That Friend

We all have that friend.
The one your husband is afraid of.
The one that manages to wreck your modesty filters.
The one that scares the hell out of you but you’re laughing so hard you can’t dial 911.
Yes, that friend.

This past summer won’t go down in history as a favorite, for either of us. Our lazy weeks of hanging out at the pool while the kids swim, or drinking on the deck while they jump on the tramp just never materialized. Too little time, too little money, too many commitments.

She texted me in early August after we hadn’t spoken for a few weeks-

It would be nice to hear from you again sometime this year….

I’d been wondering if she’d gotten sick of my lame self and was happy enough to hear from her that I made an honest to goodness phone call.

Me- Hey, what’s up?

Her- I’m getting tickets to a show on Friday, Sept. 2nd with Whit, come with us.

Me- Well, what show?

Her- Magic Men

Me- I-

Her-Come on! It’ll be more fun if you come.

Me-What’s Magic Men?

Her-(Facepalm) It’s like Magic Mike, the movie, you know?

Me-(Facepalm)How much?

Her-$27, all I can get with three seats together is front row balcony, damn it!

Me-Eh, what the hell, count me in.

(Conversation is my approximate memory and will not stand up in a court of law)

I remember a brief moment of thought given to the memory of being raised a God-fearing, ultra-conservative Mormon girl in the backwoods of Idaho.

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My guess, he’s been in a small, middle of nowhere town before.

So, she got us tickets on front row balcony, right side. I paid her my forty bucks (after taxes) and truly didn’t think another thing about it until Friday Sept. 2nd, when I found myself sitting in the aisle seat, front row balcony, right side. Whit had been replaced because of work commitments with Garvey, an adored friend from work. We’d gone out for drinks beforehand at Peacock Alley and fortified our courage. Okay, just me, they drank for fun, I had a Washington Apple on the rocks and hoped I wasn’t about to regret my split second decision.Β north_dakota_bismarck_peacock_alley2

Sitting in a theater I’ve been in once before (Craig Ferguson, he was a riot) I glance at the curtained alcove a scant couple of feet away. Standing, a bit abruptly, I ask Garvey to trade seats with me. I mutter something about hating to sit on the aisle. She switches without complaint and I find myself wedged between my two friends in one of the 452 narrow, squeaky, red plush seats of the hundred year old Belle Mehus Auditorium.belle-mehus-auditorium_northern-plains-dance-facebook

Stuffing my purse under my chair, I take a good, long look at the crowds of women filing in. This is my first inkling that tonight might be a bit of a wild party. Well, that and the beer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade cans that are steadily lining up along the edge of the balcony. An usher comes in and tells everyone to keep their cans in their hands to avoid any unpleasant mishaps with the crowds of women below us. As the lights dim in a five-minute warning, Garvey thinks to ask me why I traded her seats.

I point at the curtain, “When some guy comes out of there, you’re the target, not me.”

She looks at the curtain, “I’m not okay with that,” she says, for the first time in the evening.

I think she even swore but I can’t be sure because at that moment every other woman in the auditorium screamed in lascivious glee as the disembodied voice of our host for the evening asked Bismarck if they were ready…..

Holy Hell, the reverberation in the place is deafening!

The lights dim, the giant movie screen begins a sixty-second countdown driving the gaggle of women into a fever pitch of anticipation. Then the pounding base from massive speakers, the giant movie screen flashing perfectly suited men in a 1950’s L.A.themed film, and a veritable hoard of intoxicated women and men (three of them, we counted) go wild.

I actually covered my ears. Yes, I’m that old. Then they took the stage, lined up in their trench coats, umbrellas in hand. I look over at Garvey, “Really? Raining Men?” I don’t think she heard me in the absolute pandemonium and truthfully, two seconds later I couldn’t have recalled what I said.

The umbrella’s were thrown, the hat’s tossed, the trench coats removed…I’m not as old as I thought I was. It takes shockingly little time to catalog the men and what they blatantly offer.

“Will you look at that one!” Tori (that friend) says, pointing out a muscle-bound, heavily tattooed man, but my attention had already been caught by, the flash of a dimpled cheek. Yes, the cheek on a face, people, stay with me!

I shake my head, “Nope, that one, with the Celtic Knot Tattoo between his shoulders.” Something about the wry, self-possession in the humor that plays around his lips, divided by width of his shoulders, and multiplied by that damn dimple that can probably be seen from outer space.

As we near the end of the first number, it occurs to me that I have no idea how far these men are about to go. I mean S-T-R-I-P.

I ask Garvey, “How far are they going to go?”

Her eyes glued to the stage, she repeats the words I’m going to hear a great deal of tonight, “I’m not okay with this.”

It makes me giggle.

Well, you wanna know? Too bad, what happens at Magic Men Live, stays and Magic Men Live. It’s true, they said so.

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Photo property of Magic Men Live

Now is a good time to point out that I am strictly a watcher. I am not a joiner.

Our host warned us right up front that no one was safe, not even the balcony. But since I’m not sitting on the aisle and as we inch closer to intermission (for lack of a better word like, lapdanceapalooza or whatatwentybuysnowadays) I’m feeling safe and relaxed.

Garvey is terrified.

The house lights come up as they invite women to the stage and Tori and I complain to each other that we didn’t bring more cash. Garvey shakes her head at us and we all sit back to watch the absolutely insane things women think perfectly honed men will do for twenty bucks. Women are crazy.

Tori was the first to note there was a man roaming the rows of the balcony behind us.

“What?!” Garvey and I drag our eyes from the spectacle on the stage to spot the black cowboy hat surrounded by a sea of women back in the top rows of the balcony.

“What the hell? Is he crazy? He’ll never make it out of there alive!” I say. Dang it, and he’s the pretty one with the dimple and the smile that says, I’m sexy and I know it but I can make you laugh too.

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That shirtless man, his black hat and gorgeous a** went up and down every single row of the balcony, tag teaming with The Chocolate Boy Wonder.

Oh, you say, surely not every row. Yes, every single row of the balcony. My friends and I watch him wander closer and closer. Wander isn’t the right word here, it was more like bushwhacking through a jungle of one-armed, (so that’s why they sell beer, keeps at least one hand busy) soul-sucking phantasms howling his name as he moves skillfully out of reach. He heads to the West side of the balcony and Garvey starts breathing again. She giggles even, about how sweaty the men on stage are, as she searches her purse for hand sanitizer. Her brain demanding she disinfect even though she has yet to actually lay a finger on any one of them. Perhaps it noticed something her consciousness has yet to register, becauseΒ  it’s this exact moment the cowboy materializes right there beside her, giving quick hugs to a couple of woozily dancing women making use of our alcove.

Then he looks down at Garvey as she stutters, “OhNOIDONT, I’m not ok with this.”

I’m laughing at Garvey’s predicament and really enjoying that dimple up close when he suddenly steps OVER my stammering friend with a charming, “Comin’ through here, ladies.”

I stop breathing and try to slide back far enough in the narrow seat to get my legs out-of-the-way as Tori jumps to her feet next to me.

Now, I don’t know who had the best view of what happened in the next 30 seconds. I’m convinced I did, because that fine ass in those tight jeans was close enough to kiss. But Tori swears that the look on our faces was priceless. Yeah, I don’t believe her either, what red-blooded woman is looking at her friends faces when this is six inches away moving to the music like sex was the greatest invention of the modern age.

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Property of Magic Men Live

Oh, to be ten, okay fifteen… fine, dammit, twenty years younger!

I was a little mesmerized by the Celtic tattoo between his shoulder blades and the rippling muscles as he gyrated between my knees. So not exaggerating. I know I was laughing, I’m sure my face was red, but it was pure pleasure and more than a little thrilling. When he leaned back, I put a cautious hand on his skin so he’d remember someone was back there, turns out, he knew all along.4

I don’t know what the dance looked like from the front but he put a grin the size of Texas on my face from the back. Then he took a step, gave Tori a quick hug and smiled his way to the next group of women, leaving our little group speechless and grinning like idiots.

I’ve never been to a Magic Men Live show before. I had no idea what to expect. There were moments I wish I’d been better prepared to show some appreciation.

Somehow these guys managed to dance for two hours under blazing stage lights, jumping on and off the stage, carrying around women of all sizes and yet were still smiling and smelling sweet as they charmed their way through the crowd. Their one aim seemed to be making sure every woman left the show feeling personally thanked. Whether she was just there to watch, wanted more personal attention, or simply enjoying the spectacle, I honestly believe this bunch of guys want every woman leaving with a smile on her face.

I can tell you, the next time those poor boys come to Bismarck, I’ll be ready for them, though still not sitting in the aisle seat.

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16 thoughts on “That Friend

    1. Girl, I’d still be trying to scrape the smile off your face…..
      There’s another woman from work who went and every time I walk past her she starts humming, It’s Raining Men, and I can stop the idiot grin on my faceπŸ™„πŸ€”πŸ˜

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree, this would be a great beginning to a book. I’ve never gone to a show but I agree there is something that I can’t take my eyes away from when I see this kind of strip on TV or my computer. Can’t imagine what it would be like IRL, but at least now I have an idea! (You’re not the only one whose eyes are bigger than her upbringing, lol πŸ™‚ ).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Back in the day before I was a mummy, and had a social life. There used to be this club in Basildump that had strippers in every couple of months. They weren’t as put together as these guys, but they used to strut about on the stage to a heavy baseline and it was fun. One of the things this one guy would do, is douse himself in glow in the dark paint and the lights would go out. No word of a lie, he was huge and he would spin it around like a brightly coloured Catherine wheel. To this day, I never been so delighted to see a one eyed trouser snake as I did with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My apologies for not commenting on this one the first time I read it. πŸ™‚ This sounds like is was an AWESOME night! It is exciting to read about a woman’s perspective in moments like this. It really highlights the similarities and differences between the sexes. Thank goodness for some of those differences! πŸ˜€ And, I have a feeling you will be in the aisle seat…you can do it! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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