Goth Pop!

On this particular night, the Senator -- noted cross-dresser and Ybor socialite -- was sporting a black negligée and (I think) socks. And I cannot imagine anybody short of Greta Garbo wearing that outfit with more dignity. Sipping his perennial Bud Light, he smiled when we approached to shake his hand, though he was clearly more interested in the women with whom we were traveling. We moved into the bar area, hoping that later we'd have the opportunity to see the Senator in action on the dance floor.


I bought Melanie a birthday shot -- Rumple Minze in a chilled glass -- and Brian and I provided a round of Red-Headed Sluts for everyone else. The club looks like a set piece from Bride of Frankenstein, its regulars the extras. Looking around, I realized we were the only ones who'd neglected to wear black, or at least a bit of pleather, or a nice rubber corset, or even a spike or two on our necks. I felt mascara-lidded eyes trained on my baby-blue linen pants, sizing me up, wondering where I was from and why I'd dressed for Nantucket rather than for the death-metal inferno of the Castle.


Suddenly the Senator appeared, and we began to...converse. He flirted with Melanie and Lyndsay, telling them all manner of charming things that escape the memory, and pausing every minute or so to greet another female friend. "Hey, Senator!" "Haven't seen you around lately!" "Oh there's someone you absolutely have to meet!" We knew he was an icon, but we didn't realize just how in demand the man was. We felt honored he kept his poorly-covered derrière by our side at the bar for so long.


Finally, Brian asked him the burning question: "So, Senator...what do you do for a living?" The Senator leaned in, looking suddenly sarcastic, and told Bri out of the side of his mouth:


"Listen, pal. I party, and I sleep." He turned back to a large woman who was filling a catwoman suit to the point of danger.


We clinked to that.


-- Ted Scheinman


To read Alex Pickett's story on the Senator, click here.

What: Becoming one with the inner Goth

Where: The Castle in Ybor

Must-Do? Says Who? The Senator and his loving constituents

Casualties: $21 for ‘red-headed sluts’ (a specialty shot, that is); some other amount for something else, I can’t quite think what

Notable Quotable: “What do you do for a living?”

We paused after the Cajun Café extravaganza to digest a bit and hop in the pool—we'd been up since 8 and knew our night was only beginning, and a half-hour of R&R was crucial. Arriving in Ybor, we met Melanie (the birthday girl), Lyndsay, London and Misha outside the Castle and headed to the Tampa Bay Brewing Co. to fortify ourselves on pints of Old Elephant Foot IPA, Iron Rat Stout, One Night Stand Pale Ale, and (the kicker) Moosekiller Barley-Wine Style Ale.

The Castle, a parade of pleather & super glue coiffures, a zombie dance hall that bounces every night to the tunes of Megadump and Sister Machine Gun, home to such cultural milestones as the "Vamps & Vixens Ball," purveyors of the infamous "Communion Shot"—well, we just didn't know what we were getting ourselves into.

The place was hopping by the time we arrived. A $6 cover seemed steep, but we were a bit anesthetized at that point and we slid through without complaint. As we arrived on the second floor of the dungeon-themed club, our hearts leapt—it was the man himself—the Senator was there in all his glory.

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