THE NAME GAME
Remember those tests in grade school where you had to pick the one item that didn’t fit? The teacher would show you a picture that had an orange, an apple, a lemon, and a horseshoe in it and you had to pick the item that didn’t fit. There was always one guy in class who didn’t pick the horseshoe and you weren’t sure if he was dumb as a rock or just being a dick.
With that pick-one test in mind, look at the five types of bars above and see if you can pick the one that doesn’t make any sense. The answer has to be titty bar. What a ridiculous name. Somebody got lazy when they came up with that one.
The other four names make sense. You would expect to see televised sporting events at a sports bar; customers reading lyrics and singing horribly at a karaoke bar; people in cowboy hats and boots line dancing at country bars; and a lot of really happy and well-dressed men and women at gay bars.
But if you went to a titty bar what would you expect to see? Titties?
Well, yes, but there’s not a huge curtain on stage with holes cut out for breasts to be stuck through and that’s all you get to see. At a gentlemen’s club you get to see the whole girl. Not just her breasts. You also see a dancer’s legs and her butt and her face, but they don’t call them legs bars, or butt bars or face bars. So why the emphasis on just one body part?
And back when these venues were first being named, if you just had to describe a bar by associating it with a woman’s breasts, then why not call them breast bars or boobs bars or bust bars or mammary bars, or—if you were a fan of Jane Austen historical romance novels—bosom bars. Why titty? Sounds a bit juvenile.
Strip clubs? That’s not a whole lot better. Entertainers today don’t so much strip as they do pose and strut on stage.
Gentlemen’s clubs? Also not explanatory enough. Really it’s just a camouflaged name to make clubs that feature some form of female nudity seem a little more respectable, not that I think there is anything disrespectful about any type of female nudity.
Topless bar? Nah, that’s no different that titty bar.
Nude bar? Possibly the most accurate in terms of describing what’s happening behind the front door, but who and what is exactly nude? Some places sell nude furniture, or furniture in the raw. There’s nude contemporary glassware. There are stores with nude sculptures and paintings. And most titty bars/strip clubs/gentlemen’s clubs don’t offer full nudity.
It’s surprising that in the hundred or so years that women have been peeling off their clothes in drinking establishments for tips, no one has ever really come up with an accurate name for those establishments.
At least something better than titty bar.