Let’s dip our silver ladle into the big rain barrel of memories and take another cool drink.
August 31, 1993
Last Saturday was a blur of sex, money and booze. Howard invited me on a bachelor party crawl with 10 of his pals. They said I was the token Gentile. I didn’t know any of them but they made me feel welcomed. A few of them live in Israel and told some interesting stories. We ate at Khyber Pass on St. Marks. The groom, Sparky, just had a major blow-out with his betrothed so he was mopey all night.
I hate strip clubs. Always have. I’m strung too tight to enjoy them. They sell an illusion to bored, lonely men. I certainly qualify but I can’t dismiss the reality. Those girls don’t want me! They want the contents of my wallet. As soon as they find out I’m broke, I’m persona non grata. It’s like dating in Manhattan without the occasional loveless sex to break up the monotony. Other guys seem to be able to see past the lie and enjoy themselves. What’s wrong with me?
We went to Honey Buns on 47th and Lexington. What a dump. We thought we’d get away cheap because there wasn’t a cover. We were mistaken. We were pounced on the moment we walked in. I was surprised (and pleased) at how touchy the girls were. It was okay to reciprocate if you didn’t cross a line. They’d whisper flattering things in your ear. Guys walked in looking like the crosstown M42 just squished their puppy but when a girl sat in their lap they cheered right up. It was a room full of dudes who are crushed by life. Bald, overweight, lousy jobs, lousy wives, too many responsibilities, too little fun, old, sad sacks. But those girls made them feel like winners. There’s something sweet about it.
There was a $10 “entertainment” charge but that includes three beers, which I thought was a bargain. Later that evening, a bartender at the Blarney Stone told me those places serve non-alcoholic beer. I’ve never been able to hold my liquor and it dawned on me that after a three beers, all I had was a foul taste in my mouth.
I paid my $10 and tipped the girl $1. She said she usually gets $2 for a beer so I gave her another $1. A shockingly beautiful Japanese girl sat next to me. I was wearing shorts and she started twiddling the hair on my leg. She asked if I would buy her a drink and I said, “SURE!” A waitress brought the drink, set it down and said, “$20.” I started laughing because I thought she was kidding but she wasn’t. It was the most expensive drink I’ve ever bought. I told my companion that I was dirt poor and to enjoy her dink because there wouldn’t be another one. I was angry.
As an icebreaker, I showed her my tattoo. [Note: It’s a Japanese symbol. How horribly cliché.] I said I was tired of dating and wanted to see just one girl. I don’t recall asking any questions about herself. What could I ask?! She was sitting in a dank, second-rate strip joint with hardly any clothes on and her big Japanese breasts spilling into my lap. I know this sounds idiotic but I think she liked me. It was obvious she wasn’t going to make any money off me but she didn’t leave. She sat there for quite some time and we chatted. She said she didn’t meet very many “nice guys” and that it was refreshing to just talk. I was so flattered that I almost ordered her a glass of water.
A waitress came by, picked up her unfinished drink and that was her signal to move on. I was pretty bored after that. Later, I saw her sitting with a TOTAL STRANGER stroking his leg. It broke my heart. I thought I was special.
A stunningly beautiful girl sat next to Howard. Howard is happily married and a self-professed cheap bastard. The girl sat there just long enough to learn those truths: about :30 seconds. A man at the next table was sitting with his back to me. A girl was sitting in his lap facing me. He was kissing her neck and caressing her back. The girl had a blank, distant look on her face. Like she was composing her grocery list. She’s got a boring job, too. Howard said he saw them walk to the back of the club and up a staircase. It was depressing. I wanted to leave.
We walked to the Blarney Stone and got properly soused. One of Howard’s friends is from Cleveland and I tried to chat him up about my old town but all he did was complain. He bitched about everything. The walking (people outside the city drive everywhere), the money, the girls, the “weird food,” the city—everything. I ignored him. Someone bought rounds of shots. A girl walked passed and bumped into me. I asked her if I owed her $20 for that.
We went the Paradise. There was a $10 cover. The Paradise has a VIP Lounge. A private dance in the VIP Lounge costs $10. I got angry because for the price of ONE dink at Honey Buns I could have had TWO VIP dances. For the extraordinarily well heeled, you can ride around Manhattan in the back of a limo with the girl of your choice. That costs $300. I wonder if one of the gorillas working there goes with you or do you get to be alone with the girl?
The girls immediately pegged us all as a bunch of cheap bastards and never approached us. There were TV monitors around the perimeter of the stage playing hardcore porno. Everywhere you looked there was fucking and sucking. Sex, sex, sex. Vaginas as far as the eye could see. You couldn’t get away from them. It was a room filled with drunken, horny, desperate, lonely guys who were being driven mad with desire but wouldn’t have anything to show for it at the end of the evening except an empty wallet and blue balls.
While hailing a cab at the corner of Broadway and 33rd I saw some guy pissing in the doorway of a bank. Not a bum. Some white kid from the suburbs. I hate when people piss on my city, so imagine my utter delight when a patrol car pulled up and arrested him. The cops stood him spread-eagle on the hood of the cruiser while they called in his ID. Now, THAT’S what I call a happy ending. Home at 3:30.
Last Saturday I took 13-Year Old to the Whitney. They have a brand new building in the meatpacking district. The building is spectacular and the exhibit, culled from their permanent collection, is beautiful. Too crowded, though. Here, my daughter and I argue the merits of Rothko. My artist pal, Sharon, took this. Always bring an artist to a museum with you. They explain stuff. That’s the same little girl in my banner up top. Time’s insatiable appetite.