a night out on the town

NOTE: This is a bit of a TMI/NSFW entry.  You’ve been warned.

I tend to not be a very debaucherous person[1. I think I just made that word up.].  Most of my time is spent at home, either noodling on the guitar or playing Fire Emblem or some other incredibly nerdy task.  When I lived in the Dorian House, even though we would have some pretty crazy nights, it’s not like every night was crazy.  Generally we would sit and watch TV and make fun of shows on VH1.  Or they would watch baseball and I would wonder why I was watching baseball.  Or I’d play Final Fantasy XII and Aaron would bitch about the fact that I was playing Final Fantasy XII.  Or some combination of all of these.

When I moved to Portland my propensity for weekend drinking and debauchery declined tenfold.  I was out of college, I was in a new town full of people I didn’t know.  These days I tend to drink one or two really good beers rather than my share of a pitcher of Bud Light.  I hang out and see music shows or talk about the audience for that particular night’s play performance. In essence, I have become Boring.  I don’t mind it at all, really, though it does make my blog entries rather dull.

And then my friend J came into town, and I caught a glimpse of the nightlife in Portland that I hadn’t seen before.  Primarily: strippers.

J is a buddy from college, and so it was great to have a piece of Boise come over here, if only for the gossip aspect of it.  Unfortunately, my Boring lifestyle thus far has kept me from knowing where all the cool places are to hang out, especially downtown.  They’re seemingly everywhere, but they’ve all got covers and it’s hard for a first-timer like me to figure out which ones are worth that cover.  J was staying at a posh hotel by the river (he was shooting a film — lucky bastard), and he didn’t have a car, so we didn’t really have the option of going anywhere in Northeast (my territory [sorta]).  So we stuck to the downtown area, around 3rd.

Our first stop was the Ash Street Saloon.  I had read about it online, though I didn’t realize it was so close to Berbati’s.  Just wasn’t paying attention, I guess.  Either way, up until this point I was telling J that I had no clue where anything cool was, no knowledge of the bar scene whatsoever.  I had been dragged to many different bars, but few of them were downtown.  I had made it abundantly clear that I had No Idea what I was doing.

As we walked in some generalized direction, we passed by a place with a lovely young woman dancing in the window.  Remember this well, gentle readers; it will be important later.

We eventually walked into the Ash Street Saloon.  Cover was $6.  I thought, eh, it’s downtown, we’ll deal.  First off, Ash Street is a hipster dive bar.   It’s one of those clever dive bars which probably doesn’t have to be a dive bar (there are plenty of un-divey places around it), but it likes to emit the atmosphere of a dive bar and thus refuses to clean up in any way.  I’m fine with that.  Obviously a bar has to have a certain image to get a certain crowd, and I love me a good dive bar, so it worked out well.

We paid the cover and walked into the sweet strums of a metal band thrashing like a shark must move in the ocean — to survive.  It was loud and raucous, and I was suddenly reminded of a GG Allin video I watched online a few days prior.  This band was no where near that insane, but there was just something about power chords and distortion that made me think of that.  This is how my mind works.

Anyway, we sat down and a very cute waitress asked us what we wanted.  I asked her what she had on tap, and she said, “A lot of stuff.”  This is when I knew we wouldn’t be staying at this bar.  J asked for a pitcher of Bud Light, and she said, “We don’t have pitchers, and we don’t have Bud Light.”  The closest they had was Amstel Light, so we got two of those.  The two cost $9.  I’m sure we could’ve gotten two PBRs for, I dunno, fifty cents a piece, but Amstel Light for $4.50?  No way no sir no how.  J and I spoke briefly between two minute ear-piercing thrashes about such topics as “RROOWWORRR” and “AAAAAGGHH”.  Then we pounded our beers and got the hell out of there.

It was at this point that I remembered that Old Town Pizza had great pizza and beer specials after nine o’clock, and so we went on the hunt.  Unfortunately, to me, Old Town Pizza is the downtown Portland equivalent of a Ghost Ship, appearing only when I don’t expect it to, but remaining hidden whenever I actively search for it.  And so it was that night, walking all around the general location of where I assumed OTP to be.  We walked by an Oregon Duck store, which is where I thought OTP was, which led me to believe that OTP no longer existed there (which is such a preposterous  idea — that a Duck store would replace such an old and iconic pizzaria).  Eventually I got frustrated and suggested we go to Ground Kontrol instead — since beer + video games is awesome.

I almost got us lost then, too, but J was smart enough to ask a lady where the place was (turns out we were walking right to it).  We walked in, bought a couple of Coors, sat down and talked about the theatre department at Boise State.  I won’t discuss what was said, but I will cryptically say that my respect for a couple of people has diminished considerably.  Eh, so it goes.

We ended up not playing any video games, but drinking a bit and then leaving.  Earlier in the night I had told J that Portland was well known for two things: breweries and strip clubs[2. And the music scene, I guess.].  So he decided that we would go back to that strip club that we had passed earlier.  I did not say no to this, though perhaps I should have.

So there we were, in a strip club.  This one was small, narrow, with a short stage backed with mirrors on one side, some tables toward the back, and the bar and private rooms on the other side.  And no pole.  Which must be quite a challenge for the exotic dancer.

As I have mentioned in my previous stripper-related blog post, I don’t do well at strip clubs.  I tend to get both nervous and embarrassed.  The whole point of a strip club is to stare at women’s boobies (and, in Oregon, their crotches), and yet all I did was avert my eyes.  In Idaho there is a no nudity clause, so there’s lots of “bikini bars” where hot girls dance in as little clothing as possible.  Here, however, women will drop their drawers like it was the latest fad (which I think it is in Japan).  The difference was alarming to me.

J was immediately set upon by a tallish woman.  I excused myself to use the restroom (god I had to pee so badly).  When I came back, J was gone, and I was alone with no place to sit.

I should mention at this point that on the day prior, I had spent a considerable amount of money purchasing a new electric guitar, distortion pedal, and case.  It was a gift to myself for doing Perfection and basically having a little extra money to spend on me and not on a bill.  The bad news was that tonight, at this strip club, I had about $40 in my bank account.  You know how they say that if you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, you shouldn’t go eat at a restaurant?  I think the same holds true for strip clubs.  If you don’t have the money, you shouldn’t go.  But there I was, without J (who, honestly, had been my money link — he had money from his film shoot), watching nude girls gyrate on a small stage, putting their perfumed hands on the mirror, which looked as greasy as some of the patrons there, as they jiggled their bare asses in front of a bunch of dudes leering from their shadowy tables.

I was standing, leaning against a counter area where the DJ was set up.  There was no DJ specifically, just a computer with Typical Stripper Music blaring[3. No “Pour Some Sugar On Me” though, thank god.].  There was an exceedingly attractive woman shaking parts of herself on the stage when I was first approached by another stripper.  She was a short, somewhat Latino looking girl, clad in skimpy lingerie, sipping on a cup of water.

“Hi,” she said.

I said hi back.

“Have you ever been here before?”

“Nope,” I said.  Little did I know, this would be the basis for all future stripper conversations.

We talked for a bit and she asked me where my friend was, and I said, “In a room, I think.”  Then she asked me if I wanted to get a room.  I essentially said, “I don’t know yet,” but really I just wanted to get the hell out of there before I lost all the money in my bank account.  She gave me a look that said “This guy has no money,” and left.  One down, two to go.

I continued to watch, standing, leaning against this DJ booth, wondering just how long J was in that room (and how much money he spent), when a slender woman got on stage and Did Her Thang.  My eyes kept wandering to the ATM.  Should I get some money?  I thought about at least getting a $20 so that I could put dollar bills on the stage, or whatever the hell it is you do with dollar bills.  I saw people sitting in chairs by the stage, and they would put money down and the lady dancing would come over and put her nether regions in their faces, repeat ad nauseum until the next Ginuwine song started playing.  They seemed like they knew what they were doing.

Anyway, this young nubile woman was dancing for apparently longer than she was supposed to be — there was a hubbub between the dancers and a lot of impromptu boob jiggling (not the sexy dancing kind, but the “oh shit I have to check what song is on the computer but I don’t have time to put on my top” kind).  I guess they just let her go on.  When she was done she walked off stage and immediately to me.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hello,” I said.

“Have you been here before?”


She was replacing articles of clothing as she said this.  Eventually she told me the prices: $100 for fifteen minutes in a room, $150 for 30 minutes.  Also, for the $150 she will gyrate on me for 30 minutes and then, at the end, I can “pleasure myself” and finish.  In other words, she will dry hump me for a half an hour and then I get to jerk off at the end.  Sorry lady, that’s not worth $150, period.  I’d get more pleasure buying an iPod with that kind of money.

She asked me what I was interested in, and I said, flatly, “I just don’t have a lot of money.”  That’s okay, she said — there are $10 and $20 dollar lapdances as well, and for $30 we can go into a private room.  I told her that I’d think about it, and she said she’ll come find me in a few minutes, and then mosied off.  I saw her standing beside the first stripper, who was probably telling her that I have no money.  Grrreat.

Now, at this point J still hadn’t come back, and I assume he’s having a lot more fun than I am.  So I said, “Fuck it” and went to the ATM.  But it was down.  So I went to the bartender lady and asked for  $20.  Okay, first off, I had to make a purchase, because she wasn’t an ATM, so I purchased the cheapest thing there — tap water for a buck.  But there’s also a $4 service fee.  Four dollars?  Seriously?  My $20 has suddenly become $25.  Again, I said, “Fuck it” and went for it.  So now I have a ten dollar bill and ten ones in my hand, and five dollars that has been sucked into the strange, twisted world of strip clubs.  I figure I’d sit by the stage and fling ones at the dancers until I run out, then get an el cheapo lapdance and then get the hell out of here.

The instant the $20 was in my hand, however, I met the third stripper.  I think her name was Taylor.  Either way, the ritual must begin sometime, and for me it was with this young lass.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hello,” I said.

“Have you ever been here before?”


Etc etc etc.

Now Taylor, while being a young attractive woman, was not Stripper Hot.  In the real world, where people are pock-marked and imperfect, she would be a delightful person to go have a beer with, but in the dimly lit nooks of the strip club, she was clearly not the hottest one there.  I’m not sure why I decided to get a lapdance from her.  I think it was just my necessity to make this shit happen, coupled with my extreme inability to talk to really hot women, especially scantily clad ones.  I could’ve said “No thanks” and then chatted up one of the younger ones, but I didn’t.

I decided to give her the full $20 and get the totally nude lapdance.  Little did I know that this would make my pants smell like vagina the next day.  She led me to the back of the club, all the time asking if I could pony up the extra $10 for a private room (“Couldn’t you go to the ATM?” she said, to which I replied, “I just went to the ATM[4. Which technically wasn’t true, but you know what I mean.].”).  We sat on the couch and talked while she waited for the next song to play.  She’s a Portland native who is studying to become a nurse.  Are all strippers studying to become nurses?  This seems par for the course.  I just love how women pay for the pursuit of aiding the sick and wounded by aiding the male and horny.

And then the next song started playing and I suddenly Received the Lapdance.  One moment I was talking to her and the next her boobs were in my face and she was grinding all over me.

To be blunt, her lapdance was more formulaic than the Pythagorean Theorem.  It was like, I’ll do A, then I’ll do B, then I’ll do C, and then A, and then I’ll shake it up by doing C and then B! etc etc.  At one point early in the dance she stood up, turned around so her ass was in my face, dropped her panties, and quite literally plopped her crotch down on my (clothed) crotch.  This is sexy?  People pay money for this?  Maybe I was just getting the low quality dance because I was broke, but it certainly didn’t make me want to return to this place.

So needless to say, this display did not arouse me whatsoever.  Sometimes she would “lip” at my ear (I don’t know a better way to put it, she kept, like, rubbing her lips against my ear or some shit) and make what I can only assume was fake moans of pleasure but really sounded like she was being lightly punched in the stomach.  She must’ve been frustrated by my lack of immediate bonertude.

At another point she put one leg up on the couch, just by my shoulder, and I basically saw it all.  I … don’t understand why this is supposed to be attractive.  I mean, she had a vagina.  It didn’t look infested or anything.  Again, this is sexy?  I don’t get it.

The worst thing about the whole ordeal is that the parts I enjoyed the most were when my eyes were closed and she ran her hand through my hair.  Not because it was arousing, but because it made me wish I had someone who did that on a regular basis.   I realized that I would’ve gladly paid this woman $20 to sit on my lap, play with my hair and tell me about her day.  The touch of skin on skin is powerful, but it’s only powerful between two connected beings, not between one guy and an exotic dancer.  I found myself closing my eyes more than keeping them open, just for the sensation of fingers running through my hair and her hand lightly pressed against my chest.  The feeling of weight, of pressure.  It made me feel less lonely.

And then the music transitioned and she got off of me, said thank you, and that was it.  I got up, went to the front, saw J sitting, waiting for me.  He walked up to me and, after I told him where I was, said, “So, uh … do you want to go?”  I quickly said yes.

Outside we walked around for a while, laughing about the ridiculousness of what had just happened.  And then we got a cab.  He went back to his hotel and I went back home.  And that was the end of that.

It’s pretty sad that such a base and sexual encounter could awaken this longing and loneliness that I’ve probably been feeling since the day I moved here.  All it took was the stripper’s gentle touch, I suppose…

Taylor insisted that I come back someday.  I don’t think I will, Taylor.  Sorry.

By Josh

I'm the guy who owns this site, ya dummy.

2 replies on “a night out on the town”

Ah Josher, what a downer. I remember my first stripper escapade back in the 60s. I can see nothing’s changed much.

FYI, your mother and I had a very good friend by the name of Deserie [Dezeray]. What a beauty she was. Five-foot-five inches tall with a perfect body. She was African American with a light caramel colored complexion and freckles [I especially remember her freckles — they were very becoming]. She was one of the most talented and beautiful women I’ve ever met.

Her act was ‘body control.’ She was able to do her entire act with a champagne glass on her tummy. She could grind, she could do almost anything and never spill a drop. My band at that time, was backing her act in the club. I played the song ‘The Stripper’ about a million times in the weeks we were booked there. In that time, she became friends with your mother and me. We spent many hours with her and got to know her well. She was ‘Vegas’ trained as an ‘Exotic Dancer’ which I took to mean she was more than just a stripper. I have to admit, I had a crush on her…I think your mother did too, course she’d never admit it. [Nothing ever came of the crush.]

Years later, I met up with Dez again in a house of ill repute in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She was the madam and hooked on heroin. I was saddened by her fallen state. Her looks were gone…except for her smile, it was still as pretty as ever. Her body had gained poundage and she looked ill. The reason I found her was a friend of mine in Idaho Falls told me she was ‘tricking’ at this ‘no-star’ hotel. I couldn’t believe it and had to see for myself. How sad her life turned out to be.

So when you started telling me in this blog about your experience with the seamy side of life, I immediately thought of Deserie and how her life turned out.

You captured the lewdness and basic ickiness and non-sexiness of that kind of life. I feel for these girls. As a social worker, I want to intervene when I see them. What they are doing is so demeaning it simply is not sexy except to all but the lowest form of humankind. You have good instincts as far as this stuff goes. Maybe you should be a social worker as well as an artist. Just kidding!

Luv ya, DA

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