"I don't get the Derek Jeter thing, " one dancer named Julianne says from across a four top table in the dimly lit dining room of Rick's Cabaret. "He's so normal looking." Two other girls, Holly and, oh, I don't know remember what her name was — Bambi, maybe?— agree. "Yes, he's really not that handsome." This was the extent of the "athlete" conversations we had with the dancers, three of them, sitting around our table, boobs and bubble-headedness on full display. It was tough to get the girls to talk about the professional athletes they've had as clients. Most were willing to go there, but simply couldn't remember any names, or teams, or what day of the week it was. I've interviewed strippers before and, like all humans, some are brighter than others. Some keep careful track of the notable names and faces that they meet. Others could give a lap dance to the president and won't treat him different than any other dude waving a $20 — unless they're told to. Special treatment is a directive passed down from the host of the club. Athletes are the whales in these places and on Monday night, we played that role. Granted, it could only go so far, because everyone in the club could tell that we were just a couple of idiots playing dress-up. The staff happily obliged, though, and we experienced for one night what Rick's Cabaret is like for those with athlete celebrity status and disposable income. (PHOTOS: Antonio G. Di Benedetto)The reason we picked this Monday was also to watch the "beloved" Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Will was adamant about this. Whatever other kind of shenanigans transpire, he still gets to watch the game. "We get to watch the game, though, right, that's why we came here..." Yeah. Got it.
Our host for the evening was accommodating, making sure that we had a table right in front of a television and ensured we were never lonely. " If the girls get too annoying or distracting, just tell them to leave," he said. I envisioned a scenario with Will politely asking strippers to leave the table so he could watch the game because, "I'msorryma'amthat's my team, I love the CardinalsgoCardinals!Notthatyou'renotalovelyhumanbeingbutthisismyteamandI...I...I...I." That whole thing. We ate our steaks and watched our game and shared pleasant, awkward, nonsensical conversation with the women seen pictured in many of these photographs. This is what differentiates us between actual athletes — they're smart enough to know that small-talk should be limited to money exchanging and if they want more drinks. Conversations about family or world economic policy are not they types of topics that should be broached before a woman jams her knee in your crotch.
But who does come to Rick's Cabaret? According to our host, members of the Knicks, Yankees, and Rangers are all frequent attendees. They get steaks, they get their favorite girls and they relax — it's decompression time. Not all of them partake in multiple lap dances or get embarrassingly shit-faced. No, some just ignore the girls and the drinks altogether and just want to go some place where they won't be bothered. (No photos in the club enable most of the athletes to relax a little more. And autograph-seekers and fanboys are less inclined to bother them at a strip club.) Many of the visiting teams pick up their side-projects there — "road beef", if you will — and plenty of women treat those arrangements like a part-time job. While we're still in blind item mode, one woman that was at our table for a little while actually broke character for a minute to ask one of us out on a date. And one of us retardedly thought that this was something be flattered about and followed through with said date last night. (Note to people who still think this is a fantastic idea, even in a purely anthropological sense: IT IS FUCKING NOT.)
Our food was great, our drinks were bottomless, our service was top-notch — we were treated like Very Important People. We were whisked away from the upstairs dining area and thrown into the middle table in the downstairs cabaret lounge, still with a front-and-center view of the Cardinals/49ers game which actually turned out to be a great game. We were over-served with drinks and over-compensated by dancers. But as soon as Michael Robinson ridiculously dived right into the Cardinals defensive line and the final seconds ticked down, it was over in a cruel, anti-climatic fashion. The waitress grabbed our half-empty glasses off the table, our host shook our hand and thanked us for coming, the girls that were fawning over us quickly pulled up their tops and moved on to the next table. We sat there looking at each other and realized we both became entirely too comfortable with this type of treatment, which at that point, had gone on for more than four hours. " I think if I was a professional athlete, I would go to a strip club every night," I yelled over to Will. He just nodded, contemplating the statement and replaying the whole evening back through his head. "I can see how that might be enjoyable ." (PHOTOS: Antonio G. Di Benedetto) See more photos HERE