This was the highlight of the trip–the part that everyone had been waiting for. After the girls left us downtown, we six guys piled into two taxis and headed to a placed called Olympic Gardens which bills itself as an adult caberet.
(Trevor, close your eyes if you are reading this.)
There was a $20 cover charge to get in, and once inside, Andy arranged for us to get a place to sit. This was an entirely new experience for me. The women walk around the room, stopping at the tables and asking the guys if they want “a dance”–which refers, of course, to a lap dance.
I got a lot of pressure early on from Andy, Norm and Eric, who offered to buy me one of these lap dances, but I resisted. I was nervous; in fact, I was anxious. I had the same feeling I used to get back when I was flying and I would be sitting at the end of the runway at Van Nuys airport, just before takeoff, with my left leg shaking nervously. I ordered a Jack and Sprite, and couldn’t even drink it. Plus, these girls just kept coming, relentlessly, asking us if we wanted a dance. Andy and Eric had said to me earlier that all I had to do was say, “I’m good now.” So when one girl say on my lap, I immediately said, “Thanks, but I’m good now,” which Eric and Andy found very amusing. All she wanted to do was talk to us, find out where we were from, etc.
After a while, we were sick of the incessant offers and moved into another room, where we sat around a “stage” to watch a dancer do her thing for 3 songs, after which she was replaced by another dancer. What you were supposed to do here, is hold out dollar bills to get the dancers attention, after which they would take the bill from you in various strategic ways that highlighted their creativity as well as their dexterity.
As it was approaching 3:30 AM, I saw, from the corner of my eye, Andy, Eric, and Norm doing something–which I later realized was handing money to one of the dancers, Nadia. I only realized it later because I didn’t have time to realize then. This dancer, Nadia, took my hand and whisked me away to a dark corner of the room. By this time, my resistence to this sort of thing on moral and ethical grounds had completely broken down. Furthermore, my physical resistence had broken down as well. For one thing, I was exhausted. For another, I was honestly curious.
I assume I need not go into any details about what a lap dance entails. I will say that I was surprised at the physicality of it. It lasts for an entire song and the song they played when I got mine seemed to last forever. And ever. Also, I was somewhat speechless. When Nadia asked me what my name was, all I could say was, “Baaaahh!” It went on and on. I was getting worried. I had to, in fact, resort to the old baseball trick. You guys will know what I’m talking about: setting up a scenario in your mind: 2 outs, bottom of the third inning, runners on 2nd and 3rd. Do you bunt? Hit and run? You know, think about anything but what was actually going on. It became a race and after a while I started wondering if that song would ever end.
Eventually it did end. And when it was over, Nadia asked, “Want to continue?” By this time, her “sister” had come over. I said no thanks, popped up from my seat and headed back toward the table I’d been sitting at. As I looked over there, I could see Andy laughing his ass off at me. Eric said, “Why are you walking funny?” No sooner had I collapsed back into my seat, in a daze, did the dancer at the table say, “Oh, good, you’re back!” and turned her attention to me.
So who won the race? Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it?
We left a little while later. It was after 4 AM. There were no taxis out front, but for $40, we got a limo to take the six of us back to our hotel. I was in a kind of daze the whole way back. We were back at the hotel just before 5 AM and I collapsed into bed, dazed and confused. In theory, I was supposed to get up to go hiking at 10:30 AM, just a few short hours away.
I felt bad for a lot of those girls there. Clearly, many of them did not want to be doing that. Other people justify it by the enormous sums of money they make. I didn’t try to justify it at all after a while. I gave in, but I chose to give in. In the end, as nervous as I was, I had a really good time, and I have Andy, Eric, and Norm to thank for that.
So what about those guys? What did they do during all of this? Well, that’s up to them to tell, if they want. From my vantage point, they were all very well-behaved.