Nightlife “Why Politicise It?”
posted by June 3 at 15:49 PMon
The locally elusive “‘Midget’ Promotional Liquor Branding Event” has resurfaced in Australia, where partying is the national pastime. At a bar called the Saint in St. Kilda, Melbourne, a shirtless/top-hatted/bar-top dwarf has been decanting Jägermeister directly into bargoers’ gaping maws.
Photos by the Port Phillip Leader; thanks to Slog tipper Apocalypse Tom
Jägermeister, understandably, “has distanced itself from the promotion,” according to the Port Phillip Leader; they’ve promised to investigate. Australian authorities are bent, having only recently caught on to the whole binge-drinking thing. (The government’s been planning a 70% tax increase on pre-mixed “alcopops”; meanwhile, young members of Australia’s Labor party indulge in “scenes of drunken carnage” at a conference.) The Port Phillip Leader quotes a representative patron at the Saint: “It’s just a bit of fun. Why politicise it?”
It’s unclear whether Jägermeister was the brand behind a Cinco de Mayo multi-city/multi-dwarf U.S. liquor promotion event, and it’s unclear whether it happened. Ads on Craigslist sought dwarf talent in Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Miami for paid barhopping in sombreros and ponchos “for a 4 (four) hour ‘shift’ meeting & greeting, mix and mingling, handing out liquor premiums & souvenirs, taking photos with customers and patrons.” I’ve contacted the director of corporate communications at Jäger’s U.S. importer seeking clarification/comment. The website only deals with the Jägerette/Jägerdude promo spokespeople. Though maybe some of them are dwarfs.
This whole dwarf liquor-promotion thing is responsible for the single most depressing Bar Exam experience in (OH MY GOD) nearly 150 examinations of bars for The Stranger over more than (I’M SORRY, LIVER) three years: the Cinco de Mayo girl-on-girl Jell-O wrestling at Tiki Bob’s. I didn’t write about the Jell-O wrestling at the time due to P.T.S.D. and space limitations.
And it wasn’t even soul-searingly depressing for all the obvious, knee-jerk feminist/humanist reasons.
I went to Tiki Bob’s on Cinco de Mayo after the Promotional Talent and Marketing Agency that had advertised on Craigslist refused to tell me where the sombrero/poncho dwarf team would be. But if dwarfs were going to dispense swag at any bar in town, it would surely be Tiki Bob’s, “the number one night club beach party in Seattle.”
This proved not to be the case: There were Corona girls in short skirts, an exhortative KISW DJ, a blind Native American guy drinking Budweiser whom the exhortative DJ referred to repeatedly as “Crazy Horse,” lots of tequila shots, and the Jell-O wrestling, but no dwarfs. I was actually having fun—or, more accurately, I was in a state of fully absorbed wonderment at the very close approximation of a great deal of fun being had in Tiki Bob’s faux–beach bar setting—until the Jell-O wrestling.
Let’s put “politicisation” aside for a moment and assume that we can all find something of pure joy in the idea of two (or, hell, four) people in swimsuits wrestling in a pool of Jell-O. That it always has to be women (with the rare exception) is demoralizing in the extreme, but, as it turns out, in no way as demoralizing as the actual event at Tiki Bob’s. The thing is: No one appeared to enjoy it. At all.
Crazy disco-ball lights swirled, classic rock played, the exhortative DJ exhorted, the crowd gathered around a low inflatable pool filled with strawberry Jell-O. (Strawberry because, as the DJ explained, this was the Cinco de Mayo “Rojo Rumble.” The Jell-O proved to be in an entirely liquid state, which doesn’t seem as good a medium for medium-based wrestling as some nice, half-set, gloppy gelatin, but whatever.) The anticipation seemed high.
Two women emerged from the innards of Tiki Bob’s. They were both preternaturally buxom and toned, and wore matching bikinis; this, along with the fact that the DJ had never exhorted anyone about any kind of sign-up process for the wrestling, made it clear that they were ringers and, god willing, getting paid. A pallid welcoming cheer was exhorted from the audience, the Jell-O was entered, and the “wrestling” began. The women tried not to get their hair Jell-O-y while daintily doing the opposite of grappling; they aped some conventions of Going Wild that I was previously unaware of and really wish were not now burned into my brain—showily, lightly, dispassionately spanking each other and likewise dry-humping. The audience looked on as passively and silently as if they were at home viewing it all on a computer screen. Some guys robotically snapped camera-phone photos. The DJ exhorted the women to continue their sad abstraction of a display, calling them “babygirls,” making jokes about breast implants, and (belying his youthful-from-a-distance appearance) exclaiming, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”
Eventually two more women would wrestle, and then all four of them together. At the end, the winner was apparently to be determined via applause level, but no audience anywhere has ever responded more tepidly to anything. These women had wrestled in Jell-O for the purported greater entertainment good, and no one could even be bothered to clap, much less whoop or scream or holler. A winner was arbitrarily selected, the sham of a sham drew to a close, and I was unable to stay to talk to any of the wrestlers due to suicidal/omnicidal ideation.
The American pageant of objectification has reached its natural conclusion when no one even shows their appreciation. You know they’d cheer in Melbourne.