It seems women in bikinis are causing quite a stir these days. Sometimes folks just can't leave well enough alone. An interesting trend has emerged out in the Pacific Northwest of lingerie and bikini-clad baristas. If this trend hasn't found its way to your neck of the woods yet, I imagine it's just a matter of time. That is, unless you live in the south because Southern folks don't play that mess. Seattle is known for bringing Starbucks to the world, but even Starbucks has competition these days. Instead of Starbucks, many morning commuters have often opted for locally owned, roadside drive through coffee stands. Smaller coffee stands have that hometown feel where you see the same barista every day and they know your ordering habits. What if one day you pulled up and your barista was sporting what I like to call "bedroom attire?"
A huge number of privately owned (read: mafia-owned) espresso stands centered on this business model have been opening up across the Pacific Northwest. With catchy names like "Bikini Baristas" and "Cowgirls Espresso" these new coffee stands have made it quite clear they aren't selling coffee. They are selling sex. What started out as women in bikinis has now become women in full out lingerie, thongs and all. The reader boards outside these establishments read like the ones outside the strip club or the peep show "Something hot is cooking inside!" or "Meet the new barista, Candy - weekdays, 5pm-close." The clientele these businesses are after is of course, largely male, and in my opinion, largely unethical.
These types of establishments open up a hotbed of issues and the legality is entirely questionable. Selling sexual images under the guise of coffee should require some sort of licensing just as strip clubs and other "adult entertainment" joint must obtain. Seeing these girls strutting around in plain sight of children is indecent exposure. I also worry about the safety of the young women involved. Most often they are under age 20, and while no one forced them into a negligee at gunpoint, these girls are being put at risk by this business model. Flaunting their goods on a daily basis to men, many of whom lack self control opens up a door that is not easily shut. With no security and only one girl working a shift at a time, what happens when someone shows up one winter evening wanting more than just a double tall nonfat latte? It is common knowledge that the sex industry is a magnet for all types of other crime.
As these coffee stands become more rampant, there are some citizens who aren't keeping quiet on the matter. This is why we need to pay attention to our state government with the same level of scrutiny we use on a national level. People who are smart know how to use legislation and their local city and county officials to build a society with standards. Just last weekend, my husband a group of others showed up to protest a coffee stand that recently opened up outside the entrance to a daycare facility. The local news arrived to cover the story and one angry parent who had the audacity to actually marry her beliefs with action got that espresso stand shut down in less than 24 hours.
I highlight this issue for a few reasons. We live in an age where the morality line is drawn in the sand and the tide is in if you know what I mean. The vocal minority of Americans get very uncomfortable with the notion of a hard line of "right" and "wrong". There is a tendency to adopt an "anything goes" mentality under the guise of liberty and freedom of expression. Scantily clad baristas are what we get when we continue in moral ambiguity. I am curious to know if those in other parts of the country could ever imagine businesses like this popping up?
When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."
A little wobbly on her stance, but she got it out and that's what counts. And now the furor has begun. I absolutely love it! The Miss USA organization's executives have released statements of "embarrassment" regarding Prejean's comments. No big surprise there. The Miss USA pageant is owned by Donald Trump--a model of morality if I ever saw one. What's more, it's widely-known that the biggest contingency of pageant fans is homosexual men. You can imagine the hubbub her comments are causing.
Why folks are shocked though is beyond me. Pageants contestants are known as being some of the most conservative around. I'm not sure what the big deal is. The woman was asked a question and she answered it the same way the majority of Californians (Black, White, Hispanic, you name it) did this past election when Proposition 8 was on the table. She's entitled to her opinion right? Despite what Hollywood leads us to believe, Prejean's opinion is actually widely held my many Americans--including many of those who voted for President Obama. And what business does that question have in a pageant anyway? Miss California should've gone all Mike Huckabee on Perez Hilton's behind (channeling pre-election Republican candidate debates when Huckabee was asked if he believed in evolution), she SHOULD have said the following (my words, not hers):
"It's interesting that question would even be asked of someone competing in the Miss USA pageant. I'm not planning on shaping this country's legislation or running for public office; I'm asking for the opportunity to be Miss USA. But you've raised the question, so let me answer it. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and the institution of marriage. A person either believes that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, or that it's not. And the basic question was an unfair question because it simply asked in a simplistic manner whether or not I believe in my view or yours. But let me be clear. I believe in marriage and I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and should not be redefined as anything else. That is my view and it might not be yours. I don't think that my view would make me a better or a worse contestant for Miss USA. But I'll tell you what I can tell this country: if they want a Miss USA who isn't willing to stand for what she believes, I'm sure there's probably plenty of choices. But if I'm selected as Miss USA you will have selected someone who believes in those words 'God did create' and in the words of Martin Luther, 'Here I stand I can do no other.'"
Oh well. In my dreamy world that's what would've happened.