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the Gauntlet

Reflections on a titillating cafe

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In today's age, when society's perception of what is right or wrong is constantly in question, we are bombarded with the notion that our reality could, ironically, very well not be real. This is of utmost importance to us because if we don't keep up with the advancements that our society is making, technologically or otherwise, we could be lost in the dust.

Last Monday, a coffee shop opened in Vassalboro, a small city in central Maine, but something was different about it. What makes this cafe different from your ordinary Starbucks or Second Cup is that it is operated by topless staff.

A number of residents have objected to the planning and operation of such a business, but according to the city, nothing is illegal about it. Responsibly, the business has posted two signs outside the building that read, "Over 18 only" and "No cameras, no touching, cash only."

As a matter of fact, so long as minors are kept out of the building, there really isn't anything wrong with the operation of such an establishment. This place is actually beginning to sound like a strip club that will serve its patrons specialty coffee and a close-up of topless men and women, for whoever would want to see such a thing.

Before people begin to object to the cafe, it should be kept in mind that the waitresses and waiters have applied to work there of their own accord. Those people want to be half-nude while they serve coffee aficionados. If any blame is going to be aimed at an establishment such as this, you should first consider the type of people who would want to work at this type of business.

There is a place for everything in our society: drinkers will go to bars or clubs, the lascivious have strip clubs, shoppers have malls, vehicles have roads and in the case of the topless cafe, those who want to enjoy a coffee while being waited upon by a topless man or woman can certainly go there.

Imagine if this business has specialty or themed working days. Would you object to a topless man or woman serving you a pumpkin spiced latte while wearing a witch's hat or, instead of having a left hand, brandishing a claw like Captain Hook from Peter Pan?

What this issue boils down to is whether or not society is ready for such a liberal establishment, but when strip clubs, sex toy stores and phone sex are readily available to whoever wants to try them, the answer is obvious: enjoy the establishment if you want and don't go near it if you don't.

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