I was visiting family out of town and I know you missed my relationship advice for the weekend so I will try to catch up. Instead of ending with it, as usual, we will start with it and soon you will see why. Guys, this applies to relationships you will have in the future:
If you ever dated a stripper, keep it to yourself, dummy.
I am off on the right coast visiting and the young guys and the Mad Korean I am with are mulling over what we should do Friday night. I know where this is going; I always know where this is going. It's going to start with a harmless idea about movie theaters and end up with a strip club. How do I know this? It's like a Bertrand Russell experiment. If you aren't familiar with Russell he formulated the idea that if you introduce a contradiction into a closed system you can prove anything. A student once challenged him on this:
"If 2 plus 2 equals 5," the student said, "prove that I am The Pope."
Russell replied: "If 2 plus 2 is equal to 5, then 4 is equal to 5; if 4 is equal to 5, then subtracting 3 from each side means 1 is equal to 2. You and The Pope are 2; therefore you and The Pope are 1."
Russell knew when he was being hustled and so do I. How is the strip club idea hustling? Well, they introduce a closed number of options and then make sure most of them are unacceptable. So one guy throws out the strip club option and then I hear;
"How about Dave & Busters?"
"What is Dave & Busters?" I ask.
"It's an adult video arcade. It has games and stuff but they serve alcohol so there are no kids allowed."
"What in our long history together suggests to you I want to play video games on a Friday night?" Though, to be fair, I probably spent most of his childhood playing video games with him on Friday nights.
The other ideas are along those lines, each one worse than the last, until the only reasonable option left is the strip club. Bertrand Russell wins again because somehow I am convinced a strip club is the best thing to do. Now, I am not down on strip clubs per se, but I have been to the best strip clubs in the world* so I am less inclined to go to bad ones in small cities. Still, one young guy who is like an adopted son assures me that he knows an okay place - and he always carries a pistol when we go out so he knows what he's talking about. Since my actual son introduced the video game idea his judgment is questionable. The strip club it is. The only rule, of course, is plenty of cigars. They know I get bored in bars and clubs so I have to have cigars and once the cigars are gone, we are gone.
(*The best strip clubs are, in order; Rick's Cabaret in New Orleans, Blue Rose in Ibiza, Spain and Seventh Heaven in Tokyo.)
So we find this place. Club Royale. The entry fee is a modest $10 so that earns a Cash Star for being a decent value. There is one girl quite striking because she is so tall - though a little thin. Skinny Girl gives me the eye and walks on by. The rest of the girls are about what you'd see in any town in Alaska. Being strippers, they lock on your eyes right away. I am immune to strippers so it means nothing to me but I know it works on a lot of men because women making eye contact with men in America is rare unless she actually likes you. We settle in comfortably and I light a Fonseca.
Eventually Skinny Girl sits down next to me and I light her cigarette because I am a gentlemen - especially to strippers. She introduces herself as Ashton.
"Isn't that a boy's name?" I ask.
"It's both. Isn't it better than Candy or Sugar or something like that?"
"I suppose so, except it makes me think of some skinny guy on that TV show I watch at the gym."
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Cash," I reply.
"Like Cash Warren?" she asks.
"I don't know who that is. Is he a famous scientist too?"
"Never mind. Is it a stage name or something?"
"No, I am always frank and earnest with women. Frank in Pittsburgh and Ernest in Chicago."
"But you're in Pittsburgh."
"Then call me Frank," I say, and shake her hand. This gets a laugh from the boys. "How tall are you?"
"Well, I am 5'8" barefoot but 6'3" in heels." At least she is in the strike zone.
I look at the heels. Now, if there is one thing I know it is chicks in heels and those are five-inch heels, but a foot is not made of 10 inches. I decide not to point out to her that 5'8 plus 5 does not equal 6'3. If disqualifying a girl for being dumb were an issue I would never have dated a model.
"Stand up," I say. She stands up. I do too. Yep, shorter than me. She winces a little when she sits down.
"What's wrong?" I ask. "You like the rough stuff and it got out of hand?"
She doesn't get it. "Well, I hurt my shoulder working out and I took an Advil for it but it isn't working."
"What were you doing?"
"Lifting weights. I have the worst time trying to gain weight. I eat everything and try those protein things. My metabolism is just very high."
"Are you bulimic?" I ask. She shakes her head 'no.' "Anorexic?" No again. "Do I look manorexic to you?"
She laughs and touches my arm. "Hey, there's no touching," I say. The guys at the table lose at it this point. She is flummoxed. Strippers are used to telling men not to touch, not the other way around. Strippers against normal men is like Kryptonite versus Superman ( before Superman #233, of course ) but all my Kryptonite has been turned to lead or something because they just don't do anything for me.
I head off to the boy's room and I come back and she stands up and says she is giving me a lap dance.
"No," I say. More gasps from around the table. "Sorry. Married." She is stunned. Obviously married men visit strip clubs all of the time. She throws a glance to see if I have a ring. I hear something unintelligible off to my left.
I turn to The Mad Korean. He is a Physics Guru and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering but I warned those guys that his Korean heritage meant he could outdrink all of them. Alcohol would not help his accent though. "What?" I asked.
"You ... are ... a ... pussy," he speaks more slowly.
"I'm a vagina because I don't take a lap dance from this girl?"
"I already paid her."
Well, I appreciate that, I think to myself, but I am committed at this point. So she sits down and tells me it's very admirable that I wouldn't let her undulate her skinny hips into my groin. I am just thinking she'd never let me have any peace after that. After a few minutes more she makes a graceful exit.
Meanwhile, Adopted Son has been getting the rap from another stripper for at least 45 minutes. She isn't going anywhere. Eventually she leaves too but to go home, not to make money, and she slips him her number.
"Should I call her?" he asks me later.
"Every young man should date a stripper once," I tell him. "But keep a few things in mind. If this were a young girl, she may have to pay for a crack habit or she may like the attention. Your girl is in her late 20's so this is just a job. When you see her again, forget the stripper thing and remember she likes you because you are nice and talked to her like a person. Give her a call and see where it goes."
Adopted Son and Actual Son then argue for the half hour drive back to the house about whether or not he will call her. Adopted Son offers The Mad Korean free cable because The Mad Korean looked at me at one point during the drive and said, "I am not going to punch you" which they figured took some brass cajones, being that he is drunk, maybe five feet tall and has never been in a fight in his life.
I drop off Adopted Son and tell him to let me know how things go when he does talk to the stripper.
"And for God's sake," I tell him, "No matter how well it goes, if a girl in the future ever asks if you dated a stripper, do the smart thing and deny it."
And no, I never dated a stripper either.