Watching All the Girls Go By

Olympic Garden

Gentlemen’s Clubs. I know they’re full of naked ladies, but the name suggests that fully-clothed ladies might not be welcome. That’s why, until last Thursday night, I’d never darkened the door of one of the establishments that are proliferating so quickly all over the Las Vegas Valley.

Last week, while I was attending a conference here in town, the perfect opportunity arose for me to take a peek inside what used to be called a strip joint. One of the after-hours options for conference attendees was a “gentlemen’s club crawl.” After confirming with the organizer that ladies were welcome, I added my name to his list.

At first, I was uncertain how to dress, but I gradually decided that it really didn’t matter. Nobody would be looking at me, after all. This was a liberating thought, and I didn’t bother changing out of my convention clothes before climbing into one of the limos that would take us to our first destination, the Olympic Garden.

I’ve known about the Olympic Garden for quite a while. It’s owned by the Eliades family, a civic-minded Greek clan. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard not far from the Stratosphere, the club’s signs identify the establishment as a “Topless Cabaret Open 24 Hours.”

By the time I had shelled out twenty bucks to get past the turnstile, my eyes had adjusted to the deep twilight inside the club. My white blouse was glowing purple, but I had been correct in my assumption that nobody but me would notice. There were too many other, far more provocative garments glowing in the black light. I don’t even know the names for some of them, but “thong” and “G-string” cover most of the territory. The bras were impressive, too — far more wonderful than Wonder Bras. Of course, it wasn’t the clothes we were gaping at, but what was filling them out. The Olympic Garden practices truth in advertising. The girls really are beautiful, and they come in sizes, shapes, and colors to suit every fantasy.

We took a seat at a table near a round, translucent stage lit from below. It was surrounded by chairs occupied by smiling men whose faces glowed about nine inches above the stage floor. On the stage, a dancer was writhing fetchingly on her knees. She had already removed all garments except her thong, and it was easy to see why the men were smiling. By sitting in those chairs, they had positioned themselves ideally for something else I don’t know the right word for. What’s the technical term for breasts-in-your-face?

Just then, a cocktail waitress appeared, identifiable not only by her tray, but also by her uniform: a black bikini bottom and low cut white top. I gave her my complimentary drink ticket, ordered a beer, and continued to ogle all the activity gyrating, bouncing, and prancing around me.

“There are men upstairs!” one of the other women in my group announced. “Come on!” It was tempting, but I was still too riveted by the female entertainment to switch to beefcake. In addition, Tom, the gentleman who had organized our “crawl,” was getting ready to buy a lap dance. There was no way I was going to miss that.

Until now, I had never seen a real lap dance, and I certainly had no idea how to buy one. It’s simple, it turns out. The ladies come around and introduce themselves. They make small talk, and they’re very good at it. Negotiating is simple, too. Lap dances are twenty bucks apiece. End of conversation.

Tom selected a woman who had caught my eye earlier. Actually, she caught the eye of everyone, because she was at least six feet tall and exceedingly voluptuous in a Botticellian sort of way. She even had long, blonde, Venus-on-the-Half-Shell ringlets.

Because our table was a bit crowded, the dancer took Tom to another booth. Fortunately, I still had a good view as Venus removed her stretchy halter top and freed her prodigious twins in Tom’s face.

Odd, I began to think, that this wasn’t embarrassing me. I didn’t even feel like a voyeur as I watched my colleague get — for lack of a better phrase — dry humped in a public place by a nearly nude Amazon. Weirder still was that I actually enjoyed quasi sex as a spectator sport.

I’ve had the sneaking suspicion for a while now that Las Vegas is stripping me of every vestige of good taste. How else can I explain that I found a strip club so entertaining? Aren’t they, by definition, tawdry and tacky? Shouldn’t tawdriness and tackiness offend me? I just don’t know any more. All I can say with complete certainty is that gentlemen’s clubs are expensive, especially if you get addicted to physical contact.

The next stop on our “crawl” was Sapphire, a club that claims to be the largest of its kind in the world. It was tempting, but it was well after one when we walked out of the Olympic Garden. I decided I’d enjoyed enough new experiences for one night, and I bade everyone else farewell as they climbed back into the limos. Unlike my colleagues, I can go to Sapphire whenever I want. It’s just one more swell thing about living in Las Vegas.