No Tomas

The waiter cleared our plates at 10:30 pm, early by Argentinean standards. “Let’s check out the pub,” Stas encouraged.

Pub? Sleep? Pub? Sleep? I hadn’t had more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep since we arrived, and most of those were while on a bus or plane. After some persuasive convincing, I agreed to the pub. A few drinks later we began the 4 block walk home through the icy air. We were almost home when we heard the music.

Music! Live music! It seemed to be coming from the “Cabaret – El Gran Judas” which was right across the street from our hotel. “One more?” asked Stas. “Come on, let’s check it out.” Never one to turn down live music, I agreed.

As we walked through the door, the bouncer stopped me with a firm grip on my arm. “No Tomas.” I thought for a moment, realized I didn’t understand, so replied, “Repita, por favor. Mas despuescio.” His gaze went slowly from me, to Stas, then back to me. “No Tomas.” I shook my head. I still didn’t understand. Was there a cover charge? Was this a private club? He gave up on me and turned to Stas. “No Tomas,” he said firmly. Stas shook his head while saying, in English, “I don’t speak Spanish.”

“No wo-man,” replied the bouncer.

Aaahhh. No damas, he had been saying. How odd. There were women in the bar. Why wasn’t I allowed in? I began to protest, “Pero, alli…” Stas pulled me by the arm and ushered me outside.

“But, but, I don’t understand. Why couldn’t we go in? There were women in there.” Through hysterical gasps, Stas replied, “Did you see what they were wearing? That was a whore house – that’s why you weren’t allowed in…”

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