Naked lunch

Photo by David Robert

Last spring, Eric and I won a gift certificate for food and drink at the Spice House, “Reno’s Friendliest Topless Cabaret & Grill.” At the time, we decided against paying the nighttime cover charge, so I put the certificate in the glove box and forgot about it.

Then I crashed my car into a zillion little pieces and had to sort through the wreckage for “personal items.” Have you ever had to do this? It’s very sad, but that’s another story. To the point: I found the certificate and came up with the idea to bring Eric along on a “review” of the place, earning myself a place in the Girlfriend Hall of Fame.

On the drive over, both of us were giddy and trying to play it cool. Well, Eric was playing it cool and I just kept saying “boobs!” and giggling. Eric wondered about the people who have lunch at the Spice House on Sunday afternoons. The answer, as it turns out: guys who like sports, groups of girls celebrating birthdays and guys with their girlfriends. People like us.

My first trip to 310 Spokane was when it was called the Ice House. NOFX and Zoinks! were playing. My 17-year-old non-punk nerd ass hid in the corner and watched the stage in fascination. This trip wasn’t much different, though the music wasn’t as good (Faith Hill?) and the entertainment was far more attractive. Eric and I darted for the most inconspicuous corner seats.

Eric offered to buy me a lap dance (I politely declined). We cracked up that one lone television was playing a rerun of Bosom Buddies (get it?). Pints of Newcastle were $3. (For the month? Or on Sundays only? Who knows—the presence of half-naked girls makes taking notes kind of difficult.) We ordered a few. I had the New York Steak Sandwich Special ($8.99), a huge slab of meat with mushrooms and fries. The bread seemed like an afterthought, necessary to qualify the dish as a “sandwich.” It was yummy, as was Eric’s Italian Grinder ($7.95), a focaccia-capicola-mozzarella something-or-other.

Examples of lunchtime conversation:

Eric: She’s very talented.

Jen: That face-in-between-the-boobs thing, is that hot?

Eric: [pauses] Yeah.

Jen: Blah blah … I love strippers … loyalty and camaraderie … sisterhood … rarely see that in other groups of girls … always seem to be having so much fun … blah blah.

Eric: That was really good.

Jen: The food?

Eric: And the tits … you know.

We sat in the corner long enough for one of the other patrons to start egging us on. I volunteered Eric to be the giver of dollar bills, and he bravely sat by the stage and blushed and tipped and blushed some more. One of the girls bit him, but only hard enough to startle him and make him the butt of my jokes. Following him out to the car I asked, “Is this like a werewolf thing? Are you gonna be a stripper now?” He’s a good sport, so he laughed too.

Sunday was a beautiful day for two squares to spend in a dark room with pretty naked lady strangers and good food. Manager Gary was also very nice to us. My only reservation about the whole idea was that I didn’t want my mom to know that I had gone to a “Topless Cabaret.” So if you could do me a favor and not mention to her that you read this, I’d totally appreciate it.