Ever since Hooters opened in Beaverton, I have joked with my wife that some day I would duck in there for some wings, and to ogle the servers. I haven’t, for the same reason that I haven’t gone to a strip club–I really don’t think she would appreciate it. Nevertheless, I’d been tempted on a couple of occasions. After all, I’d heard that Hooters had good wings, and I really like me some good wings.

But I wasn’t too impressed with the whole Hooters schtick. After all, there are attractive women at any number of restaurants. Sure, Hooters girls have tight outfits, but I figured that was more branding and trade dress than anything too titillating. After all, I’d heard of families that took their kids to Hooters. If Hooters was really all that provocative, people wouldn’t take their kids, right? Right? It must be just another restaurant.

Well, tonight the wife and I had decided to watch “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and park the kids in front of the television for dinner. This is a special treat usually reserved for Friday nights, but we were eager to see the movie, and we knew the kids wouldn’t complain. But what to bring in for dinner? The wife suggested chicken wings, and so I jokingly suggested take-out from Hooters. “Sure” she said. I assumed she meant she would run out and pick it up. But no, she wanted me to pick it up. At Hooters. “Are you sure?” Yes, she really didn’t want to leave the house.

Okay, then.

So I ventured into the bright, orange-emblazoned inner sanctum that is Hooters. A gentleman behind the bar greeted me as I came in the door, and suggested I sit anywhere. I told him I had an order to pick up, and he went to go check with the kitchen. Then I looked around the restaurant. Lots of high tables, lots of televisions turned to various sports channels, and lots of waitresse–

Holy. Crap.

Okay, I’ve seen plenty of pictures of Hooters girls. Tight orange pants, tight tops, busty, etc. But the effect of seeing them in the flesh was … overwhelming. I had assumed that the really top-heavy girls were the exception, rather than the rule. Well, not on this shift. Every server in sight was blessed with assets that more than matched the company trademark, and then some. And their hotpants were so … tight. I immediately found myself looking at the posters on the wall, at the shows on the televisions, anything to keep my eyeballs from drifting inexorably to the girls and their pulchritudinous charms. I also started sweating profusely.

The gentleman returned, rang up my order and handed me a receipt. I pulled out my debit card to pay for it, but he had already walked back to the kitchen area to bag up the food.

“Hi there sweetie, have you been taken care of?” Eeep! It was one of the waitresses. I turned to look at her, then immediately had to force my eyes up and away from the vast expanse of cleavage she displayed. A vast expanse that was suddenly alarmingly close. I waved my receipt in front of me like a tiny little white flag. “Take-out. Order.” I stammered. “Need to pay. Been taken care of.”

Despite my best efforts to look at anything but the girls, I found myself sneaking quick peeks at them while waiting for the slowest worker in the world to take my debit card. And feeling incredibly, ridiculously guilty about it.

I got my food, paid the bill, and bolted for the car. I set out for home, but I was distracted to say the least. When I say I was ‘distracted’, I am not engaged in mere hyperbole. I was in fact so ‘distracted’ that I completely blew through a red light halfway home. Granted, it was a 3-way intersection that rarely has a red light, but I didn’t even notice it until I was already in the intersection. So then I was distracted AND shaken up. So much so that I nearly rear-ended someone as I came into my neighborhood.

Pitiful. Simply pitiful. All the more so since I have been telling folks that, as I embrace my forties, I have become more comfortable with my sexuality. More comfortable with the fact that I enjoy looking at attractive women, and that I simply refuse to feel guilty about it. Clearly, my id has not been comparing notes with my superego on this topic.

Would I ever go back? Well, the wings were good, but not fabulous. The prospect of being waited upon by those handmaidens of Aphrodite, while definitely attractive on one level (thumbs up! says my id) is undeniably terrifying on another (run away! says my superego). I fear I must resign myself to being a middle-aged husband who remains close to home. All my personal fantasies notwithstanding, I am not cool and sophisticated. I am not suave and debonair. I am at heart a geek and a nerd, and I fear it will be impossible to ever be able to wittily chat up the chicas if I am unable to make eye contact with them.