She keeps clippings like her high school win at the science fair

Lexington Queen, Roppongi, five minutes to midnight. Aside from a couple dozen well-dressed natives, this pop-music palace is a ghost town with a jungle subwoofer beat. Two Japanese girls, bluejean miniskirts riding low on their hips, make a halfhearted attempt at grinding on the dance floor, but they sense the eyes of the T-shirt gaijin feeling them up from across the room, and they stop quickly and scutter back to their table.

One woman in particular catches my attention. She’s Nipponese, in tight leopard-print slacks, chain-smoking by herself in the corner. Every now and then she says a few words to herself. Then she stands, boogies for about two minutes with no one in particular, and sits down again, muttering and tossing her bleach-brown locks.

What the hell happened to the anorexic chickies in plastic bras and the smells of barf and whiskey? What happened to the action-movie supermodels whose snapshots adorn your walls? Time was you could cop a feel with a rock star on the dirty-dance floor, or collect a hit or two of cocaine by scraping the cigarette-burned vinyl seat cushions with your fingernails. Time was lesbians were swilling hundred-dollar bottles of vodka and sexing one another in your unsanitary toilets. Not so anymore, Lexington Queen. All the l33t kIdZ are somewhere else on Saturday night. You’ve gone — dare I say it — establishment?

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