Today my horoscope says, “You hard-working Capricorns are faced with a dilemma this midsummer. The Sun is now moving through your mysterious 8th House, encouraging you to delve into the mysteries of the occult, death and sex. Although these are deliciously juicy issues, it’s summer and the beautiful outside beckons. Strike a balance now between the inner and the outer worlds you wish to explore.”

At first, that freaked me out. The occult? Death? What in the world was supposed to happen to me today?

Then, I realized what it actually meant. See, this evening, I’ll be torn between going outside and enjoying the break from the rain, and staying inside to finish reading Harry Potter.

The balance will be achieved if I take a walk to get the mail, first. Or maybe I can finish the book in the car, in the sun, as my boyfriend drives us around.

Weekend Adventure

“I wish,” I told my boyfriend, Tad, “we could have some kind of adventure this weekend.”

That was Thursday night. The weekend before, we’d gone into the heart of Houston’s New Chinatown (aka Bellaire) and tried a new banh mi place that was straight out of Saigon. And that was exciting. This weekend, since we can’t afford to travel outside of Texas, I thought we might again find something new within our own town. “Okay,” said Tad. “We’ll go somewhere new.”

Friday night, Tad’s brother-in-law called to invite us to a very impromptu celebration of his birthday. He picked a nightclub out in the satellite town of Katy, Texas, so as to make the party accessible to multiple suburbanite friends.

I’m going to call the club Bikini Bottom, because it did have the word bikini in it, and I can’t remember the rest. Why did it have the word bikini in it? Because the female servers wore bikini tops, and there were girls in bikinis dancing atop the bars. The decor was darkness, disco lights, and plastic palm trees. Old (not old school, but just old and stale) hip hop blared from every corner. Upon being ushered in, we joined Tad’s sister and b-i-l, their neighbor, and our friends Mike and Claudia in an alcove, where we hurried to catch up to their blood-alchohol levels while surveying the scene.

The first bikini’d girl, just inside the entrance, danced on a table near a giant bucket of beers. Her job was to dance, sell the bottles, and periodically squat down to rubber-band the ones in her register. This girl was rather attractive. At least, she seemed to be under all her makeup, there in the dim light. Every man who walked into the club stopped in front of her station to ogle. Some of them bought beers, and some just gave her dollar bills for nothing. They put them into a cut-open milk jug at her feet, and in return got… a smile. No extra movement, no chance to touch. But the men seemed okay with that, because they were in love with her. It was obvious, from the looks in their eyes and the clumsy way they tried to initiate small talk that she couldn’t hear. She danced like a stripper. I wondered if she was trying to work her way back into more legitimate means of tip-garnering. Maybe she’d move up (down?) from go-go dancer to cocktail waitress, then to diner waitress, then to executive assistant, then Avon saleswoman, then animal shelter volunteer, then old lady arranging flowers at the local Baptist church.

The other go-go dancers, deeper inside the bowels of the club, had nothing but their youth to recommend them. Their youth, their lower-back tattoos, and occasional bouts of Sapphic display. While we waited for a bartender to take our order (and then admit that she didn’t know what a kamikaze shot was), a tiny, roped-off stage lit up inside the bar. An emcee appeared there and called up two doughy teens in sagging, dully colored bikinis. “Shanna and Allison, are you ready for the showers?!?” he bellowed into the mike. Yes, they were. They were so ready, they shimmied against each other and kissed each other’s lips. The emcee pulled the cord that activated the shower head above them. (He himself was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and jeans.) The girls got wet, did more shimmying, then shook their lank hair at the crowd. Water splatted across my face as I took my apple-pucker-flavored kamikaze from the bartender. Somehow, it didn’t feel as sexy as they seemed to intend it.

The doorman hadn’t hassled us at all on the way in. He wasn’t hassling anybody — an ID and five bucks got you in, and that was that. The crowd at Bikini Bottom looked like a complete cross-section of Katy, Texas, itself. There were twenty-somethings in a range of demographics, from the Ford F250 drivers, to the Camaro drivers, to the pimped-out Scion crews. There were older men in Hawaiian shirts, and older women in lacy black suits. As our friend Mike put it, “This is like Wal-Mart with hip hop.” (That was before we knew that one out of every ten songs would be Latin music.)

It was Spank’s birthday, and not that many of the gang had shown up with such short notice, so those of us there did our duty. We drank, and we danced. Well, Susan and Claudia danced, while the rest of us drank. That’s how our set rolls sometimes — the women dance and the men watch.

I don’t like to dance when it’s only women, so much, because I’m the tallest one by far and it always makes me feel kind of weird, like I’m a substitute boy. You know — like I’m the one who has to do all the humping once everyone gets drunk enough to do the silly hump dances. Sometimes I don’t want to hump, you know? Sometimes I want to be humped, dammit. But, eventually, Susan and Claudia dragged me out onto the floor and made me form a hump sandwich with them. Okay, fine, I thought, putting my hand in the air. Hump, hump, hump.

Like a magnet, a man who was not my type slid up to our threesome. “Hello,” he said. Claudia said hi and turned away, Susan ignored him completely, and I did a polite but dismissive not-smile. He hovered around us for a while, air-humping but not infiltrating our boundaries. Then he went away.

I tried to disengage from the dance then, but only got a sip of beer and an ice cube stolen from the stripper’s cooler before the other women dragged me back out. “Come ON, Gwen!” Hump, hump, hump. Woo!

Like a migratory bird, the stranger guy came back. “Ladies, my friend over there in the white shirt thinks y’all are fine.” He pointed out his friend, who gave us a cool nod and a beer-bottle salute.

“Our boyfriends are right there,” said Claudia, pointing to Mike with her drink. Susan said nothing, just shook her hair. I don’t think she even saw the guy — she was in her own little flashdance world.

“And where’s yours?” he said to me. “I didn’t see you with anybody.” Annoyed that I had to prove my eligibility for love, I pointed out Tad, who was sitting at a little table, leaning back and drinking a Corona as if it were a nice day on the beach. He didn’t even wave to me. Our interloper looked skeptical, as if I had randomly pointed out this bespectacled Asian man, shorter than me (horrors!), in order to play hard to get. He walked away to confer with his friends. I grimaced at Tad, who only laughed.

Claudia whispered in my ear, “Girl, that man wants you! He wants your healthy booty!”

“I am,” I thought, “too old for this.”

I was about to leave the floor again, when the guy came back again. He tapped my shoulder. I turned around and said “what” or “huh” or “uh,” don’t remember what, exactly. Something in my face, though, scared him away. (My natural expression, at rest, is quite bitchy.) “Okay, fine,” he said. “Golly.” He looked very hurt and backed away. I felt kind of bad, but not bad enough to call him back.

“God,” I said to Tad, who’d never once moved from his chair. “What was up with that?”

“That guy’s been watching you all night,” he told me. “The minute you started dancing, he ran up.”

“What?” I said. “Why didn’t you do something, then?”

“Because,” Tad said, “that shit was hilarious.”

Two hours and one “booty-shaking” contest later (Susan and Claudia entered but I refused, as I was still just sober enough to deduce that it was rigged), Spank said he’d had enough festivities and it was time to go. And so, we bid Bikini Bottom farewell.

As Tad and I crossed the muddy embankment and the Whataburger parking lot on the way to our car, the hip hop faded behind us. A block away, in another parking lot, a group of high school kids passed us. One boy noted our clasped hands and called out, “Are y’all gonna have sex tonight?”

“Maybe,” I said. Tad nodded. Disarmed by our candor, he moved on, and we whispered shared hopes for his future, and for the future of all Katy youth.

As Ford trucks zoomed around us like fireflies, we finally made it to the tranquility of Tad’s car.

“Well, that was an adventure, wasn’t it?” I said.

“Yes,” said Tad. And then we went home.

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Posted in culture, my sex life, stories on 07/23/2007 11:52 am

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