Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wars and Lechery

So I'm driving to work this morning and, working where I do and living where I do, I pass the Acropolis "Steakhouse Plus" down in Southeast Portland just north of Milwaukie.First let me explain something; Portland is the nation's Strategic Titty Bar Repository.

I'm dead serious. I'm lived in some of the United States' most noxious hives of scum and villainy, from Balboa when it was part of the Canal Zone to Southern Pines, North Carolina, where cousin-marriage is both sport and tradition. And most of these places featured the usual line-up of scummy businesses; tattoo parlors, dive bars, pawnshops, check-cashing and payday-loan grifters, and girlie joints ranging from just dive-y-er bars with a pole where the bored employee would occasionally perform a bit of indifferent gyrating in hopes of attracting an otherwise unused five-spot into her undies...all the way up to the full-on, all-nude skanky juice bars where a former grocery cashier from Kuala Lumpur will attempt to corkscrew herself onto your belt buckle for a hundred bucks and an overpriced glass of Jamba Juice.

But not one of them had as many topless and nude dance places as Portland.

Because...well, first of all, because the Oregon state constitution of 1859 says "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write or print freely on any subject whatever." This has been interpreted by Oregon's courts to include public performance, and to include public performance whilst clad only in Nature's garb. A number of attempts have been made to variously limit or regulate the ecdysiasts working across the Beaver State, but the beaver has resolutely remained...unclad.

And then, of course, there is the inexorable Law of Strip Joint Supply and Demand; men with money will demand women's saucy bits, or at least a look at them, and women with that equipment and no money will supply them, or at least a look at them, in return for money.Talk about the Invisible Hand. Sheesh.

I should say up front that I've never really enjoyed most of these places. The food is usually bad, the drinks are, too, and expensive, as well. The women clearly either pity you, loathe you, or could care less about you which, in my opinion, is a fairly sound attitude seeing that you've turned up for no better reason than to look at them naked for money.

Anyway, that's not really the point of this post. The point is that no matter where you go in Portland, you're going to pass these places. You just get used to them, which is either sad or just sort of expected, but there it is.(The above photo is of the old "Sandy Jug" that is now one of them called the "Pirate's Cove". Last time I drove up Sandy their sign said "You'll treasure our chests". Well, okay, then.)

But the thing I noted as I went by today was that, along with the typical "Steak Special $5.98", and "Wow 54 Taps!" and the "Cherry Girl School Teacher!!" (okay, I made the last one up...) the Acropolis sign advised that they were "Open at 7".


Let me say that while I don't consider myself some sort of satyr I suspect I'm as lusty as the next guy, and that while my wife is not a supermodel I believe, and my casual observations reassure me, that her breasts are as lovely as the next woman's.And as it happens in my marriage as in most marriages, several relationships, and even more than a few casual hook-ups, I have had the rather pleasant experience of encountering my bride while un- or barely-clad in the early morning not long after waking.

And I am afraid to admit this, but as ravishing as she is, sashaying down the hall in Eve's raiment on the way to the bathroom, the sight of her pulchritude is unlikely to get more than a brief grunt of appreciation out of me before my first cup of coffee.

So I can't imagine why I...I can't imagine why anyone...would drive down McLoughlin Boulevard at 6:45 in the morning to look at some stranger's breasts at 7 o'clock. My inamorata's breasts? Maybe. Sure. But some boobs-for-hire? A pair of rent-a-breasts?I just don't get it.

Maybe I'm missing something. But I can't think of what.

And speaking of missing something...

The woman who works in my office is a Boston Bruins hockey fan, and that is how I come to know that after the Vancouver hockey team lost this year's Stanley Cup a part of the hockey crowd there tore up the center of the city and had to be chased off by the local constabulary after doing some free-lance burning and looting.Apparently they were upset about the outcome of the series.

You all know that, in the words of the song, I am a Timbers fan and I am an Oregonian. I know I want the Boys in Green to win, and I'm disappointed when they don''s a game, for fuck's sake. A hobby, a pastime, an entertainment. I don't actually KNOW any of the Timbers, I have no deep emotional stake in their fortunes. I love the sport, I love the team, I love to go to matches and sing and chant for them.

But to burn up my town, the city I love as much as I love both sport and team, because they lost?

There has to be something deeply wrong with you to do that. I'll bet the LaBatt's helped. And the hard times; if I was out of work and on the dole I'll bet there's a lot better chance I'd use the excuse of a lost championship to try and stuff the red flag up your hole...but...probably not.Perhaps I'm a bit overcivilized. Perhaps I'm just unwilling to spend the night in the carcel with the other drunks. But, like staring at titties at seven in the morning, there's something there that just seems deeply wrong to me.Let me know if you can figure it out.

I should add that one worthy thing did emerge from the flaming wreckage of downtown Vancouver; this snapshot.I've heard that some viewers have already stated that they dislike this image intensely, and when a friend of mine posted it and the link to the Vancouver Sun story about it on her Facebook page it drew some fairly scathing comments about drunken hoolies, public indecency, and the general decline in Western Civilization.

Again...maybe it's me, but I love this little image. The way I see it, the moment it captures helps restore my faith in human nature.

Here these two people are, caught, possibly by intent but just as likely by accident, in the midst of a sudden outbreak of violent stupidity. Just moments ago they were part of some sort of liquored-up mob whose intelligence, like all mobs, is the intelligence of the stupidest individual in the mob divided by the number of the people in the group. The mob was angry, the cops were angry, the cars are burning, the (from what I recall) pleasant city of Vancouver has become a fucking mess...and what can a man and woman do about that?

Make love, of course.

There's never a bad time to kiss, never a wrong moment to gift your lover with a tender word, a fierce embrace, a warm, strong hand, whether that hand is on a cheek for comfort, or a thigh for lust.

There's never a wrong time to get a little sugar for your bowl.So maybe there IS a reason to get up and drive down McLoughlin to see breasts...if the breasts belong to the one who can make you forget everything around you except how they make you feel. Perhaps these two felt that way. I hope so.

And I hope that perhaps they will grow old together, pass through the hard times and the dark times together, make themselves a mainland together, and in the end look back at this moment when they were the only sane and sensible people in a world gone mad and share a smile as full of savor at the memory as a midnight is dark and a silent pool is deep and still.

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