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Pull up to Le Rouge at 9 p.m. for the first round of the Miss LoDo Contest. These things never start on time, but I don't want to miss anything. So I grab a seat at the bar. It's near the end of the fourth quarter of the Pistons-Cavs game and King James is on fire, sinking mad shots. Next thing I know, the game's tied and goes into OT. The commercial break gives me a chance to scope the joint -- lovely ladies all around, and many of them are drinking free champagne. Every Thursday at Le Rouge is Ladies' Soiree, which means girls can drink free Moñt champagne all night.

Then it's overtime in the game, and that '70s disco tune comes on, the one with the Beethoven tune, maybe his Ninth or Fifth symphony, and the gals to my right are digging it. I mean, they know the tune and they're humming the da-da-da-dah parts and all that. I look toward the door, where the waitresses are standing in their red bustiers, and still more lovelies are coming in. A hell of a basketball game on the tube and lots of ladies drinking free champagne -- talk about The Man Show!

It's now double OT. LeBron is still on fire, and Donna Summer's singing "Looking for some hot stuff" — but hot stuff abounds all around me.

By 10 p.m., the Cavs pull off the win. De La Soul is doing "Groove Is in the Heart," which transitions into a throbbing techno version of Duke Ellington's "Caravan." The bass is bowel-loosening loud. I remember hearing about this tactic in the army where this machine emits such a low frequency that it could actually make a guy shit himself.

I get worried, so I decide to hit the head just in case. As soon as I open the door, it smells like incense and Arrid Extra Dry. Turns out the bathroom actually has a bottle of Arrid next to every kind of Axe you can think of -- handy if you actually have to unload. On my way out, I hear a guy say, "Dude, that fucking Asian-Mexican chick ain't too bad."

As I exit the bathroom, the Miss LoDo Contest is about to begin. The place has suddenly filled with guys. They now outnumber the ladies by, like, five to one. As the girls go up to the small stage, I move in for a better look. Turns out I've accidentally drifted into the VIP section, as a guy in a black suit with one of those Secret Service earpiece things tells me. I head back to the bar.

As Europe's "The Final Countdown" pumps, the contestants start coming out on stage. The MC says the first gal is a Broncos cheerleader and a horrible cook, but makes up for it in other ways. He asks what she'd do if she won the $5,000 grand prize; she says she'd go to Hawaii and pay off a bunch of speeding tickets.

The only blonde is up next. Turns out she's a former University of Colorado cheerleader. "If you were an endangered species of animal," the MC asks, "what would you be?"

"A pterodactyl," she says.

A guy standing next to me turns to his friend. "Man, this is lame," he says. "Dude, she doesn't even know the difference between endangered and extinct."

A skinny brunette in a tight black dress swaggers up while the MC announces that she's a chef, a guitar player and a few other things. He asks what she would do if a genie in a bottle gave her three wishes. The only thing I can make out is something about wanting $100 million.

Then this gal who likes fly fishing and loves watching Saved by the Bell gets up there. "What is the most pressing issue regarding women today?" the MC asks.

"Open-toed shoes."

That's the kicker; I can't take any more. But Le Rouge can, because the contest will continue every Thursday until June 28, when the winner of Miss LoDo will be announced.

 
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