Look, it's not that I purposely put myself in situations where someone is going to be flaunting a generally covered-up body part for ravenous customers to enjoy. These things just happen. You have a gay friend and it's his birthday, and besides, you heard all the male dancers are straight anyway. And there's no harm in looking, right? Right?
And so I ended up at Meteor Urban Video Lounge on a Saturday night, surrounded by gay men, a few straight women and some dancers with questionable intentions and absolutely no shame.
I had been to the club/bar/strip joint before, and I'm gonna be honest: I liked what I saw. I got a little tipsy, got pulled up on a dance platform by a muscular Latin man, strutted my stuff a bit and greatly enjoyed watching strapping young men wantonly throw themselves at seated customers for a few bucks. Everyone remained clothed, everyone remained cordial, the night was pleasant.
However, my most recent foray into the world of the dancing Adonis was less, um, PG-13. And not in an "Oh, what a pleasant use of nudity and adult language" kind of way. It got raunchy real fast.
From the moment I walked into Meteor, there were bare asses flexing left and right. And that was when I made a very important decision. I could either get hammered as fast as possible in hopes of letting loose a bit and then forgetting about the number of smarmy old men I saw lingering just a tad too long as they inserted bills into the dancers' briefs. Or I could stay sober, keep my wits about me and observe, as an anthropologist might sit back and witness a tribal ceremony. I chose the latter. It might have been a mistake.
Rather than forgo drinking entirely, I took a page out of my older, wiser friend's book. He is in the habit of ordering single drinks in a double glass, which means he's consuming more water for every ounce of alcohol he drinks than the rest of us drunken fools. He's also 34 and looks like he's 26, so he's clearly doing something right.
After a few normal-size gin and tonics and a few tall gin and tonics with the same amount of gin and extra tonic, I settled in to watch the main event at Meteor, the shower dance. It surprised me, too, when I first saw it, but it's actually a pretty awesome setup.
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There's an elevated stage in the front of the club's main room that is accessed from stairs on either side. In the center of the tiled stage are two metal walls equipped with shower heads that spray water on anyone standing between them. In the center, of course, there's a drain. Initially, I was more impressed with the shower setup than with the dancers, but on this particular evening the dancers were pulling out all the stops. And they were nearly pulling out other things that should probably be kept covered when one is out in public and at a place not billed as a strip club.
Once curious patrons started approaching the dancers and practically mining for gold while depositing money into their briefs, I became very appreciative of my tall drink. What is one to do when faced with an awkward situation such as this but stare down into one's drink and take some loooooong sips? Had I stuck to the less watered-down gin and tonic, I would have had a rough night and even rougher morning, but thanks to my friend's suggestion, I could sit and sip and pretend not to stare while accumulating a mild buzz.
Sometimes you learn things about yourself during debaucherous nights at strip clubs or bars with dancers who totally aren't strippers, we swear. On this particular occasion, I learned that I do best when I adopt the drinking habits of someone nearly ten years my senior and we can both go home sleepy, sober and shame-free.
Except for that one lap dance.