The Canadian Ballet

           The tale told herein is not for the prurient fearing, and most especially not for the modern day followers of the wit and wisdom of our street’s namesake, Anthony “Tony the Gootch” Comstock. We had the good fortune, you see, to live but 20 minutes away from a land of freedom and plenty, known for artic tundra, a liberally low drinking age, and the loosest restrictions on booty clubs outside Thailand. For young men living in Buffalo, such was a godsend.            

     I was first introduced to the seedier side of the ‘land of ‘eh?’ sometime during sophomore year by none other than Ken, who was hankering for some beer and boobs and apparently lacked friends his own age in the elite over 21 crowd. While it was true that I had a well chalked ID, expertly provided by Knaus, and knew of a few local dives that would allow me in without so much as a raised eyebrow, most of the really good places had a wary eye and black light ready for posers like myself. The definition of a really good place meant either cheap beer, or as my good friend Dave Walsh would say, “mammaries a-plenty”, preferably uncovered. Both were always ideal, but extraordinarily rare. On this particular occasion with Ken driving, we first hit Rumors over on Clifton Hill as they were having two for one. The crowd was sparse, so we sought better entertainment. This was my introduction to the wonders of Mints.           

     Mints had the exterior trappings of a fairly posh gentlemen’s club, much like I imagined the old Palace Burlesque on Main St, Shelton Square would have been before the old prudes in city hall tore it down. Inside, however, it was all we could have hoped for. Not quite a rat trap like the Bada-Bing, but cheesy and sleazy enough that a 19 year old douche bag in ripped shorts could feel comfortable. The cover charge was a cool $5 Canadian; a true bargain during prosperous times when the exchange rate was nearly two for one. Stepping though the curtain past the surly bouncer, I felt like Dorothy first opening that drab Kansas farm door into Oz. Color had come into my life at last; diminished not at all by the dimmed lighting and constant strobe.            

     The first thing I noticed of course was that aside from a smattering of smartly clad waitresses, the majority of the women in the place were wandering about, chatting casually with patrons, and wearing nothing but the classiest of clear heeled shoes. The room was filled with small tables with pull away chairs, all facing a large stage and runway on the left hand side. Upon the stage was a talented dancer, lithe and limber, writhing away to a Billy Squire tune, leaping from stage to pole, her feet and bosoms in full defiance of gravity.  Nearly mesmerized, I stumbled my way though following Ken to an unoccupied table. He explained apologetically that “stank ally” was full up, but if a pair of fools were to get up having lost interest, we would pounce into the vacant seats right up on the stage.           

     We ordered a couple of beers – 3 drink minimum – and sat back to enjoy the show, eyes darting from the show on stage, the merry naked wanderers talking to patrons, and finally the prime seats, praying for a fortuitous opening. Interestingly enough, I had a harder time keeping my eyes off the waitresses than the performers. Many were just as attractive as the dancers, but possessed some quality that prevented them from disrobing publicly like their colleagues. It made them all the more enticing when contrasted with such unabashed exhibitionism. Before the second dancer in the line up finished shaking her groove thang, we were finally approached by a somewhat bored looking brunette.           

     Before she arrived, I was starting to feel like a social leper as most of the rest of the tables had been chatted up once or multiple times by buxom naked ladies. A good conversation, I could not help but notice, often resulted in the woman feeling sudden compulsion to break into a suggestive dance, culminating with her wriggling away on his lap. I wanted that as well, and Ken advised me to be patient. As I came to find out much later in life, at 19 and dressed as if I picked out my own clothes, popular perception amongst the wage earners was that I was not likely blessed with an excess of disposable income, and therefore a waste of time. I think the brunette only came over to be polite, probably noticing my ever increasing frantic look as we were bypassed time and time again. “Would you like me to dance for you?” How could I say no to that? I enthusiastically expressed that I would like that very much. “That will be $20, OK hon?” Low balled! I was already entrapped and mentally committed, so there was no turning back.           

     She danced for me for a full song, but with a certain lack of enthusiasm, likely expecting a small or absent tip. She asked me if I wanted her to continue, and of course I did. This time she perked right up and I got the full lap treatment. “Should I keep going?” Hell yeah she should! It was on the third go around that Ken finally saw fit to lean over and whisper, “You know it costs another $20 each time she asks, right?” No, I had not known that. While there was no denying that the sweet thrill of her plumpish buttocks grinding into my pelvis was worth every penny, the few I had were overextended and I was forced to call it quits the next time she inquired. I paid up, generous tip included, a good 3 days work worth of wages tucked away in some secret fold the dance had not revealed. The upside of the situation was that in graciously paying for 3 consecutive dances from one of the B list entertainers, I suddenly attained the reputation of a big spender and there was never a shortage again of someone vying for my attention.           

     Another beer cheered me up from the loss, and I consoled myself with the fact that my newly issued Discover card would help delay the cost impact. After a good wait, a few seats finally opened up in the good side of town and we quickly made our way up there. It was here that Ken taught me how a hard earned buck could go a much longer way toward providing a cheap thrill. He demonstrated by rolling a bill (always a one) tightly in his mouth like a little green cigarette, and lay back on the stage as the dancer was on her third set (first set clothes on, second down to thong, third birthday suit only). Spotting him, she strutted over, knelt down, and extracted the bill by pushing her breasts together into a big soft claw, flubbing them liberally into his face in the process. It looked like great sport and I spared no time in initiating imitation.           

     Having found such a little slice of heaven barely removed from my own backyard, I was not at all hesitant to share the good news, especially with those who had a car like Knaus, Dave and Schultz. Although Mints was a smidge on the classier side, being located in the tourist district of Niagara Falls, we found GTR in Fort Erie to be even more to our liking. Of all those who passed though that golden doorway sin, no one seemed to enjoy it as much as Knaus. At the mere mention of GTR, Mints, or one of the other hole in the wall places up there, his excitement level would rise and a road trip with all interested parties would convene. Knaus sometimes drove and was diligent about not drinking, and those times he did not, he somehow found it within himself to show far more restraint than those times going out to house parties from the dorms. Beer only; no Vivarin or cough syrup. The promise of booty for viewing pleasure only was enough to keep him on the straight and narrow.           

     The most memorable of these adventures was one of the last times I recall going over there for a boondoggle. We were at Comstock still, but the majority of us had turned 21 already and the trek over there was just getting to be too long. Money was always an issue as well, especially in the months following one of Knaus’s nausea inducing announcements that we each owed close to four figures just to keep the lights on. Matt was one of the last of us to maintain amateur underage status; the childish features prompting his fetus nickname also precluded any hope of a fake ID being accepted. Louis was always exempt from this classification having chosen to forego participation in alcohol fueled foolishness. One evening though, Matt convinced us to do up one more time and offered to drive the motley lot of us up to the falls in his mom’s white mini-van. In attendance and in high spirits were Matt, Aaron, Dan, Knaus, Sean B, and myself I believe.            

     Agreement to go in no way meant that the cash flow situation was any better than usual, so provisions had to be made. It had dawned on us that personal purchase of beer and liquor from a store was often considerably cheaper than enriching some shyster barkeep. That in mind, we stopped at the convenience store for some GAB and a liquor store for a small bottle to nip. We had not yet reached the border yet when the majority of us were well on our way to being righteously sloshed. Moments before rolling though customs, it finally occurred to one cool head that it might not be a good idea to have some Canuck border guard peering his head into the van and seeing dozens of open containers strewn about. By some miracle, we managed to hide everything visible, though spilling much in the interior. A good whiff would have painted a picture that we had just driven though an exploding brewery. The good man, however, saw fit to let us in when we revealed with perfect honesty what we had come for.            

     We started the party at Rumors as Matt insisted on stepping there first. For some reason the underage Canadian chicks seemed to dig Matt’s boyish charm and as a result, was always loath to remove himself, even under the promise of rampant boobage. As usual, the place was packed by an order of magnitude beyond any mandated fire safety limitation, and the queasy techno-bop music pounded thunderously, prohibiting any conversation beyond spittle laced shouting. Worse yet, the bathroom held perhaps 2 urinators at a time, and after consuming the better part of a sixer on the way here, I enjoyed the majority of the time in line, fervently hoping the group would not forget and leave without me. Knaus, also enraged by bubble gum cheeriness of the place, rumbled like a caged lion to be set free upon the gazelle legs of the succulent dancers. Knaus so motivated was undeniable, and we finally got the hell out of there, barely the worse for wear.           

     To Mints we went and it was a time to remember. The group was in a jaunty mood that night and we were fortunate enough to get the good seats on the stage shortly after we entered. Even Aaron was relaxed and enjoying the night; a sharp contrast to a time previous when he was still involved with his girlfriend and hounded relentlessly all evening by Ken to get a lap dance, which he staunchly refused. His puritanical ethics denied him the temptations of the flesh when bound by commitment. Knaus was a true hog for the stage, going though well over a hundred crisp ones to the continuous delight of the dancers, all of whom he treated equally. His generous enthusiasm magnetized our group, drawing in plenty of dancers for solicitous conversation.           

     The highlight that day was an outside “star” brought in to headline the evening’s entertainment. Such guest stars were typically actresses from the porn industry lacking in superstar status, but recognizable from such classics as ‘Butt Fuck Sluts Go Nuts Vol 3’ and the like. This comely young woman choose to appease the crowd of hooting spectators by dousing herself with neon glow body paint. Not exactly my thing, but some people like ‘em messy I suppose. At the end of the show she produced a large black sheet of construction paper and threw herself supine upon it. Waving the smeared paint in her godly image about, she made it clear that the souvenir would be going to some lucky bastard in the audience. I was determined that the lucky bastard would be me and fought my way to the front. Perhaps it was my rakish charm, or steely determination, or perhaps some unspoken spark passed between us as our eyes met, but she practically passed it right to me, letting go before it could tear as I surged violently back with my prize. Proud of my first fine art procurement, I hung it beside the front door at Comstock, above the house comics and the piece of paper with ‘Green Arrow Mark Pike’ written upon it.           

     That night we closed the place down; not a terribly impressive accomplishment when you consider that Canadian bars close at an early 1:00 AM. We slogged our way though the parking lot to Matt’s mom’s van and piled in, exhausted. I fell asleep soon after and woke long enough to give my citizenship to the border guard and fell back asleep. Apparently, so did whoever was navigating. I came awake again, completely disoriented. We were driving slowly though heavy fog, though what appeared to be a forest of concrete pillars. “Where the fuck are we Matt?” Before he could answer, red and blue light began flashing behind us and the siren began to wail.           

     There was some degree of panic as everyone awoke. The panic was a result of the continued presence of dozens of open containers hidden throughout the interior, the undisputed inebriated state of all passengers, and the questionable state of sobriety of the drive himself. Nervously he rolled down the window. “You boys look like you are a little lost, arntcha?” He had us there. We were lost; our intrepid driver was apparently unable successfully navigate the 190, then got off before the Peace Bridge under some notion that continuing would bring him right back into Canada. The police were kind enough to look the other way and graciously led us out of the maze we had gotten into.             There is no question that the Canadian ballet remains one of the strongest draws of the area, and only hope that today’s generation of horny young men is getting the same full enjoyment out of it that we did. 

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3 Responses

  1. You are confusing this with the time you, Matt, Dan, and myself went to Rumors and got stopped on the way back. But that is another post, soon to come.

    I was in a poor mood my first trip to GTR because Ken was there. As stated before with much vigor this was not my kind of guy.

    I recall making one final trip to GTR only to find it had closed for good the week before.

  2. I worked regularly at both those establishments quite a few years ago and was tickled with your literary account of the experience!

    I don’t often think about it any longer but I’m sure I have a few stories of my own’-)

  3. Always happy to hear from a new commentator! We’d love to hear your stories if you ever want to share.

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