America took a step past the point of no return in 1968, when it began airing personal-hygiene product commercials on TV. Suddenly we were bombarded with televised cures for hemorrhoids, explosive diarrhea, feminine odor, infections of various etiologies, PMS (although I understand this is not a real phenomenon, and in no way responsible for half of the world's population losing its mind once a month) and what comes after PMS. When I was young, companies had the decency to perpetuate stereotypes and only show these spots during daytime soaps. I got to watch them when I was home sick, and they inspired a spate of questions that had my mom hoping I would soon sprint to the bathroom to vomit so she wouldn't have to answer them.
Today, of course, you can't watch even seemingly safe guy programming, including professional wrestling, without seeing such advertisements. The worst offender is the Tampax Pearls commercial in which a woman fully emasculates a guy who can't figure out how to stop their boat from taking on water during a romantic ride: She stuffs a feminine product into the hole in the hull, effectively proving that she is a resourceful woman fully capable of solving dangerous problems without a man's help. There's only one kind of protection she needs, and she can buy it every month.
Obviously, this is progress: Women are no longer expected to watch soaps and eat bonbons during the day; they are now expected to eat bonbons and plot their divorces while watching Desperate Housewives.
701 South University Boulevard
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And while they're doing that, guys would be well advised to head to the nearest bar, maybe even the Campus Lounge (701 South University Boulevard). Although the Campus is a few miles from the nearest school, its founders probably figured they needed a bar with a college-like name if they were ever to convince the makers of the Girls Gone Wild videos to scope out the local talent. But on the Sunday night we dropped in, there wasn't a single coed in the sparse crowd whose body could be the basis of a major world religion. The Campus Lounge may be located on a street named University, but it's a far cry from its beery brethren on such famed lanes as State Street in Madison, Sixth Street in Austin and even Pearl Street in Boulder. Instead, it reminded me of the corner bars back in Minnesota, where salt-of-the-earth people gather to recover from a bad day. It's a very smoke-and-pool-table-intensive place, with several TVs and fish tanks that will help induce seasickness as you drink.
The lack of collegiate atmosphere may be because University of Denver students are smarter than your typical congressman and more concerned with getting a good education than proving to the world that they can't hold their liquor. Then again, at the Campus, we had trouble getting our liquor in the first place. The bar has no beer on tap (Coors doesn't count), and although it lists a decent selection of bottled beer, at least one was out of stock. And the service was too slow for a real college bar, where servers recognize that students need their pitchers quickly replaced to give the illusion that they're still on their first round and not burgeoning alcoholics. And besides, if they don't get those pitchers right away, they might resort to setting couches on fire and outright rioting. As it was, the pokey pace made the natives in our group so restless that the potential Oriental Representative to the Institute of Drinking Studies landed a vicious haymaker on the Jewish Representative's jaw, when the right hand that should have been holding a beer lashed out in frustration.
Here at the Institute, we believe that every college campus should have a bar where young women can feel at ease earning beads the hard way and guys can pull out the mental tape measure and compare manliness by seeing who's the biggest jerk. The Campus just doesn't have that college atmosphere. But then, it doesn't have a college, either.