The Venue: Penthouse Executive Club, New York
The Crowd: Hard to peg. Advertisers, PR reps, "talent," the 2007 Penthouse Pet of the Year and her runner-up, and of course, several upscale gentlemen
The Food: Gyoza dumplings were reportedly in circulation, but were not easy to find
The Swag: Cookies iced with the logo of Sugartown Creative, which built MyPleasurePet.com
The Freeloader hadn't been to a magazine party at a strip club before, much less "the most upscale gentleman's club in the world." Invites usually beckon us, after all, to the top floor of 7 World Trade Center, the American Museum of Natural History or the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
So, naturally, there was no staying away from the Penthouse party. On the ground floor of the club, located incredibly far west on 11th Avenue, the invited advertisers, business partners and Penthouse execs mingled in a big-but-crowded, slightly steamy space with a surprisingly small bar.
But upstairs, where the Frank Bruni-reviewed Robert's Steak House sits, the party invitees mixed with regular customers, some of whom were already getting lap dances at 6:30 p.m.
That's when the Freeloader was upstaged by a freeloading attempt so audacious it will surely never be repeated. A gentleman there for the party, complete with the bracelet that got invitees access to the open bar, was led by a waitress to an overstuffed chair, where she put her knee in his groin, poured a shot into his mouth and pressed her (clothed) breasts into his face.
When it came time for him to pay, however, the man just pulled back his sleeve to show his bracelet -- because of course, you know, open bar obviously means liquor-sex act combos are on the house too.
This Freeloader wondered what that freeloader expected to take home in his swag bag.
After he swore surprise, claimed poverty and started haggling, the waitress did all she could. "I'll take $10," she sighed.
Before long a speech from the downstairs stage sort of ruined the mood for an elderly gent's lap dance, but did remind everyone why they were ostensibly there. "I want you to help me in thanking the group at Sugartown for putting this all together," an executive said. On the subject of the new MyPleasurePet.com, she added: "Everybody in this room here, you're going to be brand ambassadors. Seriously."
We wondered how smart it was to invoke viral marketing at a gentleman's club, even if it was supposed to be the most upscale of its kind.
But then strippers took the stage, the party crowd began dissipating, regular customers began overtaking the room and the open bar shut down. Beer began running $11 each. So Freeloader decided to make more room for the arriving "upscale gentlemen" who came, no doubt, with open wallets.