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Ben Fountain Reports from Dallas for the New York Times
by Jerome Weeks 10 Jan 2011

Another message from distant colonies has appeared in the op-ed columns of The New York Times, courtesy of North Texas author Ben Fountain. This time, he reports from The Lodge and the Men’s Club.


North Texas author Ben Fountain (Brief Encounters with Che Guevara) seems to be penning a series of reports from distant colonies for the New York Times — considering his previous report on the shaky upscale retail economy in Dallas and Sunday’s op-ed column about how our strip clubs are faring in the same troubled waters (much better, it would appear, thanks for asking).

The essential question Fountain asks is one many people have pondered: How did North Texas became the home of some of the largest Christian churches in the country — as well as some of the best-known topless joints? Dawn Rizzos, owner of the Lodge, thinks they’re just two sides of the same coin.

“Because we’re in the Bible Belt,” said Ms. Rizos. “There’s a church on every block, and men just like to sneak around. Most of our customers are married men. They get a little bored with their wives, they can come in here and get some flirtation, our girls make them feel good and special, then they go home and feel so guilty about it that they treat their wives really nicely.”

“It’s very Baptist,” she continued. “If you’re going to give up sin, you got to sin.”