From the next urinal over, David Michael Toth tilts back his matinee-idol grin.
"It's another beautiful night in Cleveland, Ohio," he sings out to the line of guys anxious for an opening. "And you know why? Because we're here." Breaking out in a cackle, he turns back to the main room, fingers straightening his hot-pink tie.
Nearing midnight on a Saturday, LiquidSixx is packed wall to wall. Music barrels from the speakers — all top 40 hits that have gone under the knife and come out with faster rhythms and fatter beats than what you've heard on the radio, strung together in one unending thrump. From head nods at the bar to the dance floor grind, the granddaddy of West Sixth Street clubs bops unevenly but in unison, like a waterbed distributing a bounce.
And then he enters. On the shallow end of the dance floor, he pulls a move from his repertoire — the one Joe Haden likes to copy: A ringed finger jumps to his tongue then across his brow, before snapping out across the room. His body follows suit with a series of jabs synced up to a rhythm playing between his ears only.
A college-age blonde siphoning a drink pulls her lips away from the straw and sends up an air-raid warning whine, the Cleveland nightlife equivalent to It's a bird . . . it's a plane . . .
"Ohmigod," she cracks glass. "It's Super Pimp!"
Toth owns the face you may have been gawking at for more than a decade, either mugging from the VIP section of a packed West Sixth club or out of a thousand Facebook photos. He's Super Pimp.
And he's hard to miss. There's the handsome mustachioed face, appropriately creased from the miles he's logged. There's the highlighter-loud suits. There's the assortment of tics he breaks off on the dance floor. As one fan puts it: "Everyone in Cleveland knows two people: LeBron James and Super Pimp."
No matter where Toth goes, no matter the crowd, the curious draw in for a closer look, trying to get the score on why a guy with 30 years on the rest of the room shows up looking like a cryogenically preserved '70s swinger who's been de-iced and taken shopping at a Detroit police auction.
"I like your suit," says a blonde at LiquidSixx, asking for a photo. On this night, what Super Pimp lacks in color he's made up for in cut: The suit is black, with wide pinstripes running the length of the jacket — which, incidentally, extends to his ankles. A matching vest runs the same length, so from a distance, Super Pimp seems to be wearing not a suit but a set of robes.
"Thank you," he says with a wink. "Al Capone is butt-naked in his grave right now."
Instead of a creep or a special-needs case, what you find with Super Pimp is a consummate charmer, armored with Kevlar self-confidence. He's also probably the nicest guy in the room. Girls, liquor-loud and pretty, drape themselves over his shoulders for pictures. Guys, their machismo hiked up for the club, shout his name in adoring tones. Toth's one-man show has become as quintessentially Cleveland as the Terminal Tower. But everybody knows the Terminal Tower. The more elusive question: Who, or what exactly, is Super Pimp?
The man himself ducks inquiries with a familiar go-to line: "Pimpin' ain't easy."
Turns out pimpin' came easy right out of the gate.
In the late 1950s, a child from Lorain was loaded on a plane bound for England, his mother's native land. During World War II, she'd been a nurse who fell for an American paratrooper, and the romance led to marriage and babies back in the states. This ocean hop was her first chance to show off little David Michael Toth back home; for the occasion, she decked the boy out in a replica pilot's suit, complete with cap. In the cabin, the stewardesses couldn't stay away.
"I was about 8 or 9, but I started getting that little tingle with all these beautiful stewardesses kissing me on the cheek," Toth says today, his eyebrows popping rapid fire as if tapping out morse code. "I thought, 'Damn, there must be something to this!'"
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