Central parks? Pah! Pedestrian malls? Fooey! Downtown plazas? Shut up! There's only one genuine indicator of metropolitan health, wealth and general quality of life: its sex district.
Amsterdam's Red Light District. Paris' Moulin Rouge. New York's Times Square before Giuliani—the civilized world's Thailand.
And Orange County's T-Zone.
Yep, that's right: Orange County has its own porn district, its own avenue of red lights and boulevard of titillation. Those of us in the know refer to it as the T-Zone, as it begins at Beach Boulevard just north of Katella, oozes its way south about four miles and then shoots off west and east down Garden Grove Boulevard—an enormous "T," which rhymes with "P," which stands for "Porn."
The T-Zone is enormous, straddling three cities and seven buxom square miles. It's got bookstores, movie arcades, novelty shops, topless clubs, all-nude theaters and lingerie bars.
All of it centered squarely in the bosom of Orange County.
And, sure, we're blowing it completely out of proportion. Yes, parts of Stanton, Garden Grove and Westminster lie in the zone, but we're not exactly living George Bailey's secret fantasy here. Pottersville we ain't. No more than a dozen adult-oriented businesses appear to the naked eye over this stretch, hardly an epicenter of vice. But it's the best we've got.
Which is why we're giving you the very first official tour of Orange County's T-Zone, complete with our own officially notarized, copyrighted, trademarked and patented T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating!
10350 Beach Blvd., Stanton
It smells sweet in here, like a candy-cane beer belch. Those are real red lights pulsating, real naked women onstage bending over about three feet in front of curiously expressionless men, real hot-looking, scantily clad young moisties working the crowd and real (covered) crotches and (covered) boobs bumping, grinding and gyrating in men's laps and faces.
We like it here—we really, really like it here. Unlike clubs in Anaheim and other uncivilized communities, Stanton's TJ's is an all-nude dance club light on fantasy but high on contact. Nothing illegal, nothing outrageous. Just real live nakeditity onstage and barely clothed contact during lap dances. All in good, clean fun.
There's also no alcohol and enough security in place to keep overly friendly patrons from clawing at the merchandise. Hell, gentlemen, it's a theater, fer chrissake!
Cover charge, $7; mandatory one-drink surcharge, $4.50 (for alcohol-free drink); lap dances, $10.
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 9! (No alcohol, bad. Real contact, good.)
11442 Beach Blvd., Stanton
This is your typical one-stop porn shop. Books, magazines, toys, all kinds of interesting gadgets in a locked glass display case. Even video-head cleaner; awful thoughtful. It's clean and spacious. Not overly friendly, but you don't feel like you're committing a crime by walking in and poking around.
The best things, sexwise, are the movie arcade booths. Unlike movie arcades elsewhere in the T-Zone, you can have a little privacy in an Earmark cubicle. You can close the door, deposit up to 20 bucks and have a seat, choosing from among 50 movies to view, including: Scenes From the Oral Office, Up Your Ass #13, Fuck a Fatty Funtime #23 and Barrio Chicas #2. There's even a small plastic-lined wastebasket on the ground in which to deposit your spent gum wrappers. Awful thoughtful!
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 8! (We do like our privacy.)
11572 Beach Blvd., Stanton
This is a dance club where the women strip down to bikinis and such and perform. Some of them are really quite excellent dancers. There's a full bar and TVs all over the place, giving Venus a sports-bar-with-dancing-women vibe. On this night, it doesn't have the sweat and heat of TJ's, but the ladies are far nicer, and we like that.
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 7! (We'll come back on a busier night.)
8112 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
Two miles up from Venus, we turn east on Garden Grove Boulevard and pull into the impossibly small parking lot at 4-H, a bar that, those in the know say, is frequented by people of a gay persuasion. Inside, about 20 men, most under 30, mostly Latino, are grooving to a salsa beat. They're having a great time. Everybody smiling. Everybody happy. Gay people really are gay! We order a beer and realize there's nothing in this bar that makes it appear any different from our own watering holes, besides the kind of nude statue in the corner. But wait a minute. This is a gay bar. We're a man. No one's looked at us even twice. Gee, gay people can really hurt your feelings.
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 3! (Feelings hurters!)
A-Z Adult Books
8192 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
Next door to the Fraternity House. Lots of man mags—high-quality bondage stuff. There's also a movie arcade area. Unlike Stanton's Earmark, this place affords no privacy—perhaps because its clientele is gay and police really, really want to see what's going on? (Note to self: investigate.) Low walls allow anyone walking through the area to see exactly what you're watching. Rather than an open meet-and-greet invitation, we think the wide-open space has something to do with a rather ominous sign posted: GARDEN GROVE POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO INSPECT PREMISES AT ANY TIME. NO LEWD CONDUCT.
We're depressed. Isn't whacking off to Ass Jammers or Ripped, Stripped and Fucked far healthier and safer than indiscriminate sex in a park or on the street or an alley? Boo to the Garden Grove police for clamping down on our freedom to pleasure ourselves in public.
Our spirits momentarily inflate when we see a life-size John Holmes doll. For a mere $186.99, you, too, can own the famed porn actor's plastic doppelgnger, complete with "soft brown curly hair," "wide open sucking mouth" and "deep tight butt."
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 5! (Thanks to the Garden Grove Police Department.)
The Adult Book Store
8502 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
About a half-mile east on Garden Grove Boulevard is our least favorite stop on the tour. Unfriendly. Smells. We don't see anything of interest. We leave.
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 1! (A nondescript porn store?)
Three Porn Shops in a Row
8751 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
According to those in the know, this is all the same business, but the city of Garden Grove (quickly becoming our least favorite burg in the T-Zone) would throw a shit fit if one porn store occupied so much square footage, so the owner cut the store into three. Who says city officials are smart?
One store deals with magazines, another with novelties and a third with video rentals. Each has movie arcade booths, set up like those in A-Z. Signs are all over the parking lot and inside the arcades, warning patrons that the police could show up at any time to arrest them for the socially repugnant beasts they are.
According to a most charming worker behind the counter of the first shop, about once a night, someone tries to wank. If she hears or sees the offender, she boots him out —which beats getting swept up by the cops during one of their spontaneous walk-throughs. Then the unlucky stiff gets thrown in jail. With a bunch of other men. Who may be drunk. Or horny. Or both. Now there's irony.
A walk through the three stores reveals a very clean, very orderly layout. According to those in the know, the most popular magazines these days are young-girl magazines, like Barely Legal. The most popular novelties are "butt stuff and cock rings."
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 7! (You can't underestimate good service.)
7052 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster
Turn around and drive some three miles the other way on Garden Grove Boulevard, past Beach, and you'll hit the last two spots on our T-Zone tour—the West Bank, as those in the know are fond of saying. Sugars is first. It's a lingerie bar. Waitresses dress in skimpy outfits and stand around gabbing. All in all, far less provocative than dinner at Hooters.
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 5! (One waitress was playing with a Hula-Hoop. We like that.)
7000 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster
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Compared with the other clubs in the T-Zone, Scamps is certifiably classy. Big cozy chairs, video screen, pristine bathrooms, a large stage and a clientele that seems to want to behave itself. As those in the know say, this is a gentleman's club that deals in fantasy, as opposed to those clubs where nothing is left to the imagination.
It's topless with a full bar and really does seem the one establishment in the zone that possesses a certain je ne sais quoi. That's proved when a dancer named Miss Behavin' approaches us and introduces herself as the best French-born dancer in Orange County. She hails from Bordeaux. She's probably also the only French-born national in any Orange County club. But who's counting?
T-Zone Sex Meter Fun Rating: 8! (We like the French—as long as they're not in France.)
Thus ends the tour. Hope you liked it. Check this space next week as our tour of Orange County's hot adult spots continues, with our first-ever ranking of major-department-store panty aisles.