When my friend Jessica e-mailed me a few weeks ago to invite me to see some guy called Todd Snyder play at the Rev Room with her brother and sister-in-law, I decided to try to do it, if it wasn't a kid weekend. So that's what I did last night. Met them around 8:30 or so, when they were finishing up Mexican food at The Rumba Room. We joked at how we wouldn't know anyone - her being from out of town and me not being much into the bar scene. The last time I was at the Rev Room was when I saw my brother's old band, Cooper's Orbit, win the Arkansas Times Battle of the Bands. That was over three years ago.
We were having fun, drinking wine and listening to the intro band - American Taxi. Suddenly a guy walked up to me, "Hey, Liz!" I turned around and recognized him from college - Skip. I gave him a hug and met his wife. My friend was at the bar getting a drink, so I sat down in an empty seat near a guy that was sitting with them. They guy introduced himself, and it turns out we were at Hendrix pursuing the same major - one that he now possesses a doctorate in. He acted like he remembered me, but despite trying to imagine him 30 pounds lighter and with hair, I couldn't place him. He was three years ahead of me. After we had established all that, and I noticed him checking out my ring-less left hand, he said something so crazy I was temporarily vaulted into an alternate reality.
"Before I realized I knew you, my friend and I were watching you. He isn't here now, but he told me that he would buy my drinks for the rest of the night if I went over and smacked you on the ass."
I didn't know what to say, so I laughed perfunctorily. Did he suppose I would be flattered by this statement, and not horribly offended? I was so thrown off I didn't know what to do. I certainly wasn't prepared for his next statement.
"So can I? Smack you on the ass?"
Seriously? He wanted a real response to this question? This guy who had a Ph.D.?
"I don't know you very well at all."
"Aw, come on, we've known each other since college. That's almost 20 years."
Still completely derailed, I tried to make this whole conversation seem normal.
"I'm happy to lie. I'll corroborate for you, and tell your friend you did it, so you can get free drinks all night."
I was actually trying to help this guy who had horribly offended me. I shook my head in disgust, got up and walked away, and avoided that corner of the bar for the rest of the night.
The music, with which I was unfamiliar, was actually pretty good. I learned something else, during the course of the evening. The change in men's fashions has thrown off my gay-dar. A group of guys started talking to my friend and I - they were obviously much younger - in their twenties. I looked at two of them - one had on an aqua v-neck and white jeans, and the other wore a tight plaid shirt and a hat that looked like he had stolen it from Oliver Twist. Certainly gay, so safe to converse with. My friend was responding to requests to take their pictures for them on the dance floor, and I just closed my eyes and got lost in my buzz from the music and the wine.
I noticed the way a couple of them were looking at my friend, she is achingly beautiful - and it wasn't jiving with my impression of their sexual tendencies. But I ignored it, until I felt arms around my waist - one of them had pulled me close to him. Definitely not gay. I quickly wiggled my way out of the embrace, turned around, looked up, and flashed a smile at Oliver Twist before I disappeared.
"Jessica, it's almost 1:30 a.m. Where is your brother?"
"I think he and his wife went back to the hotel."
Suddenly, I felt vulnerable. The lead act showed no signs of stopping.
"I'm tired. Ready to go?"
"Sure, but I'm hungry. Can we stop and get food?"
We headed to Fernau for the best late night bar food in town - hummus, fried pickles, and buttermilk battered chicken tenders. I won't even get into the guy that followed us to another table after he mangled conversation drunkenly and dumped ice water all over our laps. It was unbelievable. I was so impressed with Jessica - I thought she was the only person on the planet kinder that me. She turned to him and said, "Um, this is my good friend, and we want to talk. It is time for you to go now." Magically, with a flip of her wrist, he was gone.
So I was happy for my guy-less plans this evening to see Sex and The City 2 with Laurie and Padma - my new kid-less weekend crew - followed by a late (that's the best kind) dinner from 8:30 -10:00 at Cantina Laredo. The movie was predictable but fun and fashionable. I cried, during one part. I was embarrassed, and tried to apologize and explain to my friends over dinner.
"You know when Charlotte (I always identify with the horribly naive ones, but I'm getting more life experience every day and becoming less so) was opening up in front of Miranda, with much cajoling, about how hard it is to actually be a mom? How it sucks sometimes? I can totally empathize with trying to make everything look so perfect on the outside, when really you are drowning on the inside. Feeling so alone, and so guilty for struggling with something you have dreamed about your whole life. Having kids. Trying to be a happy family."
Padma seemed surprised, but I didn't fool Laurie. "I could tell you were crying, and I felt bad. I wanted to hug you, but decided to just ignore it because I thought drawing attention to it would make you uncomfortable."
Women are so intuitive. That's why I like hanging around them so much. Neither Padma nor Laurie have kids, but they get it.
Yes, my ass is smack-worthy. And although I still have an asshole magnet, my experiences in life have helped me to recognize it and create new, firewall boundaries. Need to work on the gay-dar - heterosexual guys in my old bar days wore jeans and black t-shirts - they didn't look like they had just walked off the set of Miami Vice or a gay version of a Dickens musical. I'm learning, though. And I'm certainly not in a rush. I'm still young.