Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Arabian Nights

Last Saturday night, my husband and I finally realized we are old. Why? Because we’d gone out to dinner at four o’clock in the afternoon and by seven o’clock, we already were in our pajamas and settled in for the evening.

“Remember when our Saturday nights used to start at eight?” I asked him. “We’d be out dancing till one in the morning.”

My husband groaned. “I could never do that now. By one o’clock, I’ll already have been in bed for three hours.” He looked thoughtful for a moment and then added, “We sure had some good times, though. Remember Al Sirat?”

I smiled. Al Sirat was an Arabian-style nightclub located in the China Dragon Restaurant in Hooksett. The first time we went there was back in the early ‘70s, when my friend Sandi invited us.

“Gorgeous Harry Moy Junior runs the place!” she excitedly told me.

For years, Sandi had drooled over Harry Moy Junior, whose dad was a friend of her dad. She never, however, referred to the guy as just plain “Harry.” The word “gorgeous” always preceded his full name. To be honest, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about going to this new Al Sirat nightclub as I was about finally catching a glimpse of Gorgeous Harry Moy Junior.

So, on a Saturday night, my husband and I, along with Sandi and her husband, headed over to Al Sirat. The moment we entered, we were awed. We instantly were transported into a world of harem girls and sheiks. The perimeter of the huge nightclub was lined with ornately draped, Arabian-style tents that had huge, tasseled velvet cushions for seating on the floor. Rich velvets, silks, gold brocade and gauze were everywhere. There also were traditional tables and chairs. The club’s lamps all looked as if genies might be lurking in them.

My husband’s eyes were riveted on the navels of the attractive harem girls who were serving drinks, while Sandi’s eyes frantically darted back and forth. I suddenly felt an elbow jab my ribs. “There he is!” Sandi whispered to me. “Gorgeous Harry Moy Junior!”

I followed the direction of her eyes and spotted the living, breathing epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Not only that, he was wearing a tuxedo. The man looked as if he’d stepped off the cover of GQ Magazine. When he smiled, his teeth were so white, I nearly needed sunglasses to ward off the glare.

“This place is unbelievable!” Sandi’s husband said to her.

“Uh huh,” she said, her eyes still riveted on her longtime crush.

“I guess we should go take a seat,” he added.

“Uh huh,” Sandi said, not moving.

“Oh, look!” her husband teased, “Here comes a completely naked woman!”

“Uh huh,” Sandi said.

“Where?! Where?!” My husband asked.

We were seated in one of the tents right near the stage. The “band” actually was just one 40-something guy with a synthesizer that, with the push of a few buttons, sounded like several different instruments, including a small orchestra.

Right after our drinks were served by a shapely harem girl, the lights dimmed and a spotlight directed our attention to the center of the dance floor.

To our amazement, a beautiful, exotic-looking, dark-haired belly dancer with a stomach so flat, she barely had any belly to dance with, magically appeared. I thought she’d popped up from a trap door in the floor, but my husband insisted she’d dropped down from the ceiling.

My husband couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as he watched the dancer gyrate. “I am really liking this place,” he said. “We’ll have to come back here…often!”

After the dancer finished her routine, the musician onstage launched into a romantic love song. We couldn’t help but notice that as he sang, he kept staring directly at us.

“I’m getting uncomfortable,” Sandi whispered to me. “He keeps staring at me!”

I’d thought he might have been staring at me, but Sandi was model-pretty, so I figured she probably was right. As the singer began his next song, “You’re Just Too Good to be True,” another man took over at the synthesizer. This allowed the singer to grab the microphone and roam. He headed straight for our tent.

“Oh, no! He’s coming to serenade me!” Sandi whispered. “I’m going to die of embarrassment!”

“But at least you’ll have Gorgeous Harry Moy Junior’s attention!” I whispered back.

The singer then proceeded to sing the entire love song…directly to my husband.

Never in my life have I had more trouble trying to keep a straight face. And never in my life have I ever seen a more panicked expression than my husband’s. To make matters worse, the singer must have extended the song by at least 30 choruses.

We did go back to Al Sirat a couple more times after that, but the place became so popular and so crowded, with hours-long waiting lines to get in, it lost a lot of the magic we’d felt on that first night.

Besides that, they hired a new singer.


  1. Harry was my friend. This year, he had a swimming incident in Nicaragua and is now gone.

    Thank you for writing such an interesting and telling story. You described Harry as we all knew him... fuller than life itself. Jules LaMontagne.

    1. That's so sad! Thank you for letting me know. I'm sure Harry will be missed by the many, many people who knew him. He was such a charismatic person and, as you said, full of life.