When I was seven, I dreamed that a caravan full of gorillas escaped from a traveling circus and infiltrated the woods behind my house. As I hovered by the front door waiting for my father to come home, I watched out the window as mad apes gathered on my front lawn. The ensuing nightmare of primate rage and paternal murder left an enduring impression: Don't fuck with the monkeys. As I got older, movies like "Project X" and "Gorillas in the Mist" helped me see apes as cuddly, misunderstood creatures, not cold-blooded daddy killers. I began fantasizing about meeting a giant monkey man. He would kidnap me like I was Faye Wray, and we'd climb up the Empire State Building together. Or maybe we'd just hold hands, like Michael Jackson and Bubbles, then climb into bed together. Either way, it was on -- on like Donkey Kong. Fast forward ten years: My friend Stephanie and I get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway. As fate would have it, the Maserati parked next to us contains two greasy-cute guys. One of them hops out, introduces himself and slips me a business card.
On the front: A photo of Joey wearing black leather pants and a black leather vest, revealing his perfect pecs and a slick six-pack. On the back: Joey’s beeper number and a list of services. The last one in the line-up was called "The Banana Peel." What the hell is a Banana Peel? Even my dominatrix friend was clueless. But a few years and Google searches later, I understood: The Banana Peel is like a singing telegram, but performed by a male exotic dancer. The act involves stripping out of a gorilla suit to the delight of birthday girls, bachelorette parties, sorority pledge classes and recent divorcees everywhere. Privately I yearned, though I dared not feast on the forbidden yellow fruit… until one fateful night at a dive bar in New York City. There he was, the man of my dreams: a gorilla in a skimpy tropical bikini playing pool. As all five of my girl friends simultaneously circled the beast, I realized I was not alone with my "Beauty and the Baboon" fetish. We all flirted with Mr. Monkey Man, snapping single and group photographs with him, taking turns sitting on his lap and petting him. Nobody asked him to take his mask off; we didn’t want to know. We took him at ape value.
Eventually, I was able to separate him from the crowd. I pulled his fur, fondled his bikini and silently wondered if his banana was ripe for me. Like a mind-reader, Mr. Monkey held up his hand and showed me his wedding band. There’d be no peeling tonight. On that note, I hope all my future bridesmaids have been paying attention. I want a bachelorette party thrown in a monkey house. We’ll tip the chimps with Chiquita bananas instead of Benjamins, and give out tiny cymbals in lieu of noisemakers. When my gorilla suited stripper finally appears to perform the sacred act, the simians will bang and howl as my girl friends and I command in sign language: "PEEL IT OFF! PEEL IT OFF! PEEL IT OFF!"
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