Located in the old Frankie's spot, Blonde is what you think it might be; it's sleek and swank, and for its premiere shindig, a line of trendoids stretched around the block. The Night Ranger and her trusty sidekick, Research Assistant Laura, accidentally managed to bypass the line, though. As we walked down the stairs from the parking garage, we noticed that Blonde's emergency back door was open, so we slipped inside. (Could we write more sexual innuendos in one sentence? We'll certainly try.)
Jubilant at our infiltration, we took in the scene. The place was steamy (AC problems), but then again, it was also packed -- mainly with striped shirts, tanorexics and manorexics, all enjoying the free drinks that were served from 8 to 10 p.m. RA Laura fought her way to the bar (where she was rudely elbowed aside by some skankoid) and scored us some refreshing, vodka-based drinks served in pint glasses. Though the crowd was tube-top heavy, elements of style abounded -- a woman clad in a high-waisted '40s dress and cool, clunky glasses; a couple of guys suavely dressed in suits. We were surprised that the bar wasn't that big. The serving area is divided from the dance floor by a double-sided banquette, and gauzy curtains flutter from the high ceiling. ("It's Frankie's with curtains," commented a friend.) A DJ spun some rather outdated stuff (including Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"), but the atmosphere was festive, in that everyone's-trying-to-get-laid way. We stopped by again on Saturday -- its official opening night -- and were pleased to note that the music was substantially better.
The second floor contained another bar, sofa seating and a bedlike area (perfect for makeout sessions and/or passing out), but we were drunkenly intrigued by the basement bathroom area. After descending the stairs, we encountered four doors. One was for the women's room (where RA Laura overheard a great bit of conversation: a drunk chick wailing into her cell phone, "Why don't you fucking trust me? I've got responsibilities. I need to get up in the morning. I'm not fucking going to cheat on you!"). The other three were individual toilets. Two of the doors for the toilets were clear -- until you closed the door, whereupon it would fog up. Pretty fancy-schmancy, we thought; we were quasi-impressed. In a corner in front of the toilets was an area we initially thought was a shrine because it was lit up by candles. It turned out to be a shrine, of sorts, to hygiene: mouthwash, Axe bodyspray, lotion and, bafflingly, paper towels. (Another tip: If you ask nicely, the attendant will give you a condom, discreetly wrapped in a pink matchbook covering.)
We pocketed the condom, then went back upstairs, where we met Lenny, 27, a cute Korean-American guy who was there with his friend, Corbin. The two became friends at the University of Kansas. ("Rock Chalk, beeyotch!" Corbin injected.) After finding out that Lenny was single, we asked if he was at Blonde to hook up.
"I'm not here to hook up, but I'm laying the groundwork down. I'm all about the groundwork," he said. "Hey, what will get me published in the paper?"
"Tell me something sordid and kinky," requested the Night Ranger.
"Well, I finally had a girl let me tie her up and slap her for the first time," he replied. Uh, that'll work. We asked for more details.
He told us that he'd been laying the groundwork for about a month beforehand. "I thought I'd have to steal home, but she ended up playing third-base coach and waved me in. Next thing I knew, it's 9 in the morning, and she had me tie her up and slap her. It [the slap] was pretty hard, actually." Ah, if only the Royals could play ball like Lenny.
We then went upstairs and met Amber, 21, and Rebecca, 25. They're servers at Kona Grill, so we had to ask: Was Kona or Blonde the better pickup spot?
"It's all the same crowd," Rebecca said. "They're checking out the good stuff. They'll be back. It's OK."
Because both were really pretty, we asked about the weird pickup lines they've heard on the job. "Oh. My. God!" both exclaimed.
"Last week," Rebecca said, "some guy said, 'Do you sleep on your belly button?' No. 'Well, can I?'" (Note to guys: Lines = bad. Stop using them immediately, commandeth the Night Ranger.)
"Some guys will ask me to go home with them, even though they've got a wedding ring on," Amber said. "They say, 'But I love my wife.' There are so many assholes out there. Some say, 'Do you want to come out with us?' I'll say no, and they'll be like, 'We'll pay you.' Do you think I'm a fucking prostitute?" She added that these lines have come mainly from out-of-town businessmen.
Ugh. Sordid, indeed, but not pleasant-sordid like Lenny's tale of tail. Somewhat depressed by the assholic-ness of people, we decided to move on to a lighter topic of conversation with Robert, 27, a hairstylist at DoubleTake Salon in Overland Park.
"In your expert opinion, how many real blondes are here tonight?" we asked.
"Whooo! Zero," he replied. We asked if, in general, the blondes here were overprocessed. Were they all split-endy? "Hold on," he said, then went to peer over the balcony. "Five percent," he said, meaning the amount of bad roots present.
We might not have found out how many blondes it takes to open a nightclub, but at least we discovered that the carpet doesn't match the drapes. Not a bad night of work, we supposed, so we slipped out the back door again and headed home. We've got responsibilities, too, you know.