Favorite

So ... mud wrestling. Downtown, at Gusano’s Pizzeria. Every Friday night during Gusano’s “slow” months. Hot young girls, taking off their clothes and rolling around in the mud. How did I not know about this sooner?

It’s pretty much what you’d expect. Despite the fact that girls don’t pay to get in, the bar’s male-female ratio is at least 60-40, if not 70-30. The “ring” is a dirt-filled polygon of beer cases draped with a bright-blue tarp — the kind you’d see anchored with bricks and cinderblocks over an inoperative car or off-season boat — and walled by translucent plastic, wrapped and twisted around wooden stakes sunk in buckets of dirt at each corner. There appears to be nothing more than a layer of plastic between the tarp and the bar’s wooden floor.

An announcer comes over the loudspeakers and says the mud wrestling will start soon — as soon as they have at least three volunteers from the audience. “Volunteers” who will each be paid $50 to compete for a chance to win $100. “Volunteers” who at this point may have been drinking for a couple of hours. A few minutes later, the announcer walks two girls over to the ring. He’s putting his arms around them, explaining things, pointing into the ring. One says something about her birthday. They exit stage left, down a hallway. Half an hour goes by, and to the credit of the female population of the bar, they’ve failed to produce a third girl. The crowd is antsy. It’s getting late.

So they settle for two contestants. The ring is mobbed in an instant as the girls are led out wearing tank tops and shorts. One shivers and mouths “It’s cold!” but at this point they’re still smiling. The announcer huddles with them and pushes them down to their knees. For a moment they’re frozen in exactly the way I imagine I would be in such a situation; they don’t have any idea what they’re doing. So they start to push each other, and the crowd starts to holler. This gets them going, and the mud starts to fly.

It must be a new round, because they’re in another huddle, and then suddenly one yanks the other’s shorts down, revealing her thong and ergo her butt. The nearly all-male crowd produces the expected response, and the girls volley with a kiss. The guy standing next to me chokes out an enthusiastic “That’s awesome.” The girls confer, as if discussing what to do next. One tells the other she’s getting tired. They launch into a mini strip tease, slowly removing their tank tops. The guy in front of me turns to his friend and exclaims, “Where do they find these bitches?” I bite my tongue.

By the final round they don’t look like they even remember having had fun. They’re wilted and bleeding. Their lack of interest in mud wrestling becomes finally apparent when they abandon it all together and begin exaggeratedly making out on the floor. This not only makes it hard to tell who’s pinned whom, it has a dubiously positive effect on the crowd: An overzealous onlooker has fallen into the pit.

On their way out, one of the girls embraces and rubs mud all over a guy in a sweatshirt (for some reason, I take him to be her boyfriend). Looking down at himself, he yells, “I’m gonna beat your ass!” as she disappears into the back to clean up. “I’m so gonna beat her ass,” he repeats to his friends.

I want to stay and talk to them, but I know I can’t be objective. Why would they do that? It wasn’t for the money; they were paid peanuts compared to what, say, a stripper makes. (A stripper also works in a more controlled environment: this event, which my companion later described as a “big swirly nightmare,” would make an average evening at the strip club look like high tea.) And it didn’t look like fun, unless by fun you mean predicating your every move on the howling encouragement of guys who refer to you as “bitches” (not “chicks,” not even “babes,” but “bitches.” Lordy).

So they must have been doing it for themselves. Women — feminists — before us fought for our sexual liberation, for our right to express our sexuality without reproach, to be free of shame about our bodies, to enjoy ourselves. And it’s empowering to say “I choose this; I’m in charge.” But saying it doesn’t make it so, and I guarantee that not a single guy in that crowd was looking at those girls — those “bitches” (I admit it, I regret not popping that guy a good one) — and marveling at how far we’ve come. It’s a losing battle, at least when it’s fought in this way. “Stop objectifying us!” we shout. “We’re perfectly capable of doing that ourselves.”

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Friday's open line

    The daily video and an open line.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • White flag waved on Trumpcare

    House Republicans pulled down the Trumpcare legislation this afternoon and walked out, depriving Democrats of some fun in pointing out all the anti-woman, anti-poor, pro-rich aspects of a bill too generous for hardcare Republicans and too mean for the few remaining moderates.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • Jones Bar-B-Q of Marianna has a related outpost in Jacksonville

    The legendary Jones Bar-B-Q Diner of Marianna is about to have a kissing cousin — supposedly with the same key recipes — in Jacksonville.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • More »

More by Katherine Whitworth

  • Sand in our shoes

    It’s true that Arkansas is a landlocked state: The nearest access point to salt water is at least 400 miles away. It’s also true that no less than three state Parks and Tourism employees laughed at recent requests for information regarding the beaches of
    • May 4, 2007
  • The perfect summer drink

    Sangria, the unofficial national beverage of Spain, may very well be the perfect summer drink. More festive than beer, less punishing than a cocktail, and as companionable as iced tea or lemonade to summertime staples like barbecue and fried chicken, this
    • May 4, 2007
  • In the garden

    Has anybody noticed the scarecrow hanging outside O.W. Pizza? It’s kind of hard to spot unless you’re looking for it, because it’s over on the left side, toward the back, and you can’t see it going east on Markham without craning your neck at a dangerous
    • Apr 5, 2007
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Katherine Whitworth

  • In the garden

    Has anybody noticed the scarecrow hanging outside O.W. Pizza? It’s kind of hard to spot unless you’re looking for it, because it’s over on the left side, toward the back, and you can’t see it going east on Markham without craning your neck at a dangerous
    • Apr 5, 2007
  • Who should parent?

    Let me tell you about a friend of mine. He’s a guy who is unequivocally regarded as a wonderful person by those who know him. He’s kind, and caring, and conscientious, and compassionate. He’s smart, funny, and generous. He seeks joy and peace and knowledg
    • Mar 29, 2007
  • Femininity vs. feminism

    Speaking of feminism, why is it that the Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women is so much better represented in the thrift and used-book stores of Arkansas than in those of any other state I’ve been to? I’ve been lazily collecting these slim volumes —
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, aren't we the compassionate one - "own family members" can mean small children -…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Enough! I don't care if it is the dog or the human factor. The end…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation