Lapdance of Danger, or Big Trouble In Steamy Tampa

So, you’re going to Tampa for the Republican National Convention.

Welcome to my home town, which is, to quote the classics, a hive of scum and villainy.

So here’s what’s going to happen. One dark and stormy night (and they will be, if the Weather Channel is right), after the receptions wrap up, a member of your posse is going to say, “Hey, let’s go to one of Tampa’s dozens of strip clubs.”

Yeah. “Dozens.” My home town has the dubious distinction of more strip clubs, massage parlors and thinly-disguised brothels than anywhere east of Bangkok. I’m not proud of it. It’s just a fact of life.

You’ll all be pretty juiced by a long day of convention fun, swimming with cocktails and chock full of protein from a good steak dinner (You’ll never get a reservation at Bern’s at this point, but that’s another story). Spirits will be running very high. Stoked by a day of putting the stick to the Obama Administration and its misdeeds, why not keep the fun going?

So someone will whip out their iPhone and look up the address of the Mons Venus or the 2001 or Scores or the Doll House or Kitty McTitty’s Boom Boom Room. There’ll be a stop at an ATM for a fat stacks…you’re gonna need those 20s, amirite? Your rental car will be pumping with hip-hop. Good night so far, right? Everybody feeling good? “YOLO!”

Outside the club, the parking is jammed, so you’ll valet it. Hey, you only do the convention every 4 years, right? Live large. This is the moment you’ll look back on later.

You’ll pay the outrageous cover and enter the sticky, smoky confines of whatever part of Joe Redner’s empire you’ve had the poor judgment to visit. You and your buddies will then proceed to do what guys do in strip clubs the world over. You’ll hear “Pour Some Sugar On Me” every 18 minutes. Music will pound, drinks will flow.

Judgment? Not so much.

Mostly naked girls with too many tats, daddy issues and incipient drug addictions are rocking noms de skank like Brandee, O-Ra-Ra (“Get it? Like the thing in the, like, sky?”), Chastitee, Raynebow and Vyxen. They’ll bump, grind and give you a few minutes of lurid titillation in or out of the proverbial champagne room. You probably know the drill. You’ve heard about it, second-hand, of course.

There’s a further spectrum of possible misbehavior, but we’ll leave that for now. Frankly, you were hosed the moment you pulled up out front.

This outing with the boys in the steamy tropical night of a late August in Tampa sounded so good on the front end. But this is where it gets sporty.

See, the minute you got out of the car, some folks in a van parked across the street got you on video.

Who cares who they work for? The media? BuzzFeed, prepping for a piece called, “18 Well-Fed GOP Delegates Walking Into Seedy Strip Clubs?” The DNC? Talking Points Memo? MMFA? Some Democratic SuperPAC? OFA?  It doesn’t matter.  Hell, for all you know George Soros is sitting in the back wearing a mumu, muttering commands to them and smelling of Ben Gay and borscht.

But count on it. They will be there. We live in the era of the tracker, and the ultimate gotcha is guys getting in trouble because millions of years of evolution coupled with our bad judgment about inappropriate women led you to this.

So yeah, they’re watching for guys in rental cars wearing RNC lanyards. They’re playing Spot-The-Delegate and every single face on that video is going to be peered at long and hard. And in the age of Facebook, Google Image Search and good old detective work, they’ll know who you are soon enough.

And inside? Whether it’s from the club making a deal with the same people (a known fact of Tampa strip club history) and providing their video feed, or just an enterprising Democratic intern on the Best Job Ever filming you with his tiny GoPro or phone camera, you and your friends will get captured mid-lapdance. You will remember the fun differently the next morning.

Why? Because the next morning, as you reach for your vibrating phone on the nightstand, the hangover grinding through your head and your guts, it takes a moment to focus. You swing your feet to the floor, staring at the text message from your wife.

“Call me. You’re on YouTube.”

You’re on YouTube because someone has a clever short video showing you and your buddies, backslapping and high-fiving as the valet whisks your car away and the lot of you spend a few minutes paying the doorman of the Mons Venus.

It’s a wide shot, but clear. You, an Alternate Delegate and State Committeeman from State X and the executive director of the state party and a couple lobbyists are clearly illuminated by the neon glare of the club’s clearly visible sign. Oh, the names and titles may change, but it’s you.

The caption says, “Who Are These Republicans Going Into A Tampa Strip Club?” and it’s a cute, crowd-sourced game. Everyone gets involved, and by noon, Politico and Buzzfeed and Talking Points Memo and every Democratic blog and activist is circulating it, creating a giant fecal storm. It takes over a huge portion of news that should have been about Mitt Romney’s ascent to the nomination.

Oh, it gets better. Remember that Democratic intern with the camera inside the club? Yeah. The next video cuts to that part. Destinee Angel is grinding against you and the expression on your face is as pathetically incriminating as you can imagine. A little later in the day, you’re a GIF joke on Reddit and Buzzfeed, and a hashtag game on Twitter. Your personal Google Alert, maybe for the first time ever, is exploding.

So now you’re thinking, “Oh man, have I screwed up.”

But wait…there’s a bonus round. Later that day, Romney’s press people are being badgered by the thousands of reporters about his position on the sexual exploitation of women. The news cycle becomes you and your jackass friends getting lapdances at skanky strip clubs. Bra-vo. The stories then transition into how you represent a deeper, darker side of the GOP and by the next day, folks could mistake you for someone Albanian human smugglers would fear.

And those calls from your wife are now calls from her lawyer. The Committee on Arrangements has revoked your credentials. And your boss back home is texting. And calling. The story never, ever gets any better.

Now, guys, I’m not telling you this because I’m a prude. I’m not telling you this because of my overly developed sense of paranoia. I’m telling you this because we live in an era where digital everything + the Republican Party + strippers is nuclear-grade stupid. And I know Tampa. It’s a party town, and things get out of hand.

So enjoy my home town. Enjoy the parties. You’ll have great meals, Ybor is fantastic, and we’ll all make the best of Hurricane Issac. But please guys, if you must…save the strippers for some other time.

P.S. As for you Democrats in Charlotte? Totally different. Party on.

  1. kylez

    Great post!

    and if they do a trip to Miami, no cocaine!

    in fact maybe every man should have his wife on his arm, and drink orange juice.

  2. Richard VanderHoek
    Sisyphus: Brilliant. This brief should be part of the attendee orientation on arrival. · 9 hours ago

    I agree, this should be printed and handed to every single attendee.  It doesn’t matter if the strip club visitor is a low-level intern.  If anyone who has a guest pass to the convention steps inside a strip club, the DNC/media/Media Matters/Think Progress/lefty group will immediate start hounding the Romney campaign and using this to further the “War on Women” meme.

  3. DocJay

    Man is that ever the truth.  Miami is about the same.  Boys, leave the sluts alone!

  4. Byron Horatio

    Is there in all seriousness an establishment named “Kitty McTitty’s Boom Boom Room?”  If so, I salute the owner that christened it so, because that’s pretty darn funny. 

  5. Rick Wilson
    C

    I actually made that one up. If, in some alternate universe,  I owned a strip club, that’d be it.

  6. Sisyphus

    Brilliant. This brief should be part of the attendee orientation on arrival.

  7. Eeyore

    Well, I guess it’ll have to be outcall, then.

  8. Arahant

    Hope they read it.

  9. Charlotte

    My compliments, Rick, on a hilarious, painfully true, and exceptionally well-written post.

    This paragraph in particular is just awesome:

    So someone will whip out their iPhone and look up the address of the Mons Venus or the 2001 or Scores or the Doll House or Kitty McTitty’s Boom Boom Room. There’ll be a stop at an ATM for a fat stacks…you’re gonna need those 20s, amirite? Your rental car will be pumping with hip-hop. Good night so far, right? Everybody feeling good? “YOLO, bitches!”

  10. Aaron Miller

    Excellent post.

  11. Ferguson

    Excellent post. I hope that they realize that this is business, and it’ll be 24 hours a day while they’re representing their constituencies. Enjoy the beaches, come another time for the clubs. 

    Also, I just moved to Tampa, so thanks for the tips for a non-delegate! A list of places that delegates should avoid is much appreciated. 

  12. At The Rubicon

    OK, so let’s turn the tables on them.  While boogieing down in some strip club is just a resume-enhancer for a Democrat, how about photos of Dem delegates having fun in a bar or restaurant that was a pre-civil war slave auction house?  Or how about photos of Dem delegates patronizing an establishment whose owner is pro-life?

  13. Bluebottle

    As for turning the tables: what about members of the MSM press availing themselves of the same entertainments in Tampa about which you are warning?

  14. 2klbofun

    Or, if you have to go, at least wear a Guy Fawkes mask.

  15. Casey
    Byron Horatio: Is there in all seriousness an establishment named “Kitty McTitty’s Boom Boom Room?” 

    Rick Wilson: I actually made that one up. If, in some alternate universe,  I owned a strip club, that’d be it. · Aug 24 at 7:55pm

    Oh, it’s real Wilson…. And it’s fantastic!

    Kitty-s.jpg

  16. flownover
    Whiskey Sam

    EJHill: What would be the opposite of catching an uptight Republican in a Tampa strip club? Catching a Democrat coming out of Church in Charlotte? · 15 minutes ago

    Eating at Chik-fil-a. · 51 minutes ago

    Pheasant hunting . 

  17. Gary The Ex-Donk

    I haven’t been so entertained and scared at the same time since the first time I saw “Jaws” at age 10.

  18. Scott Abel (formerly EstoniaKat)

    Miami is notorious for that kind of stuff, which is why so many NBA basketball players want to play there, or be on the Heat.

    I didn’t know Tampa was another pea in the pod. Thanks for the report.

  19. Scott Abel (formerly EstoniaKat)
    Misthiocracy

    Rick Wilson:

    My home town has the dubious distinction of more strip clubs, massage parlors and thinly-disguised brothels than anywhere east of Bangkok. 

    Is that on a per capita basis?  I’d always heard that Windsor, ON had the most strip clubs on a per capita basis.

    According to this link, West Virgina has the highest “strip clubs per capita” rate of any US state. · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    So, there’s a Robert Byrd club?

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