Sunday, July 15, 2018

Don't Touch

Did you know that in Ohio it is against the law to touch a nude or semi-nude dancer? Or to have that nude or semi-nude dancer touch you? Suddenly, all the interest I ever had in going to a strip club has fallen by the wayside.
Not that there was a lot of interest in the first place. This is primarily because I once attended a bachelor party. It was a bachelor party for me, then a prospective groom. My brothers and buddies took me out for a night on the town and we ended up, around one o'clock in the morning, at the strip club at the far end of my hometown. I had been there before, but that had been during a blurrier time in my life. This was a place where I wore what is commonly referred to as "beer goggles." In those days, there was a lurid feeling of danger and possibility. Every Penthouse letter I had ever read came flooding back to me in a besotted refrain, "I used to think these letters were made up, but listen to this:" and so on.
On the night of my own bachelor party, I was sober. But I felt the momentum of the evening swinging in that direction, and chose to go along for the ride. Once we were inside, it became apparent that my pals were not going to let me nurse another Coke while we talked about the old days. I was given a fistful of bills and nudged in the direction of the scantily clad young woman on the stage in the center of the room. This was the rite of passage, I understood. I understood all too clearly because I wasn't drunk and knew that protesting was out of the question. There wasn't a lot of reasoning going on back at the table. And so I meandered on up through the gentlemen sitting ringside, and held out of five dollar bill. At this point, the young lady sashayed over to me and made a dip to a squatting motion, presenting her buttocks and hips to me, her hand gesturing toward the g-string at the top of her thigh. I moved a little closer and she helped slide the bill under that piece of elastic. She smiled and stood back up, but since I was very sober, I knew that this smile was not for me.
This smile was for her, and the forty-some minutes she had left on her shift. Last call was coming and she wouldn't have to hear that same ZZ Top song again until the next night she worked. She was counting the minutes until she got off work. She just made another five dollars in tips. I have no idea if that was a nice thing or just a mild annoyance. She was doing her job.
When I returned to the table, I got a lot of yuks and pats on the back. I had made the exchange, and now it was okay to call it a night. On the drive home, I suggested we stop and get some donuts. It was here I had the best time of the night, without the distraction of semi-nude women or booze, we told stories and laughed until the sun threatened. It did not occur to me then to notice the smile of the waitress who brought me my chocolate honey-dipped and milk. I assume it wasn't all that different from a lady I saw earlier that night. I tipped her too. I left that bill on the counter.

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