As you’re reading this column, I’m in California sleeping off the hangover from my brother’s bachelor party. I’m probably sleeping right through the rehearsal dinner. In fact, if you have my phone number, please call and wake me up so I don’t make an utter fool of myself. I need to put my game face on right now, so I can go toast away my brother’s single life and start drinking again.
A few months ago, I got the Saturday afternoon phone call:
Brother: Guess what, Chad, you’re going to be an in-law!
Me: (still waking up) Whooozahuhhhh?
Brother: What time is it there?
Me: 3 p.m.
Brother: Oh shit, I didn’t mean to call so early.
Me: Sokay, What’s going on?
Brother: I asked my girlfriend to marry me.
Me: She actually said yes?
Brother: You’re an asshole.
Me: I’m going back to bed.
Brother: I’m not done. I want you to be my best man.
Me: Okay, I’ll do it when I get up.
I hung up the phone just as the full weight of his words landed on me. I turned to my housemate:
Me: My brother’s getting married.
Housemate: Oh my God! That’s amazing.
Me: He’s only a year older than me.
Housemate: Oh my God! That’s —
Me: I have to plan the bachelor party.
Housemate: Oh my God!
Me: I’m gay and I’m under 21. This is an impossible task.
Housemate: Oh my. Have fun with that. I’m going back to sleep.
And thus began the arduous process of plumbing the seedy depths of San Fransciso’s straight underworld to unearth the heterosexual fantasies that single men crave on the last night of their lives. What does a straight man look for in a stripper? Long femurs? A good pair of detached earlobes? A shapely areola?
I decided to sleep on it.
As I drifted off, I tried to force myself to dream the dreams of straight men. Pamela Anderson, I thought — no, that’s my dad’s generation. Jennifer. This generation likes Jennifer. Aniston. Garner. Love-Hewitt. Lopez. Big, luscious ass — smooth, voluptuous, round … tight, muscular, Speedo … NO! No, Chad, no! Curvy, hourglass, boobs … there we go … boobs, smooth, voluptuous, round … tight, muscular, a smattering of chest hair … NO. NO. NO. Well, OK. I’ll dream about that instead.
When I woke up, I was definitely still gay.
I had only one image to go on, one strip-club visit to fuel my imagination, and it wasn’t a particularly happy memory.
In fact, I’ve repressed it until now.
I think I’ll fire my therapist.
When I turned 18, my best friend and I trekked into San Francisco along with a pack of older, more experienced folk, to celebrate our fledgling adulthood. My best friend was straight, so we did the logical thing: We went to two strip clubs, one for him and one for me.
In the gay club, we sat in the last row of an otherwise empty theater (except for the tiny Asian businessman in the front row), and waited for the party to start. When it did, however, our eyes were glued in horror rather than lust: A middle-aged, tattooed, hairy-chested fat man walked down the aisle, buck-ass naked, plopped onto a stool, and started masturbating. He was like a machine — lube squirt, hand cup, go go go, like a perfectly calibrated metronome, all the while staring straight into our souls with dead eyes that said, “You’re going straight to hell with me.”
I still wasn’t over my Catholic guilt.
After two minutes, his pupils glazed over like he was eyes-open asleep, but the hand kept pumping. Sleep-jerking, now that’s a skill. The snoozing businessman in the front row snored in time to the stripper’s grunts. After five minutes, when no one gave him any tips, he threw his stool at the wall, immediately went limp as if a flaccidifying button had been pushed, and stormed out of the theater. We gave him approximately five seconds to clear the hallway, and then we ran like hell.
Hoping for something a bit more traditional, we braved the straight club advertising a single dancing pole and a woman for every taste. The rest of the audience included one butch lesbian and one small Asian businessman … nooo … yes? No. “Snore.” YES!
The first woman met our expectations: a Korean woman in a leather catsuit. It was a short show (once the zipper’s down, that whole thing is gone). Next up, a big ol’ fat chick with way too much makeup. She and the pole had a rockin’ good time. The stage was actually wet (with sweat?) when she finished, and they had to mop up before the next girl: a tall woman with huge heels, a cop uniform and a whip, doing the dominatrix thing. She took off all her clothes, starting spanking her ass, started spanking her — Oh My God! DID SHE JUST SPANK HER VAGINA!? We took approximately five seconds to process, and then we ran like hell. As we ran away, our footsteps fell into the rhythm of the slowly diminishing throb of the businessman’s snores.
My only experience in the world of heterosexual erotica taught me one lesson: Don’t go back there. Or at least don’t go back to the “gentleman’s club” across from the Dunkin’ Donuts just as you enter the red light district.
As I began my Google search to find something a bit classier for my brother, he e-mailed me with the invite list. Second from the bottom, just after my name, he listed the name of the fiancé’s father. Strip clubs were entirely out of the question. My brother’s best friend was livid. I was perfectly content. I promptly closed the 47 “BIG JUGGGZ” pop-ups that had appeared on my computer screen in my Google quest for San Francisco straight-person entertainment, breathed a huge sigh of relief and climbed back into bed.
It would be a sleepy evening after all. Sure there would be booze, cigars, and plenty of regular debauchery, but as far as I was concerned, if we stayed away from Big Jugggz and vagina slappers, the party would be a success.
Really, though, I need to go the rehearsal dinner. Please wake me up. You have my number.
Chad Callaghan will be wearing a spangled red thong while at his brother’s wedding.