Grapes grown in harsh conditions develop a thicker skin. When they’re raised under stress, they produce a more complex wine. That is what I was told on a wine tour in Napa Valley this weekend, anyway. I thought the idea was interesting. Organisms that are forced to endure hard times grow thicker skins and become more interesting. Grapes that are grown just to be eaten, in contrast, are raised in fertile soil in warm weather and grow sweet, fat and delicate with out a care in the world. At a peep show in San Francisco earlier that same weekend, a performer approached the glass that separated the two of us. She was remarkably furry by Vegas standards. She also had a huge scar on her stomach. It was about six inches long and appeared to be the result of being popped like a wine grape or torn open like an eager child’s Christmas present. Happy holidays, by the way. Anyway, it seems to be the case that the complex and interesting organisms that are wine grapes and strippers have almost each consistently endured a period of harsh conditions. Abandonment, harsh winters, infertile soil and sexual abuse are common among either thing.
At the peep show, I crammed inside a dark booth with my friend. With standing room only, I inserted a few dollars into a slot with little flashing green arrows pointing to it so you can see it in the dark. It was like a vending machine for live nudity. A screen was raised and then appeared a window that was just big enough for both of us to cram our faces against it. There were three clearly visible vaginas beyond the glass, or those were just the first things I noticed. Gasp! Vaginas! The tiny room where the three women danced was well lit with pinkish light. Not a single woman was cosmetically mutilated into a plastic stunning beauty. The room was surrounded by more of these windows. I looked around, peeking around the crotch that was inches from my face. Naked ladies no longer distracted me when I realized I could see another patron through a window on the opposite side of the room. It must have been the handicap stall because the window was spacious. A completely naked man was standing in the booth and masturbating ferociously. The self-gratifying event was framed by the window. The pink light spotlighted his personal party from his chin to the middle of his thigh. He put his whole body into it like he could have been dancing to Euro-techno-pop and just holding his own penis for stability. My screen came down and I decided I got as much out of that experience as I could have, so I left.
Next door to the peep show place was a traditional Vegas-style strip club. The quality of the women inhabiting this adjacent club was notably higher. The peep show place is allegedly unionized, safe and healthy for the workers. In naked land, that translates into a loss of competitiveness and, hence, a reduced quality. Harsh, no? The peep-show girls seemed to have a remarkable lack of enthusiasm too. Inside the traditional strip club, I talked to a stripper who didn’t even know there was a peep show next door.
Another stripper, whom my friend chose to perform several lap dances, was terribly sweet, albeit a bit ditzy. She referred to herself as a college girl who dances for fun and it’s nice that dancing also pays the bills. “Save it,” I thought. It’s the oldest line in the book, baby. “What are you studying?” I inquired. “Cosmetology.” Though I’m sure a cosmetology certificate is leaps and bounds more practical than my liberal arts degree, I think it is a stretch to call yourself a college student when you’re studying cosmetology. It’s a valuable skill, certainly, but cosmetology school is a trade school and not a college. I’ll get off my high horse and at least praise her for being good at stripping, another skill more valuable than knowing anything about liberal arts. She stayed in character the whole time and is very pretty. I would also praise everyone else in the adult industry for being pretty and having skin as thick as wine grapes.