Yep, it happened for the first time ever the other night: I went to a strip club. Wanna know how I ended up there? Keep reading.
The evening started the same way many Thursday evenings have begun for me over the past 18 months: taking Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons. It was a fun class, and a great workout.
I was very pleasantly surprised when a couple friends I hadn’t seen since June showed up. I’m going to protect their anonymity and call them Judy and Liza. It was Judy’s first time at Slimmons, and Liza’s first time in a while, and they both brought friends, and a good time was had by all. After class ended, they invited me to join them and some others later that night at a country line dancing bar. That sounded like fun, and something I’ve never done before, so I agreed, and a couple hours later, I’m wearing my blue plaid shirt and jeans and we’re on the road to a bar that’s almost a half-hour away in a neighborhood that I’m not familiar with at all.
But there was a problem at the line dancing bar. One of the guys in our party is in the process of getting a California driver’s license, and the bar wouldn’t accept his old out-of-state ID and temporary paper California ID as proof of age, and they wouldn’t let him in. We don’t want to go in without him, so we gather in the parking lot and figure out what to do. We hear there’s another bar right next door, so we decide to go check it out.
It’s called The Candy Cat.
Because we don’t know where else to go, and because we all had an “eh, why not?” attitude, we headed inside.
Strip club might be too generous a description of The Candy Cat. The strip clubs I’ve seen in TV and movies are dimly let, with lots of neon, and girls, in various states of undress, everywhere. The Candy Cat was more of a dive bar that happened to have a little stage along one side of it. It was virtually empty when we walked in – maybe five other patrons besides us, although it got more crowded a little later, thanks in large part to a group of Hell’s Angels that showed up. We headed to the bar, drinks were ordered (I usually don’t drink soda, but I got a Diet Coke, since this had proven to be a… um… special evening), and within minutes, a lady on the stage was taking off her top.
Yep, it’s a strip club all right!
For the first half-hour or so, I tried to ignore what was happening onstage, as did pretty much everyone in my group. There were pool tables, so we were all hanging out along the back wall, taking turns playing a couple games of pool. Liza started chatting with another woman, who turned out to be one of the dancers, and soon, the dancer, who went by the name Heaven, had asked Liza to pick some music on the jukebox for her next set. Liza went with Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
After a while, I got bored of the pool, and thought I should just embrace what The Candy Cat has to offer. So Liza and I went and sat at the counter at the edge of the stage. If these ladies are gonna strip, and I’m gonna be in the room, than why shy away from it?
It didn’t take long for me to figure out how things worked. There were three dancers, and they would rotate. Each time one of them took the stage, they would dance to two songs. Their clothes would stay on for the first song, and, at the beginning of the second song, their top/bikini/bra/whatever would come off, and there’d be more dancing, often making good use of the two stripper poles onstage. All contact between dancers and patrons was prohibited, so if you wanted to tip a dancer, you either threw your cash on the stage, or left it on the counter, where’d they slinkily pick it up after their set. I ended up tipping the ladies $11 over the course of the evening. That’s me, a big spender!
Of the three dancers, Heaven was my favorite, mainly because she was so chatty. She took a shine to Liza, and would come over during her set, and just stop dancing to tell us about herself – she and Liza bonded over both being from the same part of the country, we heard all about how Heaven met her fiance (in The Candy Cat parking lot, naturally), and once, while ripping off her shirt with a flourish, Heaven exclaimed, “this is what I’m doing with my degree from Rutgers!” Another time, Heaven came over and got really close to me, said “I’ll be gentle – I promise,” then plucked my glasses from my face, put them on, and continued dancing. I don’t have an image in my memory of what she looked like with my glasses on, because, well, I couldn’t really see without my glasses.
Another dancer, Leanne, was a tall drink of water – probably over 6’0″ in her stilettos, and watching her made me wince, because there was only a few inches clearance between the top of her head and the ceiling of the stage, and I was convinced she was going to hurt herself, what with all the pole work and movement. I told her this while she was gyrating within earshot of me, and she laughed and reassured me that she’d be okay. She was right – she did remain uninjured, and, at closing time when we were leaving, she thanked me for my concern.
Yep, you read that correctly: we stayed until closing time. We were there for over two hours. Was it a good time? I’ll admit I had fun, mostly because of the company I was in. The strippers didn’t do anything for me. I have no interest in the goods they were showing off, and have no desire to rush back, but now I can cross ‘Go to a strip club’ off my non-existent bucket list!
Oh – and this was a nice moment: When we first walked in, one of the bouncers, a big, thick-necked, don’t-want-to-meet-in-a-dark-alley kinda guy, was checking IDs. I handed him my driver’s license, and he looked at it, then looked at me, then looked at it again. As he handed it back to me, a smile crept on his face, and he… congratulated me! Sometimes I forget that I look completely different from how I looked when that photo was taken 8 years ago:
Keep it up, David!