Jul 29, 2007

Spanaway, Washington – "Bikinis," my food-writer friend Candace says. "They serve coffee in bikinis."

Much hysteria ensued. I'm not really sure why, since we live in the homeland of Hooters. But drive-thru cleavage and a cuppa is inherently more funny than hot pants and hamburgers... Plus, we saw a sheriff's car squirreling around one stand.

And, well, Spanaway needs all the joy and joe possible; anything, really, to relieve the pawn shops, payday loan centers, nail parlors and fast-food joints along the Pacific Highway. A US Army and Air Force recruiter stands beside Kolby's Donut House and a sign pimping $12-per-hour jobs. Welcome to the mobius mallstrip of exurban America. Please check your Kerouac at the on-ramp.

We scout three stands: a Chick-a-Latte and two Bikini Bottoms. At the latter, Brittany brews the worst Americano ever. Somehow, she's reliquified the crust from a 50-year-old diner percolator.

For the first time in my life, I throw away coffee untouched. This from a woman who slams vile Nescafe crystals on remote field assignments...

But Chick-a-Latte is not about caffeine, gourmet or otherwise, I realize. Blonde and beaming, Brittany thanks us for "being so interested and cool. A lot of ladies get angry at us."

She yanks the white triangle concealing one breast. This barista is lithe and real, right down to the pancake powder over teen acne.

Around her age, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA. I ran around in Lycra all summer and mocked the rare dad drooling in the bleachers.

Does context make my suit clean and hers sleazy? I can't quite grasp that Moral Majority math...

I know only this: I forgive the (largely) male clientele for percolating fantasies. But Brittany, honey, please; no child drowned on my watch. And you, in turn, should learn not to brew swill. Because, to paraphrase Marilyn – the ultimate dreampuff:

Time rolls on,
And youth is gone,
And you can't straighten up when you bend.
But stiff back
Or stiff knees,
You stand straight at Tully's.


  1. Anonymous11:41 PM

    Cover up lass, for the love of god!

  2. Relax, amico. She's decent. It's just the coffee that sucks.

  3. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Amanda.. If you were some what intelligent you would realize sex sells..... Not only does it sell but it provides people like Brittney a college degree, with out this option she most likely would struggle with common college expenses. Most likely she is paying for school her self. I agree coffee may be bad, but is that her fault or the stands? Jealous of her looks? Or just can't comprehend the world we live in Amanda? Sex sells, and it sells great, thus providing Brittney with GREAT money to pay for books!

  4. And if you, dear anonymous, were SOMEWHAT intelligent, you could spell, punctuate and read clearly enough to comprehend I have no issue with baristas pulling sexspresso.

    I object to bad coffee, pure and simple. Still I stand up for Brittany's right to serve it in a bikini.

    Erotica sells, yup. So does decent java from an indie cafe, where you can download free porn on an iPhone or laptop...

  5. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Yo, anonymous, work on those communication skillz!

    One: AC wasn't remotely nasty about Brittany. She reflected on our society's goofy values, supported bikini-ed baristas, then lobbied for better Americano.

    Two: you've clearly never seen a snapshot of Ms Castleman. She covers up her face for a reason: so it doesn't distract from her award-winning writing. Go check out her website – www.amandacastleman.com. Then you'll see why this international beauty and former model isn't jealous of any teeny bopper, no matter how adorable...

  6. Anonymous12:10 PM

    I appreciate the lighthearted perspective. I am male and would probably be tempted to patronize these places were I younger. However, being older just makes me appreciate the miracle of youth all the more. Young people are intelligent and beautiful. Sexual attraction between them is natural and nothing to be ashamed of even when bad coffee threatens to come between them.

  7. Anonymous1:14 PM

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    Thanks, Ax


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