C'mon in, buddy.

There always seems to be a desire for a secret place where one is not supposed to go a What do you think of my new shoes? place that is not to be spoken of in public. In youth, we devised and constructed clubs and forts in which to carry on esoteric activities; we searched out "haunted" houses and buried treasure, but the true secret places eluded most of us. Often, as children, we would hear faint whisperings among the adults and be overtaken by curiosity. As adulthood trapped and corrupted us, we began to lose touch with that curious and clandestine drive well most of us did.
 In the community of my childhood, there were social clubs, usually affiliated with The Knights of Columbus or The Elks' Clubs, but sometimes there were more mysterious ones, generally named after the streets they were on or naming themselves with a cryptic, foreign word. In our comic book and secret-agent-filled days of puberty, it wasn't difficult Aye ,Caramba!!! for my friends and me to imagine that behind those locked doors were wild parties of alcohol, cigars, Frank Sinatra records, and most importantly naked women!
 In reality, we never saw women ever enter or leave these clubs, but we still thought of different "neighborhood women" disrobing and lounging around in there. Some of these men were small-time gamblers and numbers-runners, which was impressive to us at that age, so it wasn't difficult to imagine wild, Care for a drink, mister? bawdy parties going on inside. Our daydreams were only further fueled by any adults, including our parents, refusing to give us straight answers as to the goings-on in these places. Once we reached early adulthood, we realized that the neighborhood women did not parade around nude in there, these men were far from impressive, and that little more went on in these clubs, than drinking, cursing and gambling.
 The culture is largely self-perpetuating, however, and the apparent haven of alcohol and gratuitous nudity always looms. If you look through that keyhole you can see it.

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