MY LIFE IN THE
FLESHPOTS OF SAN FRANCISCO
12 March 2002
I realized when I was putting together yesterday's entry, that I somehow had not read
Al's "Lives on
Line" for this month. As I said yesterday, I usually check out all of his links
and sometimes find new journals that interest me. At the very least, I often come across a
few gems of entries, even if the journal itself holds little interest for me. So today, I
got caught up on his recommendations for this month.
I'd never heard of Gargy before, but Al
linked to her entry about visiting Sexpo
(a Sex, Sexuality & Lifestyles Exhibition). The piece (which is
very...uh...interesting) talks about this exhibition taking place in Brisbane. I don't
know if that is Brisbane, California (south of San Francisco) or not. I wouldn't be
surprised. San Francisco is awash in sexuality and I'm sure you can find anything you want
within the confines, or outskirts, of the city.
This is nothing I have great experience with, but there was a time, years ago, when we
paid a couple of visits to some of the sex shows on Broadway Street.
The first time was when Jeri's godfather (then unmarried) came from his home in
Maryland to visit. I'm not sure if he had ever been to a topless show before, since
topless shows were fairly new in San Francisco about that time, but he was quite adamant
that he wanted to see for himself. And so we went. This pretty straight-laced suburban
couple with a new baby sleeping quietly at home with the babysitter, and a guy who was
eager to have some boobs shaken in his face. It was my first experience with
"pasties" up close and personal--and I do mean up close and personal.
Some time later, we had other visitors from Maryland. The husband, too, was eager to
visit the clubs of Broadway (I guess that in the 60s there weren't any nudie clubs in
College Park!) By this time, the pasties were gone, as were the g-strings and the clubs
now advertised "all nude!" dancers, and so, to be hospitable, we agreed to take
The first thing that was strange about this experience was that it took place in 1967
and his wife and I were both pregnant. Two pregnant ladies out on the town looking for
nude female dancers.
We went first to The Condor, then the most famous (or infamous) of the clubs. Carol Doda, the queen of San Francisco's
topless [do check that link--it's wonderful], whose
silicone-enhanced breasts were insured by Lloyds of London for $1.5 million, was still
dancing at that time). The Condor had a huge sign hanging over the corner of Broadway and
Columbus, a nude neon woman with red neon nipples. Years later, the kids would refer to
this as the "blinking boobs."
The Condor seemed to be "the" place to go for lascivious husbands and their
pregnant wives, but the cover charge for the uncovered show was astronomical and we
wondered if it was really worth that much money. We walked up and down the strip, past one
big club after another, each with its barker out in front telling us of the sensual
delights that were to be found inside.
Each club had the same hefty cover charge and while we were curious, we were also
cheap. We didn't want expensive thrills, we wanted cheap thrills.
Finally we found it. We were collared by the barker for a small club, in the shadow of
one of the bigger, more popular clubs, and just off the beaten path enough that there were
no large crowds of people passing by.
The barker promised us a spectacular show for an affordable price. The price was right,
and we decided this was the place.
We went behind the velour curtain and found ourselves in a very narrow, very small club
which was totally deserted. There was a bar to our right, a stage in front of us,
and several rows of wooden chairs (not even any tables) facing the stage. The stage was
empty. We'd paid our cover charge so we decided we might as well sit down and see what was
going to happen.
We sat in the uncomfortable wooden chairs and looked to the stage, which was ringed on
all three sides by a wall of mirrors. There we looked at our own reflection, two men and
their pregnant wives and a bank of empty chairs behind us.
Soon, we heard the scratchy sound of a needle being put on a record and our performer
stepped out on to the stage. And yes, she was totally naked. Looking very bored and not in
the least sensual. As the music started, she began to twist and turn and gyrate and I had
to giggle. The music to which she was dancing was Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley PTA,"
for god's sake. How provocative is that??
It was the longest song and dance I ever remember. From where we sat in the front row,
about 1 foot from the stage, we had two options. Either look up at some stuff we probably
had never quite examined from that angle before, or look straight ahead at our own very
embarrassed reflections in the mirror. I think even the guys were embarrassed. We all
agreed later that we all wanted to leave, but how do you walk out on a performer
when you are the entire audience? The dancer did her best, but couldn't hide the total
boredom on her face. (At least she didn't yawn, as she rubbed up and down against the
mirror on the side of the stage.)
Thankfully, the dance finally ended, the dancer walked off the stage, and we beat a
We definitely got what we paid for--cheap thrills!
I wouldn't put you on because, it really did happen just this way.
The day we saw a lady dance to the Harper Valley PTA.