It's Thanksgiving weekend. In honor of gluttony—and after not one but two Thanksgiving dinners—my friend, who we'll call "Dan Kensington," and I rent a car and drive from Seattle to Portland. I'm usually loyal to the foul, retro-cheap The Palms Motel on North Interstate Avenue—but because it's a holiday, I book a room at the stupid-expensive Vintage Plaza downtown. As we turn right on Broadway, we pass Mary's Club, and its neon lights wink at us: blink-blink, blink-blink! Kensington admits he's never been to a strip club in Portland.
Mary's Club, 9:46 pm
Every time I've been to Mary's (the mother of ALL strip clubs since 1965), it's packed—full of rowdy laughter and good-time drunkards. There's a $2 cover at the door and no drink minimum. We sit at the last open table and order two double vodka sodas. The big bearded guy behind us tells a leather-clad hesher that he's in the band Red Fang. The crowd is a mix of mostly twenty- and thirtysomethings, lots of couples. An impossibly tall, classically beautiful woman with a tattoo of cello f-holes on her lower back picks out a hiphop song from the onstage jukebox. Her booty clap is so refined that each one of her round, muscular butt cheeks operates independently. Kensington gasps at her upside-down pole maneuvers. Some guy sitting front stage yells, "It's my birthday!" She leans down, gives him a healthy birthday motorboating with her near-perfect, implant-free double-Ds, and slips off the stage, falling directly on top of him. Boobs still in his face, both fall backward to the floor. With absolute grace, she climbs back onstage. People applaud, nobody laughs, and everyone tips.