Those of you who know me know that I’m not a fan of doing things. So, my behavior last night was greatly out of character. It was brought about by a gentleman’s agreement between myself and a co-worker. Sam, a paid search specialist, would often suggest I go out to strip clubs. I would decline and counter-suggest he go to a Broadway musical. So, we struck a deal that one night in the near future I would treat him to a musical and he would treat me to a strip club. That night came yesterday and this is the tale of Clayburn’s Big Adventure.
Sam and I met at the Olive Garden on Times Square. I don’t exactly know why I am so fond of Olive Garden. It’s much better out in Middle America. The Times Square location is like everything else in Times Square: overpriced and stuffed with tourists. But that’s where we decided to dine before the festivities. There was a long wait, so we ended up eating at the bar.
I’m a teetotaler, so I passed on the alcohol and ordered my go-to dish of chicken fettuccine alfredo. Sam ordered some kind of alcoholic beverage for himself, and as usual tried coaxing me into having something. No matter how many times I’ve deceitfully explained that I’m a Mormon, Sam (and others) always insist on pressuring me to drink alcohol. Since they tend to know that I’m an atheist, the Mormon card doesn’t work very well. The food came, and we ate. It was way too much.
Beside me sat a couple of girls, attractive by Sam’s standards but not Amy Acker by mine. Sam somehow struck up conversation with one. As I wasn’t interested, I didn’t do a very good job of keeping it going. I didn’t really say anything, and eventually their conversation came to an end. The one sitting next to me, who had done most of the talking, was a bit oversized and ironically flat-chested.
We finished our meals, and it was time for shots. Yes, shots. Sam again insisted on me having some alcohol. So, I offered to do a shot of vodka. It’s the only way I’ll drink alcohol since it’s practically tasteless and a shot gets the whole ordeal over with quickly. He ordered something which arrived a few minutes later. Unfortunately, Olive Garden must not have shot glasses. So, what we ended up with was a bit more than a shot of Belvedere vodka in a whiskey glass. After clinking glasses, we downed our respective shots+. I took a picture of the empty trophy:
The nice warm feeling of alcohol in one’s belly surged throughout my body. I somewhat resented it. “How dare you tell me how to feel, alcohol!” But I was more concerned with my mind than my body. I warned Sam that alcohol makes me really happy. That’s when I began to feel it hitting my brain. My pre-frontal cortex was being compromised. I could feel the little alcohol molecules having a party on my neural network, wishing I could yell at them, “Get off my lawn!”
Somehow Sam and I began discussing a long unsettled issue between us: are birds dinosaurs? I contend that they are, while Sam of course says they are not. I told him that he should ask his new friends. He shouted over at the girl next to me, “Hey, can I ask you something?” When he got her attention, he said, “First, what’s your name? That way I have something to call you.” The big one (blonde, mind you) without much boobage said her name was Corina. The other’s was Jamie. Well, great. Now I’m going to have to talk because Sam introduced himself which meant that it would be my turn. Having a name like Clayburn makes you somewhat dread introductions because they could go one of two ways: “What the fuck?” or “How awesome!” I told them my name, having to repeat it at least once. Both seemed impressed and one commented about it being unusual or something like that. I’ve always thought my name was rather presidential, but flat out saying so seems pretentious. Despite the alcohol, I managed to think of a quick fix and said, “Yeah, it’s a bit too presidential for me.” That let me get in the arrogance of bragging about a presidential name, while doing so humbly. They laughed and agreed that it was presidential. At that point I didn’t mind the conversation much since it was all about me. But then things moved on.
Sam asked the question, “Are birds dinosaurs?” The girls didn’t seem to know how to answer. I suspect Jaime was considering that they were, but being the shyer of the two she changed her position to Corina’s when Corina finally answered that they’re not. She explained some silly reason about how they are thought of as dinosaurs because they came from dinosaurs but so did crocodiles and sharks. She prefaced her answer with, “If you believe in evolution,” which struck me funny. (It gets worse.)
From his bar stool, Sam began his victory dance. I was determined to discredit our “expert” witness, so I asked, “What was your major?” Her response was Anthropology. Sam thought he’d won, that a real life anthropologist taking his side meant he knew what he was talking about. I explained that anthropology only deals with humans. And this is where it got worse. Corina, the anthropology major, disagreed with me. “No, it includes all life.” I said that “anthro” means human, and she said that it meant “existence”. To her, anthropology was the study of being and it included “reptiles”. Fortunately, the little bit of alcohol I had was enough to induce euphoria but not enough to impair my judgement. I wanted to argue with her because she was wrong. And furthermore, I wanted to call her stupid because she was stupid. It was her freakin’ major! How does she not know what it means? But I let it slide. I changed the topic by asking about Jaime’s major. It was something pointless and forgettable. Not completely willing to give up entirely, I had one more question for the witness. “So, what kind of work do you do now? Putting that anthropology degree to good use?” She replied that she’s a makeup artist and bartender.
We left the restaurant to walk to the theatre where Mama Mia would be playing. However, along the way I was still frustrated and upset about the ignorance of these strangers we just had a conversation with. This is why I don’t talk to people. I fumed about it to Sam along the way, pulling up the Wikipedia article for Anthropology on my phone and showing him that it’s the study of humanity. Birds are dinosaurs.
The Winter Garden Theatre was like any other Broadway theatre. We arrived, found our seats and waited. The show began. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mama Mia, it’s basically Maury set to ABBA music. During intermission, I struck up a conversation with a Mexican couple sitting next to me. It gave me a rare opportunity to practice my Spanish. They were from Mexico City and were visiting for a few days for their one-year anniversary. They were nice folk, and I should have asked them if birds are dinosaurs.
Sam enjoyed the show. “I had a very good time,” he said when the show finished. Now, it was time for Sam’s half of the evening to begin. That meant a trip to Jersey. It took about thirty minutes for us to arrive at The Harem: Upscale Restaurant and Nude Cabaret. I’ve always wanted a harem.
Now, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this. I had never been to a strip club before, but I think I understood the premise. I figured there would be some women inside and that these women would likely take off some, if not all, of their clothing. Cleavage on the streets of New York upsets me. This strip club idea was daunting. I once explained to someone, after I had went on a rant about how I hate summer in New York because of all the underdressed women out and about, that it’s like waving cheeseburgers in front of starving children. I’ve never understood why someone would pay money to subject themselves to such torture. My whole life philosophy revolves around limiting want so as to avoid the suffering of not having. And yet a strip club is a place where you go to enjoy a temptation that you know you can never act on. Is there a more depressing thought? If I weren’t an atheist, I would imagine Hell would be a place where you’re surrounded by everything you want only to never, ever receive any of it for all eternity. So, Sam brought me to Hell, which I should have known would be in Jersey.
It was like I expected it to be. Apparently Hollywood gets this one right. They’re no good at recreating people using technology appropriately, but they got strip clubs down. We walked in and took some seats. And there were women, scantily clad, if at all, walking around. The stage had a couple of poles on it. Looking around, I was trying to find if there were any women I’d find attractive. No Amy Ackers. But there was one who had the right body, so I told Sam, “That one is attractive.” He went over to her and bought me a lap dance. Her name was probably not Kimberly, and I fell in love.
Then, Sam wanted me to sample other women. Other types of women. I’ve got a very specific type. I know my type. Kimberly was my type. So, I wasn’t all that interested in any of the others. Despite this, Sam lined up several more women for me. But none could compare to my first. One girl tried selling me on the VIP room. She was really pushy about it, and that bummed me out. I hate greed. They’d all ask my name. I should have lied about it, like they probably did about theirs. One girl asked me about the origin of my name. I told her that I didn’t know, and she later asked again. I still didn’t know. There was also a girl with an abnormally large posterior. I had referenced how I found that disgusting before, so I suspect Sam picked her partly as a joke. I don’t like big butts, but I could lie about it if I did. Then, later a girl said to me, “You seem smart. From talking to you, I can see that you are educated.” This was after I told her that I dropped out of NYU when she asked about whether I went to college. That left me paranoid about what she meant by “You seem smart”. It has to be stripper code for something. My guess is “you don’t belong here”.
Later I saw Kimberly sitting at the bar flirting with some muscular bald dude. So, heartbroken, I just sat around watching the girls on stage. I don’t get the point of the pole. I mean, I obviously get the phallic nature of it, but I don’t get why that benefits anything. Most of the girls just sort of hold it to swing around and such. But one girl, in a hipster costume, used it in a more professional sense. Still, I didn’t get the point. Why is climbing to the top of a pole and sliding down it upside down a turn on? Maybe I’m too literal when it comes to sexuality. Metaphors just don’t do it for me.
We left The Harem and made a quick stop at the Bada Bing, which is in reality called Satin Dolls.
The women here weren’t even Sam’s type. So, we didn’t stay very long. Sam drove me back to Queens where I got home around 3:00 am. All in all I think I just have more questions than before this adventure. Why would anyone want three dads? How does a person get a degree in a subject they don’t know the meaning of? Are strippers people, and if so, why? Is my pre-frontal cortex mad at me? Answering these questions might take some time, and writing out the story of last night hopefully helps with that process. Someday maybe I’ll look back and be able to make sense of it all, but for now Clayburn’s Big Adventure is over.
It was a nice night.