Ripped at a Wet T-shirt Contest in 2000

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago the 3rd Rock Bar at 1201 Tower Ave. held weekly wet T-shirt contests. The Sultan of Sot was there to document the action for an article that appeared in the April 19, 2000 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

The 3rd Rock Bar is Superior’s newest nightclub. It is a hard-rock venue, similar to the old Pacific Club, where Metallica cover bands and easily deceived women gather to negotiate unwanted pregnancies. Connected to 3rd Rock is the Bourbon Street Blues Saloon, which was completely patronless when I peeked in the window.

Every Wednesday night, 3rd Rock hosts a wet T-shirt contest. This is an excellent marketing choice because the type of person who really enjoys a wet T-shirt contest is also the kind of person who really enjoys doing the same thing every Wednesday night.

I showed up around 11 p.m. and sat at the bar, carefully ignoring the house band, War for Peace, and listening in on other people’s conversations. Apparently, no one had signed up for the contest and the master of ceremonies, “Lerch” of KRBR-FM, was getting desperate.

I took great pleasure in this news. What a victory for womankind! It looked like the wettest T-shirt in the room was going to be worn by the sweaty guy on the other side of the bar. Screen printed on the front of his shirt was this funny, funny joke:

Q: What’s the difference between a cheesehead and a dickhead?

A: The Minnesota border.

In an effort to boost participation in the wet T-shirt contest, the lead singer of War for Peace made an announcement between songs encouraging the women in the room to sign up. In order to make the event seem more appealing, he announced that the prize money was $2,000. Actually, the prize money was $50 and a chance for the winner to further degrade herself at a later date — in the finals — and compete for $2,000.

Across the room I noticed a KDLH-TV sportscaster standing with some friends at a table. The contest had not begun yet, but for some reason an inebriated middle-aged woman began dancing around near them and rubbing herself. If it was not for her tight shirt, she might seriously have tripped over her sagging breasts. The sportscaster and his friends had to be wondering if this shirt would soon be moistened. I admit, I did too.

Finally, just after midnight, the contest began. Eight contestants took the stage and greeted onlookers: “I’m Jessica and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Becky and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Laura and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Darcy and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Amber and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Andrea and I’m from Duluth.” “I’m Tara and I’m from Duluth.”

I’m Slim Goodbuzz and I’m moving to Hermantown.

The last contestant was named Destiny. “I’m Destiny and I’m yours,” she announced. All the other guys in the room thought she meant them, but I know she was talking directly to me.

The classiest woman in the group was unquestionably Jessica. Her shirt was cut off just below her breasts. Over and over again she would raise her hands and cheer, exposing her nipples. This seemed to surprise her each of the twenty times it happened. Jessica also had a drug-abuse kind of expression on her face, which provoked the guy to my right to lean toward me with a concerned look on his face and say, “she’s creepy, man.”

As Becky, Laura and Darcy took their turns, I was distracted by the man behind me, who began shouting and spraying my neck with spit. “Hey, if they’re fat, we don’t wanna see ’em! If they’re small, we don’t wanna see ’em!”

Some guy up front decided he wanted to do more than see them. He jumped on stage and shoved his crotch against one of the women and was quickly dragged out of the place by security. The guy behind me began raging again. “We want real titties, not sloppy titties!”

The subject of the most audience disrespect was Tara. She was the Charlie Brown of the contest. She kept trying so hard to win approval, but was only able to scrounge up mild applause when she pulled down her pants and shook her booty. The hickie on her right buttock was large enough to see from the back of the room.

It was going to be difficult to pick a “winner” out of this group. A lot of guys were cheering for Becky. The sportscaster was in loud support of Andrea. I was hoping Dignity (not to be confused with Destiny) would prevail, though I soon came to realize that my contestant did not have a chance in Hell.

When it comes to competitive events, we can trust the expert opinion of a KDLH sportscaster. Andrea won. I did not stick around to find out if she spent her fifty all in one place.

Some people say this type of event degrades women. I disagree. This event degraded humanity.

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