First, take a breath (not too big a breath though – there’s a lot of smoke in here).
Alright. Now pick up your eight-dollar beer and check out the girl furthest from you on the stage. Watch her twirl… and watch some wiener in a turtleneck and sports coat traipse his fingers over her ankles.
Ignore the hips bucking in your peripheral. She’ll move on. And ignore your friend as he folds a dirty single and places it between his teeth with the hope that some wandering Venus Flytrap will come by and snap it up.
Do these things and you will survive this.
Now be discreet and check out the other girls, floating around the tables in various states of undress. One sits in the lap of a man your father’s age, her hands between her knees, talking about this and that. See the joy in his eyes as he places a hand over her bare thigh. See the indifference in hers as she searches over his head for a more promising seat.
Ignore the waitress when she tells you the shot specials. Order another eight-dollar domestic, give her a dollar tip.
Give the rest of your change to a dancer in the early showing stage of her pregnancy. Say “no thank you” when she offers to back into your face. Place the money in her underwear where it rides highest on her hip. Smile back at your friend who is thrilled you’ve joined the fun.
Watch a man wave excitedly to his friends as he’s led to a private room by a girl fresh from the stage. Listen as someone from his table shouts, “Get her, dude!”
Let a girl catch your eye. She has glasses. Or short hair. Maybe both. She’s different from the rest… she shouldn’t be here. Consider asking her for a dance, then telling her you only want to talk. Imagine her intrigue…a man who would rather talk than objectify? Perhaps she consents…perhaps she finds you to be charming… perhaps she gives you her num–
Snap out of it. A man is drinking something purple from between her breasts. As an act of retribution, request the same from a thin girl on stage. Try not to wince when her bony chest crashes into your nose.
Find the bathroom. Walk past the VIP area, where curtains are open just enough for you to notice the moving skin inside. Ignore this and head for the spot where fluorescent light spills into the hallway.
Go to the last urinal and relieve yourself. Pretend to be interested in a week-old newspaper clipping taped to the wall, spotted with moisture. Tip the attendant when he hands you a paper towel. Return to your seat.
See the empty chair. Your friend is gone, no doubt enjoying himself in one of the rooms you just passed. His cigarettes lay on the table. Take one and light it. This is crucial.
Look up. There’s a woman in a translucent bikini heading your way. Seeing the cigarette in your hand, she does not sit on your lap. Instead, she opts for the table top in front of you, separating you from your beer. She rests her feet on your knee caps.
Engage her in conversation. Answer truthfully when she asks what you do. Ask her the same question without thinking. She can’t hear you over the Kid Rock song that’s playing anyway.
Turn her down politely when she asks if you’d like a dance. Don’t explain. Just a simple “no thank you.” As she leaves, say hello to your friend who is returning. When he asks why you rejected the dance, tell him you’re running short on funds. He won’t argue.
Look with interest when the music stops and a mob of girls take the stage. Watch as a drunken young bachelor is seated in the middle, then writhed-upon by each girl in ten second intervals. Listen as his friends cheer and realize that it’s that “dude” you saw earlier.
Join in when the DJ leads a club-wide chant: “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” The man in the turtleneck and sports coat is standing with his beer raised. Raise yours to your friend and continue reciting the words. Don’t do it…
Drink another eight-dollar beer and return to the bathroom. This time don’t tip the attendant. Reach behind him, while he’s discussing something with the bouncer, and get your own paper towel. Relish in the savings.
As you turn to leave the bathroom, run into the manager who is frantically searching for more of that vanilla-scented antibacterial spray the girls apply to the area between their breasts. This should make you feel better about sticking your face in there.
Return to your seat. Ask your friend if he is ready to leave. Tell him it’s been more than three hours, and you’re simply out of money. Cut him off when he suggests you pay the $12 ATM fee to withdraw more.
Finish your drink and rise. Pass the bachelor party. Nod congenially to the man at the door. Feel the cold air rush over you and take in your surroundings: the caged-in parking lot…the homeless man begging at the gate. You made it.