Would you please bite my ear?

Why I hate strip clubs

One thing you should know about cops and bachelor-party strippers: they don't mix. I reached this rash conclusion the night before my buddy, who is now a sheriff's deputy, got hitched years ago.

As a bunch of us guys formed a semicircle in the best man's living room, a much-better-looking-than-expected stripper in a cop's uniform entered, toting a boom box. The first thing she did was recite a list of ground rules. No touching, no tonguing, etc. She concluded by making it quite clear that she had a beefy bouncer waiting in the car.

She placed the Man of the Hour "under arrest," flipped on the music and started gyrating. Suddenly, one of the groom-to-be's new cop colleagues said something degrading, like, "Ooo, baby, you're so fine I want to cut your arms, legs and head off and make sweet, sweet love to your blood-oozing stump."

Though she had not covered this in the ground rules, saying you want to cut the arms, legs and head off a much-better-looking-than-expected stripper is apparently NOT the thing you do in polite society. For with that comment, she stopped swinging those hips, bent down to shut off the boom box, wrapped herself in an overcoat and backed out the door while still facing us—once again mentioning that beefy bouncer waiting in the car.

All the other horny young men were ready to kill the disturbed cop. In fact, someone mentioned ripping off his arms, legs and head—and pissing into his blood-oozing stump—before someone, probably a police negotiator, brokered dťtente. We would all relieve our pressure by carpooling over to a strip club that one guest (not Officer Stumpy) seemed to know intimately.

Though I was newly married myself, this would mark my first visit to such a place. At my bachelor party, all we did for sexual hijinks was watch lame pornos. The club, in an industrial area of industrial Azusa in the eastern LA County foothills, was dark, dank and—worst of all—alcohol-free. All we could drink to get primed was warm near-beer that smelled quite like the similarly colored liquid stuck to the floor.

The show started, and three naked women danced on a table-high stage ringed by the male half of the next day's wedding party. Some guys got the gynecologist's view of the best looking of the three dancers. Other guys took in the plump backside of the first runner-up. Me? Jiggling just above my head—and only my head—was the pregnant belly of a stringy-haired, concave-chested, dentally ambiguous woman nearing a 40th birthday and a return to rehab. There was absolutely nothing attractive about her on the outside, but I'm sure she was a wonderful person inside.

Of course, this night was all about my friend, so I sat there and took it like a man—even when the other dancers switched places and mine stayed directly over me, trying to shake awake the fetus inside her while asking, "You like that, honey?" "Lady, is that the kid's head poking out?" Someone loudly suggested I tip this mother-to-be, a process that would have involved tucking a bill in her G-string. But that thin piece of thread was impossible to locate due to the bouncing flab enveloping it. And damn if I was going to lose my new wristwatch trying to find it. The only joy I could muster all night came by looking past the dancers to my soon-to-be-betrothed friend and his beaming face. At least he was having a ball.

Unfortunately, the Azusa stripper-club story doesn't end there. At the wedding reception the next day, my wife and I started talking with another married couple, Fred and Kate, friends I'd gone to school with.

"So did Alex go with them to the strip joint last night?" Kate asked my wife—and it was at that very split second it occurred to me that when I itemized the previous night's activities for my new wife, I had somehow neglected to mention the side trip to Azusa. She shot me the first of many browbeating glances to follow in the years ahead.

As I fumbled with "Uh . . . um . . . well," Kate continued: "Well, Fred came straight home instead of going to the strip club because he said he had something better waiting for him at home."

Fred shrugged as if to indicate, hey, that's the kind of guy I am. But when my eyes met his peepers, they were sympathetic, and he did see fit to remain totally silent to spare me further public humiliation. Meanwhile, you could tell from Kate's smug tone she knew exactly what kind of hell she'd wrought me. And my appointment with the devil began with the first shift into first gear during the car ride home, with my wife saying how she could never trust me again and how perverted I was and how come I wasn't happy with what was waiting for me at home.

This taught me a valuable lesson I would carry with me the rest of my life: the next time I would be presented with an opportunity to go to a strip club, I would make extra damn sure there would be no way my wife could ever find out about it.

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