Monday, May 05, 2008

Nightlife: Cream of the Crop

FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. – Peter Minichiello is running late, but there’s ample reason. Saturday night’s pre-club customs need to be observed. There’s a routine that must be followed to the letter, else consequences – damaged leather upholstery, in this case – will result.

“I have to get a cover over the middle here,” said Mr. Minichiello, wedging a corner of a large bath towel into the gap between the center console and the passenger seat of his 2003 Lexus. “This shit’s murder on my leather.”

“This shit” is Preparation H – yes, that Preparation H – and increasing numbers of local young men like Mr. Minichiello are using it for purposes other than the treatment of hemorrhoids.

“The way you use it,” said Mr. Minichiello, “is to take your shirt off and rub it all over yourself before you go to the club. It makes you look fucking ripped.”

The science behind the use of Preparation H is somewhat hazy – bodybuilders claim it pulls excess water from underneath the skin – but Mr. Minichiello said he won’t leave for “the club” without applying it. “If you want to get laid, you have to know how to dance,” he said. “And if you want girls to dance with you, you have to look ripped.”

At CVS on Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square, manager Lawrence Weisz has noticed a definite shift in the demographic of customers purchasing Preparation H products. “It’s definitely been a lot more younger guys lately,” he said. “It used to be that people would steal it because they didn’t want to come up to the counter and let everyone know they had hemorrhoids. Now, these young guys come in and they’re very aggressive about it. It’s gotten to the point where I can pick out the guys who are going to buy it when they walk in the door.”

Mr. Minichiello said his routine rarely varies. “I usually drive down the block so nobody sees me,” he said, “then I pull over, take my shirt off, rub it everywhere I can reach, then pick up the rest of my boys in my undershirt. It works best if you put it on about an hour before you go in the club.”

According to Mitchell Goldner, manager of a major nightclub in New York’s Meatpacking District, the use of Preparation H is part of the “trickle down” economic effect of New York’s lucrative nightlife industry. “I don’t care how bad the economy gets,” he said. “This is a totally recession-proof business, like funeral parlors or police departments. These kids today would rather starve than not come to our clubs, and this is certainly reflected in the rising sales of Preparation H on Long Island, in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

It’s a clientele Mr. Weisz said he can live without. “I don’t give a shit what these slapdicks are using it for. I wish they’d stay out of my fucking life. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the shit doesn’t even work, because if it did, these club assholes would all disappear. It’s supposed to get rid of hemorrhoids, isn’t it?”