"I wore those Friday night."
He gives up and goes to do his hair.
"He's worse than a woman!" Jana says.
The doing of the hair is a complex and mysterious ritual. The night before, Moo got so frustrated that he had to do it three times and "change products." Tonight, he first puts spiking gel in his hair, then sprays his hair with hairspray, then styles it, then sprays it again. "Then I'll come back here when it starts falling from all the weight and spray it again," he says.
He goes back in the bedroom and finally settles on the green tank he wanted to wear all along, plus a pair of blue corduroys. He rejects two of the five pairs of sneakers he's brought to the shore house, settling unhappily on a third pair. ("These are last year's, too, that's why I don't want to wear them.")
This is about the point that Construction Carline comes into the bedroom and starts whispering something about underwear in Moo's ear.
Carline is in a quandary. He's wearing fitted boxer briefs, and he's trying to decide if he should change into looser boxer shorts. This is an important decision because once in a while, in a fit of giddiness at Temptations, Carline likes to take off his pants. He knows that if he wears his boxer briefs, which look an awful lot like underwear, he'll never take off his pants. If he wears his boxer shorts, on the other hand, he gives himself the option of keeping the pants on or taking them off.
The problem is that in Carline's life, "Options always happen." Which means that if he changes his underwear, he knows he'll wind up taking off his pants.
He thinks a bit, shouts a bit, has another beer.
Then he changes his underwear.
The longer Moo has to wait, the more anxious he feels. At 11:17 p.m., moments before the crew leaves for the club, he stands by the kitchen looking distressed. His face is not yet red like a tomato, but it's clear he's succumbing to the immense pressure of nothing happening. Like a fish suffocating on a pier, Moo needs to be in his habitat. He needs Temptations.
"I really think I have legitimate problems," he says. "I can't breathe."
By 2:15 a.m., Moo and Construction Carline are onstage, standing in front of the DJ, who they're friendly with, and prancing for the crowd. Moo has been twirling his tank top around his head, and Carline is shirtless, wearing his helmet and cape.
After a while, they step off the stage and onto the dance floor, making their way around the club with a digital camera and taking pictures for NJGuido. Girls primp and guys pump. The place is so crowded, one of Moo's buddies says, it's "bittersweet."
The guidos party till 3:20, when the lights come on in Temptations, and then they keep partying. The music stays on and the crowd stays on the dance floor. Somebody in Moo's camp orders 48 shots of Southern Comfort and lime, and Moo's friends pass them around.
"They don't care that the lights are on!" says Moo, beaming like a man in religious ecstasy. "They don't want it to end. Have you ever seen energy like this at four in the morning?"
Nearby, a stern, beefy staffer named Sam Mickens looks over the crowd from his perch on a wooden crate, watching everything detachedly.
He says he is a graduate student in psychology at Montclair State University, and when he watches the crowd at Temptations, he thinks of male lions trying to attract females with their manes.
"They work on their bodies only to impress the female lions," Mickens says. "If challenged, the two males will compete for the female's attention by fighting."
He eyes the crowd in his serious way.
"All women want the strongest male," he says. "There are no subtleties in an environment like this."
Over at the bar, a group of muscly guidos is posing for a picture. Among them is Construction Carline, looking like a deranged tree-trimming superhero in his cape and helmet.
He has taken off his pants.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company