Thursday, October 20, 2005

the compatability of sex and food

This past weekend was my fall break, so the wife and I got out of town. We travelled to Madison, WI, where my friend and ex-roomate Jack lives. I like and miss Jack a whole bunch...he's easily the best raconteur I've ever met. I need to talk him into documenting his stories...

Anyway, when this trip was in the planning stages, a friend of ours (an ex-Madisonite) told us of this bar called Bennetts. Apparently, on weekend mornings, Bennetts serves breakfast. Nothing unusual there, and indeed, the breakfasts do rate better than Dennys. However, they also broadcast hardcore pornography throughout the breakfast hours. They call it "Smut n' Eggs." Naturally, we had to go.

So, Sunday morning, we all piled into Jack's Jeep and went to Smut n' Eggs. There are two Bennetts locations, and we went to the one outside of downtown, on the philosophy that it would be less student-oriented.

I first spotted the bar by the Old Style sign visible from the road. Personally, I took this as a good omen, but I've been into working class swill beers for some time now. The bar was itself suitably working class...stuffed fish, beer mirrors, and other similar decorative items lined the walls.

And then there were the three screens of hardcore smut going. It was amazing how unsexual genetalia pounding together can be when taken out of its normal context. Of course, the three of us occasionally deconstructed the action, but very few of the other patrons seemed to be paying a tremendous amount of attention to the screens. There was a gentleman who came in with what looked to be a very used-up hooker, but the majority of the crowd was either slumming college students or working class guys there to eat. The sex seemed to be just there to provide a bit of a "bad boy" image to the proceedings.

The bar did its bit to play up the surroundings...the Bloody Marys were garnished with tampons, for example...but the staff mostly treated the whole thing with a sense of humor. I heard one of the waitresses comment that "I'd need implants and liposuction to look like that," but nothing unusual there. As unsexual as I saw it, they really must just be bored with the closeups and money shots.

I did buy a t-shirt, but I'm not sure if I have the guts to wear it to may be pushing a line which I don't really want to cross (and that does say quite a bit). I asked if they had their coffee mugs for sale, and I was told that while they couldn't sell me one, I was free to steal one. So I participated in sanctioned robbery. Is that immoral?

We came back to Bennetts Monday night, mostly because Jack had the burning desire to see what the bar looked like during non-pornographic hours. It was just another working class bar...a good one, the kind of place I would love to hang out, but thoroughly unremarkable. The only thing out the ordinary at all was the jukebox selections, which went from Ozzy, to Elvis, to Cher, to Johnny Cash.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience and would go makes a great intro into class discussion if nothing else. However, I don't think it is the perfect combination of food and sex, as the sex almost operated as an afterthought. The same thing happened when me and my brother stopped at Cafe Erotica for lunch on the way back from Atlanta...only there, the food was as unappealing as the skeletal dancers. While Smut n' Eggs was by far preferable, it still treated both the sex and the food as plebian items.

This is all a shame, because food and sex should definitely not be mutually exclusive. Quite to the contrary, good food can be very orgasmic if treated with respect. I've had a manchego cheese and applewood-smoked bacon gratin which made me weep. I cook a wild mushroom smothered steak which can make you melt. Both of these would go great with sex. But both the food and sex have to be something special...not necessarily snobby, but at least luxurious. If someone has done it yet, I hope someone tells me about it, because I want to go there.

Hmmm...maybe I've figured out what I need to do if the whole academic thing falls through.

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