Body Shop

Hey, baby, do you live around here often?

As I was reading the Chicago Sunday Tribune today, I had many repetitive, random, redundant, and recurring thoughts. First of all, I started subscribing to the Trib again after a six-month hiatus. They promised me better delivery service this time. I shall see just how good the delivery is this time. When I previously subscribed, I hated not getting the newspaper delivered when I was supposed to get it. So I would buy the paper somewhere on my way to school, and when I returned home, it was finally delivered. Sometimes they didn’t deliver it at all. The only time I received the paper every single day, even the days that I wasn’t supposed to get it, was when I asked for a vacation hold! Today, I remembered why I liked the delivery. The Sunday paper! It’s almost like receiving a present that I enjoy unwrapping. I truly enjoy lazing around the house all morning and afternoon reading through as much of the paper as possible and doing the crossword puzzles. As I was looking through the sales, I stopped every time I saw a lingerie or bikini ad. These ads have always captivated me in a way that I’m sure is not natural. Yes, I caught myself staring a few times. There is something very appealing to me about these female models and I don’t know how to explain it.

Well, this led me to recall the time I was in the Marines in California. I was stationed in 29 Palms in the middle of the Mohave Desert and I met a certain Patrick Connelly who was the oldest Marine I had met up to that time. I was surprised because at 22 years old I was the oldest Marine I knew until I met Pat. He was the unbelievable age of 27 because not many people would want to endure Marine Corps boot camp at that age, but Pat did. He had previously been in the Army and the Air Force and he thought he would give the Marine Corps a try. He had grown up in southern California so he always recommended places that we should visit in order that we could say that we really were in California. I really did get to see all sides of California because of Pat. He once recommended that we go to The Body Shop. To me a body shop was a place where you took your car after an accident. “No!” Pat corrected me. “The Body Shop is a very famous California destination for tourists.” I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained that it was a strip club in Los Angeles. I had never been to a strip club, so I still had no idea what he was talking about. Well, since I wanted to see as many tourist attractions as possible, I tagged along. Actually, I drove us there. I was the only one with a car and they would pay for the gas. Because I had an out-of-state plate, I could buy gas on any day instead of waiting for the appropriate odd or even day according to my license plate.

All the guys were excited all the way to L.A. because we were going to The Body Shop, especially Pat. I just didn’t get it. I really didn’t. We got there and I asked for a beer. Only they didn’t serve beer. I thought it would be like a comedy club where you pay a cover charge and then have to buy a two-drink minimum. In fact, they didn’t serve anything at all. They had a pop machine in the foyer if we got thirsty. There was a state law or something prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages in strip joints. I didn’t get it. In real life, usually the alcohol flows and then the clothes come off, naturally. All my friends were whooping it up in anticipation of seeing the strippers while they bought their pop. It cost about three times the normal price. I didn’t buy a pop. I really wasn’t thirsty right then and I wasn’t planning on cheering on the strippers, so I really wouldn’t have to wet my whistle later on. The place was packed, but we found some seats. I sat on a stool with my back up against the wall. Pat was the happiest of all. He kept smiling at us and asking us if we were having a good time. He asked me several times if I liked the place. I was actually glad that I had gone, but when I’m in public, I look the same whether I’m having a good time or I’m bored. The strippers came out, one at a time, and stripped to the loud cheers of  the audience, mostly men. As I watched the show, I leaned back against the wall. And I fell asleep! That is, until Pat gave me an elbow to my side and asked, “Isn’t she a great dancer?” I said yes, she was, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. I really didn’t understand how all these men could get so into the show. Maybe that’s because I’m different. I need to be emotionlally involved in order to receive the full benefit of such a performance. I faked it as best as I could and I think I managed to pull it off because my friends were so excited that they really didn’t pay much attention to me.

As I looked at the lingerie ads today, I realized that the lingerie and bikini models are definitely more attractive than those strippers. Perhaps, that why I couldn’t get into them. When my brother Joe got married, he had a bachelor’s party. His future brother-in-law called me up several times to make sure that I was going. This was an unusual bachelor’s party considering that the brother of his bride to be arranged all the festivities. The future brother-in-law with his long blond hair looked the wrestler Triple H. But he insisted that he wasn’t as tough and as muschular so we called him Double H. We met at a comedy club and Double H made sure that the emcee knew it was my brother’s bachelor’s party. Of course, the emcee then proceeded to roast my brother. We enjoyed the comedy show and I thought the fun was over for the evening. But Double H said that we had to car pool to our next destination. He was very secretive about it. He even had designated drivers. I had no idea where we were going, but I got into the car that Double H pointed to. Well, about an hour later, we’re at a strip club. Double H paid for everyone’s cover and we were inside. At least this place served beer. Double H was so proud of himself for getting everyone to the strip club. He told the club manager that this was my brother’s bachelor’s party, so they brought him up on stage and tied him up on chair. Then all the strippers started to give my brother lap dances. Oh, the look of pride on Double H’s face was just too much! Every time I see Double H at family parties, I thank him for that bachelor’s party. And brother Joe is still married!

Anyway, this also reminded me of one of my former students who was always tired during class. She always apologized for being tired during class, but she didn’t tell me why she was up all night. I never asked because she was definitely an A student. She always studied and did all her homework. Towards the end of the semester a few students recommended that we take a class field trip. They insisted that we go to a place that served alcohol since they were all 21 or had fake IDs. Since I am a Spanish professor, I insisted on a Mexican restaurant where we could eat Mexican food and drink Margaritas. Well, we had fun and everyone revealed a few personal details about themselves, including me. But we all had fun and said that we had to do it again real soon. Well, the student who was always tired in my class and I were the last two of our bunch to leave because we wanted to finish our last Margarita. We talked awhile and she told me a little about herself. The reason she was always up very late at night was because she was a stripper at a gentlemen’s club. She was doing it because the money was good. She was paying for her tuition and she had no student loans to pay off upon graduation. She also bought her own condo with a 50% down payment. We had an interesting coversation, but I didn’t judge her because of her employment. How did she look? Well, she was attractive, but I don’t think she was beautiful enough to be a lingerie or bikini model. However, I’m sure she compensated for her deficiency with her dancing skills. And here is a very telling note about our capitalistic society and how much we value different consumer services. She earned much more money as a stripper than I earned as a college professor!

Why do I keep having these thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Body Shop

  1. “I really didn’t understand how all these men could get so into the show. Maybe that’s because I’m different. I need to be emotionlally involved in order to receive the full benefit of such a performance.”

    I can really understand that statement! I don’t know how women can get up in front of strangers and do that for the money, either. Even if I felt real good about how I look, I don’t think I could ever do such a thing. I guess I’m ‘different’ too, but I prefer to be that way.

  2. You fell asleep at a strip club…? Wow. Of all the places to take a nap. I used to frequent strip clubs all the time when I was younger. It was always such a sad affair though, especially at closing. We all looked pathetic piling out of the club at 1 a.m.

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