During a recent rant against moral absolutism, I made mention of owning one’s beliefs. In the midst of that I mentioned a side comment about one of my own social hang-ups, the porn star. After some thought, I realized that this category is too narrow, and not cut-and-dry at all. I could have included strippers, skanks in music videos, and really anything that relies on a pair of tits to sell it. What bothers me about all of these phenomena is not all the sex involved in them, but how they’ve become symptoms of obnoxious commercialism. One of the most fun things to do in the world has been co-opted by advertising and repeated into oblivion.
But I do have one glorious tale of capitalist pseudo-sex. The time was similar to now, a time of waiting for time to run out. The big difference between then and now was that now, I live alone, and I’m not liable for other people’s stupidity. That wasn’t the case then.
For a while, I was the only person in my apartment with a job, and the only person covering the bills and paying any rent at all. But there was no way I could take care of everyone’s share, so I finally decided that there was no more point to working at my crappy food job. What followed were six months of eating detergent-tasting Kwik Trip bread and watching my apartment turn into a pit. And even then, I could raise enough money to pay the rent.
There wasn’t much left over for anything else, though. It’s a good thing that my best friend was willing to pay for everything we did. On one such night, CJ Slugger rousted me out of my moldy dwelling in order to take a trip to the Twin Cities with him and the Leprechaun. The adventure was independent wrestling. We piled into Lep’s Inventory Van and hit the road with me in the back, trying to study.
Seeing pro wrestling in a dimly lit club was about as strange as seeing a rock concert in a retirement home. The game was wrestling, but the atmosphere was bar fight.
Big guys were stomping around bar tables, trying to look menacing while they beat the crap out of each other, and all I could think was: is he going to knock over my drink? Nonetheless, the three of us left the show in high spirits, excited over what we had seen. But the night wasn’t over. When you’re out on the town with CJ Slugger, you’ll probably end up in a strip club. And that’s what happened.
Class Act is a dingy bit of neon on the main highway south of the Twin Cities. It seemed to become a rest stop for my group of friends whenever we went on a Minnesota road trip. Lep pulled into the gravel, and once more CJ paid my way. The naked girls were doing what naked girls on a stage always do – going after a sucker’s money – and CJ was happy to provide the sucker. Lep and I sat on each side of him, watching him try to play it cool while face-smashing dollars between girls’ boobs. The thing I remember most was that one girl had a tattoo of the eye from the cover of Tool’s Lateralus album. The color on it was brilliant.
When the country music came on I hid in the bathroom, knowing what was going to happen next. Sure enough, the curtains parted, and out strutted a fifty year old broad in a cowboy hat. I laughed at the Leprechaun, who stayed at the edge of the stage and gave pity-bills to the old dame. After she rode off into the sunset, the three of us reconvened.
“For your heroism, Lep, I’m buying you a lap dance,” CJ announced. He summoned a shapely young blonde and sent our friend away with her. We returned our attention to the stage.
But when the next song ended, the Leprechaun didn’t reappear. It was strange, but we said nothing. When the song after that was over and he didn’t return, we grew worried. Ten songs later, we were concerned that he had been abducted and killed by vampire hookers.
We started asking strippers if they had seen the Leprechaun, which was as absurd as asking pro wrestlers if they had seen our lost puppy. I asked Lateralus Girl about my short, ginger friend while she writhed and spun naked on a pole. “Sorry, haven’t seen him,” she said, upside down.
Forty minutes after he had vanished, the Leprechaun finally reappeared. He was surrounded by apes in suits. “Guys, I think I’m in trouble,” he said.
Turns out that he was over $200 in trouble. It blows my mind that a guy who, when he lived with me, used to sleep on a mountain of porn magazines and pizza boxes didn’t know the rules of lap dancing. You’re paying for one song’s worth of dry humping. When a girl asks, “Do you want to keep going?” she isn’t being nice. You have to keep paying. Once more, CJ picked up the bill – via an ATM that charged seven bucks – and we finally got out of there.
Once we were in the van, our shamed friend told us all the dirty details. When the tale was done, he slumped into the driver’s seat and sighed. “I guess I have to remember,” he said, “that strippers are all about money. Not people’s feelings.”
The van exploded.
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