I told y’all a couple months ago about the time an on-the-clock dancer from the Yellow Rose babysat my three-year-old son. Well, on the 7-hour drive from Marfa, I remembered quite a few more details of that night in ’97 or ’98. To refresh: Don King, who managed the Yellow Rose, invited me to cover a special event at the strip joint. It might’ve been an anniversary, but the guest-of-honor was Augustus Busch, the CEO of Budweiser at the time. A bunch of local celebrities (Dale Dudley, that baseball player Kelly Something, etc) were going to be on hand, so it would be good for my popular “Austin Inside/Out” column.
At the time, Sugar’s and the Yellow Rose were in heavy comp to be THE gentlemen’s club in town and they were both feeding me items about celebrities stopping in. I had just had something about George Clooney partying at Sugar’s (and leaving with a dancer in the middle of her shift) and so the Yellow Rose wanted to get some attention, too. DK said I was VIP all the way, but I had to call him that day and say I couldn’t make it. My babysitter had canceled. “I’ve got a whole list of babysitters here,” Don said, and in my mind he was holding a sheet of paper with names of actual babysitters that maybe the employees had shared with each other. “I’ll send her in the car and you get in and come to the Rose, then when you want to leave, the car will take you home and pick up the babysitter.” OK, I said. Not 30 minutes passed before a black limo pulled up to my Hyde Park shanty and a tall, platinum blonde with heavy makeup stepped out. She introduced herself with a normal name, like Melanie, but even with all that perfume, you could still smell the pole on her. She was a stripper who probably danced as Destinee.
I didn’t know what to do. I made some small talk, while wondering if I should send her back. But then I made a decision. I could either stay home with my toddler and watch “Fox and the Hound” for the third time or go to the VIP room full of naked women and booze. The column was important to me, so I went. But I felt guilty right away. What if she was abused as a child and that’s why she’s a stripper, I thought. The abused become abusers. When I arrived at the YR, I tried to drum up a column item as soon as I could- then head back to Hyde Park before she was showing little Jackie how to cut up lines. At the time, Budweiser had a campaign where they stamped “Born On” dates on their beer, to show how freshly they’d been bottled. I came up with the line that Mr. Busch wasn’t at the party for pleasure, necessarily, but to check the “Born On …” dates on the dancers’ derrieres to make sure they were of legal age. Had my item! I was out of there in 10 minutes.
I came home to see Jack laying on the couch, blissfully, with Melanie patting his head. They were watching MTV- a Madonna video, I believe.
As if this night could not have been more memorable, it was also when three-year-old Jack uttered his first curse word. When I came in the front door, he sat up and said, “Why the FUCK are you home so soon!”
OK, I made up that last part, but the rest is true. Don King should be able to verify it.