Saginawesome in Saginaw, Part I

Panama Jackson/VSB
Panama Jackson/VSB

I recently got back from Saginaw, Michigan, where I participated in (a brotha's name and signature is even on the marriage license) the nuptials of one of my best friends and his newly minted wife. And let me tell you, I had myself a good ole time. Which, let's be real, isn't exactly what you think of when you think of Saginaw, Michigan.

Let's back up. Nobody generally thinks of Saginaw. In fact, an entire half of my family lives in the state of Michigan (a state in which I've also lived) and I've never been north of Pontiac. The cities that my family lives in are "bad" enough, no need to visit the rest of the state suffering under similar circumstances. Be that as it may, the wedding was in the SagNasty, so to the SagNasty we went. I used to write about these trips (weddings, vacations, holiday gatherings) on my old site but stopped for some reason. Well it's the return because it's been a long time. So in the interest of shenanigans, let's talk about how to be Saginawesome in Saginaw. And as my reference points, we shall use the wedding as the backdrop since its the reason I was there. Basically, we finna recap.

Thursday, July 30

It's been quite some time since I've gone on a truly long-drive road trip. I've reached the point in my life where if something is longer than a 4-hour drive, I'm flying. I just don't enjoy sitting in the car for extended periods of time any longer. I've driven to Pittsburgh and New York City, and even down to Fayetteville, NC (like a five hour drive), but it's been at least 8 years since I've driven to Michigan, even longer since I've driven to Atlanta (though I do think I drove back from ATL to DC in 2011 with my boy who got married…in fact, that is a fact). Point is, while I looked forward to getting to Saginaw (said no one ever), I was truly not looking forward to this drive. For a few reasons: 1) with all of the police stuff in the news and knowing my propensity for speed, I was a bit nervous that somewhere between DC and Saginaw, a brother was going to be interacting with the fuzz; 2) I hate long drives because they almost ALWAYS feature traffic and there's literally nothing you can do about it; and 3) I was driving by myself because I was going to be visiting family, etc.


Needless to say, I was not amped to make this drive. But let me tell you something. I left DC at about 915am and didn't hit traffic (and barely saw any police) until I got to Detroit around 430pm. Now, one doesn't need to drive through Detroit to get to Saginaw. In fact, it actually is taking you out of the way off of I-75. But it's been FOREVER since I've laid eyes on the Motor City so I decided to drive through downtown, during rush hour and let me tell you, that felt good. I made it to the SagNasty around 645ish (not a terrible trip), checked into my room, went to pick up my tuxedo, hit a liquor store (because liquor is very necessary), then got back to the room and yelled out, "where 'dem dollaz at?" Little did I know that my questions would be answered in a few hours.

Look, I'm in Saginaw, Michigan, so to be real, I wasn't expecting much in the way of entertainment options. Plus our hotels were all on what looks to be a newer strip of the city where the mall is located and hotels and a Target and all of the restaurants are located. My impression of Saginaw was that it would look like a smaller version of Detroit (it does in many places). But our area was okay. So I found some of the homeys at Buffalo Wild Wings. I get there at like 850pm. Do you know what they had happening at 9pm #doe?



They had $3 drinks of real liquor: Jameson, Jack, Ketel, Crown, Sauza, etc. I ordered three drinks within like 8 15 minutes. The party had begun. Now, these folks had been there since like 6pm and had been drinking already. I salute my friends. From there the text messages from friends letting us know that they were in town began trickling in as we were trying to find our late night shenanigans. It turns out that would be a spot called Retro Rocks which I guess was "downtown".


Now, I'm in a new city and I don't know shit about nathan about their entertainment options. So I make the wise choice to call about dress codes. Here is what I'm told (this is only important because of a stupid rule that arose once we get there):

-No sweat pants or gym shorts

-No long chains

-No jerseys

-No white tees

(See where I'm going with this?)

Basically, they have the No "Black" dress code (there are other things they rattled off but by that point I hung up because I already knew what was happening). We get there and meet up with family of the bride, including the Matron of Honor, and folks start to trickle in. Now, I have on jeans, Chucks, a button up, a fedora, and a black bead necklace over my button up. I was asked to tuck it in under their "no long chains" rule. Really.


But the Stupid-Shit Of The Night Rule Enforcement went to my boy, Maverick, who had on a Yankees fitted hat and he was told he could wear it in the club. Cool. But he could only wear it forward…or backwards….not cocked to the side at all. We had a slight debate about this days later, but I think we both can agree the rule is stupid. Which was like me going to the Applebee's in Bed-Stuy and them telling me I couldn't wear a hat inside (to me anyway). At Applebee's. For safety.


Remember those $3 drinks at BWW? Well, this spot ALSO had $2 Fireball shots. I love Fireball shots. And their regular drinks, with good liquor, was like $6. Needless to say, I thought I was going to spend all of my money. We even did this wooden-board-shot thing where seven people take a shot at once off of what looked like a ski. If you've ever been out with me, I'm super generous with the drinks. I will buy drinks for and take shots with everybody. I will easily blow $100 on drinks for everybody. So I was nervous when I asked for my tab. Dude said, "oh, for you…hmmmm….$35."


Bruh. I tipped dude so well that when I saw him again two nights later he remembered me and made me take shots with him.

It's probably about 145am in the Sagnasty at this point and a large contingent of us are still hype because we live in real cities and aren't ready to turn down. But it's Saginaw, what are we to do?


Two words.

Strip club. What's a wedding weekend without strippers anyway? Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiign me up.


So we go to this spot called Deja Vu. It's a strip club…that doesn't serve liquor. No problem, we have BYOB spots in DC. No Biggie.

You can't bring liquor in either.

Le sigh. See, a stripper's ability to depart me from money is usually dependent on how much liquor I've had. While I was drunk at the bar, I'd managed to sober up on the way to the strip club - my tolerance is an evil person at times. The good thing about being sober at a strip club is that you can actually analyze. For instance, it was quite easy to tell why none of these strippers made it out of Saginaw. My thought is that if you're truly about that life, you put your all into it, and move on up. Say from Saginaw to Detroit to Atlanta, Houston, or Miami. These women, Black and white, were cute enough, but all pretty terrible strippers. They had no real moves. They just got up on stage and did what they saw in movies that strippers seemed to do, except without any of the panache. They weren't the worst strippers I've seen - that distinction belongs to the strippers who "performed" at another of my boy's bachelor's party, truly terrible - but I didn't feel like making it rain either. And I like rain.


One stripper befriended some folks at our table and showed us how little money she'd made that night. She should probably quit stripping. She's cute, nice body, but she also sucks at stripping. And she was Black. Apparently the white strippers in Saginaw get all the duckets. Which sucks, but it's also like 315am and I'm not here for socio-political stances and revolutions. Plus, there's a really good chance she wasn't here for it either.

At this point, we've decided we'd had enough of the Saginaw Stripper Brigade and hit the streets with a "that'll do." Then it was back to the hotel because tomorrow was when the work started.


Bedtime. 4am.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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Speaking of Michigan, it's almost Friday. And in honor of Friday, I have a little game created by Agatha and made suitable for a PG-13 audience. Winner gets a giant stuffed elephant.

Which VSB/S would you:
1. Fuck
2. Tie up naked, laugh and leave
3. Marry
4. Haunt if you were a ghost
5. Play an 8 hour game of Monopoly with
6. Marry as a sister wife or whatever the male equivalent of that is
7. Go to a strip club in Michigan with
8. Get falling down drunk in a strange land filled with unicorns
9. Set up in an arranged marriage
10. Give the super power of your choosing