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Intersections – To the strip club

D'ish Decatur Metro ATL

Intersections – To the strip club

Nicki Salcedo
Nicki Salcedo

Nicki Salcedo

I was at the gas station one day when I witnessed a conversation between two strangers. It was Friday night.

A big burly man approached another man in a business suit and asked, “Do you know how to get to Pin Ups?”

“Pin Ups?” the other guy asked.

“It’s a strip club,” the big guy explained. “On Ponce.”

The second man was not from the neighborhood. He started giving directions downtown and to The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta’s most notorious strip club, also on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

“But they said it was around here,” the big guy said.

I had to help. It was the polite thing to do. Every once in a while you realize that your Southern hospitality includes giving directions to Pin Ups, the lovely strip club in my neighborhood.

I got out of my car and shouted, “Pinups is just down the street. Take a left at the second light, and it will be on your left.”

Both men stared at me. Particularly the second guy in the suit. Did that nerd lady just give better directions to the strip club than me? Yes, I did.

I guess I know why this looked crazy. Me. Minivan. MILFy. The men were startled because I’m not supposed to know where the strip club is. I’m not supposed to encourage men by giving them directions to the strip club. I could not be the kind of lady who would condone strip clubs.

But what’s weirder? Giving the directions to the strip club or not knowing how to get there?

The two men went their separate ways and left me in a quandary. The next time I drove by Pin Ups, I slowed down and took a closer look. I was beginning to compose my rant on our oppressive patriarchal society and the objectification of women. I had a second rant about how I should know about strip clubs and be an advocate for women no matter their profession.

But my rant never occurred, because I noticed something wonderful when I drove by. Pin Ups has the best neighbors ever.

The strip club. The pet crematory. The wholesale Asian grocery store.

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We live in a world with a lot of division. We separate ourselves based on race or politics or social status or gender. I’m always hopeful. I wonder about the way the world could be or should be. Sometimes I need a reminder that we can all be living in harmony.

As I drove by, I imagined that the owners of each business are friendly with each other. That the three of them get together regularly to talk business and share marketing techniques.

I don’t imagine that they argue over the recycling bins or parking on Friday night. Only one of the businesses should be busy on Friday night.

I love when I spot coexisting things that don’t belong together. The good sesame sauce, sad puppies, and strip clubs. That’s harmony.

I’ve been to a strip club before. I’ve seen naked ladies dancing. Remember that one time after college when my friends thought it would be funny to go? They paid extra for me to get a lap dance, because me being grossly uncomfortable is worth top dollar.

The stripper looked like Barbie in a kilt. Maybe it was a school girl outfit. She felt sorry for me and even said so as she kissed my cheek. I imagined she was putting herself through medical school and added that she was a feminist studies major. I attributed very academic careers to all the ladies just so I could survive the night.

“Do you think she likes Star Trek?” I asked one of the guys in my group. Well, my friends never invited me back to another strip club again.

I’ve seen naked men dancing. It is weirdly like watching mimes. This was for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party in Los Angeles. I might not like naked men, but I really (really, really) like dancing men. I guess my own sexism kicked. They were so greased up I could not attribute any alternate intellectual careers to my naked dance men. I almost had fun that night. I safely avoided any lap dances from my Magic Mikes. Now every time I hear Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” I imagine a man in rip-away pants.  Woe is me.

I’m not the right lady to ask about strip clubs unless you need directions. You can’t trust my opinion. Just like Fifty Shades of Grey, strip clubs are not for me.

Though I haven’t been inside Pin Ups, I secretly love to drive past and wonder about the people who work inside. I wonder about the friendly neighboring business.

I can’t spend my life trying to right the world. I don’t know what is right for everyone.

One day I might need the good sesame sauce. One day I might have to make tough decisions about my pet. My cat Greg Maddux is twelve years old. I write novels with suspense and romance. One day going into a strip club might be required in the name of research for a book.

That burly guy was embarrassed to get directions to the strip club from a soccer mom. That’s the real shame. If you are going to go to the strip club, go. Go proud. The fact that he was embarrassed suggests that even he thinks it’s a bit wrong. Those are his issues, not mine.

I don’t worry about it. What a strange funny world. I know how to get to the strip club and other places, too. On a good day, I can give you directions to anywhere you want to go.