“For the first time in 4 months the clock in the car has the right time” Sunday update

Going to do another free-form post like the one yesterday, with some more Q&A from discussions I have had recently. I am going to let this one get a bit raunchy; not too much but let’s just say it’s rated PG-13.

For those who want to skip directly to the news section of this post, you can do so here. I have a pretty interesting news story today, so don’t miss it.

First off, I have a question for my female readers, arising from recent discussions I have had about Paula & Raiford’s and other nightclubs: I know many women prefer men to be several inches taller. Does this apply to dancing as well as in general? I’m not talking about dancing with a platonic guy friend just to have a plus-one on the dance floor. I’m talking about a case where there’s mutual attraction and things are starting to heat up.

I’m 5’8″. I prefer dancing with a woman who’s 5’7″ or 5’9″ to one who is 5’0″. The reason is simple – body parts line up and all sorts of interesting things can happen. So yeah, I prefer women around the same height as me. That’s just a preference though. It’s not like I would tell a petite woman she’s too short.

Just curious how women who go out to clubs perceive dancing and height differences.

The subject of dancing brings me to another discussion topic that came up recently.

Old Raiford’s or New Raiford’s?

A little history for those not familiar: The original location at Mulberry and Vance was opened by Hollywood Raiford in 1975. It remained open until 2007. Following that it was opened by other people as Hollywood Disco for a couple of years and is now vacant.

The new location was opened by Raiford and his daughter in 2009 at 14 S. Second. Raiford has passed on but Paula still operates the club, and based on lines to get in I have seen recently, it’s stronger than ever.

The new location has a much bigger dance floor. The capacity is greater. It has a full bar. There are multiple VIP areas. The ceiling is much higher so the smoke from the fog machine is less stifling. In many ways the new location far exceeds the old one.

And yet I will tell you a story that explains why I miss the original Raiford’s. In spring 2010, about six months after the new location opened, I was out there with a female friend. We were out on the dance floor, dancing all sexy especially to the slower stuff by Prince and Al Green and Clarence Carter.

Three days later, I was at Bardog for happy hour. Two women sitting a few seats down commented to me, “We saw you having some fun out on the dance floor Saturday night. You was getting it witcho girl out there. Did you get you some that night?”

(For the record, I didn’t.)

The thing is, that kind of commentary NEVER happened regarding matters at the original location. At the new location, the dance floor is in the center of the room and is visible to nearly the entire club. So, if you’re dancing, dozens of people if not hundreds are looking at you. Whereas, at the old location, the dance floor was small and in the very back, and was obscured by the fog machine as well. The only people who could see you dance were the other people on the floor (who were busy doing their own thing) and maybe the people on the couch to the side. Also, there was an unwritten rule that you just didn’t discuss what you saw there, outside of there.

It didn’t bother me that they asked, but what I worried about is that similar comments could have been made to the woman I was dancing with, making her hesitant to get back out on the dance floor on her next visit. Women tend to think about that stuff more than men do. What if my friends see me? My co-workers? What if people think I’m a slut just because I like to have a little fun when I’m dancing? What if someone takes a photo of me dancing and posts it on Facebook?

I commented to a friend of mine, “Women let men get away with more on the dance floor when they feel like people aren’t watching.”

She replied, “That’s definitely true.”

Any good stories about the old Raiford’s?

Well, let’s see… not going to go into detail here but I will touch on a few stories briefly.

There was the time I met a woman on the dance floor and we started making out. After about 20 minutes of kissing, I discovered she was wearing a wedding ring. I’d been kissing someone’s wife! I got the hell out of there as quick as I could. She invited me to come visit her at work (rather than give me an email address or phone number) but needless to say I never did.

There was a time I was dancing with a woman and she squatted down on her knees and BIT me. Yes, there. Yes, it hurt.

The first two years I went to Raiford’s, I was still teaching at the University of Memphis. I hooked up with a few former students as a result of running into each other at the club. That was fun.

That brings me to another question people ask.

Did you ever have awkward moments with current students at the old Raiford’s or elsewhere?

I first started going to Raiford’s in 1997. I taught at the University of Memphis until 1999. So the two eras did overlap. Yes, twice something like that happened. I was out on the dance floor and women who were currently in classes I was teaching came up and started dancing with me.

In one case I gently placed my hands on the student’s shoulders and pushed back. “We can’t do this. I’m your teacher. I give you a grade.”

She replied, “You’re right. I’m sorry, I’m a little drunk.” She stepped away and the matter was never brought up again.

The second woman was a little more persistent. When I backed away, she stepped forward and closed the gap. She whispered in my ear “no one has to know” and kissed me on the cheek.

True, no one has to know, and as far as I knew the university did not have an official policy about instructors fraternizing with students. Still, common sense dictated that this was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. The chances that someone in the club would recognize both of us and know that she was my student were low, but they were not zero. I told her, “I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen.” I was tempted to say, “But come find me after the semester’s over” but decided even that was a bad idea.

The most awkward moment, though, happened on campus. One day in spring 1998 I was taking a walk around campus and one of my Computer Literacy students came bouncing up to me. She was a solid A student and very much a free spirit. She was also blessed by Mother Nature in particular areas… to put it another way, she had big boobs. “Paul, guess what I did this weekend,” she said.

“I don’t know… what?”

“I got my nipples pierced,” she replied. She proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes telling me about the tattoo shop where she had it done, the sensation of getting pierced, the types of piercings she had put in, what she had to do after the procedure to help them heal. It was a  bit awkward but I always encouraged my students to open up to me and let me get to know them on a personal level. It’s just that this particular student’s passion happened to be piercings.

I don’t think she was trying to angle for a higher grade. Like I said, she already had a solid A average, and Computer Literacy is a ridiculously easy class. Nor do I think she was hitting on me. I just got the sense she was a free spirit, open about her sexuality, and she saw me more as a peer than an authority figure, a fellow free spirit she could be herself around.

But then she smiled and said the thing that made it really awkward:

“I’ll show them to you sometime.”

Don’t get me wrong, I really, really, really wanted to see them. But I knew it was a really bad idea. It certainly couldn’t happen while she was still in my class. And even after that, it couldn’t happen on campus. For the remainder of the semester, I avoided situations where she and I were alone in a room. Now, if we ran into each other off-campus after the teacher-student relationship was over, that was a different matter. Unfortunately it never happened.

The luck of the troll runs out

I took my little troll in my pocket on both interviews I had two weeks ago. When I got the call from the recruiter saying I had been offered the job, the troll was standing on the bar in front of me at the Silly Goose. She definitely brought me good luck.

I decided to watch the Memphis-Cincinnati and Arkansas-Tennessee games at the Blind Bear yesterday. I got the troll out and stood her on the bar. For the first half she seemed to bring the same kind of luck she brought to my job hunt. The Tigers were leading 42-29 at halftime, over a top ten team in the country. They were looking like a team who could not only beat Cincy, but prevail in the finals to win a most-unlikely NCAA tournament berth.

Then it all fell apart. In the second half, they mostly looked like the same bumbling team that lost to USF by 24. They looked like a team who didn’t even deserve to be in the NIT. No amount of luck conveyed by the troll could help them.

(I will mention one positive though: Up until two games ago I did not know who any of the Tigers players were. However, I sure do know who Kyvon Davenport is now, though. I hope he doesn’t transfer over the summer. I would enjoy watching him next season.)

At least Memphis looked good for a while. Arkansas looked like an utter disaster at every stage of their game. They were a projected 6 seed as of yesterday but if they got knocked down to 7 I wouldn’t blame the committee.

I considered watching the game at Max’s Sports Bar but was afraid I would lash out at some people I care about deeply and consider part of my extended Downtown family. I have (regrettably) lashed out several times at them the past two years and they don’t understand why. I wish they would ask. That’s a big part of the problem. They have heard lies about me, or at least I have strong reason to believe they have. They need to hear the truth from me.

So today I’m in the unenviable position of having to root for a John Calipari team. Ugh, but under no circumstances will I root for the Vols at this point.

On to the news…

So, about that interesting news item I teased at the beginning of the post. Yesterday a friend told me there’s a new private club at the southeast corner of Second and Vance. I did a little research and found that it is called Century House and it is in the historic 20th Century Fox Pictures Building on Film Row. The building has a 1930s Art Deco theme but modern amenities. There are four opportunities for membership: Creatives, Internationals, House (combination of the former two), and Travelers. Benefits include a speaker series, office space, meeting space, a jazz brunch, a cocktail series, guest passes, a screening room, and more. The club launched on March 1.

I want to check this out and learn more… I was a member of a private club in the Toyota Center 2003-04 and it was a very cool experience. Reading the categories, I thought “I wonder if I would qualify as a Creative” and then I remembered, oh yeah, this blog that I’m typing right here, that I’ve been doing for 14 years and that won the Flyer poll 4 times, would very possibly qualify me. Maybe I will look into it. On the other hand private clubs usually have dress codes and following dress codes is not my strong suit. We shall see.

Selection Sunday, revealing the brackets for the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, will be on TBS at 5 today. However, the Selection Sunday Memphians might be more interested in is the one at 7:30 on ESPNU, revealing the 32-team bracket for the NIT. With a late-season run, a victory over USF to partly erase memories of the bad loss, an upset of Tulsa, and a solid first half against Cincinnati, the Tigers might be able to grab a 7 or 8 seed in the NIT.

Imagine reading that last sentence five or six years ago.

The Memphis Flyer has an article about Soi Number 9, the Thai street food truck which was the subject of the second installment of the Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series last week. The article discusses the rice and noodle dishes and the origins of the school bus.

The same article has news on the new food truck New Wing Order will be rolling out later this year. New Wing Order won first at the Southern Hot Wing Fest in 2015 and 2017. Memphis Buffalo sandwich, BBQ nachos with a white Alabama sauce, hot wing nachos… this truck sounds destined for success.

Max’s Sports Bar will host Car Bomb Madness Saturday, March 17. Celebrate St. Pat’s with $3.50 car bombs and $1.50 Jello shots. Of course, the NCAA tournament will be on.

Today from noon to 6 is Soulful Food Truck Sunday at Clayborn Temple. 28 unique vendors on site including a cigar truck and a game truck. Local beer and wine will be for sale too. Live entertainment by Courtney Little 1:00-1:45, Stefanie Bolton 2:45-3:45, and Jerome Chism 4:45-5:30. They will provide the chairs so no need to bring your own. This is a rain or shine event.

Well, isn’t this interesting!

Now, now, let’s not read too much into this. Who hasn’t thought about getting an impeachment lawyer at some point in their life? I remember that time in 2005 when I considered getting an impeachment lawyer but ended up getting a NERF basketball and hoop instead.

It’s my last Sunday without a Monday workday behind it for quite some time. I stayed out until 3 last Sunday and had a great time – the crowd that comes up to the Blind Bear Sunday late night is so much fun. I plan on doing it again tonight.

I have TV to watch tonight as well (on my phone): The superstars of Smackdown compete in WWE Fastlane. I’ll make one prediction: AJ Styles will retain the WWE World Championship in a defense against 5 challengers. After the match, John Cena will be interviewed about not finding a way onto the WrestleMania card for the first time in over a decade. Then the lights will go out, the gong will go off, and Undertaker will make his way to the ring, look at Cena, and point to the WrestleMania sign.

All right, enough typing. Back tomorrow (probably) with a more traditional news post.