Let's Talk About Sex

Lake St. Louis' favorite agents provocateurs, the Wahls, are at it again

Tom and Suzi don't plan to stop doing what they do, and even if Wahl had known the July 31 gig was for cops, he still would have gone through with it -- with one change. "If I had known in advance that they were police officers," says Wahl. "I would have offered them a discount."

TAKE A WALK ON THE NORTH SIDE: Metropolis gets praised for many things, particularly on the editorial page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When the do-gooder/city-booster group gets dissed, it's often with that "yuppie" tag or for its lack of diversity.

Central to the image of Metropolis is the Walk, which takes place every Thursday night downtown. To use a more familiar term, it's a pub crawl, only this one was originally intended to promote downtown bar-hopping and overall downtown hanging out, living and so on. For the first Thursday of each month, the Walk takes a "field trip" to some other part of the city -- Soulard, South Grand, the Central West End. Once the brave souls even ventured into the far- northeastern nook of the city called Baden; another time it was the blue-collar bars on Manchester Avenue just south of Dogtown.

Tom Wahl (with wife Suzi): "If anybody wants to make anything else out of it, they're going to have a problem, because you can't construe me having sex with my wife as an act of prostitution, even though we're getting paid for it."
Tom Wahl (with wife Suzi): "If anybody wants to make anything else out of it, they're going to have a problem, because you can't construe me having sex with my wife as an act of prostitution, even though we're getting paid for it."

"We had never really gone, to be brutally honest, to a predominantly black bar," says Metropolite Steve Smith. "We had been to some mixed bars, but nothing where a white guy is just sticking out."

That changed last Thursday, when about 60 Metropolis members -- the vast majority of them of the Caucasian persuasion -- went to the Harlem Tap Room, Jay's Hideout and Frank's Cocktail Lounge.

From several accounts, the experiment was a rousing success. "The bar owners loved it. The patrons thought it was neat. There were no complaints. They had DJs at the last two places. They were saying, 'Let's give it up for Metropolis. We'd like to thank you all for coming down tonight,'" says Smith. "By then, everybody had been drinking; everybody was dancing around, hitting their head on the disco ball, which is only about 6 feet above the floor."

The crew walked several blocks to where an open-air market is planned for the Ville neighborhood and heard Adolphus Pruitt, director of the Greater Ville Historic Redevelopment Corp., talk about his plans. "Their thinking now is the revitalization of the whole neighborhood with the Ville open-air market," says Smith. "They want people who don't typically come down there. They're encouraging that. They kind of saw this as an encouraging sign, albeit just one evening."

The night ended on an upbeat note when an envoy from another bar came down to Frank's Cocktail Lounge. "Someone from the Living Room came down to try to get us to come over there next. They wanted our business that badly," says Smith. "Then people decided, spontaneously, just to go to the other bar. People went on their own initiative before it was checked out or anything."

One minor downer was a call to Smith on the "Walk phone" by someone wanting directions to that night's field trip. "This one guy calls up and says, 'Hey, so where are you guys tonight?' I say we're on a field trip. He says, 'Where you at?' I say, 'We're on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.' He asks, 'Is that in North St. Louis.' I say, 'Yeah.' Then he hangs up."

Did the guy think MLK was in Mehlville?

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