This weekend gave me the feeling I was a cross between Nellie Bly and Charles Bukowski. Or, a Margaret Mead of the degenerate, as my co-conspirator in the underbelly adventures put it.
Actually, I admit, it wasn’t all that raunchy Friday at the East Bay Rats clubhouse, where the Oakland biker club hosted fight-night. It was a melting pot of the roughest stew, definitely rowdy, but surprisingly well-mannered.
As I stood surrounded by every flavor of tough, rough biker types, I wondered which part of the brain (brain disorder, as it were) tells people that it’s a good idea to get boozed up then climb into a boxing ring. Talk about a hangover. The fighters looked like human windmills gone amok, all arms flailing in the air. They evidently did some damage — blood was spattered across the referee’s white T-shirt from bloodied noses and the like. But the bouts ended mostly after two very short rounds with a tie and a hug, both fighters exhausted. After one bout, the two women who just tried to knock each other silly kissed — then kissed again and again. They were getting into it. That’s something you don’t see every day in the ring.
The ladies dominated the ring as one woman straddled the rope post during a lull, prodding the “real men” to step up. she seemed to think there were some impostors lurking, because she told them to prove their masculine authenticity by checking if a certain body part could be found between their legs. It didn’t take long for two men heed the call, although they declined to display the manhood proof so vigorously demanded — screamed — by the woman. Instead they wailed on each other.
One fan remarked that the ring gave folks a place to take their saloon-silly aggression. No bar-room brawls over stupidly hurled words or looks. Anyway, the boss — head-shaved, tattooed, big-guy Trevor — would be enough to dissuade anyone from acting too stupid anyway. Then again, maybe folks are just thankful to have at least one gritty, underground scene to flock to that they don’t want to jeopardize a good thing.
Much less ladylike was a benefit concert to raise money for the Bay Area Derby Girls _ those vixens of the roller rink. Girl Band (whose lead singer almost got booted out of the club because she gave the bartender such a bad time) played a song written for the B.A.D. girls with good hearts — “Anything you want, I’ll do it better. Sock me in the face, it only makes me w……” Well, you can guess the rest. The derby darlings look like Betty Page gone Hells Angels (so you can forget the 1970s roller babes in satin short-shorts, feathered hair and lip gloss).
How could you not love women who go by the name of “Injured Rogers” or “Ms. Moxie,” drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, looks Charles Bronson-tough as she takes out another gal in the rink without batting a perfectly mascara-painted eyelash.
“It’s not the chick factor,” said one fan. It’s their “feisty, feisty spunkness,” he loved.
Spunkness indeed. Word had it that night that the gals were even auctioning off their panties to raise money for their own portable skate floor. They lost their rink, the Dry Ice arena in East Oakland, in March just days before a match. Every venue they sought since has fallen through. So the gals are applying their DIY attitude to the dilemma like red, red lipstick.
They put the word out that they needed help and folks responded, lending a hand to keep them in their skates — “so they can keep on whipping up on each other,” as the B-Cups lead singer said as she took the stage.