Scene: Barber shop with men waiting. Monsignor Mattie’s is there for a hair cut as well, reading a newspaper. A spread of Playboy magazines lie on the table in front of him. “Padre”, one of the other patron’s ask him “what do you think of all these dirty books?” The day this place loses it’s dirty books is the day I am out of a job, he answers.
There was a time in my hometown when men spent their time on Saturday’s being men. They had clubs to hang out in, swear in, be with each other and not be with the women. By the time they got home they had all the grit worked out of them in the weight room and were ready to put on a tie and return to the club for drinks, dinner and dancing with their wives.
I was introduced to the Everett Elks club as a child. The first memory is of being in the swimming pool with my grandfather, who had a lifetime membership, and my father. There were no women in the pool. We then adjourned to the ritualistic sauna, where the testosterone was sweated out before showering and going home.
The Everett Elks had a Christmas party for all the children of my town, complete with Santa Claus and a stocking full of fruits, nuts and candy for every child. It was a big deal, part of being a kid in my hometown in the 1960’s. The event took place in the main meeting hall that more or less resembled something from Beowulf, complete with a stuffed Elk head.
I never did join the Elks but had my hair cut there until the place was torn down to make room for more development. The talk in the barber shop (over the sound of the blaring TV) was one of outrage. How could the city would allow this to happen? Hell, they were even complicit in the destruction of the Man Cave.
Finally one of the elders who knew his way around just stood up and told them all they better get on board and be read up on what was coming so they would know how to maximize the clubs return on the loss of the property.
Well they did, a new one was built in the place where a blood plasma clinic burned down just up the hill. But it never was the same.