The Infamous Strip Club Controversy of 1999

Posted: July 17, 2014 in Trauma Central

After surviving the Infamous Strip Club Controversy of 1999, I’ll NEVER go to one of those places with my married friends again!

In dysfunctional families, children are often assigned “roles” by their parent(s), and once cast, there’s nothing kids can do to shake their “part” in these poisonous plays. Once my younger brother was born, my parents cast me in the role of Scapegoat (also known as the “Problem Child” or “Rebel”), and I was blamed for all of my family’s problems, and was routinely punished for things I did and didn’t do. But what does all this have to do with an unfortunate incident at a strip club? you might ask …


Enter my old friend Biff, who’ss not a foolish man. He’d been to Trauma Central (aka my childhood home) enough times to witness how my parents and brother treated me, and he also saw how these experiences imprinted themselves upon me. My nervous awkwardness in social situations must have radiated some sort of “Scapegoat Vibe” that attracted angry and belligerent assholes who needed to make me the focus of their rage. Case in point, the time Biff brought me to his house for a party and his sister’s drunk, jock asshole boyfriend and four of his equally drunk, football player goons tried getting in my face, saying, “Hey Ribner! Why you being a dick?” Again, I hardly had enough time to be a dick – whatever that means – since we had just walked in the door and had said nothing to those guys. Like I said, it was the Scapegoat Vibe.

Flash forward to 1999: I was freshly divorced and Biff wanted to take me out for a couple drinks to cheer me up. As we were driving down Pierson Road, he asked me where I wanted to go and, as a total joke, I said, “Foxy’s.” Anyone who remembers that ramshackle strip club off Pierson Road would know I was joking. It was a shithole frequented by gangsters, thugs, and strippers who were so ugly, they needed to pay the customers to watch them dance. Instead of picking up on my sarcasm, Biff said we should go to a strip club, and he insisted upon a more “upscale” place on Dort Highway, a road notorious for its massage parlors and street-strolling sex workers. No sooner did I say, “I guess …” and he matted the pedal and sped us off due south.

I wish I could tell you that we had a rip-roarin’ time, but our night amounted to two former musicians way past their prime catching up on each other’s lives. We sat so far from the stage that we couldn’t tell the silicone from the cellulite, and both of us declined the repeated invitations for lap dances and even more in the VIP room. Just before we left thought, a thought suddenly popped inside my head – call it intuition or even a sinking feeling – and I realized I needed to clear something up with Biff.

“Do me a favor,” I said.

“What?” he replied.

“Promise you won’t tell Muffy (his wife) that we were here.”

“She won’t care,” he insisted.

“Just the same,” I said, “I’d rather you didn’t tell her that you were here with me. Okay?”

“You worry too much,” he said.

And so the matter was settled … until I visited Biff’s brother- and sister-in-law. They informed me that Biff confessed our little rendezvous to Muffy, who promptly went off the rails. The biggest bone of contention was whose idea it was; Biff blamed me, whereas I maintained that he was the one who pushed the issue. Knowing Muffy like I did, I could almost hear her shrieking about me “ruining her marriage,” getting louder and more hysterical as her tirade continued. At precisely the point when her voice reached a near glass-shattering crescendo, Biff would step in to calm her down, playing the part of the beleaguered guy torn between being a good husband and wanting to help an old friend. This guy’s a saint, I tell ya!

Needless to say, I promptly ceased talking to my so-called friend after this debacle, though I’m sure the little shit isn’t losing any sleep over it. He orchestrated that situation with the precision of a Swiss watch, getting out of it exactly what he wanted: revenge against his psycho-bitch wife for whatever slight she might have committed, while deftly shifting all the blame onto his cigar-chompin’, beer-swillin’, skirt-chasin’ buddy with a penchant for raunchy punk rock music … in other words, the perfect fall guy.

Well played, Biff; well played, indeed!

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