It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday night in mid-September and I’m walking down the dark, seemingly abandoned, streets of downtown Pittsburgh in search of a bathroom, while dressed as a professional wrestler.
You see, in honor of a dear friend’s obsession for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and in celebration of his thirtieth birthday, I journeyed to the northeast to participate in a theme party where I dressed as a male wrestler.
Originally, I was dressed as the Ultimate Warrior, but when the birthday boy-man had the same costume idea, I made a quick change and concocted a new persona by stuffing a sock in my black underwear that were now posing as wrestling tights – thus calling myself, Sock It To Me (patent pending).
The location of the party was in an up-and-coming neighborhood called ‘The Strip’ and, if described by Stefon, it is a members-only, high-end former parking lot where you get to interact with one middle school teacher that serves as a greeter, a bouncer and the only person with a standing membership. Best of all the club features one port-a-potty that doesn’t lock.
And so began my quest for a porcelain toilet with running water.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t have mattered. I’ve used plenty of ‘Friendly Johns’ in my life. I’ve even used the outside of a portable toilet – allegedly. But this time, it was complicated…and I’ll just leave it at that.
I recruited the help of two accomplices – one wearing a shirt with a picture of herself standing with Hulk Hogan and the other wearing patterned leggings and a sequin turban around her head – to help me find a proper throne.
After a two minute walk, we came upon a bar, but it was closed and/or condemned. But from its steps, we could see in the distance a bright neon light piercing through the darkness of a back alley between the silhouettes of abandoned buildings and like moths to a flame we walked right to it.
“Cheerleaders: A Gentlemen’s Club” the sign read.
“This place probably has a dress code,” I informed my friends.
“Let’s just go inside and see what they say,” said the Hulkamaniac.
A doorman let us in and walked us to the front desk with a ridiculous grin on his face that basically translated into, “Look what I found outside.”
His grin was directed to two people, a tall blonde woman in a black dress who sat on a high chair (both physically and spiritually) with her arms crossed and, standing next to her, a large, bald black man wearing a three piece suite and an earpiece.
We all exchanged hellos and nervous giggles, which was followed by the Hulkamaniac’s bank-robber-like demand: “We would like to use your bar,” (a much better statement than “We all need to poop,” which at this point was case.)
While we paid our entrance fees we explained that we were previously at a wresting theme party, which prompts the Madame to look at me and say, “Ahh. And you’re a Sumo wrestler?”
I brushed off the comment, and pipped down the Sequins Bandana who was attempting to defend my honor with an elaborate explanation about my costume. Hearing her call me a Sumo wrestler was exactly what I needed to hear to justify pooping in her establishment’s bathroom.
After a pat-down – yes, my sock was very threatening – we strolled right into the bathroom, where an attendant was chatting with one of the dancers. And after a brief explanation of our outfits, in we went. But while I was in there, more strippers streamed in to touch up their make up, and I simply couldn’t go. As a matter of fact, it was number ones all around (by the way, the ladies room of a strip club is truly the best seat in the house.)
Back out on the main floor, we bellied up to the bar and ordered as many whiskey shots as we could before heading back to the party. We didn’t want that middle school teacher to worry and try to find us. Although, I’m pretty sure her sister was one of the dancers. Her older sister.
As we drank, my partners in crime rated the dancers for their style, personality, looks, breast size and, of course, age. After a while, the Hulkamaniac turned to me and asked loudly over the music, “Are you uncomfortable?”
And I thought that was one of the most thoughtful questions I had ever been asked by a straight girl at a strip club. How intuitive of her to pick up on my inner struggle between feeling guilty about contributing to the exploitation of women and enjoying the peep show. Nonetheless, I laughed her comment off with a quip: “Um. I’ve seen boobs before.”
To which she leans into my face and yells, “No, asshole, I meant are you uncomfortable because of your outfit.”
I felt the stare of the naked woman on the pole and I looked up to see her smiling at me. I smiled back and she went on to do one of those gravity-defying spins. Was I possibly giving her as much a show as she was giving me?
I turned back at my friend and said, “For the first time tonight, I feel right at home.”
To which she answered, “I can tell. You’re showing a little bit of sock.”