WARNING: THE FOLLOWING EDITORIAL MAY CONTAIN MATERIAL THAT IS OFFENSIVE TO READERS WHO TAKE THIS COLUMN WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.
With your existence edging closer and closer toward that elephant's graveyard in clubland, a place somewhere between early-evening tea parties and Saturday visits to the movies with your fortysomething women friends, you resort to drastic measures to recapture your youth. These days, dancing is hard on your bunions and corns, and it makes you resemble an epileptic Billy Banks caricature as your creaking joints cry out for BenGay. Your not-so-graceful aging process ("graceful" only applies to Richard Gere and rich guys) is spurred on by a failing liver abused by far too many vodka and tonics, finally separating you, the now "perverted old man," from the Cartier buff boys in shiny silk shirts.
All things have a shelf life and your expiration date is as imminent and evident as that sour smell that you emit each time you try and take another swig from your dated days of disco madness. With each passing year your hair falls into the bathroom sink faster than the Brazilian beauties at Nikki Beach can scurry into your cab to ride home with you at closing time. The hunted has finally become the hunter -- and a toothless, languid one at that.
With status in the male pecking order of Miami nightlife being determined by the same criteria as it is in the rest of the free world -- collecting as many hot cars and hot women as possible -- your forthcoming birthday has left you struggling to hold your position. You need a way to compete and the truth is that your Steve Martin pickup lines don't give you much of a chance to bag some hot Scandinavian model freshly signed to Elite.
You are now stuck with finding other means to keep the illusion of status and youth alive. The torch will eventually be passed to the young and vigorous, but that doesn't mean you should retire your mojo without a fight. Viva la youth! Or something like that.
You can buy a fountain of youth, but it will require a little help from your progressive-thinking friends. Have the chums cut back on a few rounds of drinks when on the town, skip a few of those meals at China Grill with women half their age, and get you a real birthday present. Instead of another stupid tie, a gym membership, or Hustler tapestries for your Meridian Avenue "love shack," have the buddies chip in for a more life-affirming gift this year. And no, not another strip-o-gram. Although it could be entertaining, it could also add to the perception of you being a "perverted old man." Your women friends will feel left out of the party and you will be generally viewed by them as "creepy" from then on.
And here's where you say, "Clubbed, what do you suggest?" Well, no sense in letting the European jet setters and clubland bigwigs have all the fun. Have the fellas chip in to land you your very own nubile young woman for the night. Your very own Vivian/Julia Roberts à la Pretty Woman. All you have to do is, well, you know, do.
No need to get all bent out of shape and let the morality police come knocking on the door of your consciousness. In truth it is really no different than any other date that you would go on in the land of gimme. Edward VIII can do it and it's classy and romantic to everyone, so why not you -- if only for a night at least?
You get to say, "What's your name?" And she says, "What do you want it to be?" That beats the hell out of wandering around the VIP section all night waiting to catch the attention of that lovely vixen in the back of the room.
You'll recall the frustration you felt when you'd go out for the weekend, eyes peeled for new flesh. When victory seemed assured you would run home and dial the number you got from that dimepiece on the dance floor and listen to the message saying, "Welcome to the New York City Rejection Line ..." (212-479-7990 or www.rejectionline.com). Well, not anymore. Put that behind you for now because your dial-a-date from the back pages can make you feel like a 21-year-old soap opera hunk again.
Perhaps it is, as the recording on the rejection line states, "a cling to unrealistic hope." The fact is, high-maintenance ladies usually aren't interested in guys who no longer have a view of their toes. Find solace in knowing that your Vivian won't want to go shopping on Rodeo Drive afterward.
The same women you fruitlessly pursue are motivated to action by the same factor as the paid "date": money. The difference is, your escort will lay the rules and rates down up front. No games, no calling three days before setting up a date, no calling to follow up day after date, just a plain 'ol good time. You get what you came for (literally). There is no such thing as an etiquette book on this "date." For a price she will be who, what, where, and however you want.
But what will your friends think? Isn't paying for a "date" taboo? Well, going out with a woman usually costs money, right? You demonstrate your interest in her by wining and dining her. So when a "date" is paid to entertain a herb like you, is it not in essence the same thing one does by taking another person out for a conventional yet expensive date? The main difference is that you know how the night will end.
What makes it so forbidden, anyway? Legality? Clubbed reminds you that it is legal in Nevada as well as many enlightened European countries. And what about having your friends fork over the dough for you? Is that your hang-up? Well, the next time you and the boys go out for a round of golf or buy happy hour cocktails, simply tally up the costs of the "entertainment." You'll find the money could have been better spent on a more exotic type of fun. Though admittedly golf, beer guzzling, and fart jokes register as more socially acceptable activities, one has to wonder if anything found in the hours between 12:00 and 5:00 a.m. is socially acceptable. Clubland is one big morality-free downward spiral into some white-hot inferno of social decline.
In clubland tokens of value (or currency -- it's all about the Benjamins, baby) range from drinks to drugs to more drinks. At the annual Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, tokens of value are made in china plastic beads that people exchange for sexual favors. Show breasts, get beads. A fun tradition that the moral majority swallows without a peep. Is paying for a "date" taboo because in clubland we are expected to find our soulmates, live happily ever after, and have a family or at least a Scottish terrier? Yeah, right. We know that to be a myth ("Hip Clubs vs. Strip Clubs," September 26, 2002).
Sure it would be swell if you could just turn to that girl at Opium and say (insert best Beavis impression here), "Hey baby, I got lots of money. Will you be my girlfriend for the night?" More often than not your query will lead to some long and boisterous dialogue about how your potential conquest is not for sale and can't be bought and blah blah blah blah blah, it all sounding like the garbling schoolmarm from a Charlie Brown cartoon. Actually, experts agree that she is for sale (there are far too many unemployed women with indistinguishable accents floating around on any given night), even though her own moral dilemmas are clouding such practical thinking at the time. You eliminate the headache of responsibility and social graces by having your own Vivian. It is doubtful that your dial-a-date can even formulate the word "no" if paid the right price. In fact there is no such thing as rejection in the land of dial-a-dates.
So as Father Time continues to kick you in the 'nads, you had better come to terms with the fact that your time in this game of cat and mouse is dwindling. You're better off passing on the juice blender and the ab cruncher from hell and having the buddies spend money on "Sasha," the busty Romanian. For the same price you can recapture that youthful zeal you had so many years ago. Hell, you may even luck out on the theory that a hot chick begets more hot chicks. Geez, this could be an amazing evening.
So find comfort in the reality that your looks may dwindle, but your sex life can stay intact. Now go and try on that birthday suit of yours.
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