girls’ night out

Just got home from an event called “Girls’ Night Out.” It was the opening for an exhibit at Blaffer Gallery (UH) that featured photos and videos from female artists about being female. The night was one of juxtapositions.

First of all, the meet and greet part of the evening was outside the gallery and consisted of mingling coupled with wine and finger foods. While scanning the crowd, I saw many women I recognize but don’t know. The kind of chicks who are consistently at the same kinds of things I’m at. Common ground?

You must understand – I’m not a feminist. While I support most/many of the items on the typical “feminist” agenda, I don’t like the separatist attitude that accompanies being in a “special” group. I much more believe in taking it down from the inside. Not like I’m on the inside working for a non-profit and writing for a living. I’m talking life here, not work. I’m talking about being the kind of chick who embodies the agenda rather than being the kind of chick who wears a tee-shirt that embodies the agenda. I don’t know if that makes sense. I told you, there was wine there. And there’s wine at home, too.

So I’m hanging out at this grrrl-power event, and I see an old friend of mine. A woman I admire and respect. She tells me that this weekend she and her husband are going to a strip club so she can get a table dance. “I’m not a lesbian,” she says, “I just think it would be cool to get a table dance and I think my husband will enjoy it.” She asks me what I think.

Hhhhmmm. I don’t really know what to tell her. I’ve been to exactly two strip clubs. Sadly, both were all nude. Being somewhat intimately familiar with the female form (since I have one or two of all the requisite parts), I still wasn’t prepared for the reality of that experience. The most glaring thing (and I realize that all-nude joints are typically the bottom of a very shallow barrel) I noticed was the undercurrent of desperation on both the part of the patrons and the dancers. As an “entertainer,” being a woman who displays her birth canal for money isn’t exactly what most little girls dream of. As a guy, having to pay chicks to see the birth canal is a sort of admission of failure – I can’t see this shit using my own “charm” and “personality,” so I’m going to pay a stranger who will never fuck me (in theory) to look at her business. And, honestly, the question I would ask the guys who just sit on the edge of the stage and stare (and they’re there, believe me) would be: what are you waiting for? A genie to pop out and give you the meaning of life? Or at least the winning lottery numbers? Come on.

That’s one of the big chasms between the sexes. Women who walk into a situation like that look around the room and feel sorry for the dancers and disgusted with the men. Men look around and say, “wow, pussy.” I’m not trying to suggest that men are simplistic creatures – the ones I know well are most definitely not – I’m just saying we often see reality in a different light.

Anyway, I have that conversation and then leave Girls’ Night Out. The first song I hear in the car is “Strut” by Eddie Money. Sometimes Top Tracks gets it right. Sometimes most definitely not. Hearing such a cheesy song was just the perfect capper for the evening. Juxtaposition. Women in society. Wine. Instead of drowning in this thing that is my life, I just let it wash over me. And I write down the side effects.

SIDE NOTE: my one Eddie Money story, which is shared with anyone unlucky enough to be around me when one of his turdy songs comes on – I spent three and a half weeks managing the Satellite Lounge at the end of 1998. On one of the busiest nights during that stretch (keeping in mind sales records were set TWICE during my short tour of duty), we had a full house. Ever mindful of the law, I wouldn’t let the doormen let anyone in after a certain point. I knew that point had been reached when it took me more than ten minutes to get from the front door to the potty. So two guys come up and are hassling the doorman to let them in. He won’t, in one of the few displays of doorman-following-the-procedure I ever witnessed. One of the other doormen finds me inside to tell me that Eddie Money is outside and Don won’t let him in. Thinking it’s all some sort of horrible joke, so I go outside. Sure enough, it’s Eddie Money. Now, I’ve never been a fan, but I was alive and aware in the 80s and knew what Eddie Money looked like. Kind of a rock and roll version of Richard Lewis (the comedian). So I tell the doorman to let Eddie and his buddy in. I keep track of Eddie’s progress that last half hour of business. Sure enough, he’s looking for “blow.” This is 1998. I’m not up on the coke lingo, but I’m pretty sure saying “blow” was out of fashion at the time. Maybe not for someone whose last name is Money. He wasn’t inside five minutes before he spotted the guy who could get it for him. I guess like knows like.