he had ever spent. He was so taken that he went in three
The strippers’ tent had the brightest lights and most pulsating music. From time to
the barker would bring out some of the girls, chastely robed, and parade them around a
little open-air stage while suggesting—and looking each of us straight in the eye—that
these girls could conceive of no greater satisfaction in life than to share their
bounties with an audience of appreciative, red-blooded young men. They all seemed to be
amazingly good-looking—but then I was running a temperature of over 113 degrees just
from the thought of being on the same planet as young women of such miraculously
obliging virtue, so I might have been a touch delirious.
The trouble was that we were twelve years old when we became seriously interested in
the strippers’ tent and you had to be thirteen to go in. A dangling sign on the ticket
made that explicitly clear. Doug Willoughby’s older brother, Joe, who was thirteen,
in and came out walking on air. He wouldn’t say much other than that it was the best 35
cents he had ever spent. He was so taken that he went in three more times in succession Argyle Knit Boots
and pronounced it better on each occasion.
Naturally we circumnavigated the strippers’ tent repeatedly looking for a breach of any
kind, but it was the Fort Knox of canvas. Every millimeter of hem was staked to the
ground, every metal eyelet sealed solid. You could hear music, you could hear voices,
you could even see the shadowy outlines of the audience, but you couldn’t discern the Bailey Button Triplet Boots
tiniest hint of a female form. Even Doug Willoughby, the most ingenious person I knew,
was completely flummoxed.