People from other places in America think it rains more than it does in Portland. That’s the first thing people speculate incorrectly about the city. I often told my friends in other cities that this city had more strip clubs per capita than any other in the United States. Whether or not that was true I couldn’t say —the guy who told me that was from California. When someone asked me why there were so many strip clubs I went the way of all foreigners — hearsay and generalization.
“Well, my theory is that it’s because Portland was once a city of men,” I would say. “Except for Alaska, the Pacific Northwest was the last American frontier. A wild place even through the fifties and into the sixties. And I think Portland grew out of that wildness and ruggedness to have a lot of rough men. Men who didn’t want or need women except the kind that could be bought on Saturday nights. And the prostitute culture simply evolved into the strip club culture.” You don’t see descendants of those early men walking down Hawthorne, but you might see their ghosts in places like the Acropolis or Mary’s.
The first house I lived in on 49th and Franklin was walking distance to Devil’s Point, the place of refuge for the Suicide Girls when they lost their popularity, or so I was told.
Devil’s Point was a good place. Small, friendly, not sad at all. Devil’s Point, where one night we sat and watched a former star of the Suicide Girls, Stormy, take a woman up on stage with her for her birthday. She sat the young blonde on a chair and tied her to the brass pole. Then she took the blonde’s top down and made a discovery. After whispering in her ear during the lap dance, she somehow found out that the woman had recently given birth and was still lactating. The woman must have told Stormy not to squeeze too hard.
After trying to squirt milk at the guys in the rack, Stormy motioned over to the bartender for a shot glass. He brought it and she filled a shot, giving it a sideways glance, an “am I really doing this?” look, which I figured for her was saying something, and then took it down. Last I heard Stormy had lost her job. Oddly, no one offered up an explanation, not even a rumor.