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Me, Dad and the Tijuana Strip Club

Me, Dad and the Tijuana Strip Club

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Published by: GoodMenProject on Apr 12, 2011
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Me, Dad, andthe Tijuana Strip Club
Brought to you by The Good Men Project
I was taking a bubble bath when my dad rst told me about sex. Without warning, he hunkered down on thetoilet across from the tub and began hurling words like “vagina” and “smulaon” my way, as my bubble coverquickly evaporated, leaving me naked and pruny in the tepid water. The awkwardness of this sex talk set thestage for our relaonship on that subject.Like nearly every other teenager since the dawn of me, I did not talk sex with my dad much. Not that hedidn’t want to. It was he who tossed a box of condoms in my lap one rainy aernoon aer picking me up fromschool. “I can teach you how to get those on,” he told me as I quickly shoved the golden box into the glovecompartment and changed the subject. Though my dad was open to the subject, we rarely discussed sex—Iwas busy with other things, like not being creeped out. Over me, I think my father began to see his dramaclub son as a prude, and so set out to do something about it. That is how we ended up in Tijuana.To my dad, who loves his family and unchecked debauchery in near equal amounts, a family vacaon to Ti
juana, Mexico, was a natural. You may not think binge drinking and family fun go well together, but my dad cansqueeze them into one happy snapshot. Tijuana, for those planning a trip with the kids, is the place revelersgo when they want to shake the puritanical shackles of Bangkok and Rio. If whatever happens in Vegas stays inVegas, whatever happens in Tijuana makes unicorns cry. The city has always held a special power over my dad,its gravitaonal pull drawing him southward with the promise of discount tequila and illegally obtained penicil
lin. And of course, fun for the whole family.On this trip, my dad seemed parcularly interested in geng some guy me in with me—a lile father-and-son bonding before I went to college that fall. So once we crossed the border, my stepmother immediatelyshanghaied my brother and sister away to sasfy their back-to-school needs with knock-o products like Ree
bork shoes and Gnucci handbags. My dad put a hand on my shoulder and held me back. “Cole, why don’t youand I head up the road and grab a beer.”I followed, and soon, spread out ahead of us, was an avenue of nothing but unpretenous strip clubs as far asthe eye could see—brown and ashy tenement buildings, slumping forward with no intenon of overselling theeroc wares contained within. In front of every unassuming club gathered groups of men leaning on woodenposts, carnies barking at us. Insinuaons of the coldest beer and hoest chicks smacked from every direcon.The pitchmen stretched far out over their posts, braying, berang, and shaming us to “come see somethingsexy!”“Hey, mister!” one of them howled to Dad. “Why don’t you come in and make your boy a man!” I had to shrinkaway from the remark, being a freshly minted 18-year-old. Dad tossed back, ”Oh yeah? What does your placehave that the others don’t?”“Mmmm,” the barker moaned, rolling his eyes back in his head and rubbing his stomach as though he’d justnished a meal. “We got the best ladies in the world right here.” My dad had to appreciate the plucky bravuraof this man’s pitch, the sheer hyperbole. He steered me toward the entrance. A rickety staircase meandered itsway up to the club. This sudden detour in the vacaon inerary made me anxious.
A coming-of-age tale featuring beer, strip-pers, and a transvestite pickpocket.
The fact is, I don’t see the allure of strip clubs. Geng drunk with a bunch of guys and having erecons togeth
er seems a lile weird. I don’t need to have my smulaon encouraged by close friends, shoung, “Dude, youhorny?” and capping it with a st bump. Oen people say it’s “entertainment.” No. Movies are entertainment.Watching a game is entertainment. If a stripper wants to entertain me, then while she is naked she should tellme a story. Play a lile tune on the recorder. Do a magic trick.Maybe I’m resistant to this sort of male bonding because as a young boy one learns to be as guarded and stoicas possible or risk being found “gay.” Though they have no informed concept of homosexuality, there is noth
ing lile boys enjoy more than aempng to out one another. As a result, their gaydar is a bit o. Talk aboutspending weekends with your grandpa? You’re gay. Like your sandwiches with the crusts cut o? Gay. Thenthose same lile homophobic boys grow up to become guys who sit in dark rooms and excitedly share theirboners with other men.I can’t quite wrap my head around it.The club was about the size of a studio apartment, darkly lit with a smaering of scky tables. Dad ordered usbeers and a waitress brought them over. Hands full of drinks, she straddled my thigh, negoang her hips pre
cariously close, praccally sing right down. “Cole, put your hands in your pockets,” my dad ordered. “She’strying to shake you down for change.” How did my dad know? Where had he picked up this kind of arcaneknowledge? If this woman could extract my change without the use of her hands, she was welcome to it. Iwasn’t about to ram my sts into my pockets in a strip club.The entertainment looked remarkably tame. The strippers weren’t naked—just in their underwear, which Ifound both bizarre and comforng. They marched robocally back and forth, running their ngers under theirbra straps, staring a hundred miles away. Aer years of waing tables, I now recognize the look. It’s the deadstare of those toiling their lives away in the service industry. There is nothing eroc about that look. I suckeddown my drink and searched for something interesng about the ceiling, trying not to make eye contact.This was to be a seminal moment between father and son. These gyraons were meant to bring us closertogether. So where was my enthusiasm? Lord knows I couldn’t normally control my libido. Every other wakingminute of my life I spent chasing aer girls Wile E. Coyote–style, constantly running o clis and geng blownup. Why should the old sex drive take a siesta now? Why couldn’t I shout “Show me your boobs!” just once?You know, for Dad.Dad picked up on my lack of interest and suggested we go.“This place sucks,” he said. “They’re not even naked anyway.” I knew he was leng me o the hook and I feltlike I let him down. At the top of the staircase, our waitress dashed out of the club. She took a hold of my dadand lip-locked him, running her hands all over. Then it got weird. He spun her around and pinned her againstthe wall. Hard. I blinked dumbly, trying to gure out what the hell was going on. When the haze cleared I sawin her hand, the one pinned against the wall, his wallet. He had done it in one quick, cat-like moon, unexpect
ed from a portly, middle-aged father wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen my daddo. (Not that one should make a pracce of manhandling people of foreign lands, but it was prey neat.) Mydad was like James Bond with a fanny pack.A thick guy popped out of the door.

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Tijuana Strip Club--GoodMen--it's all in the definition I'm thinkin'
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