As far as legalities, I guess the place wasn't concerned with equal opportunity. Guys definitely got short-changed in their riding experience. Some invited the discrimination unwittingly.
Like a hip-hop cowboy, the first male rider busted a B-boy spin on the saddle as he mounted. Thereafter, his ride was brief.
"Three, two, one... goodbye!" Meat taunted, showing the rider who was in charge by throwing him with a herky-jerky spin on "goodbye."
The next male rider evidently didn't understand the tipping system.
"A dollar?" Meat Market exclaimed into the mic. "Hold on, boy; you're in for a bumpy ride!"
Later, the show reached a lull while another guy sat astride a barely kicking bull. The rider kept checking over his shoulder to see what was up.
Bob spotted the problem.
"He's not even looking!" he observed of the bull operator. "He's flirting with that girl!"
We caught up with the first Y-chromosomed rider, who identified himself as "Sam Bam." Despite the apparently disappointing experience, he was completely satisfied.
"I'm here all the time," he told us. "I'm 36 I'm an old ass but they call me the Seminole Hard Rock Kid."
I strained to hear him over the din, but Sam, who had lots of nervous energy, upped his wattage to compete with the music.
"This place is hard. You'll party your life away," Sam Bam warned with a casino's Player's Club card on a lanyard around his neck. "You should be here on the weekends when it's activated. I don't sleep if you sleep, you die I live here. I don't even work anymore."
I wondered aloud how he could afford to be a player.
"I got 20 bucks from my parents," he admitted. "But you don't even have to spend money here to have fun."
True. You can always have someone else bankroll your good time.
Soon, I spotted Jennifer under the beer-bottle chandelier trying to dance with a new friend a handsome kid rocking the business-thug look in a blazer and lots of long braids beneath his Yankees ball cap.
"Want me to hold those?" I asked her, extending my hand for the half-dozen photos of her on the bull.
"Are they going to end up in the paper?" she laughed, holding them out to me. "Isn't he cute?"
Pulling out my camera, I offered to preserve the moment. Evidently, she wasn't worried about the fate of these pictures. The next thing I knew, I'd squeezed off a bunch of shots of her with her new stud all over her his arms around her, his hands on her breasts (over the shirt), and the grand finale his tongue on her nipple (shirt pulled aside) with her e-mail address written on a piece of paper held beneath her exposed mamms.
She seemed to care less about whether what happened at Hard Rock stayed at Hard Rock than whether what got rock hard would stay rock hard. And I appreciated that party aesthetic.
Near 2 a.m., the crowd was starting to thin. I didn't understand why. I mean, nothing says "good times" like the smell of bleach, and now it was plenty potent as an employee mopped. When the lights over the bar came up and the bull retired, I made my introductions to the man behind the bull, 34-year-old Corey Davis, who'd been sent down two and a half years earlier by the Chicago club where he worked.
"You look like you're having so much fun!" I said.
"Would you want to get a ride from someone who looked like this?" he asked, scrunching his handsome face into a cartoonish grimace.
His look was paying off the tip bucket was stuffed with bills of all denominations.
"What kind of credentials do you need for a job like this?" I queried. (It's never too late for a career change.)
"I guess you gotta know someone," he said, his dark eyes still sparkling with mischief despite the late hour. "I didn't even want to do it at first. You know, I expected the whole country thing."
When he smiled at me, his cheekbones became little cliffs, the kind a woman might leap from if he spurned her.
"On the weekends, it's really crazy. Everyone wants to outdo the next person. If one girl takes her top off, the next one will get naked."
"You gotta ride the bull," he enticed.
He almost had me.
"C'mon, there's no one here."
He was right. Other than Private Bob, who was hanging with a casino bartender he knew, only a couple of staffers remained. I wondered what sort of agave-induced undulations he could produce from me. Taking a deep breath as I deliberated, I inhaled a lung full of the bleach that was evaporating from the floor. It had a sanitizing effect.