There is a roach the size of my thumb living in the walls of my apartment, and that’s fine. What’s not fine was that he decided to come out of the walls this afternoon and run over my dishes while they were drying off in the dish drainer in my sink. This led to an orgy of cleaning, bleaching and boiling, and then to a trip to the Astor Place K-mart to buy caulking, so that I could block up the crack between the wall and the counter, which is where the germy little bastard first appeared, before he ran all over every single one of my glasses, cups, silverware and appliances with his horrible poopy little feet.
On my way back from buying the caulking, two rats nearly ran over my feet on the corner of Bowery and Houston, right near the scenic Christie Garden, which is clearly infested with rats and therefore considerably less scenic in my mind than previously. I also saw a homeless dude who had kind of a weird vibe. I see lots of homeless people, obviously, but my radar went off with this one: Cross the street now, said the old radar, and so I did. I did think for a moment of the comic possibilities of being mugged while on my way home from buying caulking for my roach problem — I still love you, New York! — but decided that my personal safety and virtue were worth more than the joke.
In other New York stories, I went to my very first strip club last night. My pal Josh was in town celebrating his birthday. The original plan was very low-key: We were going to get together with a bunch of folks at a bar in Park Slope, and drink a bunch. Along about two in the morning, things took a turn for the absurd when I happened to mention that I had never been to a strip club. (It totally fit into the conversation, I swear. I wasn’t all like, “So! Your job is going well, then, yes? And did I happen to mention that I’ve never been to a strip club?”)
About an hour later, after a series of misadventures — a cab ride that nearly ended in our being put out on the Brooklyn Bridge, a decidedly lower class gentleman’s establishment with a hefty cover charge, a paucity of ATMs and restrooms, leading to one extended quest for cash and a pee-break behind a tractor — we ended up a place called New York Dolls, which was full of naked ladies, just as advertised.
Now, an aside here: The reason I haven’t been to a strip club before is that, surprise surprise, I sort of felt that they might objectify women. I felt sorry for women who stripped, and didn’t want to participate in their oppression. Now, I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind about that. What I will say is that someone is in charge in those places, and it sure ain’t the customers.
“You bet your ass they’re in charge,” Josh said, when I mentioned this to him. “If you don’t think so, try running out of cash before you pay for a lap-dance. Two huge dudes will be only too happy to escort you to an ATM while you get cash.”
We could have used those dudes earlier, actually, when we were looking for an ATM.
We were only there an hour, but in that time we managed to get Jayme a lap dance, because she had never been to a club either, and had expressed an interest; get Josh a lap dance, because it was his birthday, and because he likes them; and get me a lap dance, because Josh thought it would be hysterically funny to embarrass me.
The lap dance was not what I thought it was. I sort of thought, silly me, that it involved the stripper sitting on your lap, which I imagined, might be kind of fun, if you were a dude. But no. Here is what actually happens: A scantily clad woman (in this case, a very nice Bulgarian lady named “Donna”, who appeared to be wearing bright red dental floss over her personal areas) sticks her knee in your crotch and then hits you in the face with her chestral region. That especially took me by surprise. One minute, I’m asking our new friend Donna about Bulgaria, and the next minute, I’m being slapped by mammaries. The first time, I thought it was a mistake, actually. I kind of wish someone had a picture, so that I had a record of what I’m sure was an expression of the purest astonishment.
Afterward, Josh sured me that I was a total pro.
“Are you kidding? I was dying of embarrassment.”
“Oh, yeah, but that’s the thing. You, like, looked over at me a couple times like, ‘Dude, what the fuck?’ Which is exactly what you’re supposed to do.”
We were very lucky, in the end, that we were not thrown out, since the Birthday Boy had a bit of difficulty adhering to the “no touch” rule.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said later. “She put her ass on my chest and hit me in the face with her ginormous fake boobs. I just kinda poked her in the side a little. I wanted to see if she was muscley.”
At 4 a.m., we all stumbled back out onto the street, ready for more adventures, but nothing else was open. It was the first time I’d managed to shut New York down, and I felt wide awake, oddly sober and very proud of myself. Two weeks before, I’d been so brokenhearted I thought I’d probably have to move back to Boston and live in my Mom’s garage. One of the best things about this place is that you can have a month’s worth of experiences in a night.
“Even when you’re unhappy in New York, you’re happy,” my Dad said the other night on the phone. That pretty much sums it up.