Dog Bites

S.F. not a good place for girls to dress up? Dog Bites will see about that.

We hadn't been expecting to don the outfit until that night, but on the way home from the gym, Dog Bites got cold, and had to dip into the Marc Jacobs bag for the jacket. The response was immediate. Two guys on the J Church Muni, who appeared to be passing a bottle of cologne back and forth, turned to stare.

"Nice jacket!" said one. "Different! Unique!" He then returned to supplying his pal with tips on how to bilk his wife out of child support.

Hmmm. This was definitely not mockery.

A few hours later, we walked from the Lower Haight to the Inner Mission. Eyes glanced, heads turned, conversations suddenly halted as we passed. Already Rapoport's premises were breaking down. Dog Bites was getting some play, if you know what we mean.

We arrived at the 500 Club on 16th and Guerrero at around 9:30 p.m. The down-at-the-heels neighborhood bar was packed with people who showed all the signs of having been drinking heavily since 5. The popcorn machine was empty, its contents smashed into the red industrial carpet. If there was any place where our swanky duds would be rejected, it was the 500 Club -- the kind of place where the bathroom disinfectant is so strong it leaves your oral membranes feeling as if they've been napalmed.

Big shocker -- nobody was paying any attention to Dog Bites! Taking a seat at the bar and ordering a beer, we didn't get so much as a peek in our direction. Was it, could it be, possibly, just maybe, that nobody cared? Or maybe they were scorning us in secret. Time to find out.

"What do you think of my outfit?" we asked the guy next to us, who was dressed in a style that could only be described as "Budweiser" -- flannel shirt, mesh-and-foam baseball cap.

"It leaves a little bit to the imagination," he said flirtatiously. "It's sexy."

"Do you think it's a little bit cheesy?" we asked.

"No, I don't," he replied.

"I think it's fabulous," chimed in the bartender, who was wearing a zippered green shirt that said "Camp Tajaho" on the chest. Camp Tajaho, he informed Dog Bites, is a kids' surfing camp in Maine.

"It's sorta like the newer old-fashioned," observed a guy in a track suit. ""Sixties style. Like you should be walking around in an Eichler home."

If only Adam Rapoport had been there to witness it: Far from making Dog Bites the butt of jokes, high fashion was scoring us free drinks. We became increasingly nervous, however, that one of the beverages was going to land on our borrowed $3,100 outfit. The bar had become packed to sweaty capacity with holiday revelers, and "Love Roller Coaster" by the Ohio Players was coming on the jukebox at the rate of about one in three songs.

"I want to pee on you," said another guy who took a stool next to us and bore an uncanny resemblance to Eminem. "If I could just pee on you, it would be so hot."

We took this as our cue to leave.

But rather than making us feel victorious, our research left us feeling distinctly unsettled. So San Francisco isn't some humorless place where a girl can't dress up and go to a dive bar. Dressing up for a dive bar is, apparently, very much appreciated -- especially if you're wearing Marc Jacobs. The depressing part, of course, is that Dog Bites cannot afford Marc Jacobs. Dog Bites cannot even afford the cheaper Marc Jacobs spin-off line, "Marc." And now we are confronted with the knowledge that (unless we fail to return the borrowed Marc Jacobs outfit, which is not an option because they made an imprint of our credit card) we will never again walk down the street and make every head turn.

Thanks, Rapoport. It is your crappy research that helped open our eyes to this grim reality. We were much happier not knowing. We were much happier before, when we thought fashion was for dumb rich people.

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