Headed to a broke down strip club to watch unattractive dancers spin to drunk ppl singing karaoke. Fuck am I doing with my life?
— The D.E.F.I. (@crkstr_defi) April 20, 2013
A few months ago, I challenged that my friends are more fun than your friends. And I was right, of course. Why do I feel so confident in saying that? Easy: my friends are crazy.
A couple of weeks ago, Belle and Jay Swag randomly decided to put together an event night for all of us. The destination? An area strip club called the Tennyson Lodge, for their “Bareoke Night”. If you’re not familiar, this involves fully-clothed customers singing karaoke songs onstage while naked dancers gyrate to the music a few feet away.
Now, I feel the most important detail to this picture is one that’s not readily apparent unless you’re familiar with Western PA strip clubs: There are really only three or four reputable clubs in the area. These are the clubs that get the porn stars doing dancing tours. These are the clubs getting most of the bachelor parties. And these are the clubs where you can expect at least 85% of the talent to be, well, talent. These…are not the Tennyson.
If you go to a smaller, lesser-known club, odds are you’re going to find the B Squad from Van Wilder. Prior to Friday night, the only glimpse inside the Tennyson that I’d ever seen was a picture of a middle-aged, man-faced woman on a stage wearing a bra, panties, and a knee brace.
In other words, you don’t go to the Tennyson to be turned on. You go for the comedy. YOLO!
• I arrived at Swag and Mitch Canada’s place in Mt. Washington around 8:30; by then, there was only a cab waiting outside and Belle and two of her gal pals from work waiting inside. My Amazonian blonde friend handed me a ¾ full beer and said, “Chug.” I obliged, crushed the can, walked back outside, and hopped in the cab.The next morning I shuffled down the sidewalk from TD’s place, past people setting out to begin a productive Saturday; my only goal was to crawl into bed. And with every sideways glance I got, I just smirked.
• We were less than five minutes into the cab ride when I was introduced to Belle’s friends. And less than five minutes after that, Friend #1 was telling all of us the story of how, the week before, she and her girls got into a fight in a movie theater with a random chick who disrespected her. I checked my watch; it wasn’t 1997, and we weren’t all in high school.
• Friend #2: “All I know about the Tennyson is from the review I read on Yelp.”
• As it turns out, Belle was at the Tennyson for Bareoke the week prior. After a night of karaoke, dirty strippers, and a barrage of shots, she threw up in the parking lot in front of her date…who hasn’t called her since.
Some guys don’t deserve a penis.
• We finally arrived at our destination and walked in. Well…let’s compare what I saw to what my expectations were:
1.) It was fairly clean. Expectation = exceeded.
2.) The first dancer I saw looked like a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome awareness ad. Expectation = met.
3.) The establishment, on the whole, looked like a slightly-above-average dive bar that someone stuck stripper stages into. Expectation = exceeded.
4.) The next two dancers I saw were fairly cute. Expectation = obliterated.
• The Tennyson has something I’ve never seen at another strip club; they have a solitary pole on a 2½’-by-2½’ platform situated next to the bar, far away from the main stage. Dancers spin there when in-between shifts. It’s like a stripper bullpen.
• Roll call (pt. 1): When we arrived, TD, Boy Toy, Swag, Swag’s girl (“Skeets”), and Canada were on hand. After a short convo I learned that Tony, too, was there; but he had waited until the last minute to eat dinner, and was now up the street at Dairy Queen. That’s just poor planning right there. I had scarfed down a Wendy’s value meal on my way to Mt. Wash; he couldn’t have done the same thing? Who heads off to drink at a D-level strip club and thinks, “Eh, I’ll grab something to eat once I get there”…?
• Roll call (pt. 2): Eventually our friends “MoPaddle” , “Mr. MoPaddle”, “Bobbo”, and Shelly joined us as well.
• Swag was so enthusiastic about bareoke, that you would’ve thought it held some type of religious meaning to him. In increasingly excited tones, he relentlessly explained how much fun I was going to have. After a minute I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Calm down, buddy—you don’t have to keep selling me on this. I’m here.”
• The first round of shots was supplied by TD. Snake Bites, I believe.
• Tony: “I know, from the outside [the Tennyson] looks like a family restaurant!”
• I felt the table vibrate, and checked my phone; no messages. A minute later I felt another vibration and checked my phone. Again nothing. I looked under the table, and then at the floor around us, before feeling the vibration once more. This time I realized that Bobbo was swirling his Miller Lite bottle around on the table, causing the vibration. “I thought that was my phone,” I explained. “When I realized it wasn’t…I didn’t want to know what could be vibrating on the floor here.”
• The second round of shots was supplied by Swag. Rumple Minze—a good deal of which Swag spilled on my sleeve.
• One dancer walked out and I caught myself saying, “Well now…” About 5’7” (in stripper heels, but still…), curly dark hair, cute face, and a well-sculpted set of surgically-enhanced C-cups. TD was smitten.
• One chap, sitting on the other side of the stage, was also a fan. As she laid on her back and put the kitten within purring distance, he leaned forward in his chair. “There’s always one guy who’s too into the girls,” I said. “Look at him, staring at her crotch like he’s watching television.”
• There was a shot girl walking around, with the tray of neon colored water that you usually see at night clubs. Normally, the shot girl is the hottest waitress at a bar or club. This one was short and round. I’ve dubbed this the “Tennyson Effect.”
• A random guy with a tight Affliction shirt and a backwards Affliction cap appeared. Belle was smitten.
Some women don’t deserve a vagina.
• An old woman walked in…with a dog on a leash. I turned to Canada and asked if he had seen the poodle. He thought I meant the guy with the funny haircut who had walked past a short time earlier.
• A bouncer informed me that the old woman with the dog is the owner. Of course she is. She set up shop behind the bar. A doggie gate, situated under the servers’ bridge, kept the resident guard dog penned up.
• I noted to Canada that the owner looked like a female version of Dan Aykroyd in Nothing But Trouble. For the rest of the night, he laughed himself silly each time he saw her.
• The women’s bathroom doubles as the dancers’ dressing room. Of course it does. TD came back from powdering her nose; a dancer had been doing her makeup in the mirror next to her as TD washed her hands. With the excitement of a kid trick-or-treating, she reported, “I told her, ‘I like your ass!’”
• Belle, Swag, Canada, and others in the audience all performed medleys at different times. If you think you know what it would be like to see drunken amateur singing while simultaneously watching slightly-less drunken, slightly-less-amateur stripping, let me tell you now: you don’t. Nothing fully prepares you for that kind of sensory overload, when everything that shouldn’t happen is happening all at once.
Canada: “What is he, Jewish?”
• It took me a good five minutes before the comedy of Canada’s question truly hit me. Hurray booze!
• Every time I turned around, a different selection of our crowd was at the bar buying shots. Mr. MoPaddle bought some, I bought some, Boy Toy bought some, Canada bought some… It was like we were actively trying to disinfect ourselves as a precaution. Hurray Tennyson Lodge!
• TD asked the deejay if she could sing “Fuck Her Gently”. She could not.
• Near midnight, TD’s favorite dancer—with the fake Cs—was working the stripper bullpen while several of us were gathering at the bar to leave. Tony and I told Fake Cs that our little blonde friend had a crush on her. We then called over said little blonde friend. Fake Cs began grinding on her, trying to seduce her with all she had. Then she motorboated her. Yup.
• We thought, of course, that TD was going to love it. As soon as she came back to us, though, she explained why she had not.
“Oh my god—I saw her teeth in the light, and they’re horrible! She started moving her face towards my chest, and I thought I was going to get cut!”
The Tennyson Effect.
• Six of us made our escape—in one cab. Skeets, Swag, Tony, and Boy Toy squeezed into the back, somehow. I sat shotgun, with TD in my lap. And though she’s like a little sister to me, that fact did not stop me from joining Swag and Tony, who were throwing jokes at Boy Toy about me banging his girlfriend.
Me: “Oh damn—halfway in!”
Boy Toy: “Let me out of this cab!”
Swag: “She’s never going to be the same again!”
Boy Toy: “Why is this happening?!”
• Between our juvenile antics cracking him up, the alcohol fumes coming off of the bodies filling every square inch of his cab, and the paranoia of looking for cops when you have six passengers crammed into a standard-sized automobile, I’m shocked the driver didn’t wreck. Kudos to him.
• We were dropped off at Redbeards, where we got a table and drinks. We ran into Entertainer, Shafe, and Shafe’s girlfriend. While the first two were just quietly hanging out, the third member of that trio was emphatically dancing around with a random guy and gal at the bar. Redbeards doesn’t actually have a dance floor, but that didn’t seem to matter to her. Shafe stood there calmly pulling swigs from his bottle of beer while his girlfriend, wearing short shorts and high heels, put it down like she was auditioning for a Jeezy video.
• I think more shots were done, but…yeah.
• We found our way back to Swag and Canada’s, where supposedly there was beer waiting for us. There was no beer waiting for us.
• TD, Boy Toy, and I went back to their house (they live a street over), where TD passed out on the living room couch while talking aloud to herself. Boy Toy and I drank Captain & Cokes while discussing politics, sociology, etc in the kitchen, until well after 5 a.m.
I love my friends.