Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keeping abreast of stuff

Still reading The Des Moines Register online for free, pending construction of the pay wall, I happened upon Kyle Munson's article this morning about a new West Des Moines restaurant, Twin Peaks.

Munson is the latest in a series of roaming male Register columnists following (sort of) in the footsteps of Chuck Offenberger, the original "Iowa Boy," long retired. I think of them all as Iowa Boy, however.

And Twin Peaks, whose principal offering is youthful female breasts --- perhaps you already figured out the allusion --- is No. 22, according to Munson, in a series of establishments opened by a Texas-based chain patterned after the aging Hooters franchise.

Frustratingly, it's not even possible to say anything snarky about Texas in this instance, since Hooters --- now with 400 franchises --- was founded (in Florida) by Waverly natives.

According to Munson, aspiring "Twin Peaks Girls" wear red plaid bikini tops and are known as "Bambi" while in training and are expected to be well versed in a menu featuring double entendres that cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

This all seems odd to me --- and I do not mean to disparage breasts. They're useful and can be decorative, I suppose, but because of the cultural divide between gay and straight fall roughly in the same class as shoes --- you expect someone who is fully dressed to be wearing them.

My only memorable encounter with a breast came when, as high school student council president during my senior year, it was mandatory that I figure out how --- before a full school assembly --- to affix a corsage to the strapless bodice of the homecoming queen's gown. Poor Pam. I can't recall if I drew blood, and I'm not saying the experience turned me gay, but it was not pleasant for either of us and I've tried since to avoid corsages.

Anyhow, I got to wondering what Harriet Ketcham would say about all of this. Harriet, of Mount Pleasant, designed the glorious Iowa Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the grounds of the state capitol, completed in 1896 and featuring atop the north side of its base one of Iowa's first public art celebrations of the female breast.

This bronze (above) was quite controversial in its time --- wicked some said --- but was intended to be pure allegory: Mother Iowa offering sustenance to her people. I think it's lovely, but the bare chest tends to distract attention from the moving words just above them, "Iowa, her affections like the rivers of her borders flow to an inseperable union."

Although the combatants memorialized in bronze elsewhere on the statue are male, the important figures here at Ketcham's behest are feminine --- winged victory atop it and to the south, Clio, the muse of history, fully clothed, looking into the future with Iowa, as a little boy, at her side.

I doubt Ketcham would be amused by "Twin Peaks," but who knows? I probably won't make it into the city to visit Twin Peaks.  I like my fish sandwhich served with a side of chips, not breasts.

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