The night began innocently enough. Armed with a tape recorder, a photographer, and a group of ten or so friends, we met at my house on 14th and Kalamath for drinks before heading out for the night. We referred to the rendezvous before the bar as “pre-gaming,” which was supposed to save us money, since we wouldn’t have to pay bar prices for the drinks we drank at home. But back then, when we were all in our young 20s, our “pre-game” merely dulled inhibitions, which led directly to ordering untold shots later in the evening, which led directly to the thinned wallets we would discover in the throes of late morning hangovers the next day.
The goal of the evening was simple: To accumulate enough material to write an article for the student newspaper for which my photographer Jason and I worked. If published, I stood to make ten cents a word, and Jason was paid by the picture. The outing was an attempt to transform our drinking habits into a money-making operation—not exactly a lofty goal, but in our youthful hubris, we thought we were scamming the world. The destination for our lucrative hijinks? The world-famous, high-class watering hole and all-around funhouse, the Snake Pit.
For those of you who missed the Snake Pit, it was a nightclub on 13th Avenue that featured dance music and, for a time, hosted all-ages punk shows in the late ‘90s. In fact, I saw SNFU and Avail play there a few months apart from each other. Grimy and unassuming, it was a perfect punk venue. Of course, like any decent punk venue, it stopped doing shows when management realized they could make much more money selling booze to dancers than they could selling soda to an all-age crowd.
On Wednesday evenings, the Snake Pit hosted an ‘80s dance party known as She Bob. My plan was to interview a few revelers and dancers at the weekly event and mold their stories into some sort of coherent narrative suitable for a feature in the Life & Arts section. I’m sure the end result made for horrible copy, but that’s why college newspapers exist—to publish marginally readable articles for the sole purpose of sculpting the next generation of journalists. While zines are the traditional route for many aspiring writers (the punk ones anyway), college publications also work. (Side note: I’m really glad my creative output during my college years does not currently appear online. I don’t want there to be public displays of my former suck.)
Anyway, after a few drinks and several costly shots, we interviewed a handful of drunk people and probably got half a tape’s worth of semi-coherent responses. Jason took some pictures (which can still be seen today on Facebook if you happen to be his friend). After about half an hour, we got bored with our project—and probably too drunk to execute it adequately—so I put my tape recorder in my pocket and we danced.
I’m not sure why we attracted the attention of the bachelorette party—maybe it was the fact that we comprised a solid group of five dancing straight dudes—but soon, somewhere between three and six, twenty-something females became singularly obsessed with us. (Memories of the night are a bit hazy, hence I can only give an approximation of their number.) These women bought us shots, danced close to us, and wantonly displayed their breasts. Over and over again. It was pretty great.
I have no idea how long the debauchery continued, though I seem to recall that we stayed until last call. And I remember following them into the alley where they asked if they could have my signed boxer shorts. Without thinking, I pulled off my boxers and pants and I was using a sharpie to sign my underwear as I stood naked from the waist down in the alley behind the Snake Pit. And it’s not like I rushed things either. After inscribing and handing over the undergarment, I remember conversing with them at length as my bare ass gleamed in the moonlight. The myriad pre-game drinks mixed with myriad types of hard liquor gave me the courage (and foolishness, which is actually a synonym of courage) to conduct such a feat. There are a lot of moments in my past where I think, “I’m sure glad the cops didn’t make an appearance.” This was one of those moments.
Every now and again, I wonder what ever happened to both my signed underwear and to the lucky couple who were getting married. Here’s what I like to think went down: Eventually the husband-to-be found my boxers (and the underwear of five to ten other dudes), and however he responded to his discovery was the determining factor in whether or not they stayed together. If he reacted in a blind rage with lots of accusations and jealousy, then they got divorced long ago. If he merely chuckled and shrugged it off, then they are still together this day.
It’s a test I invite everyone to introduce into their relationship to determine its strength and probable longevity. Also, I really miss being young.