Making Friends Through Cartwheels

We’re practicing cartwheels on the sidewalk. It’s past midnight. We’ve played mini-golf in a bar with sculptures of dead presidents. Partied on all five stories of a five story club. Lost friends to drunken dance floors, surprise staircases, and the promise of doner kebab. Cartwheels seem appropriate, like how catching a cab or finding water would be appropriate to individuals less inclined to adventure.

A passing girl comments on our form. Specifically, how it is poor. We balk. “Show us your form,” we demand. As if anyone can rotate more gracefully at this time of night, with this many drinks inflating the bladder like a wind sock in a hurricane.

The girl whirls perfectly, her body a synchronized windmill across the sidewalk’s cracks. Good lord, it is possible.

We’re rightly chuffed and make all the effusive exclamations one expects in such situations. Primarily, we announce that she cheated and, in a last ditch effort to defend our teetering manhoods, we attempt another round of cartwheels.

This round ends predictably poorly.

Nonetheless, the girl is charmed by our enthusiasm. She invites us to join her in further late night adventures, possibly because we seem simple and charming, like the neighborhood stray. We unhesitatingly accept.

It is, after all, impossible to turn down a girl who says she’s going to take you to the classiest strip club in the city.

A sidenote of some relevance: The night before, we had descended on a different strip club to cap the evening. This establishment was not the classiest strip club in the city. If there is an opposite end of the spectrum from classy, this club was it. Dirty. Foul. Cesspool. The fully nude ladies gyrated on stage like dying geese. It was akin to watching a car accident, but with none of the fun explosions.

So naturally, we’re thrilled to be invited to a strip club that might purge the fetid memories from our minds. And to be invited by a girl! Minds are blown through lesser acts.

The girl leads us like grade schoolers on a field trip, chattering amiably, encouraging us to hold hands and engage in the buddy system. We quickly arrive at a large black building that in the daylight hours could be mistaken for a simple warehouse or place to hide the bodies. A line stretches out from the mauve front doors, but the girl assures us that she will be taking us to the VIP section, so the wait will be short.

Time passes. The thirty minutes without a drink in hand prove remarkably sobering. It suddenly becomes starkly real that we’re standing in line for a strip club again, waiting to leer at the naked female form for the second night in a row. Yes, we are male, but even males have lecherous limits. Especially after the previous night’s meat locker experience.

But before we can extricate ourselves, the doors open and we’re ushered inside by large men in black overcoats. An elderly gentleman pats us down and then, assured that we aren’t carrying weapons, leads us upstairs to a balcony overlooking the bar/dance floor. The slash is critical here because the glass, snake-like bar houses two-story poles every ten-feet or so. There, mere inches from the young executives savoring their vodka red bulls, stunning goddesses climb to the ceiling, upside-down, strong thighs curling around the gleaming pole like vines strangling a jungle cypress.

Cartwheel girl has not lied. If this isn’t the classiest strip club in the city, then I’d like Webster’s to revisit the definition of classy. To put it plainly, I’m bowled over. Sure, the girls look great and can do things with their body that aren’t strictly legal. And the place smells like that delicious combination of sin and mahogany that creates Marvel supervillains. But it’s really just the shock that’s getting to me – the idea that a strip club, a place predicated on the concept of women getting naked and dancing so that horny men can toss a few more thrusts in the spank bank – that a place like that can be so…cool, I guess. Take out the lithe blondes and the towering poles and it’s still the kind of bar I want to be at. Particularly the kind of bar where I get snuck into the VIP section and join what appears to be the entire Edmonton, Alberta professional women’s soccer team.

We turn to the girl to thank her for this experience, but she’s already making out with another girl. Ah. Yes. I suppose that would explain why she would be eager to go to a strip club.

It’s amazing the places a few half-assed cartwheels can take you.

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