I have lived and worked in and around Baltimore my entire life. Except for a brief stint in the farmlands of Pennsylvania for college, where I missed city life horribly, I have never lived anywhere else. It is my home. And I love it.
And while my undying love for my home city is true, that has never seemed to be the case for outsiders looking in. The city has always had the reputation of being a lesser city somehow. It’s neighbor to the south, Washington DC is more of a real city, while B-more has long suffered an also ran status. Paling in size and popularity to other Northeastern cities . . . New York, Boston, Philadelphia . . . Baltimore has always quietly existed, content in its own skin. Not looking for fame or recognition from any of its Northern brethren.
But lately, it seems, our little town has experienced a surge in popularity. Three years ago, we became the home to the Baltimore Grand Prix. A car race that is televised and occurs on Labor Day weekend, closing half the streets of downtown for famous racecar drivers to zoom around. Although, definitely not popular with many of the workers attempting to enter and then leave the city, since a large part of the area of ingress and egress is completely closed off many days before the race. However, it is a boon for Baltimore, as it brings in much money from tourism, so commuters be damned.
Also, it was reported recently that this summer there has been a spike in visits and funds spent in this city, as the hospitality industry in my fair town is apparently seeing a spike as well.
This could have something to do with the multiple very popular conventions that were scheduled this summer in the downtown convention center. I have previously mentioned the Brony convention, which was a first for the city this year, and brought a ton of Bronies to the downtown area, surely boosting sales to many local hotels and restaurants.
And of course we have Otakon. That convention has shown up in our city for many years, and brings with it oh so many fans of all things Asian culture and video games, who have the tendency to dress in costumes ranging from Pokemon & Sonic to the most garishly crazy video game demons imaginable, and everything in between. It is one of the wackiest and most anticipated weekends of the year (at least for those who appreciate ridiculousness personified walking out in public).
So, after the Bronies and the Otakons, you would think I’d be prepared for anything, right? Well, I thought all the conventions were gone and there would be no more freaks to be seen until next summer. Apparently, I was wrong.
Leaving work this past Tuesday, I stopped at a light near the convention center. What I saw on the corner was what looked very much like a stripper. And before you think I’m calling some poor innocent girl who is just dressed a bit skimpily a stripper, let me paint you a picture: Pink cowboy hat, long flowing blond hair, long fingerless gloves, pink bra, pink underwear with a short black mesh skirt over top, cowboy boots. Right? Here, you judge for yourself:
Now, this is not the type of corner you would usually see something like this. This is downtown. Next to the business district. On a Tuesday. With no conventions in town. It was a little unexpected. So, when the light changed, and I started driving closer, on my way to passing by, I tried to get a closer look, while also taking another picture. But driving and picture taking are not really the most companionable tasks, so unfortunately, I only got a leg.
But if you look closely at that picture, you might notice something. Those are neither panties nor bikini bottoms. They are in fact . . . jockeys. That’s right, this sexy stripper was actually a transvestite stripper. Which became blatantly obvious as I got closer and he turned around, giving me a full view of his very hairy chest and 2 day stubbly facial growth. Yikes! Not what I was expecting. Sorry that I couldn’t get a better picture, because, well, you kind of had to see it. This guy was obviously very lost. He was on Baltimore street, but a full 5 or 6 blocks west of the area he was probably looking for . . . Baltimore’s red light district, also known as “the block.”
Apparently, there is no end to the things I get to see while working downtown. I’m not sure I can take much more, though. I’m starting to feel a little violated, frankly. At this point, pretty much the only thing I haven’t experienced yet is a Furrie convention.
Then again, there’s always next year.