Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ohio Stripped of strippers

I’ve never been a big fan of being told what to do. I was a rebellious child and a resentful student. The trend continues to this day. I’ve infuriated employers and coworkers alike. It’s not that I don’t like to follow rules; I’m a law-abiding citizen and for the most part I’m an honorable and respectful person. My problem is when authority is imposed for authority’s sake. Don’t push me around. My response to the cop who tells me to “move along” is usually “get a warrant”. If I’m feeling particularly salty I might even call him “bacon boy” or “dough nut breath”. Fuck the police indeed.

I wear my seatbelt because I don’t want to end up in a wheelchair if some idiot crosses the center line and hits me head on (apply directly to the forehead) but it pisses me off that there are laws that make choosing not to wear a seatbelt illegal. If I don’t want to wear my seatbelt it’s really nobody else’s business. Sure, it’s dangerous to drive with out it but I do lots of things that are dangerous. I sure don’t want somebody telling me I can’t ski because the risk for injury is too severe. Screw you.

I’m not a big fan of strip clubs. Part of that is because my wife is smoking hot and will strip for free but it’s mostly because I’m a pretty big fan of completing the transaction…if you know what I mean. What’s the point in watching attractive women dance around in the nude if you aren’t going to dance with them? So I don’t go, but that doesn’t mean I want some bible-thumping loon to tell me when I can and can’t see naked women.

Ohio recently imposed a rigid law governing the operation of strip clubs. Basically strip clubs can’t operate after midnight. If they do, the ladies need to put their clothes on and wait tables. That’s patently stupid. On the rare occasion I feel slightly inclined to go to a strip club it’s after midnight. I suspect that’s the case for most guys. That’s why those phone sex commercials proliferate basic cable in the wee hours of the morning. Shutting the clubs down only diverts that post-midnight money.

Another provision in that law makes it a crime if an erotic entertainer and a patron are closer than six feet to each other. That’s a sticky wicket because there are a lot of situations where a stripper and a patron could breach that arbitrary radius, such as ordering a drink or walking to the rest room. Strippers will be like black cats with patrons trying to jump out of that dreaded “six-foot radius”. And heaven help you if you bump into a stripper in one of those dark, cramped clubs. That could be a felony. It’s also odd because we don’t know the limits… where does it stop? One could argue that waitresses at Hooters are defacto erotic entertainers and they continuously breach that radius.

And you can bet the cops will enforce the law. Why? Easy duty and easy money. Cops will line up to get assigned to a stakeout and the fines will roll in so fast the courthouses will install credit card machines in every court room. Gone are the days when nabbing sex offenders required extensive sting operations. Cha-ching.

The “six-foot rule” also ends the lucrative enterprises of lap dances, table dances and the revered tradition of stuffing bills into g-strings. What now…a collection plate? Speaking of which, I’d probably go to church and contribute readily if they’d peddle some flesh other than that stale old cracker they pass off as “the body of Christ.” I’m sorry but I’d like my savior to be a little more savory…and I wouldn’t mind catching the occasional glimpse of Mary’s virgin hoo-hah. What’s she hiding anyway? See, already I’m feeling sexually repressed. I’m almost 40 which means there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be fat, bald and single in a few years. Then I’ll need strip clubs.

I suppose I can hang around the Catholic high school. I noticed that they built an addition and strategically encased a stairwell in glass. That makes it easy to sit outside and look up those naughty little skirts as the girls migrate between classes. Since the new strip club laws have gone into effect I’ve noticed cars starting to line up outside. I wonder if that was part of the plan. Will the diocese put in meters so they can cash in on the newly created market?

The argument for the strip club law is that it will cut down on crime. One proponent actually argued that men will spend less time and money in the strip clubs thus making them better husbands and fathers. Really? Or will that derelict father turn to some other diversion? There are certainly things much worse than strip clubs. Prohibition taught us a valuable lesson: Depriving people of alcohol actually increased criminal activity and turned a nation into junkies willing to brew rot gut in their bathtubs and drink turpentine straight from the bottle.

It stands to reason that the men who found some degree of sexual gratification in the controlled environment of the strip club will resort to illicit forms of satisfaction. I suspect illegal prostitution will increase. After all, if you’re committing a crime by getting a lap dance you might as well go all the way and make it count. And why is prostitution illegal in the first place? Sex is usually a transaction anyway. Is there really that much of a difference between buying a woman a tennis bracelet and giving her cash?

Morality is a personal issue. If you don’t like strip clubs, don’t go. If the strip club near you is a den of criminal activity then demand that the police enforce existing laws, but don’t sterilize society because you have a problem with erotica. Laws should only be written to protect people from doing harm to one another. Strips clubs aren’t forcing themselves on anybody; everybody is there by choice. If we’re going to impose laws on people to protect them from their own choices we might want to consider banning cheeseburgers and candy bars.

Or church. I’ve seen more lives ruined by evangelists than by strippers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Craig violated Man Laws

I didn’t want to write about Larry Craig again but, like that creepy gay guy waiting for the GHB to knock his frat brother out, he just won’t go away. Sometimes a story won’t go away but in this case Larry Craig won’t. He plopped his tight little butt down on a couch conspicuously distanced from his wife and fielded prescreened softball questions from Today’s, Matt Lauer. Larry Craig certainly put on a better performance than Lauer, managing to emote a fair facsimile of consternation when Lauer sheepishly asked Craig if he was actually bisexual, but it was weak. Lauer asked the same questions Larry Craig has been answering for months. It was old news carefully reworked to give Craig an opportunity to show sincerity.

Where were the tough questions Matt? Did Katie Couric’s sickening levels of perkiness dull the sense of journalistic integrity you developed at Ohio University, or were you one of those guys who skipped classes in favor of the next party? Any guy who has used a public restroom knows Larry Craig is lying. He violated several important restroom codes…unwritten rules that preserve the integrity of the loo. Lauer should have confronted Craig on his violation of toilet etiquette. Even if Craig isn’t gay, the manner in which he flouted long standing policy in public restroom diplomacy is grounds to remove him from office.

Craig admitted that he peered through the gaps between the stall doors and the walls. The arresting officer claimed Craig was so close that one could determine the color of Craig’s eyes. Craig denies being excessively close to the stalls but he does admit that he peered through the gaps for “movement”.

This is unacceptable. Under no circumstances are people allowed to observe activity through the stalls. Generally a closed stall door is a sign that the stall is occupied and many stalls, particularly those in airports actually display an occupied tag when the latch is engaged. If the stall doors tend to rest in a closed position it is acceptable to glance under the door to look for feet but you never try to look through the stall at the person in side.

There are rare public restrooms that do not feature stall doors. My high school employed this measure to discourage smoking and/or monkey spanking. When a person was using the stall for those purposes for which these stalls are constructed visual contact was avoided. This is also true when men are using urinals…eyes front, fixed on a point well above the penis. Why do you think men have trouble aiming a device they’ve been handling since the womb? There is the Ray Busser exception. Ray is a guy I went to high school with who had enormous difficulty conducting bathroom business when people were looking at him. From 1986 through 1989 Ray ruptured his bladder four times because he simply couldn’t pee when people were watching him.

So Craig admits to violating an important rule in the restroom code of conduct. As a voter I can honestly tell you I would not be inclined to support him in future elections and I would expect the rest of the Senate to censure him at the very least.

Once Craig found a stall he claims that he assumed a wide stance while sitting on the toilet. A wide stance is fine for urination but when performing seated functions it is not practical. Some guys actually put their feet together and splay their knees, positioning their pants around the ankles. This makes it impossible to spread the feet apart without removing the pants. Most men prefer the “shoulder width” method which allows for optimal leverage while maintaining control over the pants. In all my years of utilizing public restrooms I have yet to see anybody assume a wide stance. Craig claims he’s a “wide guy”. I’m not sure what this means but when he makes this claim you can actually hear the quotation marks so I’m inclined to believe that this is some sort of innuendo.

Even if Craig is one of these rare people who finds the wide stance comfortable there are still rules that modify restroom behavior when neighboring stalls are occupied. In addition to the use of stealth modes (minimizing sounds) and courtesy flushes (minimizing stench), men honor a strict no touching policy. Hands are not shaken, shoulders are not squeezed and feet are not bumped in the restroom. That’s just the way it is.

Here’s the problem: Craig admits that he bumped feet with the cop. Granted he states that he thinks they bumped feet, but that’s a lie. You know when you bump feet and would be even more aware of it if it happened in a restroom. Even if he wasn’t soliciting sex this is still an arrest-worthy violation. It’s like running over an old lady in a cross walk; even if it’s an accident you have to pay the price. Matt Lauer should have gone on the attack right there. Have you ever bumped feet with somebody in a restroom before? Did that person punch you in the eye? What kind of a freak goes around bumping feet under stalls? Hard questions, Matt…you get paid to ask them.

Craig also admits that his hand might have breached the integrity of the neighboring stall. He claims he saw a piece of toilet paper on the floor and reached to pick it up. In the process his hand may or may not have passed under the divider. In the Lauer interview Craig explains that the toilet paper was on his shoe but when he was first questioned he stated it was on the floor. Clearly Craig read my last entry on how disgusting it is to be picking up stray pieces of paper on a public restroom floor and revised his statement. What he doesn’t understand is that it’s still not acceptable. If toilet paper is stuck to your shoe you try to rub it off on a rug or pull it off with your other foot. Nobody touches stray toilet paper. Craig would be better off claiming he was reaching for a stray twenty which is the smallest denomination a man of his income would pick up off a bathroom floor.

And no man in his right mind would risk breaching the other stall’s divider. You might as well shove your hand down another man’s pants and jiggle his goodies. Craig admits that it’s possible that the cop saw his hand on the cop’s side of the divider. Just creating that possibility is reprehensible. Keep your hands up.

Instead of tackling these issues and getting Craig to explain why a man of his age and pedigree would so wantonly violate basic restroom protocol is beyond me. I care less about Larry Craig being gay than I do about him refusing to honor essential man laws. Clearly, Matt Lauer is not a man…which might explain why Larry Craig didn’t play footsy with him during the interview.