“Hey everybody, Ashley is twenty-two years old today!  Where’s Ashley?”  A few squeals erupt from behind me.  “Send her up here!”

Always a fine moment, receiving the newest sacrificial lamb.  As a general rule, the younger the offering, the more tender the meat.  What attributes will she have? 

“Ashley, where are you?  Her friends, make some noise so we can find her!” 

“Whoo- hoo!  Here she is!  Whoo Ashley!”

I keep the music pedaling, turn around, put the spotlight on the nest of chicks peeping excitedly behind me.  “There she is!  Is that her?  Oh… Oh my god.  She is cute!  (“Whoooo!”) Ashley, you are fine as hell!  Get up here right now.  Come on!   That’s it, come on.

“Ashley, are you really just twenty two?  That is so young, baby.  You’re like, still a girl.  Come here, sit on my knee.  No, it’s OK, it’s OK!  Just pretend you're like, my little sister.  I’m being serious here.  My little sister with the tight round ass, coquettish lips and perky...  Yeah.  Hey, is your boyfriend here today?  He is?  Where is he?”   

“Is that him?  Really? He must be rich.  NO?!  Well, OK, but with him sitting right there, all we can really get away with is...

“Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy on my leg
Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy on my leg.

“Ashley, pay attention, don’t get distracted.  There will be a pop quiz.  Any second now.”

Dueling piano shows are, for better or worse, unabashedly sexist.  There are scores of insults, crude insinuations, jokes, bits, sight gags, T & A encouragements and sexual references, all at the expense of the women in the audience, as a whole and individually.

Grist for sexist humor includes dildos, camel toes, slut and whore designations, bisexuality, facial ejaculation, anal sex, gang banging, breast size, pubic fashion and blowjob aptitude.  Of course there’s hands-on body contact, both appropriate to the show and otherwise. It would seem that every woman loves to be spanked, either by their friends or their man or their piano player. 

Some piano guys are total perverts and use the stage to shameful advantage.  Hitting on a girl from the bench makes for a poor show, I think, as does public display of curve exploring.  But chivalry gets checked at the bar door.  And what is chivalry anyway, but the most delicate form of contempt?  It’s true, ask any feminist.

A rare few single women protest too much if they get in between the arms of the piano player and the piano itself for a particularly aggressive rock solo.  (Duet?) The top of the grand piano lay down is a move only real professionals should ever attempt.

Yet, for every male transgression there’s a female one.  I’ve had at different times my belt undone, my shirt unbuttoned, my torso sized up, my dick stroked. Girls will style my hair, wipe my brow and bring me a beer from the fridge if I ask them too. I’ve kissed hundreds of lips and been introduced to a countless pairs of breasts. I’m a big fan of the unsolicited onstage massage. Song request forms besmirched with female fantasy are a rare treat.

In the audience both men and women enjoy this humor and these antics immensely.  Groups of girls roasting their bachellorette or their birthday friend when given a choice between a clean song, a dirty song and a filthy song will invariably choose the last.  Amazing is the number of women who, when suggested in a public forum that they are tramps or man-eaters, will take to the role with complete relish and affirmation. For some it’s almost like a pressure release, as if thank you for letting my cat out of my bag, it’s a pleasure to be free.  But then, to be noticed!

The dueling piano act is walking a perilous tightrope above misogyny, under the big top.  Why is it that such profane humor enjoys such endorsement?  And from both genders?  What is the psychology or the mechanism that sanctifies such an exchange between the sexes?  There are certainly better explanations than one I will offer, and more intelligent observations than the ones I make.  But here’s my take on it. 

Setting aside those aspects in life in which women have yet to achieve equality, little things like work and leadership and respect, there is one arena where women are at all times superior and in control, and that is the social nightlife.  In clubs and bars everywhere, it is the women who dole out the happiness.  Their attention will make or break your night, your dreams, and the piano show.  Women are the desire.  Men are merely considered.  Love may come later.

Our feminist might point out that this power is held in contempt by men, thus the need to expose it as illegitimate.  Label it with a scarlet letter!  An intelligent feminist might point out that this power is also held in some contempt by the women, who seek a peaceful balance between sexual expression, good for the soul of any community, and feeling safe.  And Freud would say that it’s all an expression of repressed sexual energy anyways, and amazingly, he would probably be closest to the truth. 

Is it because music is involved that the passions are aroused?  Or do we flatter ourselves when we should just be acknowledging the alcohol? 

Ah yes, the music.  “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls is universally requested by women.  “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails, also universally requested by women.  Things have changed since the Fifties.  “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” has long since given way to “I want to fuck you like an animal.”  Quickly usurping a spot on the list of most requested songs is “Fuck Her Gently” by Tenacious D. 

“Ashley… what’s your favorite po-zishhh?  Ashley, tell us.  I’m guessing doggie.  No?  Reverse cowgirl!  Really?  That might surprise your boyfriend over there.  He told me that your favorite position was facing Bloomingdales.”

More songs are simple sexist parodies of classic hits.  Anyone who has ever been to a dueling piano show has heard “you bitch, you slut, you whore” inserted into Kenny Rogers’ “Lucille”, for which Kenny should be eternally grateful.  There are countless examples of this.  “Kokomo” has become “Camel Toe”.  “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music has become an ode to sexual perversity.  I’ve found that for each parody you learn, the emotional resonance of the original song gets lost a little.  For me, the day “Rubber Ducky” became “Rubber Dicky”, a little bit of my soul died. 

The granddaddy of all sexist bar songs has got to be “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw”, Jimmy Buffet’s ode to the heart, sans art, of the drunken hook-up.  But even that grand old ditty has been changed to add some modern bite.

“Ashley, twenty-two and SO inexperienced in the ways of love.  You’re young, you’re beautiful, you’re virginal.  Pure as the freshly plowed snow, aren’t you?  Yes, you are.  I knew the moment I saw you what song I wanted to sing for you.  May I sing to you?

I really do appreciate the fact that you’re sitting here.
Your voice it sounds so wonderful
And your face, oh well, who cares?

So waitress bring us Jaeger bombs
And another round of brew
Ashley, why don’t we get drunk and screw? 

Why don’t we get drunk and screw?
I just bought me a waterbed
And I filled it up at Jiffy Lube!

They say that you’re The Slut Queen
And I sure hope that’s true
So Ashley, why don’t we get drunk and screw?”

“OK people, I know that that sounds crude and misogynist, to suggest that for the price of a few drinks I could take Ashley home, bang her senseless until she passed out, and then some, but the truth is we see Ashley here all the time.  And she goes home with a different guy every single night!  She does!  In fact, I want everyone in this room who has ever slept with this little tramp to sing, right now, ba dat! dat! dat...

“Why, don’t we get drunk and screw…”  Oh my god, the entire football team!  Some girls too!  Ashley!  “And screw, and screw, and screw and screw and screw!/  Happy Birthday to you! / Happy Birthday to you! / Happy Birthday (you little slut) Ashley, / Happy birthday to you.”

“Happy birthday, cutie.  Can I get a kiss?  Thank you, baby, so sweet.”