Thursday, February 19, 2009

Plan B

Imagine a steak house filled with delectable four star food - a smorgasbord of scrumptious prime rib, new york strips, T-Bones, babyback ribs, and sirloin and tenderloin cuts so tender they practically beg to be eaten.

Now imagine that this same steak house charges you a $10 cover to walk in, and while the waiters will bring out one plate after another of all the delicious food that you can ogle and drool over to your heart's content -you get within six inches of that meat and a 300 pound former linebacker that's done two stints in San Quentin will kick your ass into the street.

These steak houses are what many kindly refer to as "Gentleman's Clubs."

Ironically, their are no gentleman to be found in a Gentleman's Club. Stoned businessmen buying lap dances on the company account, beefy frat boys treating the women like whores, decrepit fossils reawakened with viagra - yes. Gentlemen, no.

But play with the food, and the club breaks your face.

But that's because we're all Gentleman.

Some Gentleman's clubs will actually let you touch the food, but that costs $20 for 3 minutes, (less if it's an off night like a Tuesday special) but the food never fills you up, it just leaves you wanting more food.

You would wonder why men go to a Gentleman's club at all?

Men are stupid.

That being said sometimes you do just want to look.

Varga invites me to Plan B, it's a second tier club located off of Pico Blvd in Santa Monica. I've never been, but being something of a conneisuer I elect to join him. Varga's the ambassador for Chivas, a high end Scotch that retails for $300 a bottle. His job is to go to bars and pour shots for anyone willing to down them, all in the name of promoting the brand.

Varga looks like Rob Lowe and could charm the Devil himself; under the term personality in the dictionary there should be a picture of him to define the word.

We meet on Valentine's Day outside the club, a moment later he glides us past the bouncers and the $5 cover. Inside a jazz band riffs while a female dancer climbs up a pole, valiantly attempting to gyrate as the jazz singer incants: "Biddly do-wap, do-wap, do-wap, pzzzzz."

The girl shakes, trying to sway sexily to the everescent, non-base jazz rythm.
She fails.

The bar is decorated in Valentine's hearts, its small, with about a dozen tables - Plan B is more of a burlesque club then a strip bar. It's the kind of place one could take a girlfriend if you wanted to be risque without actually offending her.

Varga buys a $300 bottle of Chivas 18 from behind the bar, we get set up at a table near the stage along with half a dozen shot glasses, a carafe of water, bucket of ice, and low-baller drinks for mixing and cocktails. The room is half full, in one corner an aging rock star with twenty pounds of costume jewelry coiled about his neck sits with his weathered girlfriend. At the table across from us two couples sit, watching the girls. The men are quiet, their female handlers look like they haven't smiled since '98.

Varga begins handing out drinks, and a moment later we're rushed by groups of two to three men all looking for a shot. A short Asian guy trying to hard to be cool clasps my hand. "Thank you brother, thank you!" he shouts. Two beefy men who look a half step away from a cornary tell Varga how awesome he.

I'm also awesome by proxy. I look across the room and spot a beautiful Asian woman with hazel eyes dressed in a slender black coat covering dark lingerie. Varga catches my look. "I remember her from last time, she's Russian."

I look at her again. Russians are typically caucasian with blonde hair. She looks like she could be from China, or Korea. "Huh?"

"Seriously, she's Russian."

I motion to her, she catches my glance and saunters over to the table. "You're Russian."

She blinks, startled. "What, how did you know?" she replies in a husky voice that is unmistakably Slavic.

The Russian voice with the Asian face - hot.

"I could tell." I lie, inviting her to have a seat. Varga smiles and gets up to make a round around the club. "What's your name?"

"Yeva. It is means Eve in Russian."

"That's a pretty club name - I bet no other girl here has it."

"No, no," Yeva protests, flinging back her hair. "Yeva is my name."

"Here. Not out there."

Yeva favors me with a long, cautious look. "You look Russian." she states.

"Well you don't look Russian. You look like you are from China."

"My mother was from Mongolia, my father is Russian."

I explain that two of my grandparents were from Estonia. I ask her how long she's been in the States, and she tells me three years, two in Miami. I tell her I'm a writer, mention you're a teacher - and even with a stripper who is paid to flirt with you, and you're dead. Yeva tells me she has lots of stories, she tells me one about a "friend" who ran away from home when she was 12 because she was in love with a man. Later the man tries to prostitute her, but she runs away and escapes to America with $300 dollars in her pocket. She gets a job as a maid and tries hard to learn English, but she doesn't have papers and is afraid of going to school because she doesn't want to be deported.

She learns English from watching soap operas.

Varga returns and the moment is broken. I ask her to return to the story about her "friend" but Yeva no longer wants to talk about it.

Yeva gets up to dance. She's beautiful, but her face is definately her best feature.

A dirty old man with a hunch in his back asks for a shot, a mousy Asian woman stands next to him. Girlfriend, I wonder? Varga pours him a shot, and he asks for another. Varga gives him a second shot. Five minutes later he'll be back for a third, and five minutes after that a fourth.

I notice his "Asian" girlfriend is checking out the women more intently then him; his entire focus is on the bottle of now half empty $300 scotch.

Varga hypotheizes that the hunchback picked up the girl while in the Navy, she cooks and cleans for him and he rewards her by taking her to the strip club where she can indulge in her lesbian fantasies.

She buys a lap dance from Yeva.

The jazz band continues to belt out tunes, some of the girls adjust and manage to look good strutting up and down the catwalk. There is no nudity here, California insists girls are clothed in any club that serves hard liquor.

I sip my drink, there are attractive women here, but not the gorgeous drop dead beauties one normally would expect from a "Gentleman's Club" in LA. A few women ask me if I would like a dance - I offer then a drink of Chivas. Enter a strip bar in a sport's coat and command a table and suddenly you transform into a $20 bill with arms and legs.

Varga and I spot one dancer named Brazil, she's tanned with a smoking hot body, tatoos on her lower back with an open face. She reminds me of a cartoon character named Brandy from Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows. She stops in the middle of her dance and bends over, shouting, "You guys look like the only people in here having a good time."

We smile and wave. The feminazi's over at the other table still haven't cracked a smile, but I'm sure the one on the left is checking out Varga.

We give her a tip after the dance. Brazil informs us she used to dance at Foreplay, which is one of the highest end clubs anywhere in the city. I ask her why she decided to come dance at Club B, which at least monetarily, has got to be a step down. She brushes off my question with a laugh and kisses both Varga and myself on the cheek.

It will be the only kiss I get this Valentine's day.

1 comment:

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