During my youth, female impersonators mimicked glamourous Hollywood stars with flair and skill. Today, during my senior years, at one Washington, DC, “hotspot,” they have chosen to mimic sex workers with expletives and “dry orgies.”
For the record, I am a man of some years with a retired libido who has seen in my lifetime my share of bawdy activity by design and by accident. As a result, I am not easily shocked. Last January, though, when I attended a brunch at a trendy Washington restaurant for the “hip” twentyish crowd, I was shocked.
I wasn’t in any way prepared for what I had experienced. My hostess friend who arranged the outing had misled me. She sold the entertainment as one of taste and glamour. What I got instead was an uninterrupted and tiresome flow of foul-mouthed songs and lewd behavior. I regret that I didn’t do what another man in our party of five had done, and walk out. Unfortunately, making such a dramatic exit at that time would have been difficult for me. I was a houseguest of the woman who had arranged this “fun” outing, and I had nowhere to go.
As I sat there, observing the appalling activity around me, I was amazed at how comfortable the male and female audience was with the vulgar. When viewed from my senior-citizen perspective, I saw the performance for what it was – cheaply packaged entertainment, designed to corrupt vulnerable youth.
While I was eating and watching the painted performers flaunt their female-shaped bodies and their breast implants, a “glamourous bombshell” dancer unexpectedlygrabbed my head, pulled it face down against his crotch, and held it there with force for his dramatic finale. To break loose, I had to push hard – and then hold one leg at bay to keep it from wrapping around me again.
On the surface this stunt appeared harmless, only a vulgar gesture to amuse the depraved crowd. After breaking loose, I suspected that it was much more: a performance by “gorgeous siren” who seemed hell-bent on giving an old man a thrill.
What deeply disturbed me about this incident, beyond just being assaulted, was that the restaurant owner never contacted me despite several attempts on my part to reach him. There is no way to know with certainty his reason for his silence. My only conclusion is that he might have been worried of what could happen to him in this Harvey Weinstein Era of retribution, if he did respond to my emails. To his credit, I understand, he did clean up the show after receiving my emails – so I was told by my hostess who took another group there recently for their afternoon amusement.
Although I brushed this physical encounter off as another annoying life experience, I never fully forgot it. I saw what had unfolded that afternoon as an aggressive attempt at moral corruption. Allowing such entertainment into the mainstream by not confining it to the backstreets where it belongs is one way to legitimize such behavior and introduce it to the young as acceptable.
To test my nagging thoughts on the subject, I sent a letter to a variety of groups that worked with assault victims. What I discovered, after contacting seven nobly committed organizations, was that only three responded; two simply informed me that the matter wasn’t within their jurisdiction. Four ignored me. And one, the Washington DC Police Department, reached out personally to assist me with speed and concern.
I strongly suspect that the reason that the four “good Samaritan” groups never responded to my outreach is because of their politically correct views! They knew the establishment had no defense for what had happened, and maintaining silence on the subject was their only way to avoid taking sides and offending the responsible group. In today’s murky waters, we are quickly learning that certain activities are socially acceptable, while others aren’t. Tossing Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the Red Hen Restaurant is okay, but tossing MS-13 gang members from the country isn’t okay. Respecting Muslim religious practices is okay, but respecting Christian religious practices isn’t okay. Allowing drag “artists” to assault customers is okay, but allowing a heterosexual flirtation isn’t okay. The list of acceptable and unacceptable behavior is long, and each day new shocking examples are added to it.
As Americans, we are facing a decision. We can either tolerate or reject this change. If we tolerate it, we will make it more difficult to preserve decency; if we resist it, we will face an organized and well-financed backlash. As a rule, shutting down a business that some people may find morally reprehensible isn’t the American way. In our country, we courageously venerate freedom, and businesses fail or survive, based on their value to their public. But because we allow many types of businesses to exist, it doesn’t mean we want them shoved tastelessly in our face.
In such cases, what we can and must do is to confine such establishments to the backstreets with warning sign at the entrance: “Beware, the actors are vulgar and are known to be aggressive.” This, unfortunately, doesn’t protect those innocent individuals who enter out of curiosity. To protect their safety, it is important that we remind management: their rights end where the customers’ rights begin. If management should forget that and transgress, the victims should do what I am doing – and go public – and, if necessary, hurt them where it hurts the most, in the wallet with a lawsuit.
Joe David is the author of numerous articles and six books including The Fire Within and The Infidels. For more information, visit: www.bfat.com