Today, Gabrielle's standard response to questions about her dad's occupation is "none of your beeswax." She is the one whom Lowrie often puts on stage to present the oversize cardboard checks at charity events.
Back at the Diamond Cabaret Steakhouse it's close to 10 p.m. The sun set hours ago, and Lowrie's still sitting in Bobby's booth. The dinner plates have been cleared, and the boss finishes his wine. Lowrie doesn't usually eat dinner here. If he's working late at the club, he'll have dinner at home first with his family and drive to the city after the kids are in bed. "My dad died of lung cancer, and I have to think it was from all the time spent in these clubs," says Lowrie. He speaks as if he's indeed aware of every pitfall his father hit, and he says he can steer himself away from the perils of the industry. "I don't want that to happen to me. I'm trying to pace myself better than he did." He says he can keep it all in perspective.
Around the booth, the party that Hal started still rages at the Diamond Cabaret. Lowrie's windowless bar pulses with sex, money, and booze. The dancers, the customers, they all come to escape their reality-but this is Lowrie's reality. While his strippers may leave the business better off than they were when they arrived, Lowrie's not going anywhere. The Diamond is pumping as Lowrie escorts me toward the exit and safely onto the street. As usual, the valet has the boss' car in the first parking spot, waiting. Underneath the streetlights, Lowrie says good night and extends a solid handshake. There's still time for him to peek in on his sleeping kids and crawl into bed next to his beautiful wife. But instead of making a right toward the valet, Lowrie turns around and heads back into the club. A world of $6 beers, single-mom strippers, crisp dollar bills, and the ghosts of family. Back at his beautiful suburban home, Pam leaves the lights on till he returns.
Rebecca Landwehr is Senior Editor at 5280.