Forget gas, lap dancing real price gouge

By Ned Cantwell: State Columnist

Here’s the deal. I’d rather sit in my stalled Hummer in the middle of downtown Ruidoso than drive one of those prissy Toyota hybrids.

There. I’ve said it. You want to take away my $48,000 Triton V-10, nine miles per gallon going downhill? You’ll have to pry the ignition keys from my cold dead hands.

All the attention to this so-called gas crisis is threatening. Macho men need macho machines. Take away my Suburban? Why don’t I just take off my boots and slip on a pair of those sissy sandals?

Even Pete Domenici has gone nutty over gas prices. Hey, senator, you’re a New Mexican, for heaven’s sake. Stop going to those Washington socials where they drink tea from dainty little cups and talk liberal gibberish.

But, no, Pete is echoing the chant that insists new fuel economy standards are necessary in this splendid country of pavement stretching sea to sea, pavement resplendent with beckoning gas pumps and garish McDonald’s stores.

Do you know why Pete Domenici is singing this tired song? Do you know why Gov. Bill Richardson joins the chorus? I’ll tell you why. It is because neither has the guts to stand up and face the real economic challenge facing New Mexicans.

I am talking about the soaring cost of lap dancing. Talk about price gouging. Two 18-year-old boys, boys who will one day grow up to be real men and drive gas-guzzling Hummers, recently spent $2,460 on lap dancing in Albuquerque.

In one sitting, so to speak. Just one evening. When this story broke, there was a shock wave from Clovis to Aztec, from Lordsburg to Raton. None of us knew the price of lap dancing had soared to $30. Per dance.

The “per dance” part threw these two young fellows. They were just lapping up the fun until the end of the night when their host presented them with the staggering bill. Whoops. They had 50 bucks on them and a credit card good for another $500. Off they went to jail facing, one might presume, multiple charges of Gross Naiveté and the Murderous Wrath of parental authorities.

These two youngsters, one of them fresh from the worldly environs of Dexter, visited something called the Fantasy Club. There, among others, they ran into a comely young lady, Orchid. Orchid was in full blossom. Who would think a sweet little thing named Orchid would ring you up like a 45-foot RV hooked up to a $4 pump?

It is wrong that we live in a state where a coming-of-age youngster from Dexter can’t get himself a reasonably priced lap dance. Domenici and Richardson don’t have the political courage to speak the truth, but I do:

New Mexico needs to develop its own lap dancing industry and stop depending on high priced foreign import dancers from such places as, say, Wyoming, which is, no coincidence, the home state of Vice President Richard Cheney. I can’t prove it yet, but I suspect Halliburton is somehow connected to that $2,500 lap dancing gouge.

New Mexico lap dancing independence is the solution. Lap dance centers around the state could have courses on sultry smiling, lip moistening, eyelash batting. They would concentrate on teaching the clever repartee required by these professionals, like, “Hi, big guy, up for a little fun?”

It is an idea whose time has come. Or, maybe not …

Columnist Ned Cantwell is not getting the miles per gallon he once did. Contact him at: