So it was good to end our GSG tour of Johnson County at a place as sociologically interesting as Breakers. The 25,000-square-foot bar and restaurant used to be a Jungle Jim's Playland and, before that, a grocery store. When we walked in, we were stunned by its size as well as by the numerous pool tables dominating the place. Four-TV clusters hung from the ceiling so that we could keep an eye on the preseason Jets-Bucs game (yea! the return of football!), and a row of dartboards lined one wall. A lonely, forlorn Ping-Pong table huddled in one corner. As if to emphasize that pool is serious business at Breakers, "Grampa's Cue Repair" was in the back, presumably where the meat department used to be.
"It's expansive and reeks of competition," was GSG participant Matt's assessment. "All shapes, sizes and nationalities are welcome," noted fellow competitor Amy. Actually, she was referring to the woman who was wearing an '80s cocktail dress with a low-waisted, black, sequined top and a very short, white, ruffly, taffeta skirt. The skirt was hiked up high over one hip, showing a good amount of garter-adorned thigh. Completing the outfit was a thin, black, sequined headband.
The crowd that Saturday night was somewhat sparse, even considering the size of the place, but quasi-regular David, 23, told us that it was sometimes so packed you couldn't get a table. He was out with the guys for a laid-back night. Naturally, they were shooting pool and drinking the special: $2 Heineken bottles. (Owner and manager Valerie Town later told us that drink specials change daily.) David and his tribe were also in favor of the 75-cent pool games. "You don't always feel like going out and picking up women," he explained. "This is a good place to hang out with the guys." So, it was a Boys Night Out, then? "Sure," he said. "But that sounds a little gay."
Of course, mullets were present, but what caught our attention was the guy who was wearing a T-shirt that said "Viva la Mullet." We had to ask him if he had worn that T-shirt specifically for the venue and for ironic value. His wife, Libby, 27, replied that he had been at work late and had asked her to bring him something comfortable, so that's what she grabbed. He added that the T-shirt itself had been bought at Hot Topic for ironic value.
During this exchange, two other women at the table -- one wearing a cowboy hat, tank top and Daisy Dukes, the other in overalls and a white tank top, her hair held back by one of those enormous white, plastic claw clips so popular in the mid-'90s but just trashy now -- were giving off the bitch vibe. (They'd also been snotty earlier in the night when a friend rested her beer on their table while playing darts.) Libby later apologized for them. "Excuse our friend. She's a snob," Libby said of Overalls Queen. "They're sisters -- it runs in the family." Which would explain their dubious tastes in fashion, too.
As the What Not to Wear sisters strutted out, we wandered back to our party, where we found that we were Not a Winner in the 2003 Goodswill Games. Alas. But we took comfort in the fact that the winter games were just several months away. We're already in training. And when we say "training," we really mean "drinking." That's a sport, right?