On the first Thursday of every month, something wicked and wild transpires in the Outer Mission. Go Deep!, a ladies’ lube-wrestling competition, transforms El Rio into a Barbary Coast parlor of lust and delight. Buckets of the slippery stuff linger along the dive bar’s’ back patio hallways, which lead the lecherous into a den of liquid heaven.
I’ve found myself there on a handful of occasions, slack-jawed and bewildered at sights that made my insides squirm with conflicting emotions. Watching women romp around in red latex, splashing it up in an inflatable pool, is my inner sailor’s dream come true. Add liquor and lube, and that fantasy becomes exhilarating – until, of course, the substances splash toward me, at which time that dream turns into a nightmare. The wrestling ring is just one of the many layers to a Go Deep! evening. El Rio’s multiple rooms, stages, and patios are a different scene here. Billiard tables are converted into poker and dice games. Ladies in feathers, boas, and masks parade around until the curtain is drawn for the main event. A nouveau cabaret offers dances from several members of the Red Hots Burlesque, overseen by the most tempting of temptresses, Miss Dottie Lux. I’ve spent some time admiring the costumes and talent that amass around Miss Lux. She’s a performer, event creator, and a hard woman to miss – the Cleopatra of the Go Deep! lube wrestling nights.
Before the royal lube battles begin, Dottie makes quick safety announcements and introduces the night’s participants to roaring applause. The women who signed up earlier in the night take their places and shake hands. There are mild hints of camaraderie among competitors, familiar winks and teasing looks. Then, before you can count to three, the lube buckets are ejected into a giant inflatable pool and the entangled race toward victory begins, two ladies at a time.At this point, you can see pure ecstasy in the wrestlers’ eyes. Each match lasts the length of a song – garage-rock and girl-group singles handpicked by DJ Ruby White. The night lasts three rounds, with three or so matches per round. I know a few of the wrestlers as dancers at the Lusty Lady and performers at Kink.com. Their matches in particular have an almost dreamlike flow, not unlike what you’d witness at a Lusty peep show.
After a full evening of Go Deep!, it’s tough to shake off memories of the splashes, twists, gropes, and tackles that linger in your mind as you make your way home. Theatrical to the core, this spectacular spectacle invites the wanton, the lewd, and the lecherous in all of us out to play.
Go Deep! happens on the first Thursday of the month at El Rio. Sign-ups and the burlesque show start at 8 p.m. Wrestling begins at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. The male equivalent, Go Deep – For the Boys, happens on the second Thursday of each month. If you go, remember that standing in the front row is certain doom if you’re planning on staying dry. Be sure to cover your drink, too.