By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
That opportunity did not present itself for several years. A business convention took me and some co-workers to downtown LA, and during the down time there, our boss wanted to take all his boys to Hollyweird's seediest nudie bars. We hit a couple more upscale gentlemen's clubs, but those places weren't, ahem, graphic enough for the Big Cheese, which is understandable considering how he loved playing the role of conservative Christian around the office.
Our final stop was the Seventh Veil, the infamous club that frequent Nixon Library speaker Bruce Herschensohn was spotted coming out of before he went on to lose a U.S. Senate race to Barbara Boxer. Some girls there were quite friendly, especially if you tipped well, but it was hard to get all worked-up because of a certain customer sitting in a corner. He resembled William "The Refrigerator" Perry, the former supersized defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears. This Frig spoke in a helium-high voice and—most distressing of all—held up a furry animal puppet ŗ la Mr. Garrison on South Park. At some point during the girls' routines on the stripper pole, Frig and his puppet would pretend to be agitated, at which point a dancer would have to stop whatever she was jiggling and go over to hug or kiss the puppet until Frig screamed his falsetto approval. Suddenly, that cop who wanted to make sweet, sweet love to that other stripper's blood-oozing stump had competition in the Freak Olympics.
I survived the Seventh Veil and managed to stay out of strip clubs for a whole year—until I had to attend the next convention with the same boss, this time in San Jose. As usual, once the business was over, we all had to cram into a taxi and set out for the city's unseemly underbelly. Our first stop was a kind of sports/bikini bar. The dancers were some of the most beautiful women I'd ever been that close to, certainly the most beautiful to pretend they liked me. However, they also did not get totally naked, and we could not touch them, although, if you lavished them with the appropriate tips (which our boss did), we could get down on our knees, put our arms around our backs and have one of the women give us a private dance—and by private I mean in the middle of an empty dance floor with a spotlight on you and about a hundred drunk, horny guys cheering you on.
I must admit that while I wasn't ready to trade in the wife and kids for my private dancer, she did have me smitten enough to request something I'd never asked any woman, even my wife: "Would you please bite my ear?"
I have no idea from which recess in my brain that came from. Surely there had to be a better fantasy inside me somewhere. But, trooper that she was, the woman—sort of a Latina Demi Moore—complied. And right after that, we made eye contact. Well, I made eye contact. Her brown eyes had that faraway-stripper look, that I-wish-I-was-somewhere-else-right-now look, that God-I-really-really-really-hate-all-men look.
Like my other strip-club encounters, this one proved in the end to be just as empty—even with the dental impressions in my right ear lobe. A little later, we wound up at a more hardcore San Jose club, but it was too gross—even for my boss! By now totally shit-faced, our roving boys' club ended up back at our airport-area hotel, and someone had the bright idea of barging into the room of an extremely attractive female co-worker who had wisely brought her fiancť along with her to the convention. The consensus among many men in our group was that our co-worker's boyfriend was soft, that the mere sight of all of us at her door would lead her to dump him and . . . well, who the hell knows what else. Like I said, we were totally shit-faced.
As our boss got ready to knock on her door, I finally piped up with a question I should have asked earlier in the evening and the previous year in LA and years earlier in Azusa.
"Guys, what the hell are we doing here?"