Thursday, August 12, 2010


The More Things Change Dept.:
Went to the scandalously-named Bottoms Up yesterday. Back when I lived in E. Lansing, I used to go there quasi-regularly, to buy lingerie. I'll admit it: I'm a lingerie kind of guy. Not for myself, natch. But, y'know…as presents at Valentine's Day go, buying lingerie kind of IS buying a present for yourself. "Here, honey, I got you something. Erm…that I really want to see you in. And, um, also out of. Yeah." Kind of like that.

Buying lingerie never bothered me. Oh, I'll admit that when I first walked into Bottoms Up and encountered just racks and racks stuffed to overflowing with bras and garters and all kinds of frou-frou underthings, there would be a moment of hesitation as the 60-something woman behind the counter would ask me amusedly: "Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" I'd always just browse, which was kind of scandalous in itself, as if I was rooting around in her own personal underwear drawer. But I never really felt uncomfortable doing it. Same thing with buying rubbers. For the life of me, I never understand why guys would sort of blush when buying rubbers. 'Cause, what you're really saying is "I'm going to be fucking soon! And, she'll be hotter than you! Or your girlfriend!" (Depending on the gender of the checkout person.) So, buying condoms and racy undergarments never really bothered me…it was more like public bragging, y'know?

By the same token, but for the opposite reason: I never worried about buying tampons, either. CLEARLY, these are not items for my own personal use. I don't bleed monthly from my pee-hole, and if I did…these suckers ain't gonna fit. Although, I would say that would be an odd shopping cart: a silk-and-lace chemise, a giant box of rubbers, and tampons. What message would THAT send? "I'll be fucking a hot chick soon! Or, at least in a few days, anyway."

But, in a return to Bottoms Up: a decade or so ago, that place was tits-to-rafters stuffed with fuck-me wear, plus a few dance leotards. Now? It's almost completely reversed. See, I went there with the venerable Miss Tessmacher to buy tap shoes, tights and a leotard for The Rozzle's upcoming introduction to dance. And, there was nary a saucy boyshort in sight. Nope, the whole place was crammed with dancewear. I wonder if that's a sign of a changing economy? No money anymore for fancy undies…we save it all for kids' dance lessons. At the last, I had the ironic thought that life does evolve in a logical fashion: start out buying fuck-me-wear for your hot girlfriend, end up buying toddler tights for your daughter.

The More They Stay The Same Dept.:
All of this shopping was done as an errand on our way to hang out with lifelong friends The Garetys, with whom we would spend a rousing evening dancing and shouting along with Styx at the Jackson County Fair. Mostly because of my Kiss-obsessed childhood, Styx was one of those bands I was peripherally aware of, but never really delved into during their heyday. Upon hearing that they'd been "reduced" to playing county fairs, I felt sort of bad for Tommy Shaw et. al., because really, what must that be like? Packing stadiums (stadia?) between 1978 and 1981, and now playing the county fair for redneck riff-raff in mid-Michigan. What a career low-point. Except…I was just so totally wrong, dude! They took the stage at 8:00pm sharp, and for nearly two hours just rocked the ever-lovin' beejeezus outta the 3,000 or so fans. Tommy looked great, and at 56 still has better hair than I have (Tess' joke: "You know, they can do pretty amazing things with wigs these days!"). He and James Young instantly made me forget Dennis-what's-'is-name with the addition of sound-alike Lawrence Gowan…who, having been with the band for a decade, is hardly a "new hire." The only song Styx performed that was written after 1981 was the Damn Yankees-era power-ballad "Higher," which, frankly, I could have done without. Otherwise, it was balls-to-the-wall of songs that were 30+ years old, and you know what? They stand up. They last. They're still great songs. And that's what Styx was doing: being professional musicians in front of thousands of people, singing great songs, and inspiring a whole new generation of fans…to wit, one of the teens that came with us was at his THIRD Styx concert, and knew more of their lyrics than I did. Rock on, guys.


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