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by (who else?) Andrew Gifford


When I was approached by 3 A.M. Magazine to write a monthly column, my first thought was to develop an old idea: "Sex Tips for the Insane." The 3 A.M. staff encouraged me to pursue a slightly more mainstream topic - rugged adventure travel, an exploration into the class consciousness of modern America or, perhaps, "How to Guess Bra Sizes and Other Tricks."

Needless to say, I hesitated. The summer is a busy time and pulling myself together for a weekend of travel once a month seemed difficult. Besides, all the entries in my travel journal seem to have been made when I was seriously drunk. That kind of detracts from the narrative flow, I think. Now that Americans are paying almost as much for gas as the rest of the world, I don't really want to travel unless 3 A.M. picks up the bill.

When I submitted my schedule of fees, a representative from the 3 A.M. executive team promptly called me and told me to develop the "Sex Tips for the Insane" idea. But even that has lost focus. The truth is, I don't have any sex tips to share with you. My sexual awareness began in 1981, when I watched John Boorman's film Excalibur. I was awakened to the world of twisted fantasy sex, with knights and magicians romping through the pornographic folds of my pre-pubescent brain. All the girl magicians were naked under their robes and my suit of shining armor always chafed my aching man-root. Come, wench!

Sorry. A few years later, my dreams started to change shape. Each night, I found myself with a group of Ninja truck drivers who constantly ended up in the middle of hedonistic Roman-style orgies. I don't know what influenced those dreams, but I sure do miss them.

I returned to 3 A.M. and worked hard to get the "How to Pick Up Girls Without Spending More Than 50 Bucks" assignment but, in the end, that went to a writer with higher qualifications.

A further fear developed - for so many years, I'd been writing business profiles, static web content and summaries of greater works. Did I still have the inspiration and creativity to write an informative and useful monthly column? Could I still tap into the Human Interest Factor? Was I still able to guess women's bra-sizes as a party trick?

In an effort to find my muse, I was lying naked on the bathroom floor at my friend's office when my cell rang. It was an old buddy of mine who gave me an address on 15th Street and told me to make sure I wasn't followed. Figuring that a beer or, perhaps, helping my friend hide a body would clear my mind, I headed out immediately.

Now, DC is a somewhat slower-paced city, but it does maintain what is often referred to as a "cult-culture." I hear tell of a traveling fetish club that moves from spot to spot every month and is followed by a troupe of supporters. Likewise, there's a well-established circuit of strip clubs hidden in the sleepy business districts or quaint office blocks in lower Northwest. These clubs serve a contingent of regulars - the usual assortment of Washington attorneys and overweight middle managers - and are filled with well-meaning girls. These girls are small timers. Some are beautiful, some are harsh, but all of them have an awkward grace. They have day jobs and aren't used to being fully naked, but they are aglow and aroused when dozens of male eyes follow their every move. I find their tainted innocence and their fresh approach to their doomed, downhill job exciting.

These local clubs, all but unknown to the average joe, give you all sorts of fully-nude girl next door types. There's no cover charge and, if you're a regular, you'll get to know the girls. That one's a paralegal, the flubby one works at Kinko's near UDC. These places are the American porno version of your local pub. They're great for inspiration and, in my book, they're the best-kept secret of Washington, DC.

There were no sex tips here, but I knew I had found the inspiration for my first month's installment.

"Write about the whole writing problem," my friend advised me, "Then you can spend each month exploring the dark underside of your own twisted life. You'll be a sensation, baby!"

Andrew Gifford is the author of The Most Holy Boble, located on 3 A.M. ENTERTAINMENT's SATIRE page.




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