At a wedding the other day a fellow joined our table and introduced himself. Then: "And your name is...?"
"With a P?"
"Aitch oh em en eye cee kay."
"Ahhhhh, I see," he replied, the vacuous echo in his voice indicating he did not see at all. The man sitting next to me murmured sotto voce: "I guess he is not one of your readers."
Well, today I may need my readers to keep my name under wraps. Let this column be our little secret. The last thing my reputation needs is an article in favor of Ladies' Night in bars and clubs. What would the neighbors say? So let me give you my opinion, but please don't quote me.
The background -- if you can hear me over the loud music -- is the latest exciting movement in American progressive circles. Today's liberals are trying to prove they can disallow on the grounds of secular virtue all those activities once disdained by religious virtue. Who says only the priest has the power to make you stop eating, smoking, imbibing and carousing? Nah, today's professor can make your life just as shriveled, desiccated and joyless, and he can do it without troubling any deity to lend His Name to the cause. Look, padre, no hands!
The cigarette has been exiled to dark corners and dank alleys, the old majestic plumes of smoke now swirling grayly in ominous mushroom clouds. If anyone knows how to blow a smoke ring anymore, they certainly don't demonstrate their craft to convivial acclaim. The fatty food has also suffered this furtive fate, with Big Mac munchers condemned as disciples of Dr. Kevorkian. Those nice bureaucrats who pay your Medicare disapprove of you clogging your arteries like your own private Beltway.
The prime banner-bearer of these bearish banners is the aptly named Professor John Banzhaf III, who won't be satisfied until he bans half of life at least. He is a law prof at George Washington University in D.C., and he must get a kick out of accomplishing with lawsuits what the legislators won't write. He sends his intrepid students out to do battle. Now there is a scary image for you: law students in their briefs rampaging through the public square.
Their latest target is Ladies Night. They have already won in the District and in the state of New Jersey. They are now getting set to file here in Miami. A shudder passes through the female population at this report. And in the male population, an earthquake.
Apparently, Ladies Night is an act of discrimination against men. Women are being allowed to receive a product at a rate less than that charged to members of the other gender. But wait...isn't the idea of discounting the product to the women conceived as a service to the men who are hoping to meet a potential friend or partner? This is the classic win-win, where everyone goes home happy, no losers. The men, the women, the entrepreneurs. I would venture to assert that among us, in our very midst, walk some very fine grandchildren of people who met, first a bit shyly, then a bit tipsily, ultimately a bit hopefully, on Ladies Nights long past. If there are any losers at all in this equation, they must be teaching law at GWU.
Incidentally, in economic terms, the same income result could be achieved by offering admission and drinks to anyone on a buy-one-get-one-free basis, where the men would do all the purchasing, then sharing. The same people would pay the same sum for the same total of drinks consumed by the same people. So no one is hurt when it rearranges itself into the current format, which gives the woman a little more time to get her bearings without having to accept a guy's largesse too impetuously.
Bottom line, all this is madness. It represents another weird humorless assault on the spontaneous rhythms of life. Everything is wrong with this picture: wrong for the business people, wrong for the men, wrong for the women, wrong for the law, wrong for the relationship between government and citizen. Just plain wrong. Double-ewe ar oh en gee. And you can quote me on that, er... well, among friends, anyway.
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