Excitement was high outside Stingaree last Saturday night in anticipation of an appearance by what a media invite called "reality star" Rob Kardashian.
The red carpet was rolled out, the shutterbugs were snapping and my release form to appear on television was signed and submitted.
He made his way down the press line swiftly. I patiently awaited my turn behind a male Channel 933 intern, who giddily went on and on about Kardashian's dating life and good looks. Recorder in hand, I introduced myself and before you could say "man-ass," Kardashian got whisked away in a flurry of flashes, the local PR girl mouthing, "I'm so sorry."
Welcome to my world. Well past midnight and having no Plan B, I considered checking out the catty-corner Tivoli Bar, but it appeared too cliquey. I seriously considered calling it a failed night, but my inner compass pointed me to the magical land and adult amusement park otherwise known as the Chee-Chee Club (929 Broadway).
In the nearly three years that I've written this column, I have but one regret: I shined a light on this fortress of filth, paving the way for its hipsterfication. "Welcome to the Jungle" was blaring, but, sadly, it was playing to more of a Disney's Jungle Cruise crowd than the Vietnam-jungle crews of days past.
A girl sat next to me and tried to engage in small talk. Her drink served, she expressed her frustration over "The Cheech" not accepting plastic. Yup, "The Cheech."
My night would have officially been ruined if it hadn't been for one of the remaining regulars. Elusive like a Komodo dragon and with a skin texture to match, Rob's been a faithful patron since the mid '80s.
"I don't know what happened," he said of the newly gentrified crowd. "I just woke up one day and it was like this."
Unfazed, the self-proclaimed "lounge sensation" regaled me with a mesmerizing dance performance that can best be described as a "Let's Get Physical"-induced seizure. When he stopped to catch his breath, I complimented him on his mismatched nail-polish.
"Usually, they're all painted, but the polish on some nails wears off from masturbating too much," he confessed with a wink.
Later, he told me he'd met one of his "best" lovers at the watering hole.
"Someone had just handcuffed him to the bar and we all just— well—I'm not sure what to call it since you can't rape the willing," he said.
Smiling, I realized that the old adage, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," never rang so true.