome shadow. I don’t think Natasha could have taken a better picture even if she had actually looked through the lens.
    Ryan: It is entirely unacceptable for me to wait two years to hang out w/ you again. There may need to be TequilaCon 2.5 – Chicago Edition. And yes, the horse on stick dance scores an 8.5 out of 9 in difficulty – very few have attempted.

  24. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) Says:

    LMAO!!! This was freaking HILARIOUS Jen! Thanks for the laughs!:-)

  25. jaymarie Says:

    if it weren’t for the picture i wouldn’t even believe it because it is just too funny to be real, but what an excellent photo it is…
    that is going to keep me smiling for quite a while.

  26. TCho Says:

    In Canada, male strippers are allowed to take it ALL off.