Aside from the guy who held a lollipop up to a dancer’s breast and sucked on it, the Republicans were generally well-behaved tonight.
Now, at a strip club being well-behaved entails heavy drinking and consistent lap dances. One group of three men who confessed to being in town for the convention bought at least $400 worth of lap dances, which breaks down to a little over five dances each. They were equal opportunity employers, sampling every race and body type, giving the dancers—many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants—the very shot at fortune Arnold spoke of in his speech. But as one man told me around 2 a.m. that he had been drinking for eight hours straight, it’s quite possible they missed the speech.
Through a little Internet sleuth work, I later discovered that one of them was a former chief of staff for a House Appropriations Committee member. As far as I can tell, he is now an executive of a lobbying firm, working in defense and homeland security.
Meanwhile, a Wall Street deal went down in the champagne room, sealed with a pair of lap dances. The timing of this transaction had nothing to do with the convention, of course—the guys told me they were looking to close the deal before everyone returned from the Hamptons—but it was entirely appropriate. I thought of introducing these corporate customers to the political ones, but then I reconsidered. They probably already knew each other.
The club was not nearly as full as on Tuesday night. At most, I met a dozen men and one woman who were connected (their red wristbands and candy necklaces, souvenirs from a convention party held down the street, easily gave them away) or seemed to be connected to the convention. The rest—including Mr. Pioneer, who had promised to visit me every night this week—took their lechery elsewhere. As I counted out my tip money, I thought of what the massage girl had said to me on Sunday, when we were discussing whether things would pick up for the convention. “If they’re not in here getting fucked,” she said matter-of-factly, “then they’re over at the”—and then she named the gay bar down the street.
Well, maybe. Or perhaps they’ve just worn themselves out.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 1, 2004