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Best Of 2001

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Best Of :: People & Places

"Keep It In Your Pants"

Comedian Chris Rock once made a statement that private investigator David Cohen says he has considered framing on his desk: "Men are as loyal as their options."

Cohen founded his own private investigation firm, Investigative Resources of Texas, in 1994 after assisting collection agencies in their pursuit of big debts and in worldwide efforts to locate military deserters. He has abundant experience in insurance fraud and is a highly paid expert witness in different kinds of trials, but he considers one field a specialty: matrimonial investigation. If you're cheating on your spouse, he or she can hire Cohen to track your lying ass around the city, state, country and world to document evidence of adultery for divorce cases.

"Texas is going into its fifth year leading the nation in divorce rates," he says. "Dallas-Fort Worth is right up there. North Richland Hills, Addison, the Mid-Cities--they're all hotbeds for adultery. Highland Park is big, too. I've had some very rich, very eccentric clients from there.

"Generally speaking," he continues, "we have a stronger economy than the rest of the country. We have loose income brackets, discretionary income, people working for large commissions. All those create incentives to stray."

Marriages that turn stale often share some common traits: Both partners are working professionals with a combined income of $70-$120,000, children and a mortgage. And incidentally, contrary to the legions of spurned women pouring out their tales on daytime talk shows, Cohen says that in his experience, wives cheat on their husbands as often as vice versa. People choose to continue a troubled marriage either because they don't want to admit it's hopeless--and seek solace in other arms--or they simply crave both the stability of the institution and some variety on the side. They rarely travel very far for that extra bit: He estimates that in 80 percent of the investigations he handles, the cheater is having an affair with a co-worker. Perhaps strangest of all, that co-worker usually bears a strong physical resemblance to the spouse being cuckolded.

"If you suspect your spouse is cheating, then you're usually right," Cohen notes. "We're the only P.I. firm in Dallas I know of that does hard advertising. I have ads in topless clubs, health clubs, upscale restaurants. Imagine you're a guy who's worried about his wife. You have a couple drinks at a club, you walk into the rest room, and above the urinal there's an ad with a picture of a woman getting into a car and the line, This is your wife...but whose car is she getting into?' It plants a seed."

Once that seed is planted, and Cohen is hired, he or an assistant spends anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week for three weeks--sometimes totaling 12 to 15 separate periods of surveillance--to document what the courts call "a pattern of habit." Adulterers meet at restaurants or bars far outside their typical social circle, or are viewed entering and leaving each other's homes during odd hours. Cohen is always nearby--waiting in a car, or just a few tables away--to catch on digital video images of lovers holding hands, kissing, touching one another on the bottom. Sometimes husbands tryst with other men, wives with other women, but no matter the situation, Cohen halts his efforts after the couple departs a public space; while adultery itself is not illegal in Texas, spying on and taping someone in a private residence definitely is.

Paranoia runs in all directions: Cohen confirms he's been tapped for countersurveillance, in which spouses believe their husband or wife is having them followed and want him to prove it. All snickering aside, "I believe cheating on a spouse is morally and ethically wrong," he says. "It's very destructive. It wreaks hell psychologically on men and women. There are times when I've charged clients for counseling, because they spend hours and hours going over their stories, wondering what they did wrong."

Cohen's advice? "If you don't want to be married, get out. Otherwise, keep it in your pants. It saves everyone a lot of trouble."

Investigative Resources of Texas can be reached at 877-285-9519.

Best Beer Joint
Ship's Lounge

No ferns, no frills, no food (unless you count chips and peanuts) and no TV sports at this 50-year-old establishment, which is what a real, honest-to-goodness beer joint is supposed to be. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. Sunday, Ship's offers $2 domestic beer and can serve from a couple of dozen brands. The stools along the bar are filled with patrons ranging in age from 21 to 71. There's a pool table and one of the best jukeboxes in Dallas, offering everything from Don Williams to Ray Charles. If they ever decide to open a Beer Joint Hall of Fame, this one's got to be in it.

1613 Greenville Ave., Dallas, 75206
MAP
214-823-0418
Best Tejano Club

You'd think, judging by the fact that pretty much every car south of Mockingbird Lane sports at least one sticker on its bumper/windshield advertising the driver's Tejano radio station of choice, this city runs on the upbeat of a conjunto soundtrack. You're probably right. The Arbitron ratings might not reflect that yet--maybe they would if Arbitron actually reported in all the areas that matter, not just North Dallas--but it's true nonetheless. Perhaps the best place to see and hear for yourself is Tejano West, the McDLT among local Tejano venues, where the cerveza is cold and the dance floor is hot. Feel free to explore others, but we guarantee your boots will scoot back to Tejano West.

Best Dance Club
Lizard Lounge

Lizard Lounge is the closest thing Dallas has to Studio 54, and depending on how uptight you are, that's either a good or bad thing. OK, so it's not that close to Studio 54, but it does have everything you want in a dance club: good music (provided by, among others, Edgeclub host DJ Merritt), good-looking men and women (clad in materials usually reserved for the interiors of cars) and the good chance that you'll see at least one person with a lot less clothing than he or she walked in with. The last part isn't exactly crucial for a dance club to be entertaining, but it sure doesn't hurt. Madonna tried to buy it at one point; how much more of an endorsement do you need?

2424 Swiss Ave., Dallas, 75204
MAP
214-826-4768
Best Lesbian (and Gay) Bar
Sue Ellen's

Call us naïve, but we were shocked to learn the predominantly female audience at Melissa Etheridge's recent Fort Worth concert booed when she pulled a fan onstage to share a tequila shot...because she chose a man. Being of the male persuasion ourselves, we've always felt welcome at most of the area's lesbian clubs. We've heard tales that gay places like the gargantuan Village Station and Moby Dick aren't nearly as hospitable to women. Hell, there have been nights when the Station wasn't nearly as welcoming to us as, say, its next-door neighbor, Sue Ellen's. Over the years, Sue's has admirably maintained its balancing act of charming opposites--friendly but sorta elegant, universal but very specific in its identity, streamlined but able to hold a spill-over crowd. You can walk in dressed up or dressed down and feel right at home. And the small dance floor prevails as a place for socializing, not exhibiting your gym bod or your rhythmic skills. Maybe it's just the Cowtown gals who get pissy when a guy occasionally steps into the spotlight.

3014 Throckmorton Rd., Dallas, 75219
MAP
214-559-0707
Best Place to Get Arrested on a Saturday Night

Some nights end badly. Some nights end with a public humiliation by the jackboot of the state in front of the teeming crowd of your peers, the assorted boozers and ecstasy-addled clubbers of Lower Greenville. After midnight you can witness the local cheese rousting belligerents on this corner, usually stuffing them into the white paddy wagon. The best part's the public frisk--always look for signs of amusement or disgust on the cop's face.

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"Keep It In Your Pants": David Cohen, matrimonial investigator

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