'Live nude dancers'
I didn't want to go in, but my friends were expecting me. They were dancers and they wanted me to see them perform.
The apartment building was older with hardwood floors and high ceilings. I had the apartment on the first floor. A long and narrow layout. Small kitchen. Quiet building.
It was across the street from a funeral home and an Episcopal Church with an old cemetery, the grave stones weathered and gray with lichen. I loved the location.
A teacher lived upstairs and another across the hall. After the landlady fixed up the downstairs apartment, the teacher on the third floor moved into it and one of my best friends took the upstairs apartment.
He figured he spent enough time in my building hanging out he might as well move in.
We played videogames most nights - Sega, SNES. He was a lot of fun to hang out with. He'd been a burglar among other misdeeds, but you couldn't really call him a criminal since he'd never been caught and convicted.
He was a genuine badass, built like Bruce Lee and almost as quick with his punches.
After his nephew graduated from college he got a job as a DJ at a strip club which angered his fundamentalist parents who kicked him out so he moved in with my friend into the apartment upstairs.
My friend was between jobs and so he got a job as a bouncer at the club.
Then like any other job, their co-workers at the club began hanging out with them after work. Ladies. Lots of lovely young ladies.
They all would get off work about 2 a.m. and then head over either to my apartment - I worked nights then and kept the hours of a vampire - or to my friend's apartment.
And we'd play videogames. WWF Raw. Madden '94. NBA basketball.
We'd all talk about work as we'd await our turns to play. They loved the money they made. There was a great deal of casual sex with my friend and his nephew with several of the women and the women with each other since a few were bi. I was just there for the videogames.
At other times of my life during "dry spells" I might have been tempted to play the other games too in the back bedroom, but I had a couple of regular girlfriends and didn't feel the desire or need.
Yet it was a pretty happy time. It was the kind of good times that the conservatives fear are occurring and that they engage in when they think no one is looking.
One night as we were talking the women learned I had never been in a strip club.
Long before they had shot down my statements about the dehumanizing aspects of nude dancing as feminist claptrap. A couple of the college educated dancers spoke at length about the empowerment of it and a lot of other post-feminist positions that I didn't really follow. None of us really took the debate too seriously. Afterall most of it occurred while holding game controllers and punching Xs and Os.
So they convinced me to go. They told me I'd be elitist if I didn't go. I think they had figured out my soft spot and exploited it.
So I went. I watched them dance in a smoke filled bar. My friend's nephew was in the DJ booth playing the music much too loud and my friend perched on a stool next to me. And the women who we played videogames with danced. They were sexy enough, but the nudity was so casual that it didn't seem that sexual to me. Perhaps at heart I'm more of a prude than the conservatives who condemn it. At least they go to the bars and cut loose.
To me it seemed more like the casual nakedness of married couples.
I stayed for a while, but it was like being at a party where you feel you need to remain long enough to be polite, but you really were counting down the time you could leave.
I told my friend the cigarette smoke bothered me and then I left. They showed up as usual and we played videogames for a while and several of the women asked how I liked seeing them and I lied and told them I had a great time.
But really I had more fun playing videogames with them. And it wasn't too long later, a month or so, that my friend quit and then my friend's nephew. They had come to the conclusion that when seeing women naked in front of them was no longer a turn on, it was time to find other jobs.
And soon after that the women stopped coming over to play videogames. It's like that when you leave a job and no longer are colleagues. It wasn't anything in particular that led to a falling out.
So I'll end on this note. In my experience, dancers may know lots of moves, but they don't know how to defend against the long pass on Madden '94. You can score with it almost every time.