Sleazy Bar Party
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Sleazy Bar Whip Party 201 Nights Garner State Park History of Whip Four Palms

The SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party

Story Written by Rick Archer
March 2005

The Texas Whip first appeared in dives, honky-tonks, and juke joints that surrounded the Texas oil fields and refineries back in the late 40s and early 50s.

Back in those days you had dark, smoky lounges with plenty of cheap beer and a rough blue collar working crowd looking to let off steam after a hard day’s work.

The band or jukebox played a steady flow of Texas Blues. Think Stevie Ray Vaughan or ZZ Top for modern examples. The Blues had a raw, angry sound with sensual rhythms often described as Stripper music.


Legend has it the Whip started as a "pickup" dance. A man would be leaning against the bar drinking a beer.  A woman (someone he knew?  someone he would like to know?  someone who would like to know him?) would drop by and smile.  While she was there, she would grab his free hand for connection.   Using his hand for counter-balance, she would proceed to glide back and forth to the music and give him a little show. 

She would roll her hips in time to the music and tease him a little.  Most of the women just wanted some attention, but a few were professionals engaged in a little advertising.

The man would act cool and pretend to barely notice the performance, but no doubt the corner of his eye would track her movements like a hawk measuring its prey!  One thing was certain - the better the bump and grind, the more likely the man would be the first one to surrender. 

Eventually a few of the men would get interested and participate in the dancing as well.  Pretty soon the guys who could dance where the one who ended up leaving the bar with the good-looking ladies. The others were left holding their beer.   

It didn't take long for the 'left behinds' to figure it out.  Soon enough they were learning to Whip if for no other reason than to get their fair share. 

And that is how a very sexy dance known as the Texas Whip was born.

The name had nothing to do with spanking the women, though certainly some were impudent enough to deserve it. Others say it was named for the psychological pressure the woman applied to the man with her provocative motions.  She "Whipped" him.  Both thoughts are clever plays on the name, but neither were correct.

The Whip got its name from the arm tension that caused the woman's hips to SNAP back at him and RECOIL after he "cracked the whip".  In other words, he "Whipped" her.   It was a great name.


The Legendary Four Palms

The Four Palms is now out of business, but in its heyday it fit all the definitions of a dive: smoky, crowded, lots of drinking, lots of hustling, and some tough customers.  At first glance you wondered if you stumbled into the Reptile House at the Houston Zoo by accident.

SSQQ used to go Whip dancing in the mid 1980s at the the Four Palms off Telephone Road.  Long ago Telephone Road was infamous for its houses of ill repute.  Upon my first visit in 1986, a cursory look suggested the area's past could easily be its present.   This was definitely the Blue Side of Town.

The Four Palms was known as a "Pressure Cooker Bar", a phrase for a bar where bored and restless women would go looking for a little Meat on the Side.  During the weekday while her husband was at work in the refinery and the kids were busy in school, some women were ready to get out of the house.

As
her family's evening meal was slowing simmering in the Pressure Cooker at home, Momma would head over to the bar and look for action so she could do a little sizzling of her own.

The regulars would stroll in from 9 am on.  The band started up at 11 am in the morning (it was jukebox from 10 am till 11 am).  The hustle would begin just as soon as the women showed up.  If a pair hit it off, they would give their business to a No-tell Motel, many of which were lined along Telephone Road.  These institutions conveniently offered hourly rates.

The rule of thumb was "Score by Four".  If you couldn't get some by 4 pm, then hang it up.  That's when the band quit and the gals headed home to work on the evening meal for hubby.  These women were called 'daylight Cinderellas' because many of them got home and changed clothes just in the nick of time.

I definitely wasn't looking for any action when I stumbled into the Four Palms for the first time. The attraction for me was a fabulous blues band called "The Soul Brothers" that I had heard about. I was told this band played great rhythm and blues Whip music every Sunday night.  

The band definitely delivered as advertised. "Knock on Wood", "St James Infirmary", "Mustang Sally", "Take Me to the River", "Never Make Your Move Too Soon"...I loved every song they played!  The moment I heard The Soul Brothers play, the Four Palms immediately became my favorite place to dance each week. When that Saxophone player let loose to "Cleo's Mood", I quickly made the connection between Sax and Sex - this music affected me in very powerful ways. The following week I could not wait for Sunday to roll around so I could dance Whip again at the Four Palms!

The Sunday Night Whip Dancing was sponsored by the Houston Whip Club, an organization whose members lived around Pasadena and southeast Houston.  We may have come for the band and the dancing, but it was impossible to overlook the Four Palms regulars in the background who gathered to do their drinking.  They enjoyed watching the dancers.

Some the men sitting at the bar eyed the female dancers the same way they would the performers at a Strip Club.  More than one lady I danced with said she got the creeps when she noticed the patrons weren't hiding their enthusiasm for her dancing very well.  This kind of unwanted attention was a constant irritation.

It was the heavy drinkers that gave the Four Palms its well-deserved "bad reputation".  This was not a polite group.  I wish I could put this delicately, but I came to realize where the cliché "Lounge Lizards" came from. What rock did these guys live under?  For someone like me who had not been to a dive before, the place was almost surreal. 

The Four Palms made you think you were on a Hollywood set for a retro crime thriller.  There were drinkers and there were loose women, there was smoke everywhere, there were guys hitting on girls, there were lechers and oglers, pool players and hustlers.

However once you figured out the tattoos were real and so were the knife scars, you realized these people weren't extras in a Sam Spade movie. In the background you had blues lyrics about being bad to the bone, but these real life low-lifes didn't seem to need much encouragement.  They put me on guard and gave our ladies the creeps.

Everyone looked like they could handle themselves in a fight.   It wasn't just the men who were rough. Those Pasadena girls were powerful.  Some of the women in that place could have snapped me like a toothpick.  

Danger!

The Four Palms could be very intimidating if this was your first visit and didn't know what to expect. For starters, the Four Palms was in a rough neighborhood.  The front door was locked.  Many times there was a bouncer checking you out carefully.

You had to make a serious leap of faith at the door.  You didn't get in until you paid your cover charge.  There were no windows.  The whole place was boarded up like a fort.  You could hear the music, but it was so dark you couldn't see inside even if you tried peeking around the bouncer. 

Furthermore, as if you weren't nervous enough paying your cover charge before you entered, the Four Palms had a sign on the wall that was a serious attention grabber.  The sign said: "Check your guns and knives at the door". 

Are you kidding me?  What kind of place is this?

Needless to say, that sign got everyone's attention muy pronto!!  I remember I did a big swallow the first time I entered the place.  Everything on the outside was so secretive.  What were they hiding?? 

I went by myself the first time.  As I stood there on my first visit, it crossed my mind I might actually be walking into some danger.  I really had no idea what I was getting yourself into.  Do I pay my money and take my chances or do I  follow my instincts and run to my car? 

It was kind of like diving off a cliff - no turning back! 

Every SSQQ visitor later told me they also wondered what they were getting themselves into when saw that sign.  If you had never been there before, this sign definitely made you think twice before choosing to enter.

In fact, there were so many precautions being taken I sometimes speculated there was gambling or perhaps the oldest profession taking place in the back rooms.  I never had the guts to ask. 

Several women told me they actually took one look a place, then turned around and drove home without even getting out of their car.  Fortunately after we encouraged the women to try again, most of them screwed up their courage and came back a second time. Next time however they made sure to not to come alone.

The Four Palms regulars were scary enough, but the dancers weren't exactly angels either.  Although some of the SSQQ women didn't appreciate the kind of looks they were getting from the men on the sidelines, not all the women felt that way.  Indeed there were several women - veteran Whip dancers - who seemed to go out of their way to "stir up the crowd" with their dancing.  They would get those hips moving and get whistles, cat calls, smiles, and winks for their efforts.  

It didn't help matters that the band played exactly the kind of music that brought out the lust in everyone.  After a few beers and some nasty blues music, once you saw those women move you had to be dead not to feel the heat starting to rise inside.  I distinctly remember getting turned on by what I was seeing out there on more than one occasion.

I couldn't decide who was naughtier - the patrons, the band, or the dancers. Out on the dance floor the women were soaking up every note of this Sin Music and expressing it with their hip gyrations. I saw scenes straight out of "Dirty Dancing" - some of these women were wild!!  I stared in open astonishment. These women were teases.  Definitely Bad to the Bone!

And like I said there were a couple hussies who clearly enjoyed turning on every man in the joint.  Big teases! 

My eyes bulged.  I couldn't help it.  I was seeing the "Dirty Whip" for the first time.  The dancers were having a great time getting down and dirty, but here I was this innocent little college boy taking his first walk on the Blue Side of Town. 
After I recovered from my initial shock, I decided to let the place corrupt me a little.  Good decision.  I had way way too much fun.

I made my first visit to the Four Palms back in 1986.  This was the year I used dancing to help recover from a serious depression brought on my divorce.  Whip Dancing became quite an obsession for me that year - did you know I went Whip dancing 201 Nights in a row?   This is when I first fell head over heels in love with Whip Dancing!   201 Nights of Whip Dancing

During my Streak of 201 Nights in 1986, I went dancing all over the city. But Sunday nights at the Four Palms were special. I loved every minute I danced at the Four Palms.  Dancing here was such a bizarre experience, I couldn't wait to tell my friends at the studio about this Wicked House of Sin.   Pretty soon I began to talk all the clean-cut nice girls from SSQQ into going slumming with me the following week. I had a selfish motive - I needed someone to dance with!

I was scared to death of the hip-thrusting ball busters who moved their bodies like a lethal weapon.  It was strictly "look but don't touch" as far as I was concerned.  I preferred women more my speed to dance with. 

I lured the SSQQ girls over to the Four Palms with a catchy line, "Want a little sin and debauchery mixed in with your dancing?"  The ones who were brave enough to venture over to the Four Palms all went "yuck" the moment they saw the place and feared for their lives and their virtue, but once the band started playing, they gave it up just like I did. 

That music was very seductive.  Our SSQQ good girls never knew what hit them.  Without even being aware of it, that music got those nice girls moving in ways they didn't realize they were capable of.  Like a snake charmer, the music lured the 'bad girl' out of a lot of nice girls.  Eventually they lost their inhibitions enough to stop fighting their conscience.  No one minded, certainly not the men.  We were very encouraging.  We called it the "Four Palms Effect".

One of the first women to get corrupted was beloved SSQQ instructor Sharon Crawford.  She had heard rhythm and blues music played before and loved it, but Sharon had never seen a group of people dancing to it. 

Sharon didn't even know what the music was called if memory serves. 

However the moment Sharon entered the Four Palms, she was just as hooked as I was.  Just like the rest of us, Sharon just needed a place that gave her an excuse to dance the way she wanted to.  Before long Sharon became my favorite partner in crime.  While the rest of our group made occasional visits to the Four Palms, Sharon and I never missed a week.  

Unfortunately our fun only lasted for about a year.  The Four Palms closed down in 1987.  The Houston Whip Club, sponsors of the Sunday night dance, decided to move their operation over to a place called the "Rusty Bucket".  They brought the Soul Brothers along with them.  It was a good move - the Rusty Bucket was a fun place to dance in the Four Palms tradition.

The Rusty Bucket wasn't quite as sleazy as the Four Palms, but it was close enough.  Besides, it was the chance to dance to the music that brought us there, not the slime factor.  Sharon and I moved over to the Rusty Bucket without hesitation and so did our loyal flock of emerging bad girls and bad boys.  However it didn't last long.  About six months later, sad to say, the Rusty Bucket went under as well.

The floor was always packed on Sundays, but apparently business wasn't that good on the other nights.  Another rumor was that the dancers weren't drinking enough to support the cost of the band.  Who knows? 

After the Rusty Bucket closed, if the Houston Whip Club found another venue, no one told me.  That was the end of our Sunday Sleaze Sojourns.  We were really disappointed.

Sharon and I took the loss of our Sunday night honky-tonk dancing pretty darn hard.  The Thrill was gone.

It was the end of an era.

 

Origins of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party

After the demise of the Four Palms and the Rusty Bucket, Sharon and I came up with the idea of recreating the "Four Palms Experience" here at SSQQ.  We would have everyone dress up as low-lifes and play a steady stream of down and dirty R&B music. We named it the "Sleazy Bar Whip Party", a title that pretty much captured the evening's theme in a nutshell.

We were taken back at the initial level of skepticism we faced about the idea. Very few of our students had the slightest idea what Sharon and I were talking about!!

We explained it was a dance where everyone pretended they had been transported back the evil days of yesteryear when the Dirty Whip was used as a pickup dance.  To my dismay the women immediately rejected this idea!


I'm Not that Kind of Girl!

During the Garner State Park years of the Whip back in the 60s and the emergence of the Whip Clubs like the Houston Whip Club and the Southwest Whip Club in the 70s, the Dirty Whip had undergone a transformation into a strongly sanitized version of its original form.  In order to be introduced into proper society, the dance had to be cleaned up.  The Hitch and Bump was toned down, the raunchy style was replaced by footwork and the emphasis moved to turns and dance patterns rather than a steady of dose of suggestive movements. 

It is a known fact that Whip dancers much prefer to do their dancing in the dark. In the old days, people learned right out on the floor of dark smoky bars, but now the Whip was taught in well-lit venues.  The modern version of the Whip actually resembled dancing now and didn't require alcohol or loose morals to learn.

Now I was asking the ladies to return to the Dirty Whip of yesteryear for one night.  Is that too much to ask?

Well, actually, the was 'YES, RICK.  YOU ARE ASKING TOO MUCH.'

You see, the Four Palms Blues music tricked our nice girls into learning to dance naughty.  But without the music, our clear-headed women looked at me like I was crazy.

All the studio's nice girls said they could never behave that way!  It didn't sound like their idea of fun at all!! 

Oh please. I sighed deeply and rolled my eyes in frustration. This party was going nowhere!  I had a big sales job on my hands.  Without the women, we weren't going to have a party. 

Part of the problem was that the Four Palms and Rusty Bucket had been closed for some time.  Other than Sharon Crawford and Margie Saibara (a serious nice girl who hated the place!), there were no women at the studio who would vouch for me how much fun they had over at these two dives.

I was asking our ladies to take my word for it this was going be fun.  "Oh sure, Rick, we're going to believe YOU?   We don't trust you for an instant!  You are trying to trick us into something.  We know you too well!" 

Now you are starting to catch on to what I was up against.

Our SSQQ girls loved to dance and we all had lots of fun, but to be blunt they were all just too, uh, well-behaved by nature and nurture.  Not that I have anything against "Nice Girls", but let's face it, they were not my ideal target audience when it came time to sell a party advertised as a chance for "Nice Girls to Behave Like Bad Girls." 

This was shaping up as a real uphill struggle. Without a serious attitude adjustment, this party was going to be toast.

Half the time I couldn't even get the women to move their hips correctly in dance class.  I would tell them to push their hip out over their left heel and they would respond incredulously, "You want me to stick my butt out that much!!?"

The joke around the studio was that Bad Girls did not require training in how to stick out their hips - it was a life-style prerequisite. Bad Girls needed no practice assuming the "Left Hip Spanking Position" because it came so naturally to them.

Back in the old days, the Whip was this really naughty dance that a different sort of woman would use to arouse a man for whatever reason, professional or extracurricular.

But after they cleaned the Whip up a little, now even
Good Girls like our SSQQ women wanted to learn the Whip. However once they started, they discovered they had deep-seated inhibitions against thrusting their Left Hip out properly. As I was fond of teasing, the problem was mostly "psychological". The ladies didn't appreciate my humor nearly as much as the men did.

I didn't help things much with my BS that our ladies had a "severe disadvantage" because they hadn't grown up on the "Wrong side of town" like the Naturals.  Instead of a childhood spent using their bodies to lure men to do their bidding, our ladies had gone to good schools and had learned to attract men the hard way by acting in a ladylike fashion. Such a handicap!  

I would tell a woman to push that hip further out and they would argue with me. I would taunt them by saying, "Okay, have it your way. Virtue is its own Revenge."  Obviously my mouth had a death wish.

However some of what I said struck home.  Slowly but surely the Nice Girls began to get in touch with their "inner bad girl" and started to move those hips they way they were meant to move.  But they still didn't like the idea of the Sleazy Bar Party.
 

The Nice Girls Change Their Minds

As I said earlier, after I first brought up the subject, the women in our group complained and resisted the idea of my "Bad Girl" dance party for several weeks. I was just on the verge of giving up when the women suddenly made an amazing shift in attitude.

Our ladies may have been a bit on the modest side, but if there was one thing our girls were not, it was "dumb".  When the women began to see the disappointment in the men's eyes at the prospect of this party not happening, they began to wonder if maybe this Sleazy Bar Party wasn't such a bad idea after all. 

It was the SSQQ men that saved the Party. Their pressure finally caused the ladies to shift their position on the proposed party. After several weeks of listening to the SSQQ men bitch and moan, plead and beg, goad and tease, the women slowly started to warm up to the idea of the party. Finally the ladies climbed on board if for no other reason than to get the men in our group to shut the youknowwhat up and quit their whining.

The scenario turned out to be an amazing psychological tug of war in the neverending Battle of the Sexes. The women played hard to get. I had tried my hand at persuading them, but I wasn't getting anywhere. The men finally realized this party wasn't going to happen unless they got involved.  Without their urgency I doubt we would have ever turned the corner.

In the end the women decided anything that could get this many guys excited about dancing was worth investigating further.

Behind closed doors, the ladies all started talking to each other. From what I gathered, it was decided if each lady promised to pretend to be bad, then the rest of them would pretend to be bad too.  In other words, as long as all the women promised to risk their good girl reputations, then maybe just this once they would stick out their hips and give the boys a little thrill.  And perhaps this one night only they could leave their morals at the door and let the boys have their "Animal House" fantasy. 

 Amazingly, the women agreed to the party. Anything to get the men to shut up.


It's the "Clothes", Stupid!

Now a new problem emerged.  The ladies decided they weren't so worried about moving their hips as long as the room was dark enough and all the other women promised to misbehave too.  A couple glasses of wine and their hips would work fine.

Now however the women were concerned they didn't have the necessary wardrobe!!  Getting this party together was a lot more work than I could ever have anticipated... The whole thing was becoming a giant headache as far as I was concerned.  I remember wishing the Four Palms had never closed.

It was a sad condemnation of our well-scrubbed group of ladies that the majority of them didn't have a clue how to dress in a tawdry fashion.  Sharon and I had a major education problem.  Our new hurdle became the constant question "How do I dress?  What do I wear?"

Sharon tried to describe how bad girls dressed to some of the women, but the problem was Sharon wasn't very well qualified to describe what "bad girls" wore in the first place.  To her credit, Sharon asked around and got some ideas on what bad girls wear.

Finally the word "leather" was mentioned and that got some nods of recognition.  "Skin" was another word with high recognition.

I told the women to dress as sluts, but they didn't see the humor in that. A few pictures would have helped, but we didn't have any pictures. Some women began to threaten not to come because they didn't have the right clothes.

I was getting frustrated. I was seriously beginning to wonder if this party would ever get off the ground.  

Then I had an inspiration.  Several years back my ex-wife liked to tease me about going to a "Prep School" when I was a kid.  It didn't matter that I was the poorest kid in the school; she cut me no slack.  She decided I was  born a nerd.  Then one day she noticed the school colors were "Red and Black". Suddenly she was impressed.  For some odd reason she liked the red and black of Saint Johns School.

She laughed and said Red and Black were "pretty damn sexy colors for a Prep School". 

With these taunting words in the back of my head, I told the women to wear something red or black or a little of both.  That turned the corner. With the addition of this pretty damn sexy color theme, most of  the women felt sure there was bound to be something already in the closet that would do the trick.

The women were back on board. Another hurdle crossed.
 


Let's Hear it for the Boys!

The men were on board from the get-go.  They were just waiting for me to talk the women into it. 

The women were all worried about what to wear, but the men couldn't have cared less.  I quickly discovered that the men didn't need to be told what colors to wear or how to dress. I just told them the women would be half-naked and they would say "when and where?"

I told the men the Party was "clothing optional".  The men laughed at my jokes but the women didn't. In fact if you asked the women what they really thought, they would probably say I was a giant pain in the butt for even thinking of this stupid party in the first place.
 A couple guys did ask for clothing suggestions.  I told them to come dressed as the most desperate lounge lizard or the toughest biker imaginable.  

Several men like my friend Jim Smith (pictured at right with Sharon) thought that was a great idea and promised not to let me down. Unfortunately my suggestion about the bikers would backfire in a way far beyond what my imagination ever thought possible. But more about that later.

The men treated me like their hero for accomplishing the minor miracle of getting the women to agree to this party, but I knew better. If it wasn't for their collective behind-the-scenes lobbying, this party would never have happened.

Now that the women were warming to the idea, the buzz surrounding the party improved dramatically. Sharon and I grew confident the party was going to be a hit before the evening started.  We were encouraged that our idea had been well-received.  However just when I was starting to relax, believe it or not, there was yet another hurdle to cross.



The Incredibly Disgusting Sleazy Bar Whip Workshop

The party was only a couple weeks off when one night in class a lady said she didn't think her boyfriend even knew how to dance dirty. She said, "If we are going to stick out our hips, what makes you think our boys will learn to dance well enough to deserve it?" 

The women in the class all laughed at her impertinence and decided she had a point. Were our men worthy enough to deserve the immense pleasure our women had finally agreed to deliver "despite their better judgment"??

This became the next issue.  This party in my opinion had long crossed the line of becoming a major pain in the A__. It was the perfect example of a project that no one in their right mind would have undertaken if they could have foreseen the consequences and difficulties ahead of time.

Wasn't it sad that people had so many objections to a party that simply encouraged them to misbehave??

The lady's remarks became a bombshell. Talking about putting the pressure back in the men's court!   It was a lot more fun when the men could taunt the women about being "uptight good girls". 

Now the men were on the defensive. "What do you mean I don't know how to dance 'sleazy'?"  

This was yet another problem I hadn't anticipated.  Now the men were being told they better make it worth the women's time and energy.  The men wanted this party in a big way and the women knew it.  The women had agreed to the party, but now as it approached the women decided to threaten at the last minute to boycott the event unless the men made another concession. 

I gasped in horror at the power of women to use "sex" to their advantage. From the moment this party had been suggested, the women had systematically used their feminine advantages to make these men jump through hoops. As always in any bargaining situation, the person who wants it the most is at a disadvantage.  These sexual politics were dirty business in opinion, but there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The men were given an ultimatum to improve their Dirty Dancing or else.

So I came up with an idea - I would teach a "Disgusting Sleazy Bar Whip Workshop" complete with all sorts of evil moves for men to use to turn on their women and for the women to... well, heck, all the women had to do was stick that hip out.

The women agreed the workshop was exactly what they had in mind. If you want me to Smile, Give me my Sleaze with Style.

Unfortunately I didn't have a wide range of Sleazy moves to teach. As I have told this story, I may have given the impression that I was the King of Sleaze, but in reality I was only slightly less inhibited than the women I loved to torment about their hips. But don't tell anyone!

So I began to research my videotapes of Whip contests in search of some incredibly Sleazy patterns.  I was astonished at the nerve of what some men were willing to while the camera was rolling!  

One video clip showed a man named Gary Henson trap Renee Stevens in a tight embrace. As he held her still with one hand, Gary reached to his brow to wipe off some sweat, then slowly caressed her bare leg with an up and down motion as he dried his hand. 

I had to laugh. Now that was Sleazy!!  I was impressed with the imagination of some these men. In my opinion most of those moves were better left in the dark, but I was at least grateful I finally had some ideas for my workshop.
I dutifully copied down the move and added it to my list.

Nevertheless I was deeply worried about the "touchie-feelie" nature of what I planned to teach. Obviously there are certain moves that are not appropriate to teach in our clean-cut, well-lit group classes.  After all, you are always switching partners and you barely know many of the women you are dancing with. 

You never know whose wife you might mess up one of those hip catches with and grab something forbidden!!  Or whose girlfriend's breasts were "inappropriately" touched on a confusing new move. 

So I decided there would be no "partner switching" in the workshop. I also said the lights would be kept very dim.  And in my wisdom I provided a bottle of wine to make sure everyone was well-oiled. 

I spent hours preparing to teach the Sleazy Bar Workshop. But in continuation with the dark cloud motif that had followed the planning of this party every step of the way, I have to tell you from an artistic standpoint I thought the crash course was a complete bust.

What went wrong?  I could not get my students to stop laughing! 

In my stupidity I thought my students seriously wanted to learn some "moves" no matter how bizarre to use with their dancing that night.  But that was not meant to be. I had forgotten the Sleazy Bar Party was essentially a "tongue in cheek" satire on the real thing.

Perception is everything. Take for example a horror film.  If you are with a serious crowd, then a horror flick like "Night of the Living Dead" is scary beyond belief.  But if you see the same movie with smart alecks who laugh and spoof, then the movie changes into grotesque humor.  The people around you generally have the influence to change your perception. Same movie. One man screams, the other laughs. That's why they put laugh tracks with sit-coms; they are trying to influence your perception.

I soon discovered no one could carry out my suggestive patterns without laughing!   A guy would drop to his knees, duck his head under a woman's arm only to find himself facing his partner's most private area. From there he would rise slowly with his nose passing between the twin peaks of the woman's breasts until he finally came eyebrow to eyebrow with his thoroughly aroused partner. 

Lurid, right? Right!
Disgusting, yes?  Yes!
Sexy, yes?  Well, No.

It is impossible to pretend to be sexy and keep a straight face for long. This stuff was silly beyond belief. People were dying of laughter.  People were rolling on the floor! 

I didn't think it was funny at all.  I was too uptight to see the humor. I was approaching this class like any other dance class - I was trying to teach dance patterns. From my standpoint the evening was ruined.  I was so frustrated  to see my class flop like this after all my work.

Then a curious thing happened. After the crash course was over my students came up and thanked me for the most fun they had ever had dancing. At first I thought they were kidding. Then I realized practically everyone had not only liked the class, they loved it!

The women didn't care if it wasn't sexy. So what?  They had laughed from start to finish. They loved it because it was hysterical watching their men try so hard to be wild and crazy. That was worth every cent of their hard-earned money.

The guys on the other hand had a great time too, but they didn't really completely get what the women were thinking. The men thought they were sexier than Tom Selleck and Patrick Swayze rolled into one. They thought the women's laughter was approval for how "good" they were at each move. They thanked me because they thought the women really wanted them.  Good grief. 

Never in my life had the "Venus-Mars" difference in the way men and women think been more apparent.

In the men's minds, it was the SSQQ Night of Decadence. In the women's minds it was a goofy night of Pretend Sin and Pretend Debauchery.

The whole thing was too absurd for me. In my mind, as long as they all paid their admission I decided they could think anything they wanted.  

I was reminded of a famous Broadway Play called "The Producers".  Somehow an accountant figures out a brilliant plan to create a huge tax write-off if they can produce a play that fails horribly.  Hoping to design a play that flops on a grand scale, they create the worst farce imaginable. Miraculously the play becomes a giant hit. 

The night's results eerily paralleled the Broadway Play. My Sleazy Crash Course became one of the great giant megahits of my career... for all the wrong reasons.
 Perception!


The Sleazy Bar Party is HOT in more ways than one!

After the Crash Course, I went to the office and put on my carefully assembled wardrobe for the night.  I was a lot
more open-minded in 1988.  I wanted to look the part so I took great care piecing together my outfit in the previous week.  Unlike everyone else who didn't have a clue how to dress, I had a big advantage - I had actually been to the Four Palms. Therefore I didn't need to use my imagination, just my memory.  

For our Party, I decided to lose my inhibitions. I wore tight black pants, a leather jacket but no shirt. I went to Southern Importers and found a cheap gold chain with a medallion that hung down to my chest.  I greased back the hair and added sunglasses even though I couldn't see a thing in the darkness.  So what?   I may have had a tattoo but I can't remember.  I spent all night taking pictures, but no one bothered to take one of me.  Maybe it's just as well. I wouldn't want any photographic evidence that might come back to haunt me if I ever become respectable.  

Just take my word for it -
I was one tough-lookin' dude, someone Mr. T or Dennis Rodman might want to hang out with.   Shaft, John Shaft.  I was a Bad M-F for the evening.

Are you laughing at me?  Well, go ahead, you have a right to.  Yes, I was just as self-deluded as the rest of the guys.  I thought I was irresistibly sexy. I was out of character that night it was ridiculous, but wasn't that the point?

I was ready to take a fashion risk. Look at me with a bare chest!   I am so modest I usually wear a tee-shirt in the swimming pool.  But not tonight.  I was proud of myself for being so brave to wear such a bold outfit in public. Maybe I should confess - I had two glasses of wine while I was changing.  So much for all my bravery...


I left the office and got the party started. I was pleased to discover the turn out was huge and so was the enthusiasm. Finally all the hard work had paid off. The Sleazy Bar Party was awesome!! 

We had well over 100 people dancing to "Love and Happiness" and "Heard it Through the Grapevine."  Despite their initial resistance, our women came through in the clutch and dressed like tramps. There were loose women everywhere!  Even better, the ladies were having the time of their lives pretending to behave like bad girls. As long as it is just an act, it's okay, right? 

Like me, our guys dressed tough, acted tough, and we all had the sense to do everything in our power not to openly drool at the women... but we wanted to!!   There was eye-candy everywhere. I asked all the girls to dance and never sat out a song. I was having a great time at my own party!   But now I am thirsty.  Hand me another glass of wine!
 
I noticed a
bout halfway through the party that I was dripping wet. My leather jacket may look good, but it sure is hot to dance in!   Room 1 felt like Dante's Inferno.  Our wild Whip dancing had generated a lot of Heat.

I had an idea. It
was a chilly spring night outside, so I opened the emergency exit in Room 1.  This would allow our air-conditioner to pull in lots of extra cool air and knock the temperature down quickly.
 



There's someone who wants to speak with you, Rick.

Now it was time for a John Paul Jones, a dance event where everyone dances with everyone. This dance is popular because it gives each person a chance to dance with ten different people during the seven minute song. I lined up our 50 women in a circle facing outward. Then I had 50 men form an outer circle that would rotate around the women's circle. We filled the entire room.

Then I started to play that sexy blues standard "Bad to the Bone".  The women gyrated their hips in unison as the men circled around them like wolves ready to pounce. Each time I blew my whistle the man would quickly grab the babe in front of him and take her for a ride. 

The music blared, "BAD TO THE BONE BUH BUH BUH  BAD TO THE BONE!"  The place was throbbing with energy!  "BAD TO THE BONE!" 

The party was under control, but just barely. The place was definitely rocking!!

As the John Paul Jones continued, I blew my whistle again to signal it was time to grab a new partner. Something caught my eye.   Because I am so tall I was able to see over the crowd. 

Two
huge, mean-looking Bellaire Policemen were standing in the doorway to Room 2. They both had a very tense look on their faces!  Both men appeared to be scanning the place for Bad Guys. That's when I nearly swallowed my whistle in shock.  I watched as one man pulled out his walkie-talkie and began to talk into it.

My thoughts were something like, "Oh damn!!!  What have I done?!"

Both men had their hands on their hips an inch from their holster. I could tell by their faces there was something wrong. Both men were frowning.  I didn't know what it was, but they looked unhappy about something. "What in the world is wrong?", I thought to myself.

Were we being raided?  Was it was a drug bust?  But why?  For what??  Was someone here suspected of dealing dope? 

It's one thing to be in trouble, but when you don't know what for, paranoia runs wild. My imagination was racing wild with the possibilities. What did I do wrong?

My fear response kicked in. My heart was racing furiously. I was absolutely freaking out!  I turned so pale you could rent me out as a stand-in for Casper the Ghost.

My mind did the mental Indy 500... "Why are the Police here?"   I ran this same thought in my mind over and over again. There can only be one reason the police are here... this has to be a Bust!  Nothing else made any sense.  Were we drinking too much booze?  Did someone do something stupid in the parking lot?  What is it??? 

I completely sick to my stomach.  I wanted to do my best cockroach impression and slink off to a corner and hide.


Busted!

A complete hush came over the crowd. The John Paul Jones had ended just about the time when the students began to notice the Police.  The only noise was Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour" playing in the background. No one was dancing.  Finally one of the cops broke the silence and barked in a loud voice, "Who runs this place?" 

200 eyeballs and 100 fingers simultaneously pointed at me!They gave me up instantly.

Nope, None of that
"I am Spartacus!" crap where all the slaves step up to protect their leader Spartacus from Roman Cruelty.  Every one of my loyal students turned me in without a moment's hesitation. 


Spotlight on Rick Archer


For a desperate moment I contemplated becoming
the Fugitive.  Nah, it wouldn't work. I was too easy to catch.   Plus where would I go?  The cops already knew where I worked. 

Instead I meekly walked forward.
So much for my David Jansen impersonation.
 I kept reminding myself I haven't done anything wrong.  Or have I??  My paranoia was way out of control.

I wasn't alone. Basically every person in the studio was just as confused and frightened as I was.  None of us had ever seen a Bellaire policeman on the premises. Now we had two very tall intimidating men carrying armed weampons. Both men looked pretty angry about something none of us understood.  I wasn't the only one who wondered if I would be spending the night in a Bellaire holding cell.

One part of me figured I was going to jail for something, but another part of me kept insisting that a brief review of all my recent personal and professional activities revealed nothing particularly illegal, immoral, or depraved.

That same little inner voice also suggested I might try acting Respectable. It occurred to me it would be a lot easier to act "Respectable" if I looked "Respectable".  Even worse I was a little drunk.  Actually, I was a lot drunk. But believe me, I was sobering up fast!

I wondered how I could covertly zip up my leather jacket and cover my bare chest with 200 eyes watching me.  Would anyone notice?  Probably.

So I had no choice. I accepted my fate. I would confront the authorities wearing my ridiculous no-shirt biker outfit and try not to let them see how drunk I was.  At least I had the sense to take my sunglasses off.

I walked over to these incredibly stern-looking men. Everyone stood still and watched.


High Noon at SSQQ

"Hello, Officers, I am Rick Archer.  I am the owner of this place. How can I help you?"

The two men just stood there gawking at me.  They were clearly sizing me up.  I desperately wished I could zip up my jacket!!  Quite frankly, I do not know if words can adequately describe how worried I was.  Finally one officer looked at the other for a cue, then looked back at me. Here we go.

"Mr. Archer, we have a report of a gunshot fired in the area.  Are there any firearms on the premises?  

"No, Officer, there are no firearms on the premises," I replied.

"
Have you had a shooting incident inside or outside your establishment tonight?"

"No, Officer, look around for yourself. This is a dance party."  The two men looked again at my dangerous guests. All my guests tried to smile and look respectable. I groaned at how ridiculous we looked. 

Both men looked at each other and seemed to tacitly agree this was a "Scene", but probably not a crime scene.

"Mr. Archer, have you heard any gunfire tonight?  Have you heard gunshots?"  

These questions didn't seem to have anything to do with the studio. Curiosity slowly began to replace my terror. Maybe I was going to survive this.

"No, Officer, I haven't heard any gunfire. Could you explain to me what you are concerned about?"


"Just a second. One more question. Has there been a fight or an argument of any nature on your premises tonight?"

"No. We have never had a fight on these premises ever.  This is a respectable establishment."  

Then I took another look at my guests who were watching this carefully.  There they were smiling back at me in their gorgeous sleazy outfits.  They were counting on me to handle this.  If only they looked a little better. Then I winced as I was reminded of my own attractive ensemble.


"Mr. Archer, a report was phoned in that indicated the possibility of a gunshot in the area near your business. We were on patrol driving around the neighborhood to investigate when we heard the music coming from your party."

My mind raced quickly to the back door I had opened twenty minutes earlier to let in the cold air.

"Yes, Officer, I opened the back door to let in some cool air."  I pointed to the door way in the back. "I am sure that is how you heard the music. But I never heard any gunshots. You have my word on that."


Now both men started to relax. So did I.  I took the deepest breath imaginable. 

We continued to talk, but it became more informal.  Both men had obviously decided our studio was not a problem after all. 
The Officer told me it was not a confirmed report, but serious enough to warrant an investigation. The music was the only thing out of the ordinary. Since there was a possibility the shot had come from from my business, it was their job to check it out.

At this point two more policeman entered the room with their hands on their holsters. They looked at our group and began to frown.  However before I could start to worry again, one of the original officers walked over to explain the situation.

Meanwhile the Officer who had been interviewing me lowered his voice and told me with
a smile he had called for backup just as a precaution.  He said he had been more than slightly taken aback by what he had seen when he first entered our building.  Now that the tension had eased, he actually started to laugh at the difference between what he first thought and what we had turned to be.

Now the light bulbs finally turned on in my brain.
Things started to make a little sense. It had not even remotely occurred to me that my group could appear dangerous to anyone. 

Gunshots are serious business. 
The men were just doing their duty by visiting the studio.  However neither man had any idea what sort of business "SSQQ" was.

The problem started when the two policemen were shocked by what they discovered!!

T
hey were afraid they had
walked in on the secret drug-crazed party of the biggest, baddest biker gang and their half-naked biker women in the history of Bellaire!!

The moment they walked into Room 2, they were as shocked to see us as we were to see them!!  That's when they radioed for backup.

Apparently, with 100 hombres and biker chicks, for a second there, SSQQ dancers had actually looked tough!!

Now that I finally completely understood what was going on, I calmed down a little bit. I began to explain what was "Really" going on here.  As I spoke, it didn't hurt that they now realized every tattoo in the place was fake.  At this point, the two new policemen left, but the original two policeman stayed.  However they clearly no longer saw us as any threat. 

As difficult as it was for me to believe that my group could ever be considered "intimidating", it occurred to me how careful I am whenever I meet a new dog for fear of being bitten.

These men had no idea who we were. Someone in the area had possibly fired a weapon.  When they came in and saw our bikers and our huge crowd, for a brief moment the thought had crossed their minds that there might be weapons in the room or possible illegal drugs
.  They were just taking precautions.

It was about this point that Sharon decided she wasn't going to get shot after all.  Seeing the coast was clear, like any good hostess Sharon came over and asked the men if she could get them a soft drink or a beer. "No, thank you, Ma'am, we are still on duty."

Geez, Sharon!!  The last thing I wanted them to do was stay! 

Seeing how brave Sharon was, everyone else took the cue and decided the coast was clear too.  Seeing the policemen smile and actually turn their backs to them was a good sign.

They dancers all started to Whip again.  So much for the toughest baddest biker gang in Bellaire history. 

My mind recalled Michael Jackson imitated a gang member in his "Bad" video. 
"
Because I'm Bad, I'm Bad- Come On, You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad!!"   What a ridiculous turn of events.

The Policemen soon left and not long after so did my dancers. The "Bust" had taken most of the steam out of the party. Later as my customers went out the door, they all complimented me on my clever extra touch of inviting the cops to pretend to bust us all. Hahaha.  They all laughed much harder than I did.  No laughter for me. I was still shaking. 

In the weeks that followed, rumors emerged I had actually arranged for the police to visit. 

Hogwash!!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The whole thing was my worst nightmare.


In the Years to Follow...

Can you imagine a worse moment for the Bellaire Police to walk in??  The sequence of events was so bizarre I imagine the writers on "Cheers" would reject the script as too absurd.  "Outer Limits" or "Twilight Zone" would be more like it.

S
peaking for me I have never been so caught off-guard in my life. For everyone else, The Sleazy Bar Party was fabulous fun, but I can honestly say that night ended my own Sleazy Days for eternity.  For the past twenty years or so since, I have simply worn a black shirt and pants to this party just in case lightning strikes twice.  So much for my bare chest days.

They say "All's well that End's well".  I suppose other my own personal trauma, I would agree our inaugural Sleazy Bar party turned out to be a fabulous success.  Everyone said they couldn't wait for the next party!!  

Over the years since
the inception of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party in 1988, not only has this party become a yearly fixture here at the studio, but other Whip clubs in Houston and Dallas have gone on to host Sleazy Bar Parties of their own under different names.


Obviously
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

 

Sleazy Bar Whip Party 201 Nights Four Palms
Pictures from the First SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party 1988
 
 
   
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So what do you think?  If you are a Bellaire policeman, don't you agree the whole lot
should have been run in for impersonating dangerous people??
Sleazy Bar Whip Party 201 Nights Garner State Park History of Whip Four Palms
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