The allure of titties and pole dancing wasn't what lured me into the Hustler Club at lunchtime.
It was the $5 buffet.
Before you ask, yes I am that cheap. Obviously the women do nothing for me, but the thought of a $5 all-you-can-eat buffet gives me a chubby like no other! Besides, all I have to do is look in the mirror and see all the man-breasts I want.
I probably should wear a manzeer or a "bro".
Anyway, while it shouldn't *seem* odd that a stripclub serves food, it does bring up several negative images in my mind. Don't worry, I won't share. Besides, I'm sure you have plenty of your own.
Fact is, men have been seeking out titties and food in this city since the Gold Rush, when not only was it common for bordellos to offer food, or for food establishments to be linked to bordellos, but often was the case that it was the food that lured men into the bordello first, not the prospects of getting jiggy with it.
Some have speculated that this is why San Francisco, a classic Gold Rush, anything-goes, city has so many restaurants and, of course, foodies. Hey! Food, sex...other than "meaningful existence", what's left in life?
And that third part is totally optional.
I've often speculated that one of the true signs of divitude, not to be confused with divinity, is any restaurant you must walk down stairs into a basement for. This is true with many of my Chinatown haunts, as well as the international food court off of Kearny that is home to perhaps the last Filipino restaurant left near the old Manilatown – The House of Lumpia.
Of course, any business with the words "House of" , "Barn", "Just", or "World" in their title always receives two thumbs-up from me.
But with these eateries you first step down into: it's like you literally are "diving". At the Hustler Club, I wasn't diving for bearded clam, and even if I was (which would be weird), there's none of that anyways. For that, you have to dive even deeper at the Crazy Horse on Market, and I'm not sure if they even serve food.
Instead, I walked down the entryway and told the doorman I was there for the lunch buffet.
Funny what the right words will do for you, since the poor schmuck in front of me paid full price (I think I heard $15) for exactly the same privilege.
Fifteen dollars? In Hustler-speak, that's like 15 Beaver Bucks!
"This club is poorly laid out", I realized when I almost twisted my ankle stepping down from the step you can't see as you enter the club. After almost falling face first into the darkness, you are immediately sized up by the bartender and the tables of bikini-clad women sitting near or at the bar, which is the most lit spot in the whole place – no doubt to see who's dipping from the till every now and then to pay for their breast enlargements.
A non-busty, fully clothed waitress tells me to "please help yourself to the buffet, there are napkins and forks and plates" and "help yourself", and at first what I thought was just a dark corner was actually a dark corner where two tables were set up and had a spread laid out. Squinting, I could see three covered metal serving trays, a big bowl of iceberg lettuce tossed salad, and dessert consisting of fudge brownies and chocolate chip cookies.
Suddenly I felt as if I had stepped into some stripper's potluck farewell party or babyshower and I was the friend of a friend.
The first tray I opened contained...I see pasta-like shapes like lasagna and something resembling melted cheese on top. Half of it was empty which made way for the glistening pool of grease previously suffocated by the non-essential artery clogging or bacteria-rich items, like food.
I lifted the lid to the next tray and suddenly realized that the Hustler Club went all Asian-fusion on my barely-legal ass, serving something resembling chow mein but was so overcooked the noodles had broken off into mush, and fat, burrito-sized egg rolls that were as limp and flaccid as dead John Holmes's prominent member.
The other tray contained another mystery pasta cassarole so I grabbed my fork, looked around the room for a well-lit or at least private place and found neither.
The oval stage takes prominance within the single-level basement and at the far side of the entrance, what I thought would be a private place to sit, was actually the front of the stage, closest to the pole. Three guys were sitting up against the perimeter of the stage watching the dancers and only two of them looked like they may have known each other. I didn't really understand this part since most of the club was empty, yet they were sitting shoulder to shoulder - practically touching penises! Or at the very least, sharing spittle.
Sorry. I had to go there.
Sometimes I think straight guys are a paradox wrapped inside of a conundrum wrapped inside of an enigma, and I never tire trying to figure out what the fuck is going on inside their minds.
Seeing that I wasn't engaged in the straight guy, lunchtime, circle jerk, at least I was at a fully functioning table away from the stage and away from flying folicles of foreign origin, trying to figure out what the hell was on my plate, unfortunately illuminated in a green glow, perhaps from behind The Green Door, from the stage. I started chowing down and realized that maybe it was fortunate that I couldn't see the food.
One bite of the eggroll and it was like sipping grease. Don't believe I'm exaggerating when I tell you that the level of grease on my plate was drinkable. I mean, there was more grease on my plate than in every scene and outtake of Ron Jeremy's last movie.
Clockwise From Top: Chow Mangled Mein, Egg Roll Over and Die, and Autopsy Pasta
Carving into the pasta was like that scene in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover where they start carving into the body of the dead lover. With each bite I took, something deep down just kept telling me, "nun-uh". In fact, afterwards I was literally grease-sick. It was instant food poisoning.
In between painful bites, I was propositioned for a lap dance by a busty Asian woman, who not only didn't make my dining experience less horrid, but got all pouty and petulant when I honestly told her I was just here for the buffet.
"Are you here by yourself?"
No. I'm here with the ghosts of gold speculators and young sailors who similarly keeled over from bad strip club dive food and your bodacious tah-tahs and flat ass are not kicking it up a notch.
The one highlight, seriously, was the black woman who was pole dancing to "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson, when she slid down the poll upside-down using only the muscles in her legs, when the lyric "and when you feel that heat" came up, she slapped herself on the butt insync with the downbeat, followed by the rest of the song, "and we're gonna ride the boogie".
It wasn't much, but this judge gave her a 9.5 for performance and artistic integrity/consistency, despite the fact her braided extensions were, like, Cousin It long.
I managed to snap 3 ghastly pictures of my food in the course of a few minutes. As you saw, they are horrible due to the lighting and the proximity; plus the fact that I'm photographing shit doesn't help either. They were also photos I took using the greatest discretion possible.
Nevertheless, within the course of 10 minutes, I had one security guy rush by me, walkee-talkee in hand, trying to bust me red-handed (every pun intended), followed by the doorman/manager approaching me saying that cell phones weren't allowed inside.
They couldn't see that I was taking pictures of the dancers (which I wasn't), but that I had my camera pointed down, so they assumed I didn't have a camera but a cell phone.
Actually, I'm sympathetic with this rule of no pictures of the dancers, but besides the food and the atmosphere, I felt as if it's the club who should pay the customer, not the other way around.
I mean, I was only there for the food. Imagine how cheated I would've felt if I had been there for the ladies which – sorry to jump bad - but most were so-so dancers whose jadeness and boredom was thinly veiled, if not blatant.
It's great that these women and men have jobs, but this club and the "buffet" are just lame. And as far as dives go – oh it certainly is one, and then some – there are no diamonds here.
Not unless Diamond's her name.