Where I write about strippers, and Spongebob, and free beer
Just before the full impact of the .com bust was realized, I got a fairly cushy job, for a recent-college graduate, developing web applications for an Internet startup. For a single guy, living in Baltimore1, it wasn’t too bad of a job.
At this job, my phone never rang, unless it was something bad. So, I had my “grumpy voice on” when Joe called – and he immediately started making fun of me. See, the previous day, he had asked what I was doing this weekend, and I had mentioned that I was, maybe, going to hang out at the aquarium3 and play computer games. Now, he was calling because he needed directions to my workplace.
I told them that I hadn’t driven into work – I had taken the Metro, and sober thoughts came about. They’d park their car at the Metro station that I used, take the train into Baltimore, meet up with me, and then head out for a drunken night. If we were still too drunk by the time the train dropped us off, it was only a two mile walk to my apartment, but there would also, likely, be cabs waiting at the station.
I next heard from Joe right around my quitting time — I was to report to Hooters.
We were seated at a booth, and two families of three were eating at an adjoining booth, with each family having a 4-5 year old boy. We ate our wings and drank our beer and tried to lay out the weekend plans . . . which would involve no small amount of wing eating and beer drinking.
During our planning, though, the two boys in the adjoining booth would look up from their perch, making faces at us. We would, of course, make faces right back. After a little while, Maf asked the boys what TV shows they liked, and they answered, in stereo, Spongebob Squarepants, which lead Joe & Maf to give an impromptu performance of the theme song on cue4.
This was followed by a significant discussion about favorite episodes and moments. I was a bit lost through all of it (I honestly, had not even heard for Spongebob until this moment), but the two couples were having adult conversations while we entertained their kids.
After a little while, though, we noticed that the waitress was bringing a steady stream of pitchers of beer. At first, I assumed that one of the other guys was ordering, just like they each thought it must be someone else. No, the two couples decided that pitchers of beer, delivered as fast as three random guys are drinking them, were cheaper than babysitting. Of course, when we finally said that we were going to get going, and then another pitcher arrived, we still drank, though that’s right about the time that we figured out their gig. Soon after, lots of thank-you’s were said, from us to the parents, and from the parents to us, and then we made our way
to debauchery out for the night.
Being three, single guys, it didn’t take us very long to figure out where we were going. Well, we had to talk Joe out of swimming in the Baltimore harbor, but then the decision was easy. We worked our way to The Block.
Once inside a strip club, more drinking ensued. And, here’s the thing . . . I’m not a shy person. At all. Neither are either of these two guys. When you put us together, we’re just an extroverted crowd, especially if there is drink involved. Even with pretty, naked girls . . . we make conversation.
So, we’re drinking, and ogling, and talking, and winking, and having a good time. Soon enough, though, the last train for the night is about to leave the station, and we really don’t want to spend the money on a cab all of the way from Baltimore. We say goodbye to
our new friends the strippers that we were chatting with when one mentions that she lives very close to the Metro station that we were heading to and could give us a ride back home.
“Fuck it, why not,” was the general consensus, and we all exchanged phone numbers, just in case the three of us ended up heading to another club (it was getting crowded in the one we were in). It turns out that this girl was, literally, a neighbor of mine.
We stayed at the that club, enjoying
the parade of boobs the view, until closing, and Glitter5 drove us back to my apartment. Well, no. We had been drinking all night (us, not the stripper . . . she had very good reasons for not drinking) and now were hungry. And so was not-Glitter. So we went to Denny’s.
It wasn’t until about 5 in the morning that we finally made it back to my apartment, as we built a French-Toast fort in the nearly empty 24-hour diner, and even the waitresses were joining in attempts to knock it down with marshmallows.
The next day, we spent the day at the aquarium6, managed some fast food for dinner, and then went bar hopping. The day after, Joe & Maf left.
Monday, however, I came home from work to find a note on my door, from not-Glitter, saying that she said “hi.” Then, that night, just after 2am, my phone rang. Not-Glitter’s car wouldn’t start, and was there any way that I might be able to return her favor ride. So, I drove into Baltimore at 2:30 in the morning, and drove her home.
About once every other week, from that point forward, I’d get a phone call to pick up a girl from this same club (apparently, my number ended up on a bulletin board in the dressing room, saying “if you really need a ride, he’ll help you.”) . . . a stripper with car trouble, or a stripper who had too much to drink. I’d show up, smile on my face, and, simply, drive the person home. Seldom did I ever end up in the seedier parts of Baltimore while operating this no-pay taxi service (most actually lived in the suburbs), and for that I was thankful. While I never felt un-safe doing this . . . looking back, now, I can’t believe I did.
I remember driving one girl home, and asked her how much she made that night. She had made $900, which was about how much I took home every two weeks, and I had a college degree. I was a bit dumbfounded — she was stripping to pay for college, where she attended day classes (though she tried to never get an early morning class so that she could catch up on sleep). She was able to pay for her apartment, tuition, and lived pretty comfortably.
A little while later, I drove home a girl who was just as pretty, who was obviously not “well off.” When she left my car, I saw the needle marks in her arm.
I started to develop my circle of friends in Baltimore, and, one day, five of us walked into this very club. You know the lyrics to the Cheers theme song? “…where everybody knows your name?” Well, I walked into the place & everybody knew my name. There was some ribbing about “how often do you come here,” but that stopped when free drinks worked their way to me.
I found out a few things during these few months.
- A stripper is, truly, an actress, and she’s “on” from the moment she leaves the dressing room.
- As such, never call a stripper by her real name in the club, it’d be like Trinity calling out for Keanu in The Matrix.
- Watching the “cat & mouse” game between a stripper who has decided that she’s going to get a guy to pay for a lap dance is quite entertaining . . . and even more fun to have recounted later.
- There are a lot of drug addicts in Baltimore.
- No matter what Chris Rock says, some strippers, desperate for
moneydrugs, at least in Baltimore, will have sex in the champagne room7.
- Walking and dancing in truly epic heels makes for sore legs.
- Surgical enhancement has a very poor return on investment, if your reasons for the enhancement are, purely, to help you get more money in tips.
- The “nice guys” who just want to “sit and chat” are always the ones who give out the most cash.
So, there you have it — how a weekend, with the guys, in Baltimore had me operating a late-night designated driver service for the women of Baltimore who take off their clothing for a living.
I’m so happy that my family reads this blog.